LLC in NC – How to Form an LLC in North Carolina [5 Easy Steps]

Forming an LLC (Limited Liability Company) in North Carolina is easy and affordable. The following are few procedural steps on how to start an LLC in North Carolina. LLCs can be formed in two ways, domestic and/or foreign. If you are planning to set up an LLC in states other than North Carolina, visit How to Start an LLC.

North Carolina LLC

How to Start a North Carolina LLC

Suppose you’re planning to invest in some profitable business or maybe about to set up your business in North Carolina. In that case, forming an LLC in North Carolina is the simplest option for you.

An LLC or a Limited Liability Company is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It provides personal liability protection or owners liability protection as your personal assets are separated from you business assets. This section gives you a step-by-step guide on How to Start an LLC in North Carolina. 

Step 1: Decide a Name for Your LLC

name llc

If you are to start an LLC in North Carolina, the first thing you do is decide on a business or company name, and how to name your LLC may be tricky. Thus, you have the option to choose a name that complies with the North Carolina business naming requirements. It must also be easily searchable for potential clients. Here is a step-by-step guide to follow when naming your North Carolina LLC. 

Why do you need a proper business name?

If you want your LLC to have special identification, your company name is essential. However, many people face lots of issues by avoiding focus on choosing a business name for their LLC business formation filings.

Because of this, here are some of the major benefits of choosing the best LLC corporate names.

  • To help establish a company’s presence in the market, a proper business entity type will help you. This also creates a new identity that will resemble your LLC.
  • After you’ve properly chosen the name for your LLC, you will have no problems finishing the registration service process.
  • You can only get the EIN number when you have your name registration certificate with you.
What are the requirements when deciding a name for your LLC? 

name search is vital to make sure your business’ name is unique. Check the availability of your name with Business Entity Search on the North Carolina Secretary of State’s website. Reserve the name by completing the Name Reservation Request Form for Domestic Entities.  

  • Don’t include words that could confuse potential customers about your company. Words like ‘treasury, state department.’
  • You should also avoid restricted words like ‘bank, attorney, university,’ because they may require a lawyer and more paperwork.
  • As for a business website and your URL name, check if your name is still available for domain use with NameCheap.
Reserve a business domain

Even if you don’t have plans to set up a website today, it will help if you buy a domain to avoid others from using your name for their website, so do visit NameCheap for your domain name and Kinsta for web hosting.

If you have decided on your URL name and have reserved it, set up a professional email address with Google GSuite.  

Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in North Carolina

get registered agent

A registered agent, or business entity, is a person that will act or work on your behalf. This person or business will receive significant tax forms, legal documents, a notice of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in North Carolina. Choosing North Carolina-registered agents for your LLC is required. 

Make sure your registered agents are residents of North Carolina. It could also be a business. Here are the recommended agents and employees for you:

LLC Service

Our Rating & Pricing

Top Features

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$49 + State Fees

  • 1st year free agent service

  • Multiple options available

  • CPA assessment records


$299 + State Fees

  • Fast service

  • Resource center

  • Flat Rate for all services

$399 + State Fees

  • 1st year free agent service

  • Digital storage

  • Different types of plans

These five LLC formation services are recommended agents’ registered services as they are authorized to conduct business in North Carolina. Compare them to check the best yet cheapest option for you. Besides, they can guarantee you professional service because they have been in the business for years. 

Step 3: File Articles of Organization in North Carolina

A Certificate of Name Reservation is needed to file Articles of Organization, as other states call it. You need to make reports of this certificate with the North Carolina Secretary of State, which cost $125. You may file them online or by mail. 

This Certificate of Formation is a legal formation document needed to form your business officially. It will indicate details about your LLC in North Carolina, like if it is a member-managed or managers-managed

Before you start filings, you must already have your LLC name and registered agents or employees. You will attach a copy of your Name Reservation Certificate along with a list of the services that your North Carolina LLC will offer.

