North Dakota Incorporation Services
To start a corporation in North Dakota, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Business Registration Unit. You can file the document by mail or fax. The Articles of Incorporation cost $100 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your North Dakota corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting an North Dakota Corporation Guide:
North Dakota Corporation Filing Options
Skip the state fees! Get a North Dakota corporation and the best of our services today. Includes EIN, hassle-free maintenance, business address & mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, local Corporate Guide® service, and everything you need to operate at full capacity.
Do It Yourself
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Pay in Full
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ND Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To form a North Dakota corporation, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Business Registration Unit. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
The state uses the same form for both normal business corporations and farm corporations. Farm corporations will need to tick the farming box and also complete an Initial Report for Farming or Ranching. Tip: Most corporations are just regular business corporations.
Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company,” “Limited” or an abbreviation for one of these words. Also, you can’t include words like “trust” or “bank” without approval from the Department of Financial Institutions.
This street address is the official address of your corporation. Tip: Hire Northwest as your registered agent, and you can use our North Dakota address as your principal office address.
List either a commercial registered agent (like Northwest) or a noncommercial registered agent (like yourself). Tip: We’re fans of Northwest.
If you listed a noncommercial agent, you’ll need to provide a registered office address. The address must be a street address in North Dakota and will become part of the permanent record of your corporation. Tip: Hire a commercial agent like Northwest and skip this section—our address is already on file with the Secretary of State.
When do you want your North Dakota corporation to start? If you want it to start right away, tick the first box. If you’d prefer to start on a specific date (maybe to line up with the beginning of a tax period), you can tick the second box and enter an effective date up to 90 days in the future.
Your purpose is what activity your corporation plans to engage in. North Dakota allows for a general purpose, so it’s sufficient to put “any lawful purpose” in this section.
For each class or series of shares, list how many shares you’re creating and their par value. Par value is the “face value” of the share (the price listed on stock certificates) and is typically the lowest value at which a share can be traded.
Your incorporator signs your Articles of Incorporation. Sometimes people assume this person has to be a director or officer, but no—an incorporator is just someone you authorize to submit your Articles. You need at least one incorporator, and all incorporators must include their names and addresses. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest to form your North Dakota corporation.
How much does it cost to start a North Dakota corporation?
The state filing fee is $100. Hire Northwest to form your North Dakota corporation and your total out-the-door cost is $325. This includes state fees, a full year of registered agent service and all the forms you need to open a corporate bank account.
How long does it take to start a North Dakota corporation?
About 4-6 weeks. At the moment, the Business Registration Unit processes everything manually, so filings typically take a few weeks to get approved. However, the Secretary of State office is currently testing an online business registration system called FirstStop, which should debut in the near future (and speed up filings significantly).
If you hire Northwest to start your corporation, we typically have your North Dakota corporation formed within 30 business days.
Does a North Dakota corporation need a registered agent?
Yes, your corporation is required to have a North Dakota registered agent. In your Articles, you can list either a noncommercial agent or a commercial agent. Noncommercial agents are individuals or businesses that aren’t registered as agents with the Secretary of State. You can even be your own noncommercial agent—but this can come with a few unexpected headaches.
Registered agents have to list the address where they’ll be regularly available in their Articles of Incorporation. Because your Articles and other business entity filings are public documents, any information you list becomes a hot commodity for data sellers and solicitors. At best, you’ll end up with a mailbox full of junk. Registered agents also have to be available at the address listed during business hours. When you’re stuck in the office, it becomes a whole lot harder to attend meetings, run errands—or just take a few days off here and there to fish Devil’s Lake.
A better option? Consider hiring a commercial registered agent service like Northwest. When you sign up with us, you can use our address and information throughout your Articles of Incorporation. No need to worry about junk mail or unwanted visitors on your doorstep. We’ll also accept, scan and send you any legal notices the same day, so you’re free to come and go as you please.
Create Bylaws for Your North Dakota Corporation
Do I need bylaws?
Absolutely. Once your Articles of Incorporation are approved, you’ll have some important decisions to make to finish organizing your North Dakota corporation—and these decisions make up your bylaws.
Why are corporate bylaws important?
In your bylaws, you’ll need to consider your board of directors: who they are, how they’re replaced and how many members are needed to pass a resolution. You’ll have to plan out details for your officers, including how they’re elected and what duties they have. And you’ll need to spell out any important information about your authorized stock, such as classes of shares and voting rights. Essentially, your bylaws determine how corporate decisions and changes will be made—and who gets to make them.
How do I begin writing bylaws?
Your bylaws will have a huge impact on your North Dakota corporation—but where do you begin? Northwest can help you get started on the right foot. When you hire us to form your North Dakota corporation, we give you free corporate bylaws. We also give you free resolutions, meeting minutes templates and more—everything you need to organize your corporation. Check out the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.
Get an EIN for Your North Dakota Corporation
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Absolutely. The IRS requires corporations to obtain an EIN for their federal tax filings. You may also need your EIN to complete other initial business paperwork, from applying for licenses to opening a corporate bank account.
You can get an EIN at no cost if you file an application directly with the IRS. If you’d rather save some time and skip the extra application, you can hire us to get your EIN for you—just add on EIN service during checkout when sign up for our North Dakota incorporation service.
Open a Bank Account for Your ND Corporation
To open a corporate bank account, you will need to bring the following to the bank:
- A copy of the North Dakota corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
- The North Dakota corporation’s bylaws
- The North Dakota corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open corporate accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does a North Dakota corporation need a business license?
The state doesn’t require a general business license (and neither do most counties or municipalities). However, your corporation may need licenses or permits from the state or local governments for specific business activities.
For instance, the state’s Attorney General provides licenses for alcohol, fireworks, gaming and tobacco while businesses like pawnbrokers and cab companies typically require municipal licensing.
File North Dakota Corporation Reports
What is an North Dakota Annual Report?
Your North Dakota Annual Report is a form you file in order to update your corporation’s ownership and contact information with the state. The report and $25 fee are due August 1st each year. Forget to file? The fee goes up to $45 if filed in the next three months and then shoots up to $85 thereafter. After a year, the state will revoke your corporation’s charter.
Northwest can help you avoid these annoying late fees and penalties. When you hire us as your registered agent, we’ll send you report reminders to help you stay in compliance. Better yet, let us take on this task—for $100 plus state fees, we’ll prepare and file your Annual Report for you.
How much does a corporation in North Dakota cost each year?
This is the filing fee for the mandatory North Dakota Annual Report.
Pay Corporate Taxes
What are the taxes for a North Dakota corporation?
North Dakota taxes are not too bad—pretty straightforward and fairly low. The North Dakota corporate net income tax rates are:
$0 to $25,000: 1.41%:
$25,001 to $50,000: $352.50 + 3.55% of income over $25,000
over $50,000: $1240 + 4.31% of income over $50,000
North Dakota’s sales tax rate is 5%, but local areas can add on additional sales taxes by as much as 3.5%. To get an idea of what customers pay at the counter, the total sales tax rates for North Dakota’s 5 largest cities are below:
Grand Forks: 7.25%
West Fargo: 7.5%