North Carolina LLC Costs
Small business owners and entrepreneurs benefit by forming a limited liability company in North Carolina. An LLC is a standard business structure that provides liability protection, unique taxes, incentives, and a flexible work structure. Some business owners think that forming an LLC in North Carolina is expensive. However, it is relatively simple and worth the cost for many.
Recommended LLC Services
Costs to start an LLC in North Carolina
LLC Articles of Organization ($125)
- In North Carolina, an LLC must file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State.
- The filing cost for Articles of Organization is $125.
- North Carolina offers expedited LLC services for an additional fee. 24-hour – $100, Same-day – $200.
North Carolina annual report fee ($200)
- An LLC must file an annual report with the North Carolina SOS Business Registration Division.
- You will file your annual report using the North Carolina Secretary of State’s website.
- An appointed registered agent can file your annual report by mail.
- The annual fee is $200 and is due on April 15th every year.
- North Carolina does not impose monetary penalties for failing to submit an annual report. However, an LLC may face involuntary dissolution if they do not file the annual report fee.
North Carolina registered agent fee (varies between $50 to $300)
- You must appoint a registered agent when forming an LLC in North Carolina.
- By appointing a registered agent in North Carolina, you are assuring the Secretary of State that someone is physically available during business hours to accept tax notices, subpoenas, and other important services.
- In North Carolina, anyone can act as a registered agent if they meet the state requirements. That includes yourself.
- The LLC cost to appoint a registered agent in North Carolina will depend on the commercial agent service, LLC needs, and state filing fees.
Fees to form a foreign LLC in North Carolina ($250)
- In North Carolina, you must register as a foreign LLC when you have an LLC in another state and expand into the state.
- You can complete the form and submit it online using the Secretary of State Business Document Filing System.
- Or, you can mail the foreign LLC registration form (Form L-09) to the North Carolina Secretary of State.
- The cost to register a foreign LLC is $250 in North Carolina.
LLC name reservation fee ($30)
- North Carolina does mandate that you reserve an LLC name before formation.
- But, by reserving a company name, you are ensuring no one else can reserve and register the same name.
- LLC names must be unique in North Carolina.
- You can reserve an LLC name for up to 120 before formation.
- You can reserve your company name online by completing the Application to Reserve a Business Entity Name (Form B3-13).
- Or, you can complete the name reservation application and submit it by mail to the North Carolina SOS.
- LLC name registration in North Carolina is $20.
DBA filing fees in North Carolina ($26)
- The business-related acronym DBA means ‘doing business as.’ A DBA, or an assumed name, is any name an individual or business uses to operate that is not the legal name.
- LLCs must register a DBA if they use a business name that is not the legal name of the LLC.
- LLC names in North Carolina do not have to be unique, but they must meet the state naming requirements.
- You can register a DBA online by completing the Assumed Business Name Certificate and submitting it using the online filing system.
- Or, you can complete the DBA application and submit it by mail.
- The LLC filing fee for an NC DBA is $20.
Cost of certified document copies ($30)
- You can obtain your LLC certified document copies online using the North Carolina Secretary of State.
- The cost for North Carolina document copies is $30.
North Carolina Certificate of Existence ($10+)
- Financial institutions will require you to submit a Certificate of Existence before allowing you to do any business banking.
- You can order a Certificate of Existence online using the North Carolina Secretary of State website.
- Or, you can read the instructions and order the certificate by phone.
- The cost for a North Carolina Certificate of Existence is $10 plus $1 a page if you order it online and $15 plus $1 a page by phone.
Foreign LLC name reservation fee ($10)
- A foreign LLC can reserve a company name until the end of the year.
- You can register the LLC name online using the North Carolina Secretary of State filing system.
- Or, you can complete the application to register a name (BE-13) and submit it by mail.
- The cost to reserve an LLC name in North Carolina is $10.
Steps to start an LLC in North Carolina
Choose a business name
When deciding on an LLC name in North Carolina, you will want to consider a few things.
- An LLC name in North Carolina must be unique and available in the state.
- Your LLC name must meet all state naming requirements.
- It is always a good idea to check web domain availability to keep branding and marketing easy.
You will search for LLC name availability using the North Carolina SOS business entity name.
LLC name reservation fee
In North Carolina, you are not required to reserve an LLC name before the formation process.
You will reserve the North Carolina LLC name online or by mail. LLC name reservation is valid for up to 120 days before formation.
The cost to reserve a company name in North Carolina is $30. A North Carolina LLC name is good for up to 120 days before formation. North Carolina does not require you to reserve an LLC name.
Appoint a North Carolina registered agent
In North Carolina, you must appoint a registered agent when you form an LLC in the state.
The price for a North Carolina registered agent or service varies between $50 and $100 a year. The cost depends on the state and your LLC needs.
A registered agent in North Carolina is an individual or business entity that receives tax forms, legal documents, subpoenas, civil notices, service of process, and other official government correspondence on behalf of a sole proprietorship, corporation, or LLC.
The registered agent you choose must be a North Carolina resident or a registered agent service authorized to conduct business in the state.
- Starter Plan – $39 a year plus State Fees
- Pro Plan – $149 a year plus State Fees
- Premium Plan – $249 a year plus State Fees
ZenBusiness has a stand-alone registered agent service for North Carolina LLCs. The price is $99 per year.
