Filing the Articles of Organization is Simple!
Step 1: Get Your Articles of Organization Forms
You can download and mail in your North Carolina Articles of Organization, OR you can create an account and file online. Regardless of your choice, you must download the Articles of Organization PDF and complete the applicable sections.
Get Your North Carolina Articles of Organization
Access the Articles of Organization PDF from the North Carolina Secretary of State website. This form will need to be uploaded online, mailed in, or submitted in-person to the North Carolina Secretary of State.
Step 2: Fill Out the Articles of Organization
In this step, we will help you complete the North Carolina Articles of Organization form.
You will need to know the following information to complete the form:
- Entity Name and Address
- Registered Agent Name and Registered Office Address
- Effective Date
Entity Name and Address
Having a creative and smart business name is important but not as important as having a legally correct name.
When you choose a name for your business, you have to make sure the name:
- meets North Carolina naming guidelines.
- is not already in use by another business in North Carolina.
Follow the North Carolina Naming Guidelines:
- Your name must contain one of the following: limited liability company, ltd. liability co., limited liability co., ltd. liability company, LLC, or L.L.C.
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- You need approval to use any of the following words in your LLC’s name: bank, banker, banking cooperative, co-op, mutual, trust, architect, architecture, architectural, certified public accountant (CPA), engineer, engineering, insurance, pharmacy, prescription drug, drug, prescription, Rx, apothecary, realtor, surveyor, survey, surveying, and wholesale.
- Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the state.
Check Name Availability:
Is your name available in North Carolina? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the North Carolina Secretary of State website.
To learn more about naming your business, including best practices and creative branding, visit our How to Name a Business in North Carolina guide.
Not sure what to name your business? Check out our Business Name Generator.
Register Your Domain Name:
We recommend checking to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website today, you may want to buy the URL to prevent others from acquiring it.
You must list the names and addresses of everyone executing the Articles of Organization and indicate whether they are a member, an organizer, or both.
Registered Agent and Registered Office
A registered agent accepts and sends legal documents on your LLC’s behalf. When you register your North Carolina LLC, you are required to list your registered agent and your registered office.
Your registered agent can be anyone 18 years or older that lives in North Carolina. Your registered agent must always be available at the registered office during normal business hours. Your registered office cannot be a P.O. box.
To learn more about choosing a North Carolina registered agent, read our How to Choose a North Carolina Registered Agent guide.
To learn more about what a registered agent does and how to choose one, read our What is a Registered Agent guide.
The document will be in effect at the time of filing unless a delayed date is specified.
Step 3: File the Articles of Organization
To register your LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State.
There are two ways to file your Articles of Organization:
- Upload the form online
- Submit a hard copy by mail or in-person
Option 1: Create an account or log in with the North Carolina Secretary of State. After logging in, select “I Want To…” from the top toolbar and select “Create a Business Online” under the “Accountants & CPAs” section. Then, fill in the required fields and upload a PDF of the Articles of Organization.
- OR -
Option 2: Mail in the Articles of Organization to the North Carolina Secretary of State website or submit it in-person.
State Filing Cost: $125
The Secretary of State
Business Registration Division
PO Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27626
2 South Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Turnaround Time: 5-7 business days.
Create an Operating Agreement
A North Carolina LLC operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the ownership structure and member roles of your LLC.
In North Carolina, you aren’t required to have an Operating Agreement to officially form an LLC, but it's still a good idea to have one. You can start your operating agreement before, during, or after you file your Articles of Organization.
Your operating agreement will be kept in your LLC’s private business records; you do not file it with the state.
Use our free Operating Agreement Tool to draft a customized operating agreement for your LLC.
Get an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a social security number for your LLC. You will need an EIN if you want to hire employees or open business bank accounts.
You can get your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our What is an EIN article.
Open a Business Bank Account
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential to protect your business' corporate veil. When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued.
For reviews on some of our most trusted business banks, visit our Best Banks for Small Business review.
Get Licenses and Permits
When you are registering an LLC, you need to determine if your business needs any licenses or permits to remain compliant. On the federal level, there are a handful of business activities that require licenses or permits.
Find out how to obtain necessary licenses and permits for your business or have a professional service do it for you:
- Federal: Use the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guide to federal business licenses and permits.
- State: Apply for or learn more about licenses, permits, and registration with the Business Link North Carolina webpage.
- Local: Contact your local county clerk and ask about local licenses and permits.
Brand Your Business
The strongest and most memorable businesses are built on a solid brand. When developing your brand, think about what your business stands for. Customers and clients are looking for companies that have a compelling brand, as much as they are shopping for high-quality products and services.
Creating a logo for your business is vital for increasing brand awareness. You can design your own unique logo using our Free Logo Generator. Our free tool can help you design your own unique logo for your new business idea.