LLC Cost in North Carolina
Last Updated: By TRUiC Team
North Carolina LLCs are relatively inexpensive — especially when you consider that an LLC can protect your personal assets and help grow your business. That’s why forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses.
The cost to form an LLC in North Carolina is $125. This covers the primary cost of officially registering your LLC with the state.
Read our LLC Cost in North Carolina guide below to learn more about LLC costs and other fees associated with all North Carolina businesses.
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You can form an LLC yourself and save a little money or use a professional service and save a lot of time.
Northwest ($29 plus state fees)
How Much Is an LLC in North Carolina?
North Carolina LLC Filing Fee: $125
To form an LLC in North Carolina, you'll need to file the Articles of Organization (Form L-01) with the Secretary of State. The North Carolina Secretary of State charges a $125 fee to process and record this document online or by mail.
You can complete this process yourself with our How to Start an LLC guide or use an LLC formation service.
Registered Agent Fee
Every North Carolina LLC must appoint a registered agent. Your North Carolina registered agent must be a resident of North Carolina and must be available to receive service of process during normal business hours at a designated street address.
You can be your own registered agent in Texas, or you can use a registered agent service for a minimal cost.
Recommended: Get free registered agent services for one year when you form an LLC with Northwest ($29 plus state fees).
North Carolina Annual Report Fee: $200+
North Carolina requires LLCs to file an annual report with the Secretary of State each year. The filing fee for the annual report is $200 when filed by mail or $202 when filed online.
Cost to Form a Foreign LLC in North Carolina: $250
LLCs registered in another state that want to expand into the state of North Carolina must register as a foreign LLC in North Carolina.
The cost for registering a North Carolina foreign LLC is $250. You can register a foreign LLC in North Carolina by filing an Application for Certificate of Authority (Form L-09).
Business Licenses and Permits
Your business might need federal, state, and local permits/licenses to legally operate in North Carolina, depending on your industry and geographical location. This is true whether you form an LLC or any other type of business structure.
Learn more about state and local licensing in our North Carolina business license guide.
Other North Carolina Business Filing Fees
There are fees associated with other, optional business filings in North Carolina.
LLC Name Reservation
You can reserve a business name for your LLC for up to 120 days by filing an Application to Reserve a Business Entity Name with the Secretary of State and paying the $30 filing fee.
"Doing Business As" (DBA) Name
When an LLC is registered with the state, the LLC’s name is also officially registered. Some business owners choose to also file for a DBA name, known as an assumed business name in North Carolina.
You can file an Assumed Business Name Certificate with your local county register of deeds and pay the $26 filing fee to create a name other than your legal LLC business name.
Learn more in our North Carolina DBA guide.
Certified Document Copies
You can get certified copies of your North Carolina business documents by ordering through the Secretary of State and paying the $30 fee.
Certificate of Existence
Also known as a North Carolina Certificate of Good Standing, you can obtain this document by ordering through the Secretary of State. The fee for this is $10 plus $1 per page when done online, or $15 plus $1 per page when done over the phone.
A Certificate of Existence is often required by banks and lenders.
How to Start an LLC in North Carolina
Forming an LLC yourself is easy; just follow the five steps below.
Five Basic Steps to Start an LLC in North Carolina
Step 1: Name Your North Carolina LLC
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent
Step 3: File a Articles of Organization
Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement
Step 5: Get an EIN
Step 1: Name Your North Carolina LLC
When you name your North Carolina LLC, you’ll need to choose a name that:
- Is available for use in the state of North Carolina
- Meets North Carolina naming requirements
- Is available as a web domain
Check web domain (URL) availability with GoDaddy:
Find a Domain Now
Not sure what to name your business? Check out our free LLC name generator.
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent
North Carolina LLCs are required to appoint a registered agent to receive service of process.
Business owners can hire a registered agent service or appoint any North Carolina resident that is 18 years or older and is available during normal business hours at a specified address to receive service of process.
Recommended: Northwest offers one full year of registered agent services with their $29 (plus state fees) LLC formation package.
Step 3: File a North Carolina Articles of Organization
To form an LLC in North Carolina, you must file the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. This can be done online through the Secretary of State’s website or by filing Form L-01 by mail.
For a closer look at the filing process, check out our North Carolina Articles of Organization guide.
Step 4: Create an LLC Operating Agreement
Operating agreements are not required for North Carolina LLCs, but it’s a good practice to have one.
An operating agreement outlines the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC, ensuring that all members are on the same page and reducing the risk of conflict down the line.
Learn more in our North Carolina LLC Operating Agreement guide.
Step 5: Get an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number issued by the IRS to identify businesses for tax purposes. Think of an EIN as a Social Security number for your LLC.
To learn how to get an EIN for free, visit our How to Get an EIN Number guide.
North Carolina Business Resources
LLC Cost in North Carolina FAQ
What is the cheapest way to start an LLC in North Carolina?
The cheapest way to start an LLC in North Carolina is to handle the registration process individually. In order to do this, you will need to follow these steps:
- Name your LLC
- Choose a registered agent: This can be a registered agent service or an individual.
- File the North Carolina Articles of Organization: The filing fee for this is $125 and can be done online or by mail.
- Create an LLC operating agreement: This is usually not a legal requirement, but it is highly recommended.
- Get an EIN: This is basically your business’s Social Security number (SSN).
How much does an LLC cost per year in North Carolina?
There is a $200 annual report filing fee that all North Carolina LLCs will need to pay in order to maintain their “good standing” with the state.
For a more in-depth analysis, see our How Much Does an LLC Cost? article.
How much does an LLC license cost in North Carolina?
An LLC is not a business license, but a business entity. Forming an LLC in North Carolina costs $125. There is also a $200 annual report fee that will need to be paid.
You may be required to pay additional fees if you choose to pay for a registered agent service, an LLC formation service, or an LLC attorney.
See our How to Start an LLC in North Carolina for more information on registering your business as an LLC.
Do LLCs pay taxes in North Carolina?
Yes, LLCs are a “pass-through” tax entity. This means that the LLCs profits are “passed through” directly to its owner(s), who then pay income taxes independently.
This is advantageous compared to a corporation’s tax structure because it means that LLC members are not taxed twice.
Having said that, readers should keep in mind that LLCs are very flexible when it comes to how they can be taxed, and — depending on the specifics — they can choose to be taxed as a pass-through entity, a C corp, and an S corp.
For more information, see our How Is an LLC Taxed guide.
What are the tax benefits of an LLC?
The tax benefits of an LLC will depend on how you choose to be taxed, as well as on whether you are operating as a single or multi-member LLC.
Generally speaking, LLCs can choose to be taxed in several different ways, including:
- As a sole proprietorship or general partnership
- As a C corporation
- As an S corporation
See our Single-Member LLC Taxes guide for a detailed overview of the tax benefits of having an LLC as a small business.
Do I need to open a business bank account for my LLC?
Even though you do not necessarily “need” to open a bank account for your LLC, this is generally highly recommended for several reasons.
For one, having a separate bank account can allow you to maintain your LLC’s corporate veil — meaning that you will not risk losing your limited personal liability under the law. A business bank account also offers financial benefits, including the ability to build business credit more quickly and access to larger business loans.
Interested in opening a business bank account? See our review of the best banks for startups in 2023.