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Starting an LLC in North Carolina can feel intimidating. North Carolina LLCs have specific filing requirements and fees. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to start an LLC in North Carolina so you can establish your new business with confidence.
Before You Create an LLC in NC
Before you file your LLC in North Carolina, have the correct forms to fill out and budget in advance for fees. If you’re filing an in-state or domestic entity, your pricing and documents will differ from someone operating out-of-state or a foreign entity.
Also, be aware that state and federal guidelines concerning LLCs change frequently. For instance, some states may choose to waive fees for vulnerable community members or adjust pricing. Therefore, if you delay filing, be sure you check that no significant changes have occurred.
Cost to Set Up an LLC in NC
The cost to file a domestic LLC in North Carolina is $125. The cost to file a foreign entity is $250. In addition to filing fees, LLCs must also file an annual report with the Secretary of State, which costs $202 ($200 for paper filings).
Setting Up Your LLC in North Carolina
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As with most states, you’ll need to complete these core three steps to set up your LLC in North Carolina.
1. Choose Your LLC’s Name
When you select a name, remember that it must include “limited liability company.” You can also opt for an abbreviation: “LLC” or “L.L.C.” It’s possible to shorten the word limited to “Ltd.” and company to “Co.”
Stylize your name in whatever manner you feel looks best, but be sure that your name is available before filing. Your business name must be distinguishable from any other business name on the North Carolina Secretary of State’s business registry. To avoid wasted time and money, double-check your LLC name’s availability through the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Business Registration search engine.
Should you wish to reserve a name before filing an LLC, you can pay a $30 fee and file an Application to Reserve a Business Identity Name. This action holds your desired business name for up to 120 days.
2. Designate a Registered Agent
North Carolina requires those operating an LLC to have a registered agent. A registered agent’s function is to accept legal documents and notices and forward them to the business owner(s). In addition to designating a registered agent, you’ll provide the address of your “registered office”-the place in North Carolina where your agent can be found during normal business hours.
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The registered agent can be a North Carolina resident over the age of 18. It’s also possible for a corporation, nonprofit or LLC to act as a registered agent if their business address is identical to the registered office address.
In order to qualify as an registered agent in North Carolina, the entity must already be active within the state prior to the LLC getting filed.
Related: Best Registered Agent Services
3. File Your North Carolina LLC Forms
What comes next depends on whether you’re filing as a domestic or foreign business entity. If you’re forming your LLC as a domestic entity, submit Articles of Organization or Form L-01. Foreign business entities who wish to register an LLC as authorized to do business in North Carolina must file a Certificate of Authority form (Form L-09).
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The filing fee for domestic entities is $125. Foreign entities must pay $250. All LLCs must also file an annual report with the Secretary of State. The price is $202 ($200 for paper filings). At present, you can complete the registration process online.
What to Do After You Establish Your LLC
Even after the paperwork is filed and you pay the fees, there’s more to do. For instance, you must prepare information and payments for annual obligations. Below are a couple of additional topics to keep in mind.
Creating an Operating Agreement
When planning your LLC, you should also think about creating an operating agreement. This document serves to establish how your company will function. An operating agreement assigns each person a role or level of financial obligation. Should other parties or investors join along the way, it’s possible to craft the operating agreement to cover future changes.
While an operating agreement isn’t required to launch an LLC in North Carolina, it’s generally considered a good idea. That is because you can make a stronger case for the legitimacy of your company and its separation from your individual assets. Additionally, it helps avoid disputes or confusion among the LLC owners.
Dissolving Your LLC
The day might come when you wish to dissolve your LLC . Perhaps you want to end the LLC for good or transfer it to a different state. Should you ever wish to do so, fill out the Articles of Dissolution or Form L-07 and pay a $30 filing fee. You’ll then go through the process of notifying and paying creditors and wrapping up your business.