Start a Business in North Carolina

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Your specialist works with you 1-on-1 to form your LLC, corporation, or other business structure. We prepare and file most formations in just one business day!

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This guide on starting your business in North Carolina provides step-by-step instructions on the paperwork to file formation documents, obtain tax IDs, and set up company records.

how to start a business

Step-By-Step Startup

Below is an overview of the paperwork, cost, and time to form each of the most popular business structures. Simply click on the link for your desired structure to view detailed step-by-step instructions.

  • If you have not decided whether you want to form an LLC, corporation, or other business structure, click here.
  • If wish to form your business in a different state than North Carolina, click here.
Structure Paperwork Cost Time

North Carolina Limited Liability Company

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  • Form BE-01: Cover Sheet for Corporate Filings
  • Form L-01: Limited Liability Company Articles of Organization
  • Operating Agreement
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form NC-BR: Business Registration Application for Income Tax Withholding, Sales and Use Tax, and Machinery and Equipment Tax
  • Formation: $125 + optional $100-200 expedite fee
  • Formation: ~5-7 business days. 24 hours for $100 expedite fee. Same day for $200 expedite fee (submit by noon).

North Carolina Corporation

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  • Form B-01: Articles of Incorporation for Business
  • Form BE-01: Cover Sheet for Corporate Filings
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form 2553: S-Corp Election, if desired
  • Form NC-BR: Business Registration Application for Income Tax Withholding, Sales and Use Tax, and Machinery and Equipment Tax
  • Incorporation: $125 + optional $100-$200 expedite fee
  • Incorporation: ~5-7 business days. 24 hours for $100 expedite fee. Same day for $200 expedite fee (submit by noon).

North Carolina Nonprofit

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  • Form N-01: Articles of Incorporation for Nonprofit
  • Form N-14: Tax Exempt Status Information
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Apply for EIN
  • IRS Form 1023: Application for 501(c)(3) Exemption
  • IRS Determination Letter
  • Form NC-BR: Business Registration Application for Income Tax Withholding, Sales and Use Tax, and Machinery and Equipment Tax, if applicable
  • Form CD-345: Corporate Franchise and Income Tax Questionnaire for Nonprofits
  • NC Solicitation License Application - Charitable or Sponsor Organization, if required
  • Incorporation: $60 + optional $100-200 expedite fee
  • 501(c): $275 or $600 IRS fee
  • North Carolina charitable registration: $0-$200 depending on gross contributions ($0 if exempt)
  • Incorporation: ~5-7 business days. 24 hours for $100 expedite fee. Same day for $200 expedite fee (submit by noon).
  • 501(c): 2 weeks to 3 months

Top 5 Tips on Registering a Business in North Carolina

  1. Your LLC or corporation business name must include one of the required corporate designators.
  2. If you're in a hurry, the NC Secretary of State will expedite your formation within 24 hours for a $100 expedite fee.
  3. The NC Secretary of State automatically notifies the NC Department of Revenue of your formation. The Department of Revenue send you a six-part questionnaire (Form CD-345) to be used for determination of tax status in regards to corporate and franchise taxes.
  4. Appointing a registered agent is required. This can be an unexpected but necessary expense for business owners who do not keep regular hours at a physical address within the state.
  5. Corporations and LLCs must file an annual report with the North Carolina Secretary of State. The fee for an LLC is $200 whereas a corporation only pays $25. Nonprofit corporations need not file.

Incorporation Service

Your specialist works with you 1-on-1 to form your LLC, corporation, or other business structure. We prepare and file most formations in just one business day!

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