North Carolina LLC Cost

We’ve compiled the most common fees so you know exactly what to expect when starting your North Carolina LLC.

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Start Your LLC in North Carolina

FAQs on how to determine North Carolina LLC costs

  • Your LLC begins when you properly file Articles of Organization with the North Carolina Secretary of State. We can make filing this paperwork easy for you with our North Carolina LLC Formation Service. Our help costs only $0 plus state fees. 

  • When you start an LLC in North Carolina, you can expect to pay the following fees:

    North Carolina LLC Filing Fee

    $128: You have to pay$128to file Articles of Organization in North Carolina.

    Franchise Taxes

    Rates vary: If you choose to have your LLC taxed as a C Corporation or S Corporation, you have to pay franchise taxes. The minimum franchise tax is $200, and the amount due increases with the amount of business income you earn over $1 million. Your LLC might have other regular tax liabilities, depending on your business’s activities and characteristics.

    Registered Agent Fee

    Free: Every North Carolina LLC must have a Registered Agent. You can be the Registered Agent, but taking on that role while running your business can be taxing and distracting. A Registered Agent needs to be regularly present at your LLC’s registered office in North Carolina to receive legal notices on the business’s behalf.

    Although it costs nothing to be your own Registered Agent, paying a small fee to hire someone else as your Registered Agent can be a great business investment. If you need help finding a good Registered Agent, our North Carolina Registered Agent Service can help you locate the right person quickly.

  • There are fees you need to pay to start your North Carolina LLC, and other fees you need to pay to maintain it, including:

    Certificate of Existence

    As you build a new venture, you might find that you need financing or contracts from third parties. To get these resources, a third party might ask you to prove that your LLC exists and is in good standing with the state. You can answer this request with a Certificate of Existence. You have to pay $15 for a Certificate of Existence from the Secretary of State.

    DBA Name in North Carolina

    Sometimes a business wants to use more than one name to identify itself. If you want your LLC to have a name that’s different from its official name, that name is a “doing business as” or DBA name. North Carolina calls a DBA name an Assumed Business Name. You need to register your DBA by filing an Assumed Business Name Certificate with your county register of deeds location and paying a $26 fee.

    Foreign LLC

    If you started your LLC outside North Carolina, you have what’s called a foreign LLC. To run your foreign LLC in North Carolina, you have to submit an Application for Certificate of Authority for a Limited Liability Company. This document costs $250 to file, and you file it with the Secretary of State.

    Business Licensing

    Your LLC is official once you file your Articles of Organization, but you might not be allowed to run your business until you get the right authorizations from the government. To run your business, you might have to obtain:

    • Business licenses
    • Permits
    • Registrations

    Your need for licenses and registrations depends on the activities of your LLC, your LLC’s location, and your LLC’s characteristics. You might also need multiple licenses from federal, state, and local government authorities.

    Unfortunately, there’s no centralized government authority that can tell you what all your licensing needs are, but we can take on that role. With our partners at Avalara, we can give you a Business License Report that outlines all the specific licenses, registrations, and permits your business needs at every level of government.

    For just $0 plus state fees, we can form your North Carolina LLC for you in just minutes. No LegalZoom promo code required: Pay just $0 plus filing fees for fast LLC formation in North Carolina. 

  • Yes. If you pay your fees or business taxes late, you could be subject to penalties, you could fall out of good standing with the state, or you could be blocked from forming your business. 

  • Failure to pay your formation filing fees means that you can’t form your LLC. If you conduct your business without filing formation paperwork with the state, you’re conducting a sole proprietorship or a general partnership. While easier and less expensive to start, these business structures offer less personal protection than an LLC. 

  • You pay your formation filing fees to the Secretary of State. 

  • Your largest fee for forming your North Carolina LLC will likely be the$128fee for filing your Articles of Organization. However, each business has different filing needs. Your largest fee depends on the specific characteristics of your LLC.

  • You can pay your LLC filing fees by check or credit card. 

How do I form my LLC in North Carolina? 

1. Name your LLC

Your LLC’s name goes on so many important business materials: your formation documents, marketing materials, etc. You want to make sure that the LLC name you choose is a good one, and you have to make sure your name is legally sound. Your LLC’s name has to: 

  • Be different from other names on record with the Secretary of State
  • Include words or abbreviations that identify it as an LLC
  • Exclude offensive words and words that suggest your LLC has an unlawful purpose

One of the hardest parts of choosing an LLC name is making sure it’s still available when you file your formation paperwork.  

2. Select a Registered Agent

Your LLC needs a Registered Agent to stay informed about its legal issues and obligations. Your LLC’s Registered Agent accepts legal notices on the LLC’s behalf. It’s often a lot easier to pay a fee to have someone else fulfill this role while you build your business. We can help you find the right Registered Agent with our North Carolina Registered Agent Service. 

3. File your LLC’s Articles of Organization

You have multiple options for filing the Articles of Organization that start your LLC. You can submit your filings to the Secretary of State in person, by mail, or online.

4. Create an Operating Agreement

A great advantage of running your own business is the ability to shape your business environment to your liking. You can maximize this ability as an LLC owner (also known as a member) by writing your own Operating Agreement. In your Operating Agreement, you can create your own rules about:

  • What rights members and affiliates will have
  • How to become a member
  • How to resolve disputes
  • How to manage the LLC
  • How members will share profits and losses

Without an Operating Agreement, your LLC has to follow the default rules under North Carolina law, which isn’t always ideal. 

The key to writing a good business document is having a good outline. Our Operating Agreement Template is a great outline you can use to help you write your own business rules. 

5. Get an EIN

Many LLCs have to have Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) from the IRS to properly pay their federal taxes. You have to have one if your LLC has employees, runs as a partnership, or runs as a corporation. And even if your LLC doesn’t have to have an EIN, it’s still best to obtain one so you can avoid putting your sensitive personal information on business bank accounts and other official documents. 

We can help you quickly get an EIN for your LLC with our Employer ID Number Service.  

Check North Carolina annual requirements

North Carolina requires LLCs to file Annual Reports to keep the state up to date. You file your Annual Report with the Secretary of State, and you must pay a $200 fee for your filing. After formation, your Annual Report is due by April 15 of each following year. We provide an Annual Report Service to help you stay in line with your reporting obligations. 

Stay legally compliant

Businesses evolve through the years, and you’ll likely need to update your LLC’s information from time to time. With many LLC changes, you have to file amendment paperwork with the government to remain legally compliant. We can help you stay on top of your compliance deadlines and file two amendments per year with our Worry-Free Compliance Service

We can help!

Having support as a business owner can be one of the biggest keys to your success. Our services are here to help you be successful. With our many business formation and maintenance services, we can save you time and energy while you build your enterprise. 

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.


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