Step 1) Verify & Secure Your Brand Name
To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in North Dakota, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording.
Keep in mind your LLC name should contain the words like ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘Limited Company’. Abbreviations for these words like ‘L.C.’ or ‘L.L.C.’ are also acceptable. If needed, file a Reserve Name Application with the Sec. of State for via mail, fax, or card.
Filing Fee: $10
Remember, this isn’t optional in North Dakota-- it’s mandatory.
Quick Note: Before you commit 100% to a name, you may also want to check that there’s a decent URL available for your business. Use Weebly to search your options. If there’s a quality domain name for purchase, we advise buying it right away. Even if launching a business website isn’t on your radar right now, it’s going to be soon, and you might as well nail down a domain name that’ll make it easy for customers to find you!
Step 2) Appoint A Registered Agent
Your North Dakota Registered Agent can be a resident of the state or a local/foreign company registered in North Dakota, however a physical address is required. It's their responsibility to receive and help process all important documentation like state filings, court notices, tax forms, etc.
You can either choose from this List of Registered Agents provided by the Secretary of State, use a private service which can cost up to $160/year. or get a Registered Agent free of charge when you register an LLC through services like IncFile.
Step 3) File Articles Of Incorporation
Head back to the LLC Forms page and download the Articles of Organization (SFN 58701) which needs to be filed through mail or fax with the Sec. of State when you're ready to set up shop. It's an official declarative document for the public record that among other things discloses:
- Complete name of North Dakota registered agent and address.
- Name and address of your LLC.
- Complete name and address of signatories in the articles.
- Hours of operation and the nature of your business.
LLC Filing Fee: $135
Step 4) Get An EIN
Your EIN, or FEIN is a unique 9-digit federal Employer Identification Number that relevant agencies use to track your business activity. It's very similar to how social security numbers work for individuals. Your EIN allows you to process taxes, legally hire employees and also set up a business bank account.
Step 5) Open A Business Bank Account
Okay, so where do you plan on establishing the financial groundwork of your LLC?
The first thing to ensure is that no other financial data-stream or account of any kind will get into the mix and muddy the waters. Keep it separate. Then, shop around at different local, state and national banks as well as credit unions to get a good idea of your options.
To get research going, check out this short free quasi-guide to Business Checking Accounts from the more big bank perspective. It should help give you a basic idea of the numbers involved.
Step 6) Draft An Operating Agreement
Because of the flexibility of an LLC, you need to create an operating agreement that will protect your LLC status. An Operating Agreement isn't a mandatory requirement but it's HIGHLY recommended.
This document outlines your ownership status, financial and operational relationships and corporate rules so everything's clear with your co-owners, managers and partners. Even if you're solo you should have one drafted. It can be updated later. To get started, consider checking out a savvy Operating Agreement template which you can customize yourself.
Step 7) Handle LLC Taxes & Licensing
If your North Dakota LLC has employees or you intend to sell products with sales taxes, you must register at the ND Office of the State Tax Commissioner otherwise known as the Tax Dept. Your other option is to register manually through paper (Form SFN 59507) or Register Online.
Also, consider bookmarking both the Fargo district office of the Small Business Administration and the state’s Small Biz Development Center because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. If you need help with this step, consider professional Business License Research packages that can quickly source all needed documents for you and provide filing instructions.
Need Help Forming an LLC?
If you'd like help forming an LLC in North Dakota, feel free to read our reviews of the two most popular services.