How to Start a Business
We are fortunate to have a vast array of businesses operating within the City limits. Although the full extensive list of requirements for every business type is not highlighted, here are some basic steps and good-to-know points to help get your business up and running. For more information, please contact a Business Tax Specialist at (912) 651-6445. You should also visit the websites of the agencies that are listed below.
Step 1: Once you have identified your business location, please complete a Business Location Approval Application and submit it directly to the Planning, Zoning, and Urban Design Department to ensure that your location is properly zoned for your business type and that it meets the life safety requirements for the business occupancy type.
You will be notified once the location of your business has been approved. For questions read the FAQ’s: http://www.savannahga.gov/FAQ.aspx. For further assistance contact the Business Approval Coordinator.
Step 2: If you will be selling any goods, you will need a Georgia State Tax ID number. You may obtain one from the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Step 3: If you will have any employees working for your business, it is a requirement that you obtain a Federal Employee Identification number (FEIN) from the Internal Revenue Service.
Step 4: If you will be preparing your own food, you must obtain a “Food Service Permit” from the Chatham County Health Department. However, if you will be selling pre-packaged food, seafood, or produce, you will need to contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
Step 5: If your business activity is regulated by the Secretary of State, you must fulfill all of the licensing requirements and provide up-to-date proof of your license.
Step 6: You will also need to register with the Secretary of State if you wish to operate your business as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or a Corporation.
Step 7: Once you have fulfilled and obtained all of the necessary documentation, it is now time to complete your New Business Tax Return Form. When you submit your form to the Business and Alcohol Regulations Division, you must submit all required documents and applicable tax.