Last Updated: February 16, 2024, 1:17 pm by TRUiC Team


How Much Does It Cost to Start an LLC in North Carolina?

The cost to start an LLC (limited liability company) online in North Carolina is $125. This fee is paid to the North Carolina Secretary of State when filing the LLC’s Articles of Organization.

This LLC Cost NC guide will explain not only the North Carolina LLC fees but also all other costs LLC owners should expect to incur to conduct business. For example, North Carolina LLC taxes and registered agent service fees.

We recommend Northwest ($29 + State Fees) to help form your LLC.

How Much Does an LLC Cost in North Carolina?

North Carolina LLC Online Filing Fee: $125

The main cost to start an LLC in North Carolina is the $125 fee to file your LLC's Articles of Organization online with the North Carolina Secretary of State.

For a look at LLC costs in every state, read our other Cost to Start an LLC and How to Form an LLC guides.

Cost to Form a Foreign LLC in North Carolina

If you already have an LLC that is registered in another state and you’d like to expand your business into North Carolina, you’ll need to register your LLC as a foreign LLC in North Carolina.

The cost for registering a North Carolina foreign LLC is $250. You can register a foreign LLC in North Carolina by filing an Application for Certificate of Authority for Limited Liability Company (Form L-09).

Optional LLC Formation Costs

There are optional fees associated with LLC formation:

LLC Name Reservation

Reserve your name for up to 120 days prior to LLC formation by filing an Application to Reserve a Business Entity Name (Form BE-03) and paying the $30 filing fee.

Foreign LLC Name Registration

Reserve your name until the end of the calendar year by filing an Application to Register a Business Entity Name by a Foreign Entity (Form BE-13) and paying the $10 filing fee.

Assumed Business Name 

File an Assumed Business Name Certificate and pay the $26 filing fee to create a name other than your legal LLC business name.

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Ready to Start Your North Carolina LLC?

Read our top LLC formation services review to choose the right service for you.

North Carolina LLC Annual Fees

Operating a limited liability company (LLC) in North Carolina requires understanding the costs related to compliance. Here are the main points to consider:

  • Annual Report Fee: An essential aspect of maintaining your LLC in North Carolina is filing an annual report, costing $200. This helps keep your LLC in good standing.
  • Business Licenses and Permits: Depending on your industry or profession, additional business licenses or permits may be required, potentially incurring extra fees.
  • Registered Agent Services: While acting as your own registered agent is an option, many businesses opt for professional services, which can charge up to $200 annually.

Staying updated with these annual obligations helps ensure your North Carolina LLC remains compliant and in good standing.

How to Register a North Carolina LLC Yourself

You can form an LLC in North Carolina on your own. Just adhere to these eight steps and you'll be finished. 

These basic steps will assist you in registering your North Carolina LLC, making everything as simple as possible.

Recommended: Using an LLC formation service like Northwest ($29 + State Fees) saves time and ensures compliance. Besides the low cost, we like their streamlined approach and excellent customer service.

Seven Basic Steps to Start an LLC in North Carolina

Step 1: Name Your North Carolina LLC
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent
Step 3: File the Articles of Organization
Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement
Step 5: Get an EIN
Step 6: File an Annual Report
Step 7: Keep Your Company Compliant

Step 1: Name Your North Carolina LLC

When you name your North Carolina LLC, you’ll need to choose a name that:

  1. Is available for use in the state of North Carolina
  2. Meets North Carolina naming requirements
  3. Is available as a web domain

Recommended: Visit our Start an LLC in North Carolina guide for detailed naming rules and instructions for registering a business name in North Carolina.

Not sure what to name your business? Check out our How to Name a Business guide and free LLC Name Generator.

We recommend that you check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to create a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.

Find a Domain Now

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent

All LLCs in North Carolina must appoint a registered agent. A registered agent primarily acts as your LLC’s main point of contact with the state. But most importantly, they are responsible for accepting service of process in the event your business is sued.

Your North Carolina registered agent must:

  • Be at least 18 years or older
  • Have a physical address in North Carolina
  • Be available during normal business hours to accept service of process

Get Free Registered Agent Services

Form an LLC with Northwest Registered Agent to get one year of registered agent services free of charge.

Step 3: File the Articles of Organization

The North Carolina Articles of Organization (Form L-01) is a document that is filed with the North Carolina Secretary of State to form an LLC. The fee for filing the Articles of Organization is $125 online.

For detailed instructions for completing the Certificate of Formation, visit our How to File the North Carolina Articles of Organization guide.