- Total Out The Door North Carolina LLC Formation Service Package – $48 a month and includes:
- North Carolina State Fee
- Filing Service Fee
- Registered Agent
- Tax ID
- Annual Plan – $225 plus State Fees a year
- Economy – $79 plus $153 NC filing fees
- Standard – $329 plus $153 state filing fees
- Express Gold – $349 plus $255 state filing fees
File North Carolina Articles of Organization
When forming an LLC in North Carolina, you must file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State Business Registration Division.
You can file the Articles of Organization online using the North Carolina SOS business filing system.
Or, you can complete the Articles of Organization form (Form L-01) and submit it by mail.
The cost to file NC Articles of Organization is $125.
North Carolina has two expedited LLC services for an additional fee. 24-hour – $100, Same-day – $200.
Mailing and physical address:
The Secretary of State
Business Registration Division
PO Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27626
Telephone number: 919-814-5400
The Articles of Organization form will ask various questions about your LLC.
- LLC name
- LLC member information
- Registered agent information
The fee in North Carolina for filing the LLC Articles of Organization starts at $125.
Get a North Carolina LLC EIN
An Employer Identification Number, or EIN, can also be referred to as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Federal Tax ID Number (FTIN).
An EIN is a 9-digit number that acts as a Social Security Number for businesses for income tax purposes. The IRS issues the EIN for no additional cost to your LLC.
To convert a sole proprietorship into an LLC, you must apply for an EIN with the Internal Revenue Service.
Applying for an EIN is a simple process online through the IRS website.
Business banking for a North Carolina LLC
Most financial professionals will recommend that an LLC owner open a business account separate from personal bank accounts. It will protect personal assets and credit scores.
In North Carolina, banks will require an LLC owner to submit a copy of the LLC’s Articles of Organization, operating agreement, and EIN before allowing you to open a business bank account.
Business banking accounts are generally free, and do not have additional charges or fees.
Business attorney fees in North Carolina
When you choose to retain a business attorney in North Carolina, you are keeping the LLC formation process straightforward. It also means you have someone available to handle any business-related issues that may come up later.
In North Carolina, business attorneys typically offer free consultations for first-time clients.
Professional services such as LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer offer LLC formation packages that include comprehensive legal services.
On average, a business lawyer in North Carolina will cost $300 per hour.
LLC taxes in North Carolina
- In North Carolina, LLCs are considered pass-through entities. As the owner of the LLC, you will pay personal taxes rather than the company’s tax return.
- The North Carolina state tax rate is 4.75%, and the max local and county rate is 2.75%.
- North Carolina has a corporate annual franchise tax of 5% for your LLC’s taxable income.
- When selling physical products in North Carolina, you must register for a seller’s permit with the NC Department of Revenue.
- Register for Unemployment Insurance Tax with the North Carolina Division of Employment Security.
- You must also register for Employee Withholding Tax with the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
- State taxes and federal taxes can get overly complicated. Appointing a tax expert can help ensure you do not miss important deadlines, penalty fees, or face possible dissolution.
Business licenses and permits in North Carolina
The total price of business licenses and permits will vary depending on where the company is located and the type of business.
You will use the nc.gov website to explore which business licenses and permits you may need for your business.
A business licence in North Carolina varies between $30 to $400. The total cost of permits and licences will depend on where your LLC is, and the type of LLC.
Local government agencies in North Carolina will have different license processes and rules. You will want to contact the office to inquire about the process, price, and office hours.
Varioius North Carolina LLC formation documents will require a notarization from a notary public.
If you cannot locate a notary, most government agencies have one in the office.
According to North Carolina law, a notary public can only charge a max of $10 per act.
Employer obligations in North Carolina
- North Carolina law lays out specific obligations you have as an employer.
- You must verify that all employees are eligible to work in the US by completing Form I-9 from the USCIS Website.
- You will enroll in worker’s compensation insurance.
- You will report all new hires to the North Carolina Division of Social Services.
- You can find a complete North Carolina employer obligations list using the NC Department of Labor website.
Benefits of a North Carolina LLC
- You keep business banking simple when you form an LLC in North Carolina. LLC formation helps to protect future liability. And, banks will require that you open separate personal and business banking accounts.
- Corporations and LLCs have different compliance requirements. Incorporations must answer to shareholders and stock owners when they make business decisions.
- All LLCs in NC are considered pass-through entities. Owners file personal tax returns rather than the LLC’s tax returns.
- When you form an LLC in North Carolina, you are helping to avoid double-taxation. C-corporations are double-taxed while LLCs are not.
- North Carolina has state-specific incentives that are available to LLCs. The North Carolina Opportunity Zones and Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund Grants are available to LLCs in the state.
How long does it take to register an LLC in North Carolina?
It will take North Carolina 7 to 10 business days to process an online LLC registration. If you file by mail, it takes 10 to 15 days for the Secretary of State to process the documents.
You have the choice of expedited LLC services in North Carolina. 24-hour – $100, Same-day – $200.
How do I dissolve my North Carolina LLC?
When your North Carolina LLC goes inactive, you must dissolve it to avoid ongoing costs and state fees. You can file Articles of Dissolution online or by mail with the NC Secretary of State.
The price for LLC cancellation in North Carolina is $30.
Does North Carolina have a publishing requirement for LLCs?
North Carolina does not have additional publishing requirements as other states such as Nebraska and Arizona have.
Do I need a business operating agreement for my LLC in North Carolina?
Business operating agreements are not a requirement of the North Carolina Secretary of State. However, having one on file will help over any future internal misunderstandings.
Banks and financial institutions in NC will require you to submit an operating agreement for business banking purposes.
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