Employer Tax and Reporting Requirements

There are a few steps that you need to take when you hire an employee. First, you’ll need to verify their eligibility to work and register to pay employer and payroll taxes. Below, you can learn more about how to smoothly onboard your new team.

All businesses in the state of Georgia are required to have unemployment insurance with the Department of Labor.

All businesses in the state of Georgia must have Workers’ Compensation. This is an insurance that pays for an employee’s bills and salary if the worker is hurt while at work or performing a work task.

Finally, you must complete an E-verify form, even if you will not have employees. The form is made up of two parts. You must complete both parts of the form if you have more than 10 employees. You will only need to complete the first half of the form if you mark the option stating that you have less than 10 employees (0 to 9 employees).

Please click here to access the E-verify form.

You must also complete a SAVE Affidavit, which is a form stating that the person who is applying for a business license is a documented citizen/resident/alien or nonimmigrant in the United States. Even if you will not have employees, you must complete this form.

Please click here to access the SAVE Affidavit form.

When applying for a business license with the Office of Finance’s Department of Revenue, failure to present the E-verify form or the SAVE Affidavit (and a copy of a valid state or federal issued ID) will result in the delay or the rejection of the business license application.

Work Force Centers

From job training to job placement, the City of Atlanta can help your business with its workforce needs. WorkSource Centers provide several free services for employers, including posting job openings, identifying and pre-screening eligible candidates, and providing interview rooms for your business.

Understanding Employer Responsibilities

From how to set up basic payroll to how to offer benefits, the SBA provides the necessary information for your business to be in compliance with rules and regulations and to ensure that your hiring and managing of employees is done appropriately. Please visit the SBA’s hiring and managing guide.

Invest Atlanta Small Business Loan Program

Invest Atlanta provides gap financing through various loan programs to small, minority and female owned businesses to expand and/or relocate in the City of Atlanta. The purpose of these loans is to revitalize targeted commercial neighborhood areas, promote business development projects, and stimulate job creation within the city.

Non-Profit and Community Lenders

Nonprofit and community lenders are one option for obtaining loans. Many of these lenders are mission-driven: they have community or social goals to support low-income communities. They may have fewer restrictions than traditional banks when making lending decisions. Examples of community lenders include community development finance institutions (CDFIs) and some credit unions.

These loans are usually smaller, or have fixed interest rates, so that borrowers are less likely to default (fail to repay their loan). In addition to providing loans, many of these lenders also provide services like training or technical assistance.


Bank loans are one of the most traditional ways to finance a business. Unfortunately, they’re also some of the hardest loans to get approved for due to their stricter requirements, such as having an alternate source of income, stellar credit, or being able to provide significant collateral. Have a great business plan to support your case, be persistent, shop around for the lowest interest rate, and keep in mind that you can also try other avenues, such as CDFIs.


Your investors might be people you know, such as friends, relatives, and colleagues. Or it could take the form of venture capital, which comes in the form of individuals (often called angel investors) or venture capital firms who invest in businesses that they think are promising. Angel investors will often provide capital and mentoring in exchange for equity in the business, and may require certain conditions such as influence over how to run the company.

Peer-to-peer Lending / Crowdfunding

Peer-to- peer lending, also known as crowdfunding, is an alternative funding model in which individual investors provide small sums as personal loans to individuals via Internet platforms. Crowdfunding is a way for businesses to raise money not only from friends and family, but also the public. There are several online crowdfunding platforms where you request a certain amount of money to start or grow your business. People often are interested in supporting small businesses and start-ups, and can use crowdfunding to lend their own money to you at low- or no-interest rates. Because of the highly social nature of crowdfunding, this method of raising money is also a great way to raise awareness of your business or product.
Some popular websites for crowdfunding include:

Site Considerations

  • How accessible is the propose location?
  • Is the price right?
  • Does the site meet your requirements?
  • Do you want to operate your business from home?

Understanding Zoning

Find out if any ordinances or zoning restrictions could affect your business in any way. Avoid running into unexpected (and costly) permitting issues by making sure you’ve researched your property’s zoning and know what’s allowed. Zoning Check – learn where your business is allowed.

Find a Location and Permits

Finding a great location for your business is a critical step to set your business up for success. Do your research on the area and think about the needs of your customers and employees. You can also save time and money down the line by learning about zoning and building permits and getting smart about how to negotiate a commercial lease.

Visit the Atlanta Permitting Portal  to determine if a location is zoned for your type of business, and contact Invest Atlanta for site selection assistance. You may also visit the City of Atlanta Department of GIS.

Home-Based Businesses

Planning to work out of your home? Home-based businesses are some of the simplest businesses to set up in the City of Atlanta. However, there are a few rules that you’ll want to be aware of to make sure that your business activities aren’t disrupting your neighbors and that your location is safe for your clients.

Permits and ADA Compliance

You’ve found a great building for your business, and now you want to make it your own. Find out if you need a building permit and if there are any accessibility upgrades necessary to become ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.

Building Permits and Inspections

You’ve found a space zoned for your business, but before you start renovating to make it your own, find out if you need a building permit. Building permits are required for building, structural, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing projects. They help to ensure that your space is safe for your team and your customers. Visit the Atlanta Permitting Portal to see which permits you need , and what they cost.

The City of Atlanta Office of Buildings is your go-to place for information about permits and inspections, City of Atlanta Office of Buildings Homepage.

ADA Compliance

Making your business accessible not only helps your customers, it’s also federal and state law. The ADA and Georgia state requirements are in place to ensure that people with disabilities or other impairments have equal access to businesses and other public facilities. Be sure to learn about the requirements upfront to make it easier for your customers and protect yourself from potential lawsuits.

