Business name registrations are done at the county level in Georgia. You don't have to register the name of your business unless it is a fictitious name, also known as a "doing business as" name, trade name or alias. However, before you register, make sure the name is not already being used by another business.
When Registration is Required
You don't have to register your business name in Georgia if your last name is part of it. For instance, if your name is Pippi Longstocking and you have a footwear business named Longstocking Shoes, you don't have to register it. However, if the business name is Shoe Haven, registration is required because your surname doesn't appear anywhere in the business name.
Where to Register
Fictitious names are registered in the county where your business operates. File the application with the appropriate Clerk of the Superior Court. For instance, if your business operates in Atlanta, you must submit the fictitious name application to the Clerk of the Superior Court in Fulton County. Depending on the county, you may be able to download the application from the clerk's website, pick it up in person or have the clerk's office mail it to you.
Prior to registering your fictitious name, check to see if any other business is using it. First, visit the superior court and check the record log of past registrations. Some superior courts will provide this information over the phone, saving you a trip. For instance, you can check name filings with the Clerk of the Superior Court in Fulton County by calling the Recording Division at (404) 613-5371. The court will have name filings for its county only. Next, run a name search using the business search directory on the Secretary of State's website. This will yield information for businesses required to register with the state, such as corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships.
Complete the fictitious name application. Information required on the form includes the owner's name and address, chosen business name, and a description of what the business does. Submit the completed application to the Clerk of the Superior Court at least 30 days before you begin operating your business. In some counties, such as DeKalb County, you can submit the application online. You must also pay a filing fee, which varies between counties. For example, the filing fee in Fulton County is $163.50 while Cherokee County charges $157 as of 2015. The final step is publishing notice of the filing in a local newspaper for two consecutive weeks, which requires payment of a publication fee to either the clerk's office or newspaper directly.