Georgia Cleaning Business Start-up Laws

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This article provides three key state business startup requirements for self-employed sole proprietors and general partners who run residential house cleaning businesses. Information from the Secretary of State, the Georgia Department of Revenue and selected city and county government sources were used to research this article.

Be aware that sole proprietor and general partner startup requirements in this state are always changing. Some requirements even vary from county to county.  It is important that you call or visit your local county or city government to find out local requirements for residential house cleaning businesses and home-based businesses. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal or tax advice.

Business Name Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners who want a business name that does not include the owner(s) full names (for example, Janice Smith’s Cleaning Service or Martha Harris and Tom Graham’s Maid Service) need to find out whether the name they want to use is available in the county where the business is based. It is advisable to do a search for names other businesses are using in the state and county. Start with a statewide corporate name search.

Then do an online search for names similar to the one you plan to use. For example, if you want to use the name, Crystal Clean Maid Service, do simple Google searches for “Crystal Clean Maid Service+Georgia” plus Crystal Clean Maid Service+your county” and Crystal Clean Maid Service+your town or city”. Search beyond the first page of results. Go at least five pages deep into the search results to see if the name you want or and similar names are being used.

Sole proprietors and general partners register business Trade Names or DBA (“doing business as” names) with the clerk of the superior court in the county where the business is located. The Trade Name application must be notarized. The superior court clerk will keep the original trade name document, so be sure to request a couple of certified copies, one for the bank and one for your business records. Once registered, the trade name must be published for two weeks in the paper that runs the county sheriff’s advertisements.   Find a Superior Court Clerk in Georgia.

In the state of Georgia, filing a Trade Name does not guarantee a business sole rights to the use of that name. Other businesses in the state may also register the same Trade Name. Registered businesses are expected to legally defend their trade names.

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Business License Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners do not have to apply for a business license with the state of Georgia. Residential House cleaning service businesses must apply for a business license at their city or county clerk’s office.

In Georgia, a general partnership is created when two or more owners form an oral or written agreement to start a business together. General partners are not required to file any documents with the Secretary of State. It is advisable for general partners to file a Trade Name or DBA in the county where the business is based. A written partnership agreement drawn up by a lawyer is important for both or all partners. Partnership agreements do not have to be filed with the state.

Sole proprietors and general partners may apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS even if they do not plan to hire employees. Getting an EIN may make it easier to open a bank account and reduce your risk of identity theft.  You can apply for an EIN online.  In addition, some business registration forms will require a a NAICS business classification number for the house cleaning industry.

Business Tax Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners can register their businesses with the Georgia Department of Revenue online portal, the Georgia Tax Center.

Residential house cleaning services are not taxable in Georgia. House cleaning services do not have to collect and send sales taxes to the state Department of Revenue.

Sole proprietors and general partners pay tax on business income to the state of Georgia through their personal state tax return. Sole proprietors and general partners are responsible for paying estimated self-employment income taxes in Georgia (on Form 500 ES) similar to the way self employment taxes are paid to the federal government. Get more information about estimated tax requirements by calling the Georgia Department of Revenue at (877) 423-6711.

General partnerships in Georgia are required to file an annual state tax return known as the Georgia Income Tax Return Form 700 if:

• The partnership is required to file a Federal Income Tax Form 1065
• The partnership owns property or does business in Georgia
• The partnership has income from Georgia sources
• The partnership has members who live in Georgia

The Form 700 is an information return. The return provides information to the state with no payment of taxes expected. Get more information from a CPA or qualified tax preparer to find out if your partnership must file those returns.

Sole proprietors and general partners in Georgia do not have to pay the state’s net worth tax.

Selected Georgia City Licenses

Albany Business License: http://www.albanyga.gov/about-us/city-departments/license-business-support/occupational-tax-certificate

Alpharetta Business License: https://www.alpharetta.ga.us/business/licenses

Athens-Clarke County Business License: https://www.accgov.com/138/Business-Occupation-Tax

Atlanta Business License: https://www.atlantaga.gov/government/departments/finance/revenue/applying-for-a-business-license

Augusta- Richmond County Business License: https://www.augustaga.gov/203/Business-Tax-Certificate

Columbus Business License: https://www.columbusga.gov/finance/Revenue.htm#BusinessLicenses

Johns Creek Business License: https://www.johnscreekga.gov/businesses/businesslicenses

Macon-Bibb County Business License: http://www.maconbibb.us/businesslicense/

Marietta Business License: http://www.mariettaga.gov/318/Apply-for-a-Business-License

Roswell Business License: https://www.roswellgov.com/government/departments/community-development/business-registration

Sandy Springs Business License: http://www.sandyspringsga.gov/business/business-regulations-and-licensing/opening-a-new-business

Savannah Business License: http://www.savannahga.gov/785/Business-Tax

Warner Robins Business License: http://www.wrga.gov/index.aspx?NID=267

2 Comments

  1. I just want to clean a couple houses and maybe a local business. What do I need to be legal in the state of Georgia in Lumpkin County?

    1. Hi Kathy,
      Go to your county website and find out if you need a business license for house cleaning. Register a Trade Name with your county.

      Register your business with the Georgia Dept. of Revenue. There are helpful links on this page to Superior Court Clerks in each county and the Georgia Dept. of Revenue.

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