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North Carolina Fees and Requirements

Start an LLC in North Carolina
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What is an LLC?

An LLC is established in North Carolina when you file for one with the Secretary of State. Once your application is approved, North Carolina will recognize your business entity as legally separate from you. This has a few important implications that will be discussed further below. However, an important advantage for LLC owners includes that you will no longer be held personally liable for the debts and liabilities of the company.

What are the articles of organization?

Articles of organization are part of a formal legal document used to establish a limited liability company (LLC) at the state level. A limited liability company (LLC) is a business organization type in the United States whereby the owners are not personally liable for the company's debts or liabilities. Limited liability companies are hybrid entities that combine the features of a corporation with those of a partnership or sole proprietorship. If you own a business and several assets, you may want to consider forming an LLC. Each state has different laws on forming an LLC. However, submitting the Articles of Organization is crucial in establishing an LLC in all states. This includes North Carolina.

How much does it cost to establish an LLC in North Carolina?

The main cost of establishing an LLC comes with the state filing fee. You will need to submit your articles of organization. The cost to establish an LLC in North Carolina is $125 The standard processing time is 7-10 business days. You can expedite the process by paying an additional $100 fee. The expedited processing time is approximately 24 hours during regular business hours.

There are two main methods for forming your LLC. You can either hire a professional LLC formation service or do it yourself. The cost of a professional LLC formation service for a small fee.

What is the cost for a registered agent?

When you submit the articles of organization, North Carolina requires you to appoint a designated person or registered agent to handle your business’s legal documents, notify you of any lawsuit summons, and perform any government correspondence. If you choose to appoint a professional registered agent service, the cost will vary depending on their charges. The cost for most registered agent services is on average $89 to $99 per year. Some professional registered agent services can cost more than $100. However, if you choose to appoint yourself or a business colleague, there is no separate fee from North Carolina’s Secretary of State. There are extra costs if you need to change your registered agent. See below for details. Note that you can expedite the processing of the two forms below with an extra $50 fee.

  • $5 to designate a registered agent. File “Designation of Registered Agent and/or Registered Office”
  • $5 to notify the Secretary of State about any changes to the registered agent or office. File form “Limited Liability Company's Statement of Change of Registered Agent and/or Registered Office”

If you want to save costs, you can submit the registered agent change when you file your annual report. Note that you can’t change your North Carolina registered agent if you submit your annual report online.

What is the cost for an assumed name registration?

An assumed name is not necessarily required but should be considered in the following cases:

  • Your LLC has established a separate brand
  • You would rather use a different name to conduct business transactions rather than the legal business name.

If you want to file for a “doing business as” form, you must pay a filing fee of $26 and submit the assumed business name certificate to the secretary of state.

What is the cost to reserve an LLC name?

In North Carolina, one of the requirements when establishing your LLC, is to select a unique name that is not already registered with the Secretary of State. You can submit an Application to Reserve a Name to ensure your desired name is available when you file your LLC. The cost is $10. This reserves the name for 120 days.

How much do business permits and licenses cost?

Depending on your LLC’s industry and location, the business permits and licenses you need to acquire will vary. You can check the North Carolina Secretary of State site to check for what registrations, licenses, and permits you need to apply for.

How much does the North Carolina annual report cost?

All LLCs in North Carolina must file an annual report with the Secretary of State. The annual filing fee is $203 if done online or $200 if submitted by mail. The annual report is due by April 15th each year after you established your LLC. If you file the report late, the secretary of state can dissolve your LLC. You will be subject to a $100 late penalty and may need to file an Application of Reinstatement.

In summary….

The basic cost for establishing an LLC in North Carolina costs $125, and the annual report is $200-203. The cost to maintain and establish your LLC will increase depending on what additional services, permits, or licenses you require.