To form an LLC, North Carolina requires you to complete the business registration process. An LLC, or Limited Liability Corporation, is an entity that offers tax benefits and protects your assets from liability. It doesn't cost much to form one in North Carolina; you only need to complete business registrations with the right offices.


The ninth-largest GDP and tenth-largest population belong to North Carolina. Industries in biotechnology, energy, and communications have a home in North Carolina. Over 800,000 small businesses in the state have 1.5 million workers employed.

Name Your LLC

It's important to make the LLC's name unique while containing the required words. You should do a name search on North Carolina's website to see if the name you want is available. After you file an Application to Reserve a Business Entity Name with North Carolina, the name will be protected for 120 days.

Choosing Your Registered Agent

Your LLC in North Carolina needs a registered agent. Your registered agent must be a resident of North Carolina or be allowed to conduct business in the state. The agent can send or receive legal forms for the LLC.

File Your Articles of Organization

Your LLC must create and mail your Articles of Organization to the state secretary. There are additional fees for same-day and 24-hour processing. Processing can take anywhere from three to 15 days.

Check with the Secretary of State for more information.

Create Your Operating Agreement

While not required in North Carolina, it's recommended to have an LLC operating agreement if there is more than one member. This document states the rights and expectations of the members. The registered agent should have a copy of it.

Obtain Your EIN

Your LLC can be identified through its Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is needed to file taxes and to open a business checking account. An EIN is given for free by the IRS.

Steps After Forming A Business

  1. Separate personal assets from your LLC. An established accounting system can maintain your finances and simplify tax filings. Look for software that connects with your bank, matches transactions to various sources, and allows phone access.
  2. Register your LLC for North Carolina state taxes. In North Carolina, you must file for Unemployment Insurance Tax if you have employees. You will also need to file for North Carolina Sales Tax if you want to sell taxable goods or services.
  3. Set up your accounting system. To prevent financial issues in the future, set your accounting system up as early as possible.
  4. Obtain your business licenses and permits. The guidelines for business permits and licenses in North Carolina are found on the Business Link North Carolina website. 
  5. Get your insurance. The North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act states that a business with more than two employees must provide insurance.
  6. Comply with employment laws. Employees must be able to work in the U.S., and compliance posters must be printed and placed where they can be seen. Workers must be paid no less than minimum wage on a pay schedule that is set by the state.

How to Start a Business in North Carolina

Find the right business idea for you and take the time to analyze it. After forming your business, take necessary actions to register your business, and make your brand known by creating a website.

How to Maintain Your LLC

  • File annual reports. Annual reports are required for domestic and foreign LLCs in North Carolina. It must be filed every year by April 15th with a filing fee. If you don't file your report, North Carolina can dissolve the business within 60 days.
  • Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing. The Certificate of Good Standing, or Certificate of Existence in North Carolina, shows that your LLC can do business in the state. You'll need one if you want to get a bank loan, create a foreign LLC, or a business permit or license.

Dissolve Your North Carolina LLC

You can dissolve your LLC if you don't want the business anymore. You must close all business tax accounts and draft Articles of Dissolution.

Foreign LLC in North Carolina

To do business in North Carolina with an LLC from another state, you need to create a foreign LLC. 

If you need help forming an LLC in North Carolina, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.