Do you own a business operating in the state of Georgia? If so, you may need to acquire licenses and permits to ensure that your company operates in a compliant fashion.
But how do you determine which permits and licenses you need (if any), and where do you acquire them? In this guide to Georgia business licenses and permits, we’ll answer all the tough questions about this process.
Are There Federal Licenses That My Business Needs?
First off, let’s discuss the matter of federal licenses and permits. There are many business activities that are regulated by various federal agencies, from agriculture to transportation and logistics. We recommend taking a look at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s guide to federal licenses and permits to make sure you’ve got your bases covered.
In addition, most businesses should acquire a federal tax ID number, also known as an EIN (employer identification number). This is essentially a social security number for your business, and it enables you to hire employees, pay business taxes, open business bank accounts, and more. You can acquire an EIN from the IRS for free.
What State-Level Licenses and Permits Apply in Georgia?
There is no statewide business license in Georgia, however, according to the Secretary of State, you will need to apply for licenses in your city and/or county before conducting business. Your licensing needs will vary based on the nature of your business.
To learn more about your business licensing needs, you should contact your local Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, you can learn more about the licensing process and relevant departments on the Georgia state website.
Occupational Licenses and Permits
The Professional Licensing Boards Division oversees and approves all occupational licenses in the state of Georgia. You can apply for a license, renew a license, or check the status of your application right here.
Environmental Licenses and Permits
Finally, Georgia also has some environmental permits for air, land, and watershed protection. These permits are managed by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, and you can find out if your business needs to apply on their website.
Which Tax Registrations are Required for Georgia Businesses?
In addition to occupational licenses and permits, there are a number of state-level tax registrations, which are based on the industry you operate in and which business structure your company uses.
While Georgia LLCs do not need to pay state income taxes, they must file an annual report, which comes with an annual registration fee of $50. Unlike LLCs, corporations are subject to a 6% corporate income tax. Most businesses will also need to pay withholding tax, unemployment insurance tax, and sales and use tax.
In addition, Georgia has numerous taxes that apply to specific activities or industries, from film to motor fuel. You can learn more about industry-specific tax requirements on the Department of Revenue website.
Are There Local Licenses, Permits, or Registrations in Georgia?
The answer to this question obviously depends on where in Georgia you’re operating your business, but there are indeed quite a few licenses, permits, and tax registrations required by Georgia localities.
Most business licenses and permits are managed at the county-level, including those in Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Richmond, Hall, and Muscogee counties. You can learn more about your county’s licensing requirements by contacting your local Chamber of Commerce.
Many cities and municipalities in Georgia also have business licensing requirements. For example, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, and Macon all have websites that outline their respective licenses and application processes.
If we were to break down the exact rules and regulations regarding permitting in every locality in the state of Georgia, this article would become excessively lengthy. With that in mind, we’ll simply say that every business owner should check with their local government to determine whether there are licenses, permits, or tax registrations required to operate in compliant fashion.
Can I Hire Someone to Research Licenses and Permits for My Business?
If this process sounds like a bit of a hassle, that’s because it certainly can be. If you would rather hire a reputable business services provider to handle this for you, that is always an option.
Companies like Incfile can research the necessary licenses and permits for your company on the federal, state, county, and municipal levels. They will then send you the applications you need to acquire these permits and licenses, meaning all you need to do is fill them out and mail them in.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for the question of which licenses and permits your business might require to operate in the state of Georgia. Instead, it’s important that you know how to access the resources to determine which permits your company needs to operate in a compliant fashion.
We hope this article helped you to do just that, and we wish you good fortune in your business future!