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Start a North Carolina LLC for FREE*

Register your LLC in North Carolina for free with a Rocket Legal+ membership

Start an LLC in North Carolina
Register your North Carolina LLC with Rocket Legal+ and Start Up Confidently

Start Up Confidently with a new LLC in North Carolina

Get fast, personalized support to start your North Carolina LLC

FREE* with Rocket Legal+

Get your first business registration FREE* as a Rocket Legal+ member and stay compliant with HALF OFF services *See details

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North Carolina LLC FAQs

  • How much can businesses save with Rocket Legal+?

    Businesses can save up to $2,500 per year with a Rocket Legal+™ membership. This calculation is based on total savings on an initial business registration and registered agent, trademark, and business tax filing services for Rocket Legal+ members (a total cost of $924.97) compared to Rocket Legal members (a total cost of $1,949.96). This is in addition to savings on the average cost of 5 hours for document preparation by a non-Rocket Lawyer network attorney at the average attorney hourly rate in the U.S. of $300 (an estimated cost of $1,500 when purchased without any form of Rocket Lawyer membership) compared to unlimited use of customizable business documents for both Rocket Legal+ and Rocket Legal members at no extra cost.

  • What is an LLC?

    LLCs are a type of business entity that have the key benefit of providing liability protection to its owners (referred to as members). This means the members’ personal assets are generally safeguarded against the company’s debts or legal disputes, except in cases where they may be personally liable under other laws. 

    In the state of North Carolina, an LLC is defined as “an entity formed under [Chapter 57D] (or former Chapter 57C of the General Statutes) that has not become another entity or form of entity by merger, conversion, or other means”(§ 57D-1-03(19)). That means an LLC in North Carolina is a company created within the state or a company that becomes subject to North Carolina’s state regulations surrounding LLCs (Chapter 57D).

    LLCs are popular among business owners because they offer flexibility and simplicity in managing their operations. Owners have the option to decide whether the company will be managed by its members or by appointed managers. Additionally, compared to corporations, LLCs typically have fewer legal compliance requirements and a more straightforward operational structure. 

    Finally, LLCs allow business owners to pay taxes for business income as part of their individual taxes, although LLC owners may elect to pay their business taxes as a separate entity, similar to how a corporation is taxed. This can give business owners more flexibility to choose the tax classification that is right for them as they grow and evolve their business.

  • Will starting an LLC protect my personal assets?

    LLCs can protect your personal assets against business debts and lawsuits in many cases, as long as you take careful steps to separate your business and personal affairs and maintain compliance.

    Here are some common ways to separate your affairs and stay compliant:

    • Take care to maintain separate bank accounts.
    • Keep your personal and business assets separate.
    • Keep records of your business matters.
    • Formally document business decisions.
    • Conduct business under your business name.
    • Uphold LLC compliance requirements in North Carolina, including:

    If you don't maintain your compliance obligations or fail to properly separate your business and personal matters, then you may be opening yourself up to personal liability for business activities or responsibilities.

  • Why should I register for a North Carolina LLC?

    You may want to register for an LLC in North Carolina when:

    • You own or want to start a business in North Carolina, or want to expand an existing business into North Carolina, and want to stay legally compliant. 
    • You own or want to start a business, and want more flexibility on how you will manage the business or pay taxes than a corporation would provide.
    • You want to protect your personal assets from potential liability resulting from business you conduct in the state of North Carolina. 
    • You own or want to start a business, and want to register in North Carolina to open accounts, lease or buy property, secure funding, or hire employees.
  • How do I start an LLC in North Carolina?

    There are a few steps required to start your LLC in North Carolina, including:

    • Find a unique name for your LLC. North Carolina has a few requirements on business names, including a requirement to be unique. You can search the state of North Carolina's database of business entities in the state to ensure your business' name is unique. Rocket Lawyer can also help you identify a unique name when you register your business.
    • Provide a North Carolina address that will be used as your official LLC address. The address that you list may either be your home, an office, or another physical location, but it cannot be a PO box.
    • Appoint a registered agent. A registered agent is the person or company that serves as the contact point between the state and the LLC. The registered agent also receives official correspondence from other businesses. In many cases, you can act as your own registered agent if you have a business address in North Carolina, but you may consider using a registered agent service if you are not located in North Carolina or would like an extra layer of privacy. Rocket Lawyer can act as your registered agent or specify your registered agent when you register your LLC.
    • File your Articles of Organization with the state of North Carolina to register your LLC. Once you have a business name and registered agent identified, you can register your business as a North Carolina LLC with the North Carolina Secretary of State by filing your Articles of Organization. Rocket Lawyer can assist you in filing your LLC's Articles of Organization with the North Carolina Secretary of State.
    • Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The EIN is crucial for tax filing, payroll management, employee payments, and opening a business bank account. Rocket Lawyer can assist you with securing your LLC's EIN in order to do these vital business tasks.
    • Create your LLC Operating Agreement (Optional). In North Carolina, it is optional to have an LLC Operating Agreement, which helps govern the ownership structure, member rights and responsibilities, and decision-making process of your LLC, among other things.
  • What are Articles of Organization?

