Georgia Business Start-Up Basics

Business Tax Certificate in Lieu of “Business License”: You must obtain a tax certificate in the county where the business is located. Only one tax certificate is required to operate your business throughout the state of Georgia.

Home based businesses usually require business licenses, however. Check for restrictions. Additional state licenses are required for certain businesses like grocery stores, restaurants, schools, establishments serving alcoholic beverages, hotels, nursing homes, motor transport companies, child care centers, etc. For more information, contact the Licensing Boards Division, GA Secretary of State at 478-207-1300.

Worker’s Compensation: Regardless of the hours worked, businesses with three or more employees are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance.

Trademarks: Having legal proof that your were the first person to use a product name, process name, or company name is the best way to protect it from use by others and to help in resolving any future legal disputes. If the name will be used nationally contact your attorney to help with national registration.
Patents: Contact U.S. Department of Commerce, Patent and Trademark Office at 1-800-786-9199 for information on registration and protection.

Business Trade Name: A “trade name” or “fictitious name” is any name used in the course of business that does not include the full legal name of all the owners of the business. Notice of this filing should be published once a week for two weeks in the legal publication of the county in which the trade name is registered.

State and Federal Securities Law: It is important to comply with state and federal securities laws when a newly formed corporation issues shares of stock. Under the Georgia Securities Act, it is unlawful to offer for sale any security unless it is subject to an effective registration or the transaction is determined to be exempt from registration requirements.  “Going public” is the common term for selling a company’s stock to a wide range of other parties. Only a small percentage of companies reach the size and financial conditions to consider this arrangement, as it requires extensive and expensive legal assistance as well as registration with federal and state agencies.

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