You did it. Your Georgia LLC is officially up and running, ready to take on challenges, roll in the profits, and change the world.
There’s no doubt that this is an exciting time in your business journey. After starting your LLC, it’s easy to get carried away in all the excitement and expectations. After all, as a new business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.
But the state does too. They need to keep updated records on thousands of businesses so that they can effectively reach out with any important tax or legal communications down the road. How do they do it? With your cooperation, of course.
In Georgia, an LLC’s annual report consists of two parts: a Franchise Tax and a Public Information Report. Each LLC must submit these filings to the Georgia Comptroller every year to keep their information current. Unsure how to go about it? Never even heard of it? No worries at all. That’s why we’re here. Keep reading for everything you need to know.
For brevity’s sake, we’ll refer to these two combined filings as the “Annual Report” in this guide.
What is a Georgia Annual Registration? Why is it Important?
Consider an Annual Registration the state’s yearly checkup on your LLC. It’s similar to a census in that its purpose is to collect the necessary contact and structural information about each Georgia business.
Each state has its own annual reporting requirements, and some don’t even require them. But in most states, you’re required to submit one per year that includes your LLC name, principal office address, registered agent information, and member/manager names and addresses. Whether you run a domestic or foreign LLC, you should plan on submitting an Annual Registration.
Don’t be intimidated, but it’s not something you want to take lightly. This is how the state updates your LLC’s record with the most recent information. They need to know how to reach you with important information about your business status, upcoming filings, taxes, and service of process.
For example, if you change your registered agent, or your current agent resigns, you’ll need to keep the state informed so they can update their contact information. Miss one of their communications and your LLC in Georgia might end up falling out of good standing or, even worse, administratively dissolved.
Moreover, keeping your information current will help other businesses and potential customers find you. With your most recent information on file, anyone can find your LLC’s contact information by performing a name search.
How Much Does the Georgia LLC Annual Registration Fee Cost?
If you’re putting together a budget for all your LLC’s costs – like formation costs, name reservation fees, and initial operating expenses – it’s important to include annual filings like this one, just so that there are no surprises.
Costs vary from state to state. Some are free while others can be several hundred dollars. In Georgia, however, your Annual Registration fee isn’t too painful, just $50. You should expect to pay this fee every year.
Due Date and Frequency for an Annual Registration in Georgia
Your Annual Registration will be due by April 1 every year, like clockwork. Although if you want to get it out of the way sooner, you can file as early as January 1. Since the registration doesn’t take long, sometimes it’s easier to submit it right away so you don’t risk missing the due date.
What Happens if You Don’t File?
You might be thinking, “that sounds like a pain. How bad could it be if I just fly under the radar?” The short answer: don’t try it. Failing to file your Annual Registration can yield some serious consequences.
Filing the Annual Registration past the April 1 deadline will incur a $25 late fee. Plus, it can cause your LLC to lose its good standing with the state, which is necessary for certain business transactions. If you ignore this filing long enough, the state can even dissolve your business.
Now that you’ve got the Annual Registration on your calendar and you’ve set aside the appropriate fee, it’s time to get into the concrete details, instructions for filing your Annual Registration.
Has any of your LLC’s contact, organizational, or registered agent information changed over the past year?
If not, the Georgia Secretary of State offers a simple “One Click Annual Registration.” With this route, you won’t need to enter anything other than your payment information.
But if you need to make changes, here’s what the form contains:
- Registered agent name and address
- Principal office address
- Business email address
- Authorizer name and title
- Payment information
When making changes, the whole process shouldn’t take longer than 10-20 minutes. But if you don’t need to change anything, you can wrap it up in just a few minutes.
Electronic Filing: Get started by navigating to the Secretary of State’s online filing portal. Right at the top, you’ll see two large buttons that read “One Click Annual Registration With No Changes” and “Annual Registration With Changes.” Select the one you need to start the online filing process. Your Annual Registration will be processed in 5-7 business days.
Filing by Mail: Go to the online filing portal and click “Print Annual Registration Form.” Search for your LLC name, choose the correct one and print your form. Then you can mail it, along with your payment, to:
Office of Secretary of State
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE, Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Filing In Person: Live in Atlanta? You’re also welcome to hand-deliver your Annual Registration to the same address.
The Secretary of State’s Annual Registration page contains some additional information, including a video and guide that provide step-by-step filing instructions.
Does the State Send Reminders?
Reminders are always nice. They help you stay on top of your business requirements and ensure that you won’t fall out of good standing.
The Georgia Secretary of State’s office has your back. When January 1 rolls around each year, they will send out an Annual Registration reminder. Even so, it’s a good idea to set your own reminders on your phone, calendar, or wherever else you won’t miss them.
Can I Hire a Service to Handle it?
You probably have a full plate as it is, and the thought of adding one more responsibility to your to-do list might make you shudder. You’re not alone.
Plenty of other LLC owners have outsourced their reporting duties to LLC services. These companies will take the entire process off your hands, handling your Annual registration each year. If that piques your interest, we recommend ZenBusiness, which is an experienced and trustworthy LLC company.
But their services aren’t restricted to forming an LLC or managing Annual Registration. They can also help you form your business, draft an operating agreement, handle registered agent responsibilities, and much more, all for a reasonably low price.
If thinking about your LLC responsibilities ties your stomach in knots, let ZenBusiness take some of those worries off your plate.
There you have it, everything you need to know about Georgia’s reporting requirements. Follow this guide to a T and your LLC will be prepared to operate smoothly and in good standing long into the future.
And remember, if at any point it seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. A good LLC service like ZenBusiness (or LegalZoom) can be a valuable resource, taking care of all the little details, so you can focus on growing your business.