If you’re thinking of starting a limited liability company (LLC) in North Carolina, you’ll want to know in advance how much it’s going to cost. LLC formation fees vary by state, so it’s wise to do a bit of research and prepare yourself, and your new business, for the necessary steps.
LLC Costs in North Carolina
|Articles of Organization||$128
|Certified Copy – Articles of Organization||$15, plus $1 per page
|Certified Copy – Certificate of Existence||$10
|Registered Agent Service||$50 – $300
|Operating Agreement||$0 – $2500
|Franchise Tax||annual rate of $1.50 per $1,000
|Business Licenses and Renewals||varies – check with state and local government
Articles of Organization Cost
In North Carolina, you form an LLC by filing articles of organization, which requires a $128 fee. It’s a simple process you can do online by using the Business Registration service provided by the Secretary of State.
If you need a certified copy of the articles of organization, there is a $15 base fee, plus an additional $1 per page. If you need a Certificate of Existence, there is a $10 fee. If you’d like the state to hold your LLC name before you register, you can fill out the form here for $30 to reserve it for 120 days.
Completed paper forms and their accompanying fee should be sent to:
North Carolina Secretary of State
Business Registration Division
P.O. Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27626
Registered Agent Cost
In North Carolina, you are required to have a registered agent, also known as an agent of service in process. A registered agent is a person or business authorized to accept and respond to legal, tax, and financial documents on behalf of your business.
In North Carolina, you can be your own registered agent, or it can be another member of the LLC. An individual who is not a member or a professional agency can also serve as the registered agent for your LLC.
Costs for a registered agent service range from $50 a year up to $300 or more. Several online firms, such as ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent, provide quality services at reasonable rates.
Business Licenses and Permits Cost
Starting an LLC requires obtaining the required licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments. Fees for these vary, but most costs are minimal.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as, health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific permits.
You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments to learn more.
Business license fees depend on the type of business and the agency issuing the license or permit. On average, business licenses cost between $100 and $300+, plus renewal fees.
You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package ($149 + state fees). They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.
Operating Agreement Cost
In North Carolina, your LLC is not required to have an operating agreement in place. But it’s highly recommended, as an effective operating agreement can help avoid disputes and lawsuits that could threaten the stability of your LLC.
An LLC operating agreement is an important legal document that details who owns the business and provides essential information pertaining to member duties. An LLC operating agreement establishes the financial relationship between members and the basics of the working relationships between those members and the managers who oversee daily operations.
The operating agreement is not filed with the state, but instead remains private. It’s advisable to hire an attorney to ensure your operating agreement is thorough and legally binding.
Creating an operating agreement is free if you just draw it up yourself. Alternatively, you can pay around $100 for guidance from an online business advisory.
This is an extremely important document, so it’s recommended that you use the services of a specialist or legal firm. If you choose to hire an attorney, the price will be around $500 for a single-member LLC and $2,500 for a multi-member LLC.
LLC Formation Service Cost (Optional)
Forming an LLC in North Carolina tends to involve a lot of red tape and paperwork, so for many entrepreneurs just starting out it’s a good idea to hire an experienced service provider.
Some of the best services for forming an LLC are ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent. LLC Formation service will take care of all the key steps, keeping you updated while allowing you to focus on launching and growing your business.
The cost of professional services depends on your requirements and LLC formation plan. Most LLC service providers offer different plans/packages and there are many LLC services that offer free LLC formation.
Ongoing North Carolina LLC Costs
Every state has a different fee structure and timelines for LLC documents and licenses. It’s important to stay up-to-date or your business could face significant penalties. The fees and timelines for North Carolina are detailed below.
You’ll need to file an LLC annual report with your state to keep your LLC in good standing. The fee is $203, and you can file online by visiting the Secretary of State’s Annual Report webpage.
Franchise Tax Reports
A franchise tax is not a tax on a franchise business. It is a fee that the state imposes on registered business entities for the right to operate. North Carolina charges an annual franchise tax rate of $1.50 per $1,000 in net worth.
Business License Renewal Fees
Some business licenses and permits must be renewed periodically, which may have a small associated fee. In North Carolina, many are required to be renewed every year. For example, contractors must renew their licenses with the state annually for a fee of $100, while food trucks in Greensboro are required to pay $50 annually.
Be sure to check both state and county renewal regulations and costs carefully. It’s best to create calendar reminders to monitor when expirations are coming up to ensure you have time to apply for renewal and run your business without interruption.