There are several reasons that cause a Georgia business to change its ownership. Of course, if an owner sells or gives the business away, the ownership changes, but the ownership also changes if the corporate structure changes, such as when a sole proprietor forms a Limited Liability Company or a corporation. Business owners must notify the Corporate Division of the secretary of state's office to change the ownership and name -- if the name is changing. In some Georgia municipalities, the owner must change registration information with the local government or apply for new permits.
Complete a final tax return for the business using its old ownership information. Municipalities such as Atlanta do not recognize that a business changed its ownership until the owner files a final city tax return.
Close out the former owner's financial books and government accounts. When ownership changes take place, none of the previous owner's financial records are applicable to the new business owner when filing his own taxes.
Make final payments to the Internal Revenue Service and Georgia Department of Revenue. These payments include sales taxes and tax deposits.
Receive a new Employer Identification Number (EIN). Typically, business that undergo an ownership change must request a new EIN.
Complete a state tax-registration application using the new ownership information. Georgia requires businesses that have a change in ownership to reregister with the Department of Revenue.
Register with Georgia's secretary of state's office using the new ownership information. If the former ownership structure was a corporation, the previous owner should file the Articles of Dissolution form if the corporation is no longer in operation.
Apply for the appropriate business licenses in your city or county. In counties such as DeKalb, changing the ownership of a business can require zoning approval if there are any changes in the activity of the business.
You need a Certificate of Good Standing from your home state to register with the state secretary's office if you are an out-of-state corporation buying a Georgia business.
Fees vary depending on corporate structure, but you have to pay a fee to register the business with the state secretary's office.