    To start an LLC in North Carolina, you must file a document called Articles of Organization with the state of North Carolina. This document may be referred to informally as an LLC's "Articles," or in other states, it may be called a "Certificate of Organization," "Certificate of Filing," or "Certificate of Formation."

    In North Carolina, you will need the following information to file your Articles of Organization:

    • The name of the LLC.
    • The LLC's principal office.
    • The name and address of the business' registered agent.
    • The name and address of the members executing the articles.
  • How much does it cost to start an LLC in North Carolina?

    In North Carolina, there are a few fees that you may be charged when you choose to start your LLC. They include the following:

    State fee: $127

    • Expedited processing fee: $160

    Rocket Lawyer filing fee: $0 $99.99

    • First filing FREE for RocketLegal+ members.
    • Get additional filings HALF OFF with RocketLegal+.

    Processing time: 10-12 business days

    • Expedited processing time: 1-2 business days

    Note: The above state fees and processing times (including expedited processing fee and time) are provided as a summary and may encompass various fees mandated by your state or local authorities. If you have questions, speak to a Rocket Lawyer representative to understand the costs and processing times that apply to your specific filing.

  • How much are LLC taxes in North Carolina?

    Taxes for your LLC will depend on how you file and how much your LLC earns.

    The default method for LLC taxes is called "pass-through taxes." This means that the profits and losses of the LLC are passed through to the individual members, who report them on their personal tax returns. The share of profits or losses each member receives and reports on their taxes is determined by the terms in the LLC's operating agreement. With pass-through taxes, the LLC itself does not file its own tax returns, and the owners only pay taxes on the business once. (Note: The term "pass-through taxes" is an informal term. Single-member LLCs are treated as a "disregarded entity" and taxed as a sole proprietorship, and LLCs with multiple members are treated as a partnership.)

    With pass-through taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes are not withheld from the members' paychecks, so they are responsible for paying these as "self-employment taxes" instead. In addition to Social Security and Medicare taxes, LLC members will need to pay taxes as a percent of their share of profits every quarter as estimated taxes. LLC members can also deduct business expenses and losses from their personal tax returns, which can significantly reduce the amount of profits reported to the IRS.

    Alternatively, if the LLC members prefer not to utilize pass-through taxes, they have the option to elect for the LLC to be taxed as a corporation instead. This may be preferred when the corporate tax rate is lower. To elect a different tax classification, you need to file the necessary forms with the IRS.

    If you do not want to tackle your LLC's taxes alone, our Rocket Tax services can help you by gathering some information about your business and then matching you with the right tax professional.

  • What are the rules for naming an LLC in North Carolina?

    The state of North Carolina requires that the names of all LLCs in the state:

    • Must include an entity designator.
    • Not imply a different business purpose than the one listed in the Articles of Organization.
    • Are not too similar to existing LLCs in the state.

    Rocket Lawyer can help you determine whether your business' name is eligible for registration in North Carolina and may be able to help you reserve the name before you file your LLC.

  • I live outside of North Carolina. In which state do I file my LLC?

    Any LLC that does business in North Carolina must register with the State of North Carolina. North Carolina does not outline any specific actions that constitute transacting business, however, these actions, among others, are not considered to be doing business in North Carolina:

    • Maintaining or defending any proceeding or effecting the settlement thereof or the settlement of claims or disputes.
    • Holding meetings of its members, managers, or other company officials or carrying on other activities concerning its internal affairs.
    • Maintaining bank accounts or borrowing money in this State, with or without providing security for repayment or other performance and without regard to the frequency of such transactions.
    • Maintaining offices or agencies for the exchange or other transfer and registration of all or any class or portion of its membership or other equity or beneficial ownership interests or securities, or appointing and maintaining trustees or depositories with relation to its membership or other equity or beneficial ownership interests or securities.
    • Soliciting or procuring orders, whether by mail or through employees or agents or otherwise, where the orders require acceptance to be made outside of the territory of this State to become binding contracts.
    • Making or investing in loans with or without security, including servicing of mortgages or deeds of trust through independent agencies within the territory of this State, conducting foreclosure proceedings and selling or acquiring property in foreclosure sales, and managing or renting property acquired in foreclosure sales in connection with and in furtherance of efforts to sell and otherwise liquidate such property, provided no office or agency of the foreign LLC is maintained in this State.
    • Taking security for or collecting debts due the foreign LLC or enforcing any rights the foreign LLC may have in property subject to or otherwise providing security with respect to the repayment or other performance of the debt obligations.
    • Transacting business in interstate commerce.
    • Conducting an isolated transaction completed within a period of six months but not repeated transactions of a similar nature.
    • Selling property or services through independent contractors.
    • Owning real or personal property. (2013-157, s. 2.)

