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North Carolina LLC Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start an LLC in North Carolina

To start an LLC in North Carolina, you must file Articles of Organization with the North Carolina Business Registration Division, pay a $125 filing fee, and get an EIN from the IRS. The complete steps to forming a North Carolina LLC are as follows:

  1. File North Carolina LLC Articles of Organization
  2. Pay the North Carolina Business Registration Division $125
  3. Wait to receive the approved copy of your Articles
  4. Get a Federal EIN tax ID for the LLC
  5. Create a North Carolina LLC Operating Agreement
  6. Take these documents to the bank and get a North Carolina LLC bank account

*The forms or templates provided by Northwest Registered Agent LLC are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney. 

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North Carolina LLC Articles of Organization free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.

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Documents & Forms

How to File North Carolina LLC Articles of Organization

To form a North Carolina LLC, you file the LLC Articles of Organization in the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new LLC
Step 2 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 3 Decide what address you’d like to list publicly
Step 4 File online and pay $127 with a credit card (fastest), mail to the business Registration Division at PO Box 29622, Raleigh NC 27626-0622 with a check or money order for $125, or submit your filing and $125 fee in person during business hours at 2 South Salisbury St, Raleigh NC 27601

How Long Does it Take to Start a North Carolina LLC?


Fastest 1-2 days

File online yourself and pay for either same or next day expediting. Note that “online” filings still require a real signature—so, the process really consists of completing and printing out your filing, signing it, scanning the documents into a PDF and uploading them to the online filing system.


Almost Fastest (and some might say better) 2 days

Hire Northwest to form and file your expedited Articles online. Avoid the annoyance of printing and scanning. Just answer a few brief questions, sit back and let our Corporate Guides file everything correctly the first time.


Not Too Shabby 6-12 days

Don’t need your filing right away? Skip the expediting and file yourself or hire Northwest. Unexpedited filing times vary depending on how backed up the Business Registration Division is, but around 1-2 weeks wait is pretty typical.

What is the Cost of a North Carolina LLC?

North Carolina’s Business Registration Division charges $125 to file Articles of Organization. If you file online, there’s an additional $2 processing fee. Need it fast? 24-hour expediting is $100 and same-day expediting is $200.

Hire Northwest and your total, out-the-door cost is $352 ($452 with 24-hour expediting), including state fees.

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How much does an LLC in North Carolina cost each year?

North Carolina LLCs pay $200 ($202 online) each year to submit their Annual Reports.

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What are the North Carolina LLC taxes?

The North Carolina personal net income tax has a flat 5.75% rate. The state sales tax is 4.75% (and there’s no city or county-level sale tax).

Note that if your LLC is taxed as an S corporation, you’ll also have to pay North Carolina’s franchise tax on net worth, which is a minimum of $200 a year.

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Is a North Carolina LLC Registered Agent Required?

Yes, you’re required to have a North Carolina registered agent for your LLC. It’s possible to save a few bucks and appoint yourself, but it’s much more of an annoyance than most people realize. You’ll have to list the address where you’ll be available in your Articles—which are part of the permanent public record of your LLC. Data sellers, solicitors and more will have access to your address, and you’ll likely end up with a mailbox full of junk. Also, the job of a registered agent is to be available at the listed address. Not in meetings. Not on business trips. Not fishing on the coast or hiking around Lake Norman.

A better option? Keep your privacy and your free time and hire a commercial registered agent like Northwest. We’ll list our address on your formation documents, and we’ll be there to accept your legal notifications. We even scan and send them to you the same day, so you can run your business from wherever you need to be.

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North Carolina LLC Versus North Carolina Corporation:

While it costs the same to form a North Carolina LLC and a corporation, the Annual Report fees are pretty significantly different. LLCs pay $200 each year while corporations pay a tenth of the price at $20 a year.

Why would anyone want an LLC if the annual fees are so much more? When you take taxes into account, it makes a little more sense. Unless they change their tax classification, LLCs are taxed as partnerships or disregarded entities—which don’t have to pay the state franchise tax. S and C corporations, on the other hand, have to shell out a minimum franchise tax of $200 every year.

