How to form an LLC in North Carolina

Update: February 16, 2023

By: Tom Macken

Start an LLC in North Carolina how-to

Krispy Kreme Donuts. Barbecue ribs. The North Carolina Panthers and vineyard tours also come to mind. North Carolina is well-known for a variety of things, and among them being the internationally famous Wright Brothers National Memorial.

You have at long last made the decision to launch your own company, and you are now interested in forming an LLC in the state of North Carolina. What should we do next? To be more clear, how much cash will be required for that? In the following, we have explained all that you need to know, from the initial step to the very last one, as well as the associated charges and the documentation that is required for a corporation in the state of North Carolina.


1. Name Your North Carolina LLC
2. Select a North Carolina Registered Agent
3. File the Articles of Organization
4. Receive a Certificate From the State
5. Create an Operating Agreement
6. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
7. File Biennial Reports
Costs and Next Steps

The protection from legal responsibility and the financial advantages that come with founding a limited liability company (LLC) might be beneficial for smaller companies. Here are the steps you need to take in order to establish a limited liability corporation (LLC) in the state of North Carolina if you believe that this is the most suitable structure for your business.

Bear in mind that you’ll have the choice of creating the limited liability company (LLC) yourself, which involves undertaking the “spade work” necessary, or you may use a competent business setup service.

1. Give Your NC LLC a catchy name

When selecting a moniker for a limited liability corporation (LLC) in the state of North Carolina, there are 2 key rules that must be taken into consideration:

  • The Secretary of State in North Carolina mandates that the name of a limited liability business be distinguishable from any other names currently in circulation.
  • A company’s name must include one of the following phrases or acronyms in order for it to be recognized as a limited liability company: Company with limited liability, Limited Liability Company, or L.L.C. The combinations “limited liability company,” “limited liability company,” and “ltd. liability company” are also acceptable.

Verify that the name you want to use for your LLC is available.

Conduct a search utilizing the NC Secretary of State’s Business Lookup to see whether or not the name you have in mind for your new LLC is available.

Register your proposed LLC name with the Secretary of State.

By requesting that the Secretary of State of North Carolina put your selected limited liability company (LLC) name into reserve, you may prohibit that name from being used by another business before your LLC is properly formed in the state.

Mailing in an Application to Reserve a Business Entity Title will allow you to put a hold on a name for a period of up to one hundred and twenty days. It will cost you thirty dollars to submit your papers.

2. Choose an NC Registered Agent

All limited liability companies in the state of North Carolina are required to have a local agent so that legal documents may be served. In the event that a lawsuit is filed against the limited liability company, a person or organization has been appointed to accept legal documents on the company’s behalf.

The role of the Registered Agent may be filled by either a resident of North Carolina or a firm that is based in North Carolina and is licensed to do business in the state. It is required that the street address provided for the Registered Agent in North Carolina be a real one.

What exactly does it entail to have someone serving as your Registered Agent?

The person or business that will collect government’s official mail on behalf of the firm, such as tax forms, legal documentation, notice of lawsuits, and other things of a similar kind, is called the company’s “Registered Agent.” A Registered Agent might be an individual. The role of intermediary between your firm and the government is played by the registered agent of your business.

To whom may I appoint myself as the Registered Agent?

To serve as a Registered Agent in North Carolina, one must either be a legal resident of the state or be a corporation that is authorized to do business in the state. Someone in the office, maybe even you, might be selected.

3. Submit the company’s articles of incorporation.

After the Articles of Organization have already been drafted, your limited liability company will be formally established in the eyes of the law. Every component of this paperwork is essential to successfully registering your company with the state.

What components belong in the Articles of Organization for a company?

In the Articles of Organization for a North Carolina Limited Liability Company, please provide the following information:

  • Name of an Incorporated Limited Liability Company.
  • Term Restrictions for Limited Liability Companies
  • Position of the main office of the corporation Information on the company’s registered agent, including their name and contact details
  • Location where members of an LLC may be reached by the State Secretary via the use of letters.
  • The management structure of the limited liability company, including who will operate it and whether its members or an outside manager will do so.
  • If the limited liability company will provide professional services.
  • ID and personal information for the organizers of the limited liability company (LLC), as well as a membership or director who is acquainted with the day-to-day operations of the company.
  • LLCs that conduct their business in a state other than the one which they were first created are referred to as “foreign” and are obligated to pay a “foreign LLC fee.”

Articles of Organization filing

The stages that follow vary depending on whether you’re organizing a local or an international firm. Articles of Organization or Form L-01, whichever is applicable, must be filed with the relevant state by domestic limited liability firms.

Foreign firms who are interested in obtaining limited liability company establishment in North Carolina are required to provide certificates of authority (Form L-09).

A filing cost of $125 must be paid by domestic companies in order to register their business. The charge of $250 must be paid by international organizations. All limited liability companies are required to provide the State Secretary with an annual report that details the operations of the firm. You will be required to pay a minimum of $202 ($200 for offline applications) in order to accomplish this goal. The registration process may now be completed completely online.

4. Obtain a State-issued Certificate

The state will give a certificate proving the formal existence of the limited liability company (LLC) to anyone who asks for a copy and provides the necessary amount of postage once the formation paperwork for the LLC has been submitted to and approved by the state.

With the assistance of this certificate, the limited liability company is now able to create a corporate banking account, register for a federal tax ID (EIN), and get permits and licenses.

