A group of entrepreneurs or civic-minded individuals commonly create a corporation to do business or run a charitable organization. Georgia individuals may file a corporation with the Secretary of State. The office that receives corporate filings provides forms online for individuals to fill out and submit. When a filer submits the proper form for a Georgia business corporation or nonprofit and the applicable filing fee, the state certifies the new corporation. Individuals should complete the forms and receive confirmation before conducting corporate business in the state of Georgia.
Visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s Corporations Division home page (see Sources). From this page, you can click “File Your Corporation Online” to complete the entire incorporation process online. However, you may also click on “How to Incorporate or File an LLC” and then find the “Filing Procedures” link for Georgia corporations. That link gives instructions and sample “Articles of Incorporation” that you can use to establish your business.
Click on the “Corporations Search” image on the home page to search for the corporate name you would like to use for your business. Make sure you use a unique name that is not already registered or confusingly similar to an existing name. Otherwise, you could face legal problems related to intellectual property.
Fill out the “Articles of Incorporation” using either the online system or sample in the “Filing Procedures” document. Note that these are simply the minimum provisions required to form a corporation. If you are filing a Georgia nonprofit, you should first look up Publication 557 on the IRS.gov website to determine how to apply for tax-exempt status at the federal level. As a state, Georgia has no ability to grant this status. However, you need certain provisions in your “Articles of Incorporation” to qualify for a tax exemption. This means you should read Publication 557 before completing your nonprofit’s articles.
Prepare the business filing fee. Make out a check or money order to the “Secretary of State.” As of 2010, the fee is $100.
Download the “Transmittal Information” form. You can find the link to this form right below the “Filing Procedures” link (see details above). Include this form when sending in your “Articles of Incorporation.” It is simply an information form used for administrative purposes. You also need to make an additional copy of your articles and submit it with the original form.
Send the forms and fee to the following address if mailing in your application for a Georgia corporation:
Office of Secretary of State
315 West Tower, #2
Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
Atlanta, GA 30334-1530
Georgia Corporations Division