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Posted April 15, 2024

How to Obtain a Certificate of Existence for Your Georgia Business

If you own a Limited Liability Company, C Corporation, or other registered business entity in Georgia and you want to open a business bank account, expand your business into another state, seek funds from investors, or conduct certain other business activities, you’ll need to have a Certificate of Existence.

A Certificate of Existence, known in some states as a Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Subsistence, is a document obtained through the Corporations Division of the Office of the Secretary of State. It verifies that your business is properly registered; up to date on taxes owed; and in compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

Only a business that’s registered with the state can get a Certificate of Existence in Georgia, so if you own a Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership or work as a freelancer or contractor, you won’t qualify.

While you don’t need a Certificate of Existence to conduct daily business or to file taxes, you will need to obtain one to take the actions mentioned above or participate in certain other business activities, including:

  • Apply for a business loan or line of credit
  • Apply for a business credit card or debit card
  • Establish an account that enables you to process customer payments with debit or credit cards
  • Deal with a company that provides goods or services without requiring advance payment
  • Contract with another business or a state agency
  • Sell or transfer ownership of your business

Typically, a business just starting up is most likely to need a Certificate of Existence, as that’s when it would be setting up bank accounts and conducting other important business activities. It’s a smart move to get a certificate as early in the startup process as possible so it’s available when you need it.

Streamline the Process With CorpNet

CorpNet can obtain a Certificate of Existence for you. We’ll do the work for you, so you can spend your time growing your business.

Instructions for Obtaining Your Certificate

Before you request a Georgia Certificate of Existence, you’ll need to be sure your company is up to date on all taxes, reports, licenses, permits, and any other requirements. You will not be able to obtain a certificate if you’re not in compliance in all these areas.

Currently, online is the only way to request a Certificate of Existence from the Corporations Division of the Office of the Secretary of State. You need a PDF viewer such as Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to be able to view the certificate. If you don’t have a PDF viewer, the Corporations Division website provides a link to the official Adobe Reader.  Also, the website instructs that you clear your browser cache and have the website open only in a single tab in order to avoid data conflicts that could result in incorrect processing or loss of data.

Following the instructions on the website, you’ll enter your company’s name on the form. Make sure you enter the name exactly as it is written on your Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization. Alternatively, you can enter your business’ control number, which is included on the documents you received from the state when you filed your formation papers. Enter either your business name or control number – not both.

After you enter your business name or control number and click on “Search Business,” the website will return a list of businesses. Find and select yours from the list, then review the information that appears on your screen.

After you’ve made sure your business name, address, registered agent, and other information is correct, check to make sure the business status listed on the form is “Active/Compliance.” If it is, return to the search results page to continue. If you’re not listed as “Active/Compliance,” follow the instructions for steps you’ll need to take to address the problem.

When you’re satisfied everything is correct, click “Generate Certificate.” You’ll be asked for an email address where a PDF file of your Certificate of Existence will be sent. After filling out the certificate you’ll be taken to the pay screen. A Certificate of Existence in Georgia costs $10, which can be paid with any major credit or debit card.

You should receive your Certificate of Existence electronically within one hour. If you don’t get it, check to make sure it wasn’t stopped by an email filter or hasn’t gone to a spam folder. If it’s not to be found, you’ll need to contact the Office of the Secretary of State.

Why It’s Important

At some point, you’ll likely be asked to provide a Certificate of Existence for a specific business purpose. You can take the time to verify all your compliances and apply for the certificate through the Corporations Division of the Office of the Secretary of State. If you’re busy running your company and would rather not jump through the hoops necessary to do so, however, CorpNet can complete the process for you, assuring that everything is in order and your certificate is delivered in a timely manner.

<a href="https://www.corpnet.com/blog/author/nellieakalp/" target="_self">Nellie Akalp</a>

Nellie Akalp

Nellie Akalp is an entrepreneur, small business expert, speaker, and mother of four amazing kids. As CEO of CorpNet.com, she has helped more than half a million entrepreneurs launch their businesses. Akalp is nationally recognized as one of the most prominent experts on small business legal matters, contributing frequently to outlets like Entrepreneur, Forbes, Huffington Post, Mashable, and Fox Small Business. A passionate entrepreneur herself, Akalp is committed to helping others take the reigns and dive into small business ownership. Through her public speaking, media appearances, and frequent blogging, she has developed a strong following within the small business community and has been honored as a Small Business Influencer Champion three years in a row.

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