5. Putting together a Company Operating Agreement

Even though the formation of a partnership agreement for your limited liability business is not mandated by law in North Carolina, the creation of such an agreement is strongly encouraged for each new LLC.

It is recommended that the following be included in the operating agreement:

  • Specifics Regarding the Organization of the Limited Liability Company
  • Clarify the roles and responsibilities of each member of the limited liability company (LLC), as well as the organizational structure of the business.

If the members of a limited liability company (LLC) don’t have an operating agreement that outlines their respective obligations, the LLC might face greater legal and practical issues.

6. Obtain an EIN (tax identification number for employers) 

An EIN, often known as a tax ID number, is required by many LLCs. If you want to establish a company with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), create a checking account, and hire employees, you will almost always require an EIN.

You may check to determine whether you need an EIN by visiting the website of the IRS, where you can also submit an application without paying any fees. One of the few kinds of businesses that are allowed to utilize the owner’s Social Security number (SSN) in lieu of an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is called a single-member limited liability company (LLC).

Permissions/Business Licenses

In the region of North Carolina, limited liability corporations (LLCs) may or may not be required to get a license or approval from the appropriate authorities, depending on the particulars of their activities and the locations of their businesses.

For information on how to obtain a company license for the state of North Carolina, see the “North Carolina Starting a Business Guide” which is issued by the “Secretary of State.” The state License Directory is a resource that may be used to locate specific licenses.

You need to get in contact with the municipal or county clerk in the area where your firm is located in order to get more information about the licenses and permits that are relevant to your (LLC).

7. Submitting your Annual Renewals

Your limited liability corporation (LLC) is required to provide the Secretary of State of North Carolina with a report on a yearly basis. Online submission of this report will cost $202 while mailing it in will cost $200. You are required to inform the state of any changes to your company, such as a change of address or new members, in the annual report that is submitted.

It is imperative that you submit your yearly report on time if you do not want to risk losing the registration of your limited liability company (LLC) as well as its operating license.

Costs and Instructions for the Initial Setup?


The filing fee for Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State in the state of North Carolina is $125.

If you wish to secure the name of your limited liability company (LLC) before completing the articles of organization, you can do so by submitting an application to reserve the name for a fee of thirty dollars.

The following are some potential extra costs that might be incurred by the LLC:

  • Branding and name registrations for your limited liability company
  • Official copies of all relevant legal documents with the DBA title
  • Document Attesting to One’s Existence

Setup steps

You are required to initially establish your limited liability business before you are allowed to participate in any commercial operations (LLC). It is important for organizations to take the necessary steps to ensure that their limited liability company (LLC) complies with all applicable laws and that its status is kept up to date on the state’s site.

With a registered LLC, you also have the ability to achieve the following:

  • Acquire any necessary permission or licencing, including those from the health dept, the city planning headquarters, the local municipality, the state, and professional associations. In certain jurisdictions, obtaining permission from the seller is necessary before making a sale.
  • Make sure that your business is registered with the tax office of the state.
  • Check to see if your organization does in fact have a bank account.
  • Applying for a credit card can allow you to get one for your firm.
  • Obtain insurance coverage for your business.
  • Make use of laws about trademarks to protect the identity of your company.

LLC formation: DIY or professional services?

When forming a limited liability company (LLC), having legal counsel is not required but is strongly advised. Establishing a limited liability corporation (LLC) in the majority of states requires nothing more than registering the business on the official website of the state’s secretary of state and submitting the necessary paperwork to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

If you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of establishing a limited liability corporation and want to make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible without any snags, you could find that using an LLC formation company is quite helpful.

Utilizing the services of a professional LLC firm that is focused on company formation may help entrepreneurs save both money and time when they are launching a new company. They can handle things you haven’t really had time to consider about for as low as $40 up to $600 or more, depending on the complexity of the situation.

  • Creating an operating agreement for your LLC that describes the who, where, what, when, why, and how of your business and submitting it for approval.
  • Creating incorporation documents that include information on the management, registration agent, and establishment date of the limited liability company (LLC).
  • Taking on the role of the authorized representative of your company in the state.
  • Keeping detailed records in case there is an inspection or a legal proceeding to attend to.
  • the necessary filing fees must be paid, and an official registration must be completed with the relevant authorities.
  • Make a reservation for the company name and register it.
  • Having completed and filed all of the required creation and legal paperwork for the business.


What are the fees for forming an LLC IN NC? 

To file your Articles of Organization in the state of North Carolina, you will have to pay a charge of $125 in addition to the $30 price required to reserve a company name.

​​How long do LLC company formations take in NC?

The time it takes to incorporate an LLC in North Carolina is three to four weeks if completed by mail or one to weeks if done online. You may pay an additional $100 for a 24-hour turnaround period, or 200 dollars for same day turnaround, if you’re in a hurry to have your papers completed.

What are the steps to forming a limited liability company in NC?

Payment of the registration fee, choice of an LLC name, appointment of a Registered Agent, designing of the Articles of Organization and Operating Agreement, and establishment of your Employer Identification Number are all necessary steps in forming a limited liability company (LLC) in North Carolina (EIN).

Editorial Manager

Tom is the founder of He reads the offers, deciphers the details including features, pricing, included services and more to find you the best products and services.

Our mission

We try to provide transparent information on the different products & services for entrepreneurs, the self-employed, freelancers and professionals.

We monitor multiple business sectors & issue opinions on various products and services that we view are worthwhile for any business to thrive and grow.

Our articles are written independently and the opinions expressed are our own. They are in no way reviewed by the various brands before we publish them.