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Start an LLC in North Carolina

Use our free business tools below to complete your North Carolina LLC Articles of Organization. This is the document you file directly with the North Carolina Secretary of State to form your LLC.

If you want more, hire us to form your LLC in North Carolina for just $39 + state fees. We’ll get your business stood up in minutes with a free domain, website, email, business phone, and more.

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with the help of a Registered Agent

How To Start An LLC In North Carolina

Legally, starting your LLC in North Carolina requires filing paperwork called Articles of Organization with the North Carolina Secretary of State. This has a $125 filing fee. Practically, you’ll also need to do things like find a registered agent, get a domain name, and open a bank account. Let’s get started.

1. Name Your LLC

Your LLC’s name must follow the rules laid out in N.C. Gen Stat § 55D-20. Your LLC name needs to:

  • Include a designator like “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” or “limited liability company.”
  • Not include any words prohibited for use in North Carolina business names (for example: “Bank” or “Architect”) unless you have proper approval.
  • Not contain any offensive words.

Your name CANNOT be the same as another registered North Carolina business. (A quick North Carolina business name search can tell you if your name is in use already.) You can have the same name as a business in a different state as long as there’s no federal trademark.

Tip: Have the perfect name in mind but not ready to file your formation docs? You can file an Application to Reserve a Business Entity Name with the North Carolina Secretary of State. The form costs $30 to file and will reserve your business name for 120 days.

2. Register Your Domain Name

Your domain name is your business’ website address. (For example, ours is When you choose your business name, you’ll also want to make sure your LLC’s name—or something that goes with it—is available as a domain name.

Your domain name is part of your your business email address as well. Using an email like [email protected] gives you a polished, professional look.

Tip: You can register your domain name even if you aren’t ready to use it. If you’re worried about them matching, you can reserve the business name and buy the domain at the same time. When you hire us to form your LLC, we’ll register your desired domain name for a year for free.

3. File North Carolina LLC Articles of Organization

Your LLC isn’t legally formed until your Articles of Organization are accepted by the North Carolina Secretary of State. It costs $125 to file your Articles in North Carolina.

Here’s what you’ll include.

Remember to double check that the name is unique in North Carolina, or your Articles will be denied.

Your business address doesn’t have to be your actual office address or your home address. It just has to be a real, physical North Carolina address. (That means no PO boxes.)

This address WILL be part of the public record. So whatever address you put here, make sure you’re okay with it being available. If you’re worried about your privacy, you can put your registered agent’s address.

A registered agent is a person or business that accepts legal mail, like service of processes/lawsuits, on the behalf of a business. In North Carolina, every LLC must have a registered agent.

Per N.C. Gen Stat § 55D-30, your North Carolina registered agent must:

  • Have a street address (no PO boxes or virtual offices) in the state of North Carolina.
  • Keep regular business hours.
  • Agree to accept legal mail on behalf of your business and forward it to you fast.

You can be your own registered agent. The downside is that you’ll have to use own name and address on your Articles, which will be made public. The other option is hiring a service, like Northwest, to be your registered agent. This ensures that you can live more privately with your LLC while still having clear protections.

Your executor (or company applicant) is the person who files the Articles of Organization for your business. For example, if you file yourself, that’s your info. If you hire us to form your business, it’s ours. The personal information listed here goes on the public record.

There’s a handful of information that you could add to your Articles, but isn’t legally required. This includes:

  • Principal Address.
  • Professional services.
  • Company officials. (LLC’s members and/or managers.)
  • Members’ Duties and Rights.
  • Business email. (This is where the Secretary of State will send notifications.)
  • Managers. (Your bank may require you do this.)
  • Effective date up to 90 days in the future.

LLC members are the LLC’s owners. A manager is someone appointed by the LLC to run the day-to-day operations of the business.


How do you “file” North Carolina Articles of Organization?

You can submit your articles online, by mail, or in person. Just remember there’s a $125 filing fee to go along with your submission.


North Carolina Secretary of State
Business Registration Division
P.O. Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27626

In person:

North Carolina Secretary of State
Business Registration
2 South Salisbury Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601-2903


North Carolina Online Registry

4. Adopt an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is not legally required in North Carolina. We include it because it gives your business a user’s manual to look at when complications arise. Your operating agreement can include pretty much anything, but generally has things like voting procedures, how to allocate profits, and how to resolve conflict.

Operating agreements might also be helpful opening a business bank account, depending on the bank you’re using. Otherwise, they are internal documents—meaning you don’t need to share it with anyone outside the business.

Tip: Our attorneys have drafted a simple North Carolina operating agreement you can base yours off of, tweak a little, or use as is. Use it for free.

5. Get an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like your business’ social security number. You need an EIN to open a business bank account, apply for loans, and, most crucially, pay and file taxes.

You can get your EIN from the IRS. Got the oh-no-the-IRS hives? We’ve got you. You can hire us to take care of your EIN for you.

6. Get a Business Bank Account

Most people open an LLC in order to get liability protection (that is, the legal separation between you and your business.) But if you don’t keep your personal money and your business’ money separate, and your LLC is sued, a judge can rule that you aren’t actually a separate entity. A business bank account helps bolster your liability protection.

In North Carolina, you’ll need a few things to open a business bank account, though this can vary bank to bank. Generally speaking, you need:

  • North Carolina LLC Articles of Organization (a copy is fine)
  • the LLC’s operating agreement
  • the LLC’s EIN
  • an LLC Resolution to Open a Bank Account (if your LLC has more than one member)

7. File Annual Report

All North Carolina LLCs have to file an annual report. Your annual report is due on April 15th every year. It costs $200 to file ($203 if you file online). Your annual report should include the:

  • Name and address of the company.
  • Name and address of your registered agent in North Carolina. (Plus original signature if you are changing your registered agent at this time.)
  • Names and addresses of members/managers or directors/officers.

8. File Your BOI Report

Your Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report is due within 90 days of state formation. This report is submitted to FinCEN to be held on a private federal database. You’ll submit identifying information on your business and its owners. You can file yourself or hire us ($9).

*This is informational commentary, not advice. This information is intended strictly for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. This information is not intended to create, nor does your receipt, viewing, or use of it constitute, an attorney-client relationship. More information is available in our Terms of Service.

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