Cost to Form an LLC in North Carolina

An entrepreneur counting money with the state fee in the foreground

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

There are two options for forming your LLC:

HAVE A PROFESSIONAL SERVICE FORM AN LLC FOR YOU

TWO SUCH RELIABLE SERVICES:

four point six out of five ZenBusiness ($39 + State Fees)

Three out of Five Stars LegalZoom ($149 + State Fees)


Required Costs to Start a North Carolina LLC

There is a filing fee for all LLCs in North Carolina and your business might need licenses and permits.

North Carolina LLC Filing Fee: $125

In order to form an LLC in North Carolina, you'll be required to file the articles of organization with the Secretary of State. The state of North Carolina charges a $125 fee to process and record this document.

Business Permits & Licenses: Varies

Depending on your specific industry and geographical location, your business might need federal, state, and local permits/licenses in order to legally operate in North Carolina.

Use the resources below to find out what permits & licenses are required of your business, or have a professional service do the legwork for you:

  • State: To learn about state permits & licenses and get started on the application process, head to the Business Link North Carolina website.
  • Local: Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to find out about the licensing requirements of your specific county/municipality.

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Optional Costs to Start a North Carolina LLC

The following expenses are recommended but not required for North Carolina LLCs. Each of the services below will make the process of setting up your business easier, but they aren't required.

LLC Formation Service: $39 - $79

While it’s possible to form an LLC in North Carolina without the help of a professional, many business owners choose to hire a service.

Online services like ZenBusiness ($39 + State Fee) and LegalZoom ($79 + State Fee) will take care of the filing process on your behalf for a fraction of the cost of a business attorney.

Additional services offered:

In addition to filing your articles of organization, LLC formation providers offer other services that can help you start your new business faster and more efficiently. Two of the most popular add-on services for LLC owners are operating agreements and EIN registration.

Operating Agreement: $40-$99

An operating agreement is a governing document that outlines the ownership and management structure of an LLC. Whether you’re starting a single-member or multi-member LLC in North Carolina, it’s important to have an operating agreement in place.

Purchasing a custom operating agreement from an online formation service is an easy way to ensure you’ll have a thorough and legally-binding document governing your new LLC.

EIN Registration: $60-$70

Upon forming an LLC, you’ll need to obtain an EIN (or Employer Identification Number)—essentially a social security number for your business. If you’d prefer not to apply for your EIN directly through the IRS, you can delegate this task to your formation provider for an extra fee.

Registered Agent Service: $0-$125 per year

You'll need to designate a registered agent for your North Carolina LLC when you complete the articles of organization.

A registered agent is the individual or business entity responsible for receiving and processing legal documents on behalf of your business.

While North Carolina doesn't prohibit business owners from acting as their own registered agents, many people choose to appoint a professional for the sake of privacy, convenience, and discretion.

Keep in mind that if you assume this role, you’ll be responsible for maintaining normal business hours at the address provided on your formation documents, and receiving service of process notices in the event that your LLC is sued.

If you decide that electing a professional is right for your LLC, we recommend ZenBusiness. Their registered agent services are free for the first year and $119 every following year.

Business License Research Service: $99

If your LLC requires several federal, state, and local permits or licenses in order to legally operate, you might want to consider hiring a professional business license research service.

While not necessary for every business owner, these services can be helpful to busy entrepreneurs looking to save time on the research and paperwork.

If you’re looking to maximize your time in the early phases of your business, we recommend checking out Incfile’s $99 business license research package.

Ongoing LLC Maintenance Costs

Some businesses will be required to pay ongoing maintenance costs and taxes.

Below we’ll discuss the ongoing costs involved in maintaining a North Carolina LLC.

North Carolina Franchise Tax: Varies

If your LLC is classified as a corporation for tax purposes, it is subject to North Carolina’s franchise tax. The tax rate for an S-Corporation is $200 for the first $1 million of the corporation’s tax base and $1.50 per $1,000 of its tax base that exceeds $1 million.

North Carolina Annual Report Fee: $200

North Carolina requires all LLCs to file an annual report. This form can be submitted online or by mail. It is due by April 15. North Carolina does not charge late fees if you miss your filing deadline. North Carolina will dissolve your LLC within 60 days for failure to file an annual report.

A cube with LLC printed on its sides

Ready to Form Your North Carolina LLC?

If you’re ready to officially form an LLC in North Carolina, check out our step-by-step guide. We’ll walk you through the entire process.

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