August 20, 2016

Form an LLC in North Carolina | File Yourself & Save $$$

Forming an LLC in North Carolina will help protect your personal assets from lawsuits and judgments against your business.  An LLC is a legal structure that separates your business and personal assets.  By not having your business in a separate legal structure, you can be held personally liable for certain debts and lawsuits incurred by the company.  Forming a North Carolina Limited Liability Company does not require an attorney and you can save a lot of money if you do it yourself with the five simple steps below.

Before getting into the five steps here are a few things to know about North Carolina LLCs.

 

How Much Does It Cost to Get an LLC In North Carolina?

The filing fee for a North Carolina Limited Liability Company is $125, payable to the North Carolina Secretary of State.

 

North Carolina Annual Report and Annual Fees

North Carolina requires all limited liability companies to file annual reports. Annual Reports are due every April 15th and must be delivered to along with a $200 fee to the N. C. Department of the Secretary of State,

Member/Manager Information

  • Minimum Number – one or more
  • Members/Managers- at least one is required to be listed in the Articles of Organization
  • Residence Requirements – none specified
  • Age Requirements – none specified

 

Business Permits

In addition to forming your North Carolina LLC, you will need to check for licenses and permits.   The SBA has a guide of both state and federal licenses and permits

 

Steps to Forming a North Carolina LLC

Step 1. Name Requirements

Your corporate name must end with the words Limited Liability Company or an abbreviation of these words (“LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “Limited,” “LTD.,” “LTD”.).  Check out our article on naming your LLC  for all of the requirements that you must follow when naming an LLC.

Now that you have the perfect name, you want to be sure nobody else is using it as each state requires a unique name per LLC or Corporation.  To check if your name is being used, visit our list of Secretary of State offices to do a free North Carolina LLC name search.

 

Step 2. Choose a Registered Agent

The registered agent must have a physical presence in North Carolina but may be an individual resident, domestic or foreign corporation authorized to transact business in North Carolina.  The registered agent must also have a physical address and be available during normal business hours to accept delivery of documents.   A Post Office Box or personal mailbox is not acceptable. If the registered office includes a suite number, it must be included in the registered office address.

Provided you as the business owner have a physical presence in North Carolina, you can be the registered agent however, there are additional privacy benefits to having a third-party registered agent.

Check out our article on why an LLC Registered Agent may be a good choice for your business for more details.

Click here for pricing on North Carolina LLC registered agent services

Step 3. File the Articles of Organization

This is the most important step and many people believe that you need an attorney to file.  While we don’t discourage having an attorney, filing a North Carolina LLC can be done by most people, but you can save considerable money over an attorney and make sure everything is filed correctly by using a formation service such as LegalZoom.

Click to download the North Carolina Articles of Organization

Step 4. Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is not required in North Carolina but is typically a good idea, especially for an LLC owned by multiple people.  The primary function of the operating agreement is to govern the relationship between the owners of the business, but also outlines who makes what decisions, how profits or losses are distributed and the operating procedures of the LLC.

More information about the operating agreement is here.

Step 5. Get an EIN

What is an EIN? The Employer Identification Number (EIN), or Federal Tax Identification Number (FEIN), is used to identify a business entity. It is essentially a social security number for the company.

In addition to the EIN being an identifying number for the LLC it serves a few other purposes such as:

  • Opening a business bank account
  • Federal and State tax purposes
  • Conduit to pass payroll taxes for employees paid by the company

This link will take you to the IRS website to get an EIN for your LLC.   Less than five minutes and you will have your number free of charge.   Wait until your LLC is approved and filed before applying for your EIN.

 

Something to consider when you form a North Carolina LLC is that the new LLC has no credit history and as such may make it a more difficult to acquire business funding or vendor credit.  Depending on the industry, you may want to look into building your LLC’s business credit soon after filing to begin generating a credit history.  Dun & Bradstreet offers a lot of information about improving business credit.

 


Don't want to go it alone but don't want the expense of an attorney? Another alternative is to use an LLC formation service that will do the formation at a low cost. Take a look at our comparison page of popular LLC formation services.

IncFile has a special right now for LLC formation services for only $49 plus state fees, plus a free registered agent for the first year!


 

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