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How To Start An LLC In North Dakota

To start an LLC in North Dakota, you must file Articles of Organization with the North Dakota Business Registration Unit. You can file the document by mail. The Articles of Organization cost $135 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your North Dakota LLC. However, to actually ready the LLC to do business, you must complete several additional steps.


North Dakota LLC Filing Options

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

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North Dakota Articles of Organization Requirements

To form a North Dakota LLC, you must complete and file the Articles of Organization with the Business Registration Unit. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.

1. LLC Type

North Dakota uses the same form for regular LLCs and Farming/Ranching LLCs. If your business engages in farming or ranching, tick the farming box and also complete an Initial Report for Farming or Ranching. Tip: Most LLCs are just regular, general business LLCs.

2. Company Name

Your name must include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation. Most businesses go with “LLC.” You can’t use any words that could suggest you’re a bank, like “banking” or “trust.” (So abandon your dreams of naming your cycling outlet “Joe’s Off-Road Bicycle Bank.”)

3. Principal Office

This street address is the official address of your LLC and can’t be a PO Box. Hire us as your registered agent, and you can use our North Dakota address as your principal address.

4. Registered Agent

You can choose a noncommercial agent (such as yourself) or a commercial registered agent (like Northwest). Clearly, we’re fans of Northwest.

5. Registered Office

If you have a noncommercial agent, list the address where the agent will be available to accept legal notifications. This North Dakota street address will become part of the permanent public record of your LLC. Or, hire a commercial registered agent like us and skip this section. Our address is already on file with the Secretary of State.

6. Effective Date

You can choose to have your company begin its existence when your Articles are filed, or you can push it off to a later date (maybe when the next tax period begins). Future effective dates must be within 90 days. Tip: Most LLCs start their businesses upon filing.

7. Duration

You can skip this box if you want your LLC to continue existing indefinitely. If you’d rather put a self-destruct timer on your business, you can enter an end date for your North Dakota LLC here.

8. Purpose

This section is less existential than it sounds. Your purpose is why your LLC was created (meaning what activities it will engage in). Most LLCs put a general purpose, stating that LLC is organized for any lawful purpose in the State of North Dakota.

9. North Dakota LLC Organizer

Your organizer forms and files your Articles of Organization. Organizers must include their names and addresses, and they don’t have to be anyone in the LLC. When you hire Northwest, we’ll be your organizer.

How much does it cost to start a North Dakota LLC?

The state filing fee for your North Dakota LLC Articles of Organization is $135. When you hire Northwest, your total, out-the-door cost is $360, including state fees, registered agent service, lifetime customer support, and loads of forms and resources to help get your North Dakota LLC up and running.

How long does it take to start a North Dakota LLC?

2-4 weeks. While North Dakota is working on an online filing system, currently the only options are to file by mail or fax.

If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we typically have your North Dakota LLC formed within 10 business days.

Does a North Dakota LLC need a registered agent?

Yes, your North Dakota LLC is required to have a North Dakota registered agent. One option is to appoint an individual like yourself or a friend—although there are a few problems you can run into. You’ll have to list your address in your public Articles of Organization. A public address is a prime target for data sellers, meaning you’re trading in privacy for a mailbox full of junk. You’ll also have to be available during business hours at the address you list. And let’s be real—no one wants to be chained to their desk. You have meetings to attend, investors to woo, and sometimes you just need to get away from it all.

A better option? Hire Northwest Registered Agent. We’ll list our address, so you can maintain your privacy. We’ll also be ready and waiting to accept your legal notifications, which we’ll scan and send to you the same day. With Northwest, we leave you free to run your business when and where you want.


Create the North Dakota LLC Operating Agreement

Do I need an Operating Agreement?

Absolutely. Every LLC should have an operating agreement. Sure, it’s not a legal requirement—operating agreements aren’t state filings like your Articles of Organization—but operating agreements are the most important internal document for your North Dakota LLC.

Why is an Operating Agreement important?

