How to Register an LLC in North Carolina: A Step-by-Step Guide

Avatar photo
By: Michaela Dale Updated on: June 13, 2024

With low corporate income tax and a talented workforce, North Carolina is a great place to start a new business. Forming a limited liability company (LLC) in the state will provide you with additional tax flexibility as well as personal asset protection. Follow this guide to learn the key steps you need to take to register an LLC in North Carolina. 

Recommended: Start your business with Northwest for just $29 + state fees
  • Formation and FREE registered agent services for your first year
  • Best privacy protection and customer service
Form Your LLC

North Carolina LLC Quick Facts 

  • Forming as an LLC offers several advantages such as personal liability protection. 
  • To register an LLC in North Carolina, you will need to file Articles of Organization.
  • The filing fee for forming an LLC in North Carolina is $125.
  • To keep your North Carolina LLC in good standing, you must file an Annual Report.

6 Steps to Registering an LLC in North Carolina

Registering an LLC in North Carolina requires only six straightforward steps. 

Ready to register an LLC in North Carolina? Follow these six steps:

  1. Name Your North Carolina LLC
  2. Designate a Registered Agent
  3. File Your Articles of Organization
  4. Create an Operating Agreement
  5. Obtain an EIN and Handle Taxes
  6. File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report

Step 1: Name Your North Carolina LLC

To start, you need to decide on a name for your North Carolina LLC. 

North Carolina business names must meet the following criteria:

  • Include “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “Limited Company”
  • Be unique and distinguishable from any other business entity in the state
  • Cannot include terms that falsify your business’s purpose
  • Cannot include words or terms that are deemed offensive 

For the full list of naming requirements for North Carolina LLCs, we recommend reading through these guidelines

To ensure your business name is unique, you will need to complete a business name search on the North Carolina Secretary of State website

Found the perfect LLC name? Don’t hesitate to secure the matching domain name. Visit GoDaddy to get started. 

Step 2: Designate a Registered Agent

All LLCs in North Carolina are required to designate a registered agent. A registered agent in North Carolina is someone who will receive important legal documents such as tax forms or notices of lawsuits on behalf of your business. 

In North Carolina, registered agents must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a physical address in North Carolina 
  • Be available during normal business hours to receive legal documents 

Who Is Eligible To Serve as a Registered Agent?

A registered agent for your LLC in North Carolina can be anyone who is willing to accept legal documents on behalf of your business. This includes an LLC owner or employee, a friend, a family member, or a professional service. 

Step 3: File Your Articles of Organization

To register your LLC in North Carolina, you will need to submit your Articles of Organization to the Secretary of State. This is a crucial step in officially forming your LLC.

You can do this online or by submitting Form L-01 by mail. The filing fee for this process is $125

We recommend that you have the following information prepared: 

  • Your LLC’s name
  • The names and addresses of all LLC organizers 
  • The name and address of your registered agent 
  • Your business email address and principal office address (if applicable) 

Quick Note: If your LLC is already established in another state and you wish to operate in North Carolina, you will need to register as a foreign LLC. To do so, you must submit a Certificate of Authority along with a $125 filing fee. 

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

Creating an operating agreement is not required by the state of North Carolina but it can be beneficial. This document outlines the internal procedures and ownership details of the company, ensuring that LLC members are in alignment and helping to prevent future conflicts. 

Step 5: Obtain an EIN and Handle Taxes

The next step is to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The EIN is a unique number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that allows them to track your business for tax reporting purposes. 

You can apply for an EIN for free on the IRS website.

Having an EIN is essential for various aspects of your LLC, including tax reporting, hiring employees, and opening a business bank account. It is important to have this number in place before you start operating your business.

In addition to obtaining an EIN, it is crucial to understand and comply with North Carolina’s tax requirements for your LLC. You can visit the North Carolina Department of Revenue website to find out more information on tax obligations and how to properly manage your LLC’s taxes. 

Step 6: File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report 

LLCs in North Carolina are required to submit Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) by filing a report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). 

New LLCs must complete this filing within 90 days of formation, while existing LLCs have a window between January 1st, 2024, and January 1st, 2025, to submit the report. 

Failure to comply can result in a fine of $500 per day. 

The online filing can be done for free on the FinCEN website.

Next Steps

  • Open a business bank account to separate and protect your personal assets. For quick access to business banking and financial tools, we recommend Lili Banking and Accounting Services

Lili is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Sunrise Banks N.A., Member FDIC.

  • Apply for any necessary licenses and permits required on a federal or state level for your LLC to operate legally. For more information on these requirements, visit the Secretary of State’s website
  • File an Annual Report with the Secretary of State to maintain your LLC’s good standing. You can do so online or by mail along with a $200 filing fee. 
  • Get insurance coverage for your LLC to protect your business from potential risks and liabilities. Consider securing general liability, workers’ compensation, and other essential types of insurance to safeguard your business operations. NEXT Insurance makes getting business insurance fast and affordable.

Additional Tips for Success 

  • Keep updated on state requirements: Stay informed about ongoing compliance obligations and reporting requirements for your LLC in North Carolina. 
  • Reevaluate often: Continuously evaluate your business goals and objectives to ensure the long-term success of your LLC.
  • Build a network: Prioritize making connections with other business owners and mentors to help you along your entrepreneurial journey. 

Conclusion

Starting your North Carolina LLC is easier than you think. By following the necessary steps and ensuring all requirements are met, you can successfully establish your LLC and begin operating your business in the state.