How to File Online

Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. Select “non-subscriber.” Fill out online and file form. The website will alert you if your county does not support online filing services after selecting your principal county.

How to File by Mail

If you prefer filing real-life forms for your Indiana LLC registration, then you can download the North Carolina Limited Company Certificate of Formation. Read the form thoroughly and fill it out. It will have to fill, among others,  your name, city, state, zip code, and signature. 

Step 4: Create Your Liability Company Operating Agreement

file formation certificate

An operating agreementis a document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts. 

Starting an LLC in North Carolina does not require you to have an this liability company operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all your details of business operation.

Step 5: Filing a North Carolina LLC EIN

The Employer Identification Number or, simply, the E.I.N. is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify types of business for tax purposes. It is like a Social Security number dedicated to a business. 

It is also called a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or a Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN). You will need this number for tax filing and to determine tax classification options.

Mail to:

Internal Revenue Service

Attn: EIN Operation

Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935

Fee: Free

After Starting your North Carolina LLC 

After you form your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. Take note of the following:

  • Get a company business account
  • File North Carolina LLC business permits & business licenses
  • Get liability for business liability insurance with coverage for employees
  • File a North Carolina LLC annual report or biennial report
  • Already existing LLCs that wish to operate in North Carolina must register as a foreign North Carolina LLC.  

This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember the upcoming filing deadline and filing fee or filing costs, including fees for late filings to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.

Why an LLC in North Carolina

In terms of GDP, North Carolina is considered the 9th wealthiest state of the USA, and the reason it has grabbed this position is the benefits designed by the state. When a new LLC thinks of incorporating in North Carolina, they have bundles of advantages that they can redeem amid their registration and set-up in the state. Some of the benefits perceived are discussed below.

Infrastructure financing program

As an entrepreneur, take the step to start an LLC in North Carolina, then from the same time, they start receiving the bundled benefits along with that. The first one is the financing programs. In North Carolina, it is only expected from a business personality to have a unique, mind-blowing idea. Based on that, one can arrange the finances very easily.

From the construction of a building to the generation of jobs, the state government is ready to help the LLC in North Carolina in every way possible. There are small Microenterprise loans to large-sized Job Development Investment Grants are available in the state.

The Opportunity Zones of North Carolina 

There are many opportunity zones in the state of North Carolina. These zones are the places of the state with a tract of low income compared to the whole state. A total of 252 tracts are decided by the North Carolina government in which the LLC needs to be situated if they want to enjoy the opportunity zone benefit. Such companies will have several benefits in which; the first one is taxation deferment for a temporary basis.

Government asks the business to invest the money to expand more in the opportunity zone and create more jobs for people there. The next benefit is on the long-term capital gains of the company on which the government is providing them a permanent tax deferment.

Sales and Use Tax Redemption

If a startup business is making heavy machinery, equipment, machinery that are to be used in mills and its accessories, they are exempted from the sales and use tax. Moreover, there are some special exemptions for those businesses using piped natural gases in their facility.

Green Business Funds

This program is specially designed for North Carolina LLC, which is working to develop a green energy source. Under this, several benefits are provided to a business, and also the federal taxes they have to pay are exempted to some levels.

Top Businesses Operating in North Carolina

Are you a new-age entrepreneur and want to form a North Carolina LLC? Then it would be best for you to gain complete knowledge about industries operating in the state. Here is the list of best businesses operating in North Carolina from time immemorial and their contribution to the industry.

Agriculture Based Businesses

North Carolina is known for producing high-quality tobacco for many years, making it the number one producer in the country. Along with that, there is a diverse production of sweet potatoes and poultry also. The farm production and its contribution to the state’s GDP are high, and it is generating around $15 billion annually, which accounts for 16% of the total GDP. Supporting crops of the region are hay, barley, sweet corn, and some vegetables.

