Starting your own company is an exciting new chapter of your life, but there are a lot of procedural steps to take before you begin ordering business cards and making T-shirts. To abide by both federal and state laws, you must notify various entities of your intention to form a business and—in some cases—demonstrate that you have the qualifications to work in a particular industry.
Getting legal help from an Atlanta business formation lawyer is crucial to ensuring that your company gets off the ground as smoothly as possible. Our experienced attorneys at Sparks Law have helped new business owners just like you, and we can ensure your organization starts off on the right track.
One of the most important steps in starting a business is deciding how to structure your company. As a business owner, you can choose from several types of legal entities, each with advantages and disadvantages in terms of tax benefits, personal liability for business losses, and various other regulations. The most common types of legal entities are:
The simplest type of business an Atlanta resident can elect to form is a Sole Proprietorship. This structure essentially treats an individual owner as synonymous with their company for tax purposes and other legal matters. Though this legal entity is not subject to many regulations and does not require registration with the Georgia Secretary of State, it also leaves the owner personally liable for any losses suffered by their business.
Forming a Limited Liability Company or Limited Partnership may be a better move for individual business owners or partners. With this type of entity, you will not assume personal liability for the company’s losses.
A corporation is one of the most complex types of legal entities under state law. However, this structure allows for the complete separation of finances between the business and its owners, known as shareholders. Before you get too far into the process of forming your business, you should consult with a local attorney about what type of legal entity you should choose.
While each type of legal entity mentioned above has slightly different formation requirements, there are a few common steps that virtually every new owner will need to complete. First and foremost, you should draft a formal business plan, especially if you plan to seek investment capital from outside sources.
Next, if you are forming any type of entity other than a Sole Proprietorship, you must register your business with the Georgia Secretary of State. This step will require selecting and reserving a unique business name. If you plan to employ more than one person, you will also need a federal employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Depending on the types of goods or services you plan to sell, you may need to register with the Georgia Department of Revenue and the Georgia Department of Labor. Finally, if you intend to operate within Atlanta’s city limits, you will need to get a business license from the city government and a regulatory permit—depending on what type of products or services you will provide.
Properly completing these steps is essential to ensuring your company has a strong foundation. Allow our skilled legal team to assist you with the business formation process.
Whether you are trying to go into business by yourself, with a partner, or with a group of like-minded shareholders, the process of forming your company in accordance with state and federal law can be challenging to manage alone. Even if you are only looking to create a Sole Proprietorship, it is still a good idea to work with legal counsel, so you can ensure there are no errors made during the filing process that could impact your business’s future.
An Atlanta business formation lawyer can provide tailored advice in service of your goals throughout the entire process. Call Sparks Law today to set up a consultation.