The state of Georgia issues a variety of licenses, permits, and documents that enable businesses operating here to demonstrate their compliance with local laws and regulations. Among these is the Certificate of Good Standing. Because there is a lot of confusion regarding this topic, it’s worth taking the time to explore what this certificate does, when you need one, and where you can go to obtain it.
What Is a Georgia Certificate of Good Standing?
A Georgia Certificate of Good Standing, also frequently known as a Certificate of Existence, is a document issued by the Georgia Secretary of State that certifies a company was correctly registered with the state and is currently in compliance with all filing requirements, including payment of fees. It serves as legal evidence that a business is authorized to conduct business in the state of Georgia.
Most states have some form of this certificate. Depending on which state or jurisdiction you’re dealing with, a Certificate of Good Standing might go by another name, such as:
- Certificate of Compliance
- Certificate of Authorization
- Certificate of Status
- Good Standing Certificate
The State of Georgia most commonly refers to this document as a Certificate of Existence.
Are Businesses Required to Have a Certificate of Good Standing in Georgia?
No, businesses are not required to have a Certificate of Good Standing for normal day-to-day operations in the state of Georgia. However, there are specific situations where a business may be asked to provide a valid Certificate of Good Standing in Georgia to demonstrate compliance with state requirements.
Here are some business situations that may require a Certificate of Good Standing:
Securing financing – The process of obtaining a business loan generally requires the borrower to present a Certificate of Good Standing/Existence to prove their legal authority to operate in the state.
Purchasing business insurance – Insurers usually want to see a Certificate of Good Standing before issuing a policy covering a particular business.
Opening a bank account – Businesses are normally required to show a valid Certificate of Good Standing in order to open an account with a bank or a payment processing company.
Transactions with other businesses – It’s common for outside businesses to ask for a Certificate of Good Standing before signing a legal agreement.
Expansion into other areas – If a business wants to establish a branch or franchise in another state, it’s customary for the governmental authority in the new area to demand proof of the business’s good standing in the state it was initially registered with. A recent Certificate of Good Standing can provide that.
License renewals – Certain professions and industries require field-specific licenses to operate legally, and it may be necessary to show a valid Certificate of Good Standing to renew such licenses. This is especially common in highly regulated industries such as healthcare or finance.
Selling the business – If a business is being sold, the buyer may want to see a Certificate of Good Standing to ensure that the business is a legitimate enterprise that is in compliance with state laws and regulations.
In many cases, the third party requesting a copy of a Georgia Certificate of Good Standing will ask that the document bear a recent date of issue—for instance, within the past thirty days. That consideration aside, a Certificate of Good Standing does not “expire.” A lot of business owners prefer to have one of these certificates in their files so that it is readily available if the need for it should suddenly arise.
What Information Is on a Georgia Certificate of Good Standing?
A Certificate of Existence in Georgia contains several statements of fact pertaining to a specific business entity:
- The official name of the business entity
- The business structure of the organization (e.g., domestic profit corporation)
- The date of business formation in Georgia
- A statement that the business is in compliance with filing requirements (as listed in the Official Code of Georgia)
- A statement that the business has not filed for cancellation or dissolution
- A statement that the certificate is to be regarded as prima facie evidence of the business’s current existence and legal authorization to conduct operations in Georgia
At the bottom is the official seal of the state of Georgia and the signature of the Secretary of State.
How to Get a Georgia Certificate of Good Standing
You can get a Certificate of Existence in Georgia only if your business is registered with the Corporations Division of the Office of Secretary of State. This includes:
- Corporations (including nonprofit and professional corporations)
- Limited partnerships (LPs)
- Limited liability companies (LLCs)
Note that sole proprietorships and general partnerships, which do not need to register with the state of Georgia, are not eligible to receive a Certificate of Good Standing. (Registration of these entities are typically handled by the city or county in which the business is located.)
It’s also important to understand that you cannot get a Certificate of Good Standing unless you have actually complied with the necessary filing requirements of the state of Georgia, including annual reports. Any delinquency in this respect must be addressed first.
When you’re ready to get your certificate, you always have the option of obtaining one directly from the official website of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. However, if you’d rather not bother with navigating through a government website, FastFilings has a more convenient option when it comes to your Certificate of Good Standing in Georgia.
FastFilings is a privately owned permit, license, and government document filing service that many businesses rely on for quick, reliable processing of important documents. Using our online ordering system, you can place your request for a Georgia Certificate of Existence in only a few moments of your time. FastFilings will do most of the legwork for you.
With years of experience in handling many kinds of business documents, we’ve learned all there is to know about fast B2B service, and we would be glad to help you obtain a Certificate of Existence in Georgia that can be used for a variety of legal purposes.
Ready to get started with FastFilings? To begin the ordering process, visit our page about Certificates of Good Standing.