File the North Carolina Articles of Organization

OPTION 1: File Online With the North Carolina Secretary of State

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File Form L-01 by Mail

Form L-01

State Filing Cost: $125, payable to the Secretary of State

Mailing Address:
The Secretary of State
Business Registration Division
P.O. Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27626

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement isn't required for North Carolina LLCs, but it's a good practice to have one.

What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.

Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.

For more information on operating agreements, read our North Carolina LLC operating agreement guide.

Step 5: Get an EIN

What is an EIN? An EIN or Employer Identification Number is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue System (IRS) to identify a business for tax reporting purposes. An EIN is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for your company.

Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:

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Free EIN: You can get an EIN from the IRS website (free of charge) after forming your business.

Step 6: File an Annual Report

North Carolina requires all LLCs to file an annual report. This filing keeps your business’s information up to date with the state.

Annual reports can be submitted online or by mail, along with the $200 filing fee, by April 15 each year.

Step 7: Keep Your Company Compliant

Maintaining compliance with federal, state, and local laws is key to operating an LLC in North Carolina.

Additionally, North Carolina business licensing is a critical component in operating a legally sound business. Depending on the nature and scope of your business, you might need to secure specific licenses or permits at the state or local level to comply with North Carolina regulations.

One significant cost to consider includes the taxes that a North Carolina LLC will be liable for under North Carolina law. Understanding these tax implications is crucial to accurately budget for your annual business expenses, and to stay in compliance with the state's regulations.

Here are the crucial points to note: 

  • Licenses & Permits: Your business will likely need to apply for certain permits, which may occur on the federal, state, or county/city level. A North Carolina business license will vary per business type. See our North Carolina Business License guide for more.
  • Tax Filing: Register for applicable taxes (sales tax, employer taxes, state and federal income tax). North Carolina's base state sales tax is 4.75%. State income tax is a flat 4.75% and due annually by April 15.
  • Hiring Employees: Verify work eligibility, report new hires to the state, provide workers' compensation insurance, withhold employee taxes, and display workplace compliance posters.

Staying on top of these requirements helps ensure your North Carolina LLC remains in good standing with the North Carolina Department of State through the North Carolina Secretary of State and local licenses. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to comply not only with the Internal Revenue Service but also with state laws.

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Steps After LLC Formation

Read all the steps you’ll need to maintain your LLC’s personal liability protection, open a business bank account to protect your personal assets, get business insurance, and stay up to date with state reporting requirements.

Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.

North Carolina LLC Cost FAQ

In North Carolina, you'll pay a $125 filing fee for the Articles of Organization to form your LLC. Additional costs could be incurred for things like hiring a registered agent or filing for an assumed business name, based on your specific business requirements.

The Articles of Organization is the formal document you file to officially establish your LLC in North Carolina. You can file this document with the Secretary of State, either online (via PDF upload or creation wizard) or by mail. The filing fee for the Articles of Organization is $125.

Yes, a registered agent is required for your LLC in North Carolina. This individual or business entity accepts and manages important legal and tax documents on behalf of your LLC, playing a crucial role in maintaining your business's compliance with state law.

While your initial registered agent doesn't have to officially consent before being appointed in North Carolina, if you want to change your registered agent later on, the new agent must officially consent by signing the change form.

Yes, your LLC can operate under an assumed business name in North Carolina. This allows your business to operate under a name different from the official name registered with the state, which can be beneficial for branding or business operation purposes.

Every LLC in North Carolina is required to file an annual report. This report carries a filing fee of $200 and helps the state stay updated on vital information concerning your business.

Using an LLC formation service in North Carolina can streamline the process of establishing your LLC. These services handle the necessary paperwork, provide registered agent services, and help ensure you meet all state compliance requirements. Utilizing such services can save you time and allow you to focus on other important aspects of starting and running your business.

You can verify the availability of your desired LLC name in North Carolina by using the Business Entity Search tool provided by the state. This ensures that your desired name is not already in use by another business entity within the state.

A Certificate of Existence in North Carolina is a document that verifies that your LLC is registered correctly and is in good standing with the state. This certificate may be necessary when applying for business loans, contracts, or when registering to do business in other states.

Article Sources

IRS - Employer ID Number:
https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/employer-id-numbers

North Carolina Secretary of State:
https://www.sosnc.gov/?id=

SBA - Apply for licenses and permits:
https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/launch-your-business/apply-licenses-permits

Chamber of Commerce - North Carolina Chamber of Commerce List:
https://www.officialusa.com/stateguides/chambers/northcarolina.html