How To Start a North Carolina LLC

Andrew C. McGuire

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North Carolina is known for the Wright Brothers National Memorial and the Great Smokey Mountains. It’s also a state that looks like we should all move to based on climate change impacts. The Smokey Mountains may be the best place to live and build your LLC in North Carolina. Who would have thought those two things would go together.

The good news is that you’re in the right place to learn how to start an llc in North Carolina. This guide will help you become a great business owner and make sure you have a employer identification number, use a registered agent service, setup a business bank account and of course setup your LLC owners to have an operating agreement for the North Carolina Secretary who wants to see your business licenses.

So, let’s get started and make sure you check out the services you should use to conduct business outside of just getting your LLC services setup. Read through all the FAQs at the bottom to get more info if you’re looking to setup a single member LLC or you’re just looking for help on how to split your personal assets from the professional services you’re going to offer.

Choose a name for your North Carolina LLC

The name and a description of your LLC must distinguish your business entity from others already registered with the State Department. You may find the names in the state’s state business name database. A business entity’s name should contain the words for a period of 120 days and be accompanied by: Applications should be submitted via postal mail. The application fee is $25 per year.

You’ll want to use the site here to do a name search to determine if you’ve got the right name. You can’t have two small businesses with the same name so you’ll need to use the North Carolina LLC name search to determine if you can setup a domestic LLC with the name you want or you’ll need to switch it up to another name. If you have more than one member it doesn’t matter either.

You can also use the forms on the site here to take a look at if you’re setting up a Limited liability company or need to better understand what’s required for a Liability Company and follow the right process for personal asset protection.

Once you go through this process you should get an assumed business name certificate that you’ll be able to use for the IRS employer identification number which is important for getting a business checking account setup. It will also help with making sure you’re paying the federal and state taxes in the right way too.

It’s imperative that you have the right business name as you build your business and North Carolina law requires that you do this the right way.

Appoint a Registered Agent for Your North Carolina LLC

All North Carolina LLC has its agents in its state to perform services. It’s the person or corporation who accepts the documents in the LLC’s name and can sue a company. Registered agents are persons who have resided in North Carolina or businesses registered in that state and are able to operate within that state. Registered agents must be located at an address in NC.

The articles of incorporation for your LLC will require the name and address of the LLC’s registered agent in North Carolina. The agent may be an individual resident of North Carolina, or a corporation authorized to transact business in North Carolina that has a business office in the state which is identical to the registered office required by section 57C-4-02(b) of the North Carolina General Statutes. An out-of-state corporation may not act as its own registered agent.

If you do not have a physical address in North Carolina, then you can use a professional Registered Agent service like Incfile to get started with forming your LLC. This is one way to make sure you’re protecting your personal assets as well and keeping them separate from the business.

You will need to provide the North Carolina Registered Agent’s name and address as part of your Articles of Incorporation.

File Articles of Organization

North Carolina LLCs will need a business registration form filed with the state government’s state business registration division. You can send the articles via email. Application fees will be $125 USD.

The articles must contain the LLC’s name and registered address, the names of its organizers, and the duration of the LLC. You will also need to provide the names and addresses of the LLC’s officers.

You will need to file your Articles of Organization with the North Carolina Secretary of State. The filing fee is $125.

Prepare an Operating Agreement for your North Carolina LLC

LLC operating agreements aren’t necessary in North Carolina but highly recommendable. The Operating Agreements are the primary document that establish the rights and responsibilities between the members and the LLC.

The agreements are primarily internal papers and are not submitted by the Secretary. Unless new or existing LLCs adopt a new operating agreement they will be collectively called an operating arrangement.

Get your EIN for your North Carolina LLC

The EIN is a nine-digit number that the IRS uses to identify businesses. It’s also known as a Taxpayer Identification Number or TIN. You’ll need to have an EIN to open a business bank account and file your business tax returns.

You can apply for an EIN online, by fax, or by mail. If you apply online or by fax, you will usually receive your EIN within one business day. If you apply by mail, you should receive your EIN within four weeks.

There is no filing fee to apply for an EIN.


Do LLC pay taxes in North Carolina?

Updated October 2, 2020: LLC taxation in Nc is taxes incurred by limited liability firms on North Carolina businesses. LLCs are passed on by law at the federal level and allow them to avoid the double taxation that affects corporation owners.

North Carolina does not have a state-level equivalent to the LLC business structure.

How long does it take to get NC LLC?

The company is usually registered with the United States government in 7-10 business weeks. If you want North Carolina LLCs faster, you could use expedited processing.

This will shorten the processing time to 3-5 business weeks.

What is needed for an LLC in North Carolina?

If you wish to set up LLCs in NC you have to submit an Article of Organization with the NC State Secretary. You are welcome to apply via e-mail. It is legally binding for you to set up a North Carolina Limited Liability Company.

The articles of organization must contain the LLCs:

  • name
  • registered address
  • the names of its organizers
  • the duration of the LLC
  • The names and addresses of the LLC’s officers.
  • You will also need to provide:
  • a business registration form
  • application fees

How much does it cost to start an LLC in North Carolina?

What is the minimum investment cost for forming an LLC? The NC secretary is charged $175 filing fees for articles relating in part to the Organization. It’ll cost $20 to file the LLC registration application, and then file articles of organization.

The total cost of filing and forming an LLC with the state of North Carolina is $195.

How do I dissolve my LLC in North Carolina?

To dissolve your LLC, you’ll need to file a Certificate of Dissolution with the North Carolina Secretary of State. The filing fee is $60. You can file online, by fax, or by mail.

You will need to provide the following information:

  • the LLC’s name and address
  • the date of dissolution
  • the reason for dissolution
  • the signatures of all the LLC’s members

Once you’ve filed the Certificate of Dissolution, you’ll need to notify the IRS and the North Carolina Department of Revenue that your LLC has been dissolved. You can do this by filing a final tax return and reporting the dissolution to the Department of Revenue.

You should also cancel any business licenses and permits that you have.

What are the ongoing requirements for an LLC in North Carolina?

There are no annual reports or franchise taxes required for LLCs in North Carolina. However, you will need to file an annual report with the North Carolina Secretary of State. The report is due on April 15th and the filing fee is $200.

You will also need to pay state and federal taxes on your LLC’s income.


If you’re thinking of starting an LLC in North Carolina, there are a few things you need to know. First, you’ll need to apply for an EIN. You can do this online, by fax, or by mail. Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to file an Article of Organization with the North Carolina Secretary of State. The filing fee is $195. Once your LLC is registered, you’ll need to file an annual report with the Secretary of State. The report is due on April 15th and the filing fee is $200. You will also need to pay state and federal taxes on your LLC’s income.

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