What is an LLC in North Carolina? LLC stands for Limited Liability company. It’s a business structure that offers small business owners like you the legal protection you need and deserve.
This arrangement is governed through an LLC operating agreement or state law by default. An operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of your business operation.
Without this document, your business could be jeopardized. The same is true if your LLC operating agreement is drafted incorrectly.
We’ve listed all the instructions you need on how to register an LLC in North Carolina. To make sure your company is well-protected, read and follow the steps below.
Is an LLC Operating Agreement Required in North Carolina?
No, an LLC operating agreement is not required in North Carolina. But it’s still the smartest course of action to take.
Specifically, it guarantees protection in certain situations that are otherwise disputable. Putting the terms and conditions of your LLC in writing leaves no room for dispute.
North Carolina Operating Agreement Laws
The full laws and statutes governing North Carolina LLC operating agreements are too numerous to list here. But you can research them in full on the North Carolina General Assembly website – § 57D-2-30.
The title of the registered LLC must contain the words “Limited Liability Company,” or one of five acceptable abbreviations. Acceptable abbreviations are limited to:
- ltd. liability co.
- limited liability co.
- ltd. liability company
Your company title will not qualify for LLC status unless it includes one of these specific terms.
When filing for your LLC, you must include the name of your registered agent. By doing so, you authorize this agent to accept any legal documents that are sent to you.
The agent may be a resident or a business, as long as they’re legally authorized to conduct business in North Carolina. They must also possess a physical street address in the state of North Carolina.
Types of LLCs
In North Carolina, you can register for an SMLLC or an MMLLC. An SMLLC (single-member LLC) is owned exclusively by one person or business entity. In an MMLLC (multi-member LLC), ownership is split between multiple owners.
How Much Does It Cost to Form an LLC in North Carolina?
To form a domestic LLC in North Carolina, you must pay a one-time fee of $125. Registering a foreign LLC in North Carolina is also $125.
These fees are the same whether you file online or send paper documents. You must also pay a $25 fee each year when filing your annual report. There are other optional fees and late payment penalties as well.
How to Form an LLC in North Carolina
Here are some step-by-step instructions for how to apply for LLC in North Carolina. Using these steps, you should be able to complete your application quickly:
Step 1 – Choose Your Business Name
Choose your LLC’s name according to the guidelines we previously explained. If you wish, you may reserve your name by filing an Application to Reserve a Business Entity Name.
This form can be found here (along with all other LLC-related forms). Name registration costs a $30 fee and will reserve your title for 120 days.
Saving your name before you register is purely optional. But it’s a good idea if there’s any chance that someone might register this name before you.
Step 2 – Choose Your Registered Agent
We’ve already explained the guidelines for appointing a registered agent. As long as those requirements are met, you can nominate just about anyone who’s willing. That includes anyone in your company, even you.
This step is not optional.
Step 3 – File and Pay Fees
Officially, the collection of forms and information you must file is called the articles of organization. When filing these articles, you must include:
- The name of your LLC
- The name, address, and contact info of your registered agent
- The name, address, and contact info of your LLC’s principal office
- Your name, address, and contact info
- The starting date of the articles, if different than the filing date
File these online, through the mail, or in-person and pay the $125 fee.
Step 4 – Create Your North Carolina Operating Agreement
Again, this step is technically optional. But, for your own protection, we strongly advise you to form a North Carolina LLC operating agreement. Use the template at the bottom of the page to help you with this.
Also, it’s not necessary to file your operating agreement with the North Carolina Secretary of State. This is an internal document that you keep with your business files.
Step 5 – Comply With Regulations
Other regulations might apply to your particular LLC. For example, certain businesses need various permits/licenses to conduct their work. Some are also required to register with the North Carolina DOR (Department of Revenue).
MMLLCs must obtain an EIN (IRS Employer Identification Number). The government uses these to identify employers for tax purposes.
Step 6 – Don’t Forget About Annual Reports
North Carolina LLC Operating Agreement Template
This template makes it easy to form your LLC. To avoid costly errors, use this North Carolina LLC operating agreement template:
LLC Operating Agreeement