With overall costs being fairly similar, people tend to choose their business type based on how the business operates. Small business owners and new businesses often choose LLCs because they’re easier to operate. LLCs don’t need to appoint directors or officers, authorize stock, or hold annual meetings. Members of an LLC can even run the business themselves without any kind of managers at all. Corporations are a little more complex, but are common for large businesses. Interested in a corporation? Here’s information on North Carolina incorporation.

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Do I Need a Tax ID Number (EIN) for a North Carolina LLC?

Your North Carolina LLC will need an EIN if you have employees or if you file certain federal excise taxes. Nearly every bank requires you to have an EIN to open a bank account for your LLC. EINs are free from the IRS and useful even when they’re not specifically required. For example, you can use your EIN when establishing credit with a vendor (and avoid using your own personal social security number). Want one fewer application? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you when you sign up for our services.

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Does a North Carolina LLC Need a Business License?

North Carolina doesn’t have a general, state-level business license, and municipalities aren’t legally allowed to require general business licenses, but there are permits and licenses for specific business activities, such as beer and wine sales.

What is a North Carolina LLC Annual Report?

A $200 hit to your wallet. More specifically, your North Carolina LLC Annual Report is a mandatory yearly form you submit to verify your LLC’s contact and ownership information. If you file late, there aren’t any late fees, but if you don’t file within 60 days of receiving your “failure to file” notice from the Secretary of State, your LLC will be dissolved or revoked. These yearly filings are easy to forget, but Northwest will help you remember. When you sign up for our services, we send you reminder notifications for your Annual Report. You can even hire us to complete your report for you each year.

Does a North Carolina LLC Need an Operating Agreement?

Yes, your North Carolina LLC should absolutely take the time to write an operating agreement. It’s not a form you have to submit to the Secretary of State or any other office, but you’ll end up kicking yourself if you blow it off. Your operating agreement lists important information, including who owns the business, what each person invested, how profits and losses are allocated and what happens if the business doesn’t work out. Members will definitely want this information in writing. Banks will often request to see your operating agreement as well. Potential investors and partners will want to check out your operating agreement too. Anyone with $125 can form a North Carolina LLC—but all that really does is register you with the state. Your operating agreement, however, sets the terms of your business. It’s the internal document that matters most.

That’s why when your hire Northwest to form your North Carolina LLC, we do more than just form and file your Articles (and provide expert registered agent service). We also give you a free operating agreement, specific to your management style. We give you other free forms as well, from resolutions to membership certificates. We want to work with your business for a long time, so we work to ensure your LLC has everything it needs to get started. Our forms aren’t like the cheap-o garbage you find all over the place online. We were the first website to hand out free LLC forms, and we’ve spent the years since refining and updating them. We’re pretty proud that over a million LLCs have used our free LLC forms to help form and maintain their businesses.


North Carolina LLC Articles of Organization Requirements:

Company Name

Your name must include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation. Most businesses keep it simple with “LLC.”


Sounds dark, doesn’t it? An executor is just the person forming and filing the Articles of Organization. Executors have to include their name, business address and whether they are a member or organizer (someone outside the LLC). When you hire Northwest, we’ll be your organizer and execute your North Carolina LLC.

Registered Agent

This can either be an individual (like yourself) or a business that provides registered agent service (like Northwest). We recommend Northwest.

Registered Office

This North Carolina street address will become part of the permanent public record of your LLC. Hire Northwest and our address goes here.

Mailing Address

Besides legal notifications, where do you want your mail to go? This section is optional. If you skip it, mail will go to your registered agent’s office (which can make things simpler—you won’t have to worry about junk mail at your own address or having to update multiple addresses as your business grows and changes).

Principal Office

If you have a principal office, you can list that address here, or you can note that your business doesn’t have a principal office.

Company Officials

This section is optional, but if you want, you can list your LLC’s members or managers.

Business Email

This section is also optional. The Secretary of State uses these emails to send notifications. This email isn’t viewable on the Secretary of State website like the rest of your Articles. Still wary of putting your personal information yet want the notifications? We allow our clients to use our email here for an added level of security.

Effective Date

Skip this step and your business will start its existence upon filing. Want to push your start date out a little further (maybe the next tax period is right around the corner)? You can list an effective date up to 90 days in the future. Tip: Most LLCs skip this step.

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®