Tourism of North Carolina

North Carolina is the sixth-largest tourism industry in the USA and is attracting millions of people every year. Whether the country is suffering from a recession or economic crisis, the state’s tourism has always shown colossal development. With a total generation of $20.2 billion income every year, the tourism sector gives jobs to 8.7% of people residing in the state.

Manufacturing businesses

The state is witnessing a vast huge production of tobacco which is used in the industry also. The state is known to produce a massive range of cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Along with that, there is a tremendous demand for chemicals and cleaning products produced in the state, due to which the industry is ranking at number 5 in the country. Approximately 20% of state GDP is contributed by this sector and is employing approximately 460,000 people. The interesting fact about the manufacturing sector of North Carolina is most of the industries are small-scale here.

Some of the small businesses north Carolina is catering well are:-

  • Pepper sauce production
  • Real estate investment
  • Roof accessing device

North Carolina LLC Formation Review

Time needed: 30 minutes.

Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in North Carolina. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.

  1. Name your North Carolina LLC

    The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should include the phrase “limited liability company,” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
    name llc

  2. Choose a registered agent

    In North Carolina, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. You can check out our list of our 5 Best LLC Services in the United States.
    get registered agent

  3. File a formation certificate

    Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
    file formation certificate

  4. Create operating agreement

    An operating agreement is not a strict requirement but something encouraged when you start an LLC.
    create operating agreement

  5. Get an EIN

    The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called  Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
    get an ein


What is the difference between ‘domestic LLC’ and ‘foreign LLC’?

A “domestic LLC” is one that conducts business in a state where it was formed. Meanwhile, a “foreign LLC” is an existing LLC that extended business to another state.

What do I need for Domestic and Foreign LLCs?

For Domestic LLCs, it is vital to have a Certificate of Name Reservation and Certificate of Formation. For the foreign LLCs, you must have a Certificate of Good Standing.

Is the cost to form an LLC the same across states?

The cost to form an LLC varies per state.

Does an LLC need to use a DBA?

Seldom do L.L.C.s use D.B.A. or a ‘Doing Business As’ name nor a fictitious business name. However, if you want to have one, you make read more about DBAs here

Why are operating agreements important?

This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.

Is there anything else I should keep in mind when naming my LLC?

>Your name should have “L.L.C. or LLC” or the phrase “limited liability the business.” 
>Do not include words that could create confusion between your LLC and any government business. 
>Words like ‘bank, attorney, university’ are restricted as well. 
>Lastly, your name should distinguish from other limited liability corporations, limited partnerships, or registered limited liability partnerships.

Where can I file my LLC name?

Typically, you can file your LLC name online or by mail. Check with the state where you will set up your LLC name. Take note that the fees for business names may also vary per state.  

How can I know if my URL name is available?

As for a website and your URL name, check if your name is still available for URL use with NameCheap to see if your name is available as a web domain. Even if you don’t have plans to set up a website today, it will help if you buy a URL. Buying it can help to prevent others from getting your name; check out WPEngine, Kinsta, and GoDaddy for hosting and building your website. 

Can I mail the LLC Certificate of Formation to the Secretary of State?

No. Never mail these documents or payments to the Secretary of State directly. 

Why do I need an EIN?

The reason you might need an E.I.N. is that it would help for three reasons:
>to open a business bank account
>to file and manage federal and state taxes
>to hire employees or agents

How do I get an EIN when I do not have a Social Security number?

You are not required a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.

I already have an EIN for a sole proprietorship; what now? 

Note that an LLC is different from a sole proprietorship. If you already have an EIN for your sole proprietorship, the IRS will require you to get a new one when your convert to an LLC. 

Do foreign applicants need an SSN to get an EIN?

International EIN applicants do not need an SSN to get an EIN.

What is an IRS?

The IRS is the one that will issue your EIN. You can request an EIN from the IRS ONLINE or download the FORM, fill it out, and send it by mail or fax.

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