While your Articles register your business with the state, your operating agreement sets the terms of your business. It puts in writing who owns the business, how much each person invested, how profits and losses are allocated, and what happens if the whole thing crashes and burns. Members are heavily invested in the terms of your operating agreement. Your bank will almost certainly ask to see it when you take on debt or even open an account. Potential investors and partners will ask to see it as well. Your Articles start your business, but your operating agreement defines how your business really works.

Do I have to write the Operating Agreement?

Not from scratch. Operating agreements are essential, which is why we give you a free operating agreement, specific to your management style, when you hire Northwest to form your North Dakota LLC. We’ve spent years refining these forms, along with the other free forms we give our clients, like resolutions and membership certificates. We’ve been crafting and improving our guides and forms for a long time—we were the first website to give out free LLC forms, and over a million LLCs have used our free LLC forms to help form and maintain their businesses.


Get a North Dakota LLC EIN

Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?

Hiring employees? Filing certain federal excise returns? You’ll need an EIN. Even just to open a bank account for your business, you’ll nearly always need an EIN. You can apply for one for free on the IRS website, so there’s really no reason not to get one. You also have the option of using your EIN in some cases where you’d otherwise have to use your personal social security number, like establishing credit with a vendor or filing some local taxes.

Don’t want to slog through another application? Add on EIN service when you hire Northwest, and we’ll apply for you. Whether you’re looking for cost savings or reduced workload, our aim is to give you exactly what you need. Save some cash and file your own EIN for free. Or, save yourself a little headache and hire us to do it.


Open a Bank Account for Your North Dakota LLC

To open a bank account for your North Dakota LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:

  • A copy of the North Dakota LLC Articles of Organization
  • The LLC operating agreement
  • The North Dakota LLC’s EIN

If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC. Northwest can help with this as well—LLC bank resolutions are one of the many free legal forms we provide to ensure you can get your LLC started fast.

We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open business 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 LLC need a business license?

North Dakota doesn’t have a general statewide business license, but the state does issue licenses for specific activities, such as selling fireworks. Some cities and counties have their own licensing requirements as well. For example, Fargo requires local licenses for a variety of businesses, including haulers, excavators, and taxi services.

Need an EIN or a certified copy of your Articles of Organization for your license applications? Northwest can help. You can easily add on these items to your LLC formation order.


File North Dakota LLC Reports

What is a North Dakota LLC Annual Report?

Your North Dakota LLC Annual Report is a form you file with the Secretary of State each year to update contact and ownership information. The filing fee is $50 and due November 15th. This weird filing time is easy to forget—and if you file late, your filing fee doubles to $100. Fail to file for 6 months, and the state will dissolve your LLC. Afraid you’ll forget? When you sign up with Northwest, we’ll help you remember. We’ll send you reminder notifications for your Annual Report. Better yet, hire us to file your reports for you and never worry about missing a filing deadline.

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

There is a $50 filing fee to submit the North Dakota LLC Annual Report.


Pay the LLC Taxes

What are the North Dakota LLC taxes?

The North Dakota personal net income tax rates are:

1.10%: $0 to $37,949
2.04%: $37,950 to $91,899
2.27%: $91,900 to $191,649
2.64%: $191,650 to $416,699
2.90%: $416,700+

The state sales tax is 5%, but cities and counties can tack on local sales taxes as well. The average total sales tax is 5.6% but is as high as 8.5% in Tioga.

For a general tax overview, check out our North Dakota business taxes page. We also offer free guides for managing your LLC, free legal forms, and loads of tips. And this is just what we offer for free—just imagine what we do for our clients.

Let Us Be Your Guide

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At Northwest Registered Agent, we’ve spent years crafting our North Dakota LLC service. When you hire us, we’ll form your North Dakota LLC for $360 total and include:

  • One year of registered agent service
  • An LLC operating agreement, membership certificates and LLC resolutions
  • Digital notifications
  • North Dakota Annual Report reminders and directions for fast filing
  • A secure online account filled with intuitive business maintenance tools and forms to make LLC upkeep simple
  • Lifetime Corporate Guide Service—call us anytime and one of our Corporate Guides will help you navigate whatever business problem, task or curiosity you have

Northwest Registered Agent is the only national LLC formation service that is dedicated to your personal privacy. We don’t sell data to third-parties and we do everything we can to keep your personal information secure.