    LLCs based in North Carolina are called "domestic LLCs," and out-of-state LLCs are called "foreign LLCs." Foreign LLCs and domestic LLCs may have different filing and compliance requirements -- Rocket Lawyer can help you navigate foreign LLC registration, regardless of where you live.

  • I live in North Carolina. Do I need to file my LLC in any other state?

    If you are planning to conduct business in another state, you may need to register an LLC in that state. Rocket Lawyer can help you determine which states you should register in. 

    Other states may have their own rules for taxing foreign LLCs that originate in North Carolina or domestic LLCs that also operate in North Carolina. Talk to an attorney to understand the tax requirements for the state(s) in which you plan to operate.

    CaliforniaMichiganRhode Island
    ColoradoMinnesotaSouth Carolina
    ConnecticutMississippiSouth Dakota
    IdahoNew HampshireVirginia
    IllinoisNew JerseyWashington D.C.
    IndianaNew MexicoWashington
    IowaNew YorkWest Virginia
    KansasNorth CarolinaWisconsin
    KentuckyNorth DakotaWyoming
  • Can I make a single-member LLC in North Carolina?

    Yes, LLCs with only one owner can still register their business in North Carolina. In this case, the LLC would be referred to as a single-member LLC (SMLLC), whereas if there is more than one owner, the LLC may be called a multi-member LLC. 

    The main difference between single-member and multi-member LLCs lies in ownership structure and management. With a single-member LLC, you have full control over the business. In contrast, a multi-member LLC has multiple owners, each with a specific percentage of ownership as defined in the operating agreement. This means that in a multi-member LLC, owners share profits, losses, and tax responsibilities based on their ownership percentage.

    However, many aspects of LLCs remain the same whether they are single-member or multi-member. Both types of LLCs default to pass-through taxation (though separate filing is an option), and owners can choose to manage the LLC themselves ("member managed") or hire designated managers to handle day-to-day operations ("manager managed").

  • What is the benefit of having an Assumed Business Name vs. an LLC in North Carolina?

    An LLC is a structure establishing your business as an entity that can legally conduct business in the state(s) within which it is filed. Alternatively, an "Assumed Business Name" filing is a legal mechanism to specify another name under which you plan to do business. Assumed Business Names may also be called a "Fictitious Business Name" (or "FBN"), "Trade Name," or "Doing Business As" (or "DBA") and are commonly confused with sole proprietorships. While Assumed Business Names can help you specify a name for a business, they do not establish a legal business entity and also do not provide business owners with liability protection. In North Carolina, filing an Assumed Business Name, or Fictitious Business Name, is required if your business is planning to operate under a different name than the one that is filed with your Articles of Organization.

    If you have an existing company and would like to conduct business under a new or additional name, an Assumed Business Name will allow you to conduct business with the new name through your existing LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, or Nonprofit. If you're not sure if you should form an LLC or file an Assumed Business Name, a Rocket Lawyer representative can help you understand the differences and take the next step.

  • What do I do after registering an LLC in North Carolina?

    After organizing an LLC in North Carolina, the state requires you to:

    • Establish a Registered Agent and Office: You'll need to have a Registered Agent and Office in North Carolina. We can help with our Registered Agent Services.

    Although not required, you may also want to:

    • Create an Operating Agreement: While creating an Operating Agreement is not mandatory, it's highly advisable. We can help you create your North Carolina LLC Operating Agreement online.
    • Hold a meeting: A first meeting with members of an LLC is not required by law, but it is highly suggested in order to get organized. Also, unlike corporations, LLCs are also not required to maintain Meeting Minutes, but these documents are also recommended as they provide records for important decisions made.
  • How do I maintain my LLC in North Carolina?

    An LLC is one of the easiest businesses to maintain. This is what you should keep in mind when looking to maintain your North Carolina LLC:

    • Annual Report: Due on or before April 15 each year. Only managers or members can sign reports.
  • How do I keep my records for my LLC?

    The State of North Carolina does not have any regulations regarding specific documents that are to be kept by LLCs, but the state does require LLCs to provide the following documents to members upon request:

    • A current list of the full names and last known mailing addresses of each member.
    • Information pertaining to the status of the company and its financial condition.
    • Copies of the company's federal, state and local income tax returns for each year.
    • A copy of the articles of organization and any amendments thereto.
    • Copies of any written Operating Agreements and any amendments put forth.
    • Information pertaining to the cash and a description and statement of the agreed services or property contributed by each member as well as future contributions.
    • The date in which each member became a member.
    • Other reasonable information regarding the company's affairs.

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