Starting a New Business
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Starting a New Business in Savannah
We are fortunate to have a vast array of businesses operating within Savannah. Although the full extensive list of requirements for every business type is too broad to fully represent in this summary, below you'll find the basic steps and good-to-know points to help get your business up and running in the Hostess City.
Step 1: Once you have identified your business location, please complete the Business Location Approval(BLA) Steps. Start with the Business Location Approval Application and submit it online via the the BLA webpage 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.
After submitting your BLA application, you will schedule a virtual/phone appointment via the BLA Webpage to obtain an outcome. For questions watch the BLA Overview Video https://youtu.be/qe3Q-Xl3gmg or read the FAQ’s: http://www.savannahga.gov/FAQ.aspx. For further assistance contact the Zoning Use / 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.
For more information on City business regulations and the Business Tax Certificate application process, please contact a City of Savannah Business Tax Specialist at (912) 651-6445.