Step 1) Choose a Business Name for Your North Carolina Corporation

Choose a Business NameThe first step to form your North Carolina Corporation is to figure out a unique business name for your business. There’s no rule when it comes to naming your business, but you have to follow these basic standards:

To make sure that your chosen business name is one-of-a-kind, you can use the North Carolina Secretary of State’s business name database to check for its availability.

If available, you can reserve the business name for 120 days by submitting an Application to Reserve a Business Entity Name before the North Carolina Secretary of State. You can file your application through mail along with a $30 filing fee.


Step 2) File Your Articles of Incorporation

Register an LLCTo legally form your North Carolina Corporation, you need to file your Articles of Incorporation with the NC Secretary of State. Some of the information that you may need to file ahead of time include the following:

Apart from these basic information, you may have to state your duration of operations, or if it’s perpetual, you have to indicate that.

The purpose of your North Carolina startup and the name and address of every Board of Director may also be asked so you need to prepare for that. Your Articles of Incorporation are filed through mail with a filing fee of $125.


Step 3) Appoint a North Carolina Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentDesignating a North Carolina Registered Agent is a mandatory requirement when starting a business in the state.

The federal, state and local government will channel all your documents and mails through your registered agent so you need to hire one. There are basic standards imposed by North Carolina that you need to follow during the hiring of a registered agent, some of them are listed below.

Apart from these basic standards, you can also set requirements of your own. Make sure that you comply with this, because failure to do so will have negative consequences such as big fines or even the revocation of your corporation status. Comply with this requirement now through Rocket Lawyer.


Step 4) Keep a Corporate Records Book

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsIt is essential that you set-up and make use of a Corporate Records Book to stay on top of important corporate activities and documents which include your minutes detailing the discussions that transpired during the director and shareholder meetings, the stock certificates and stubs of your company and a lot of other pertinent documents.

You can visit your local law office to buy a Corporate Records Book, or you can place your order at Amazon for fast delivery.


Step 5) Elect Initial Directors for Your North Carolina Corporation

Choose the Initial DirectorsThe executor of your Articles of Incorporation should be the one to designate and appoint the initial corporate directors of your North Carolina Corporation.

As the incorporator, it is your responsibility to choose credible and trusted professionals who will be part of your Board of Directors. During the first and annual meeting, these directors will appear before the corporate shareholders to discuss important things related to the business.

It is also important that you fill-out an “Incorporator’s Statement” stating the complete names and addresses of your North Carolina small business’ initial directors.After completing this, you have to sign the document and put it in your Corporate Records Book for safekeeping.


Step 6) Set a First Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsCorporate formalities are to be followed when you run a North Carolina Corporation. The Board of Directors First Meeting is the first corporate formality that you have to schedule inorder to discuss the following agendas which are crucial in operating your business efficiently:

Everyone who attended the meeting should sign the minutes, after which, a copy should be made and must be kept in the Corporate Records Books.


Step 7) Comply with North Carolina State Taxes and Licensing Requirements (Required)

Business LicensesTo be able to fully understand your responsibilities as a taxpayer and know the tax deductions and benefits that you’ll get, you need to understand North Carolina tax regulations first. Paying federal and state taxes is a mandatory requirement to maintain your business’s good standing.

Obtaining business licenses and permits is also a must for businesses operating within North Carolina. However, every state or county requires different permits so you may need to visit the city hall or local county office to inquire on the permits applicable to the nature of business you’re running.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountAs a new North Carolina Corporation, keeping your personal and business finances separate is very important. The best way to do this is to open a new business checking account.

To find the best bank to start a checking account with, do some research. You can always use the bank you keep your personal account with, just be sure to keep them 100% separate.


To-Do After Starting a

North Carolina Corporation

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are officially a North Carolina Corporation. Other than those 8 steps that are based on state guidelines, here are 3 additional steps based on best practices for starting a successful Corporation. Not required, but highly recommended.

1) Write a funding-ready business plan ( Recommended)

Write a Business PlanIf you’re trying to raise capital or financing for your North Carolina small business, it’s best that you write a funding-ready business plan which you can present to investors and financial institutions.

To start writing your business plan, you can use the practical resources below to get things done efficiently.

Writing a Business Plan Quick-Links


2) Create a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteIf you want your Corporation to be taken seriously, build a website and feature what your company is all about. Without having to get too technical, you can use a free and customizable tool like WordPress to get started in minutes.

Learn more about WordPress and how to build a website yourself through this step-by-step guide. It walks you through the entire process.


3) Prepare the Corporate Bylaws (Recommended)

Prepare Corporate BylawsCorporate bylaws is not a mandatory requirement in North Carolina, therefore are not filed within the state. However, it is highly recommended that you create one for your business because it is an internal document that will map the rules of your corporate operations.

You should create a corporate bylaws for two important reasons:

The entire process of forming a North Carolina Corporation ends here. Try to understand and follow every stated requirement, step and procedure mentioned in this guide and you’ll be able to start operating your corporation in no time. Best of luck my friend!

Please note that this article is meant only for informational purposes. It is not an alternative or a replacement of professional legal advice. For specific queries and questions on starting a business in North Carolina, talk to your attorney or legal counsel.

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