You can find out more about the City of Atlanta’s ADA Compliance activities by visiting the City of Atlanta ADA Compliance.

Choose a Business Structure

There are several different types of legal structures for you to choose from, each with implications for your taxes, personal liability, partnerships, and registration requirements. The below is not meant to be an exhaustive list of the different types of legal structures—and is also not meant to serve as legal or tax advice—but it can serve as a starting point for your own research. Depending on their needs, many business owners also consult with an attorney.

Some types of legal structures are easier to set up than others. For instance, forming a sole proprietorship does not require you to file any legal documents, while for entities such as corporations, Limited Liability Companies, General Partnerships, Limited Partnerships, and Limited Liability Partnerships, you will need to formally incorporate your company with the State of Georgia.

For more information about selecting your Business Structure visit the Small Business Administration

Sole Proprietorship

  • Advantages
    • Easiest and least expensive to set up
    • Full control over all business decisions
    • Minimal legal restrictions or requirements
    • Owns all profits and reaps all benefits
    • Not required to pay unemployment taxes
  • Disavantages
    • Personally liable for all business transactions
    • May have difficulty obtaining long-term financing
    • No unemployment benefits if the business fails
    • Limited tax savings

General Partnership

  • Advantages
    • Easy to establish
    • Partners share workload and responsibilities
    • Financing is easier to obtain than for a sole proprietorship
    • The partners share all profits and reap all benefits of ownership
  • Disavantages
    • May be more expensive to start
    • Partners have unlimited liability for business expenses
    • Each partner is bound by the actions of the other partner
    • Decision-making authority is divided
    • Loss of one partner may dissolve the business
    • Partnership may be difficult to end

Limited Partnership

  • Advantages
    • Relatively easy to establish
    • Partners share in start-up expenses
    • Financing is easier to obtain than for a sole proprietorship
    • Partners share all profits and reap all benefits of ownership
  • Disadvantages
    • More expensive to set up initially due to the requirement for a written agreement
    • Operating (general) partner has unlimited liability for expenses
    • Loss of one partner may dissolve the business

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

  • Advantages
    • Tax advantage of flow-through tax treatment for LLP partners
    • Simple for an existing partnership to become an LLP
  • Disadvantages
    • A sole owner cannot set up an LLP as a partnership; an LLP must have at least two partners to exist

C (General) Corporation

  • Advantages
    • Has a lifespan independent from its owners (stockholders)
    • Fringe benefits costs are tax-deductible
    • Personal assets are protected from business liability
    • Ownership can be transferred through the sale of stock
    • Easy to raise operating capital through the sale of stock
    • Ownership can change without affecting daily management
  • Disadvantages
    • Incorporating involves considerable start-up expenses
    • Subject to more District and federal legislation
    • Corporate earnings subject to double taxation
    • Many legal formalities exist when filing corporate status
    • Activities are limited

S Corporation

  • Advantages
    • Already exists as a corporation
    • Corporate earnings avoid double-taxation
  • Disadvantages
    • Difficult to qualify for IRS requirements

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

  • Advantages
    • Profits and losses pass through the company to its owners for tax purposes
    • Personal assets are protected from business liability
    • No limitation on the number or nature of owners
    • Easier to operate than a corporation
    • Not subject to corporate formalities
    • Owners may participate in management of the business
  • Disadvantages
    • Legal assistance is needed to properly set up and structure
    • Professionals—such as lawyers, accountants, and doctors—are prohibited from registering as an LLC


  • Advantages
    • Tax exemption
    • Business operation flexibility
  • Disadvantages
    • Merger limitations



Creating a Business Plan

Creating a business plan is one of the first steps you should take as a prospective business owner. It will help you to craft your game plan, hone your product, understand your customer base, and guide your decision-making to set up your business for success.

Writing a Business Plan

Writing a business plan is an important first step to getting your business up and running. An effective business plan will serve as a roadmap for your business, guide your decision-making process, help you to obtain financing, build relationships, attract good employees, and boost your confidence as a business owner.

The structure of a business plan may vary depending on your business and needs, but it often incorporates the sections below:

Executive Summary

The executive summary is the first (and sometimes only) part of your business plan that people will read. The executive summary should provide information about your business and incorporate the highlights from each of the sections below. Ultimately, you want to leave the readers with a strong understanding of what your business is and why it will be successful.


Provide a high-level overview of your business, how it will be structured and what your goals are for your business.

Business Description

Describe your business, the specific product or service that you will offer, and the features that differentiate you from your competitors.

Market Analysis

Demonstrate why your business model is relevant and timely. This section should ideally include information about industry trends, your target customers and their demographics, and your competitors in the region. This information will be essential to help you think about how to differentiate your product, where and who to market to, and different locations where your business might be most successful.

Organization & Management

Focus on the ownership, legal structure, and human resources side of your business. Use this area to introduce your team and the skills and expertise that they bring to the table. It can be helpful to provide an organizational chart to show the roles and responsibilities of you and your team, and a plan for when and how to hire additional staff if needed.

Marketing & Sales

Provide a plan of action to market and sell your product or service to the target customers that you identified in the Market Analysis. Identify the different strategies that you can use to build and grow your business over time.


Show your current and projected financial status, including balance sheets, a cash flow statement, and revenue projections. In simple terms: how much do you need to earn each month to cover wages, rent, loans, equipment, and other expenses?

Appendix or Supporting Documents

Include additional documents that support your plan


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