How Much Does an LLC Cost in North Carolina (Fees Explained)

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: October 23, 2023
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Forming a Limited Liability Company in North Carolina involves more than filing the necessary paperwork; however, it doesn't have to be as costly as you may assume.

To make your life easier, we spent weeks researching and comparing the costs of essential needs to create a North Carolina LLC. With our findings, you can save precious time and money.

This article will give you a comprehensive breakdown of the North Carolina LLC cost details.

Quick Summary

  • The $128 fee for submitting your Articles of Organization to the North Carolina Secretary of State's office is the price to begin an LLC in North Carolina.
  • Besides paying the necessary filing fee, LLCs must also submit an annual report to the Secretary of State.
  • In addition to the two main costs, you'll need to budget for state and local licenses, business insurance coverage, and the potential of employing a registered-agent service.

How Much Does An LLC Cost In North Carolina?

Businessman reading a contract

An LLC in North Carolina costs $128 to file with the North Carolina Secretary of State.

You may also need to add legal and professional fees if you hire an attorney or another professional.

Let us delve into the details of the North Carolina LLC fees, such as the filing fee, annual report fees, business license fee, registered agent services fee, and all associated costs  [1].

North Carolina LLC Formation Filing Fee

To officially create your NC LLC, you must file and pay a filing fee of $128 for your Articles of Organization.

You can submit these via the North Carolina Secretary of State website, mail them in, or visit the office in person [2].

North Carolina Registered Agent Service Fee

Showing a document to a business person

North Carolina has specific regulations for their registered agents as outlined in N.C. Gen Stat § 55D-304 [3]. Your appointed North Carolina registered agent must have the following:

  • A physical address of the registered agent within the state
  • Must be available during regular business hours to accept legal mail on behalf of your LLC
  • The registered agent must be a North Carolina resident

Suppose you are willing and able to be present during normal business hours all year, plus disclose your name and physical address to the public. In that case, you can become your own registered agent.

North Carolina State Business License Fee

The North Carolina Department of Revenue requires all businesses operating in the state to acquire a Certificate of Registration, which functions as an official license to collect sales tax. 

This service is free of charge, and there are two simple ways to apply: online or by mail.

Registering online with the NC DOR only takes moments; alternatively, you can print out a Business Registration (NC-BR) application, fill it out and post it in Raleigh for processing [4].

Other LLC Filing Costs

Calculating the costs of other filing

Here's an overview of some of the other costs associated with forming a Limited Liability Company in North Carolina:

1. Name Reservation

When setting up North Carolina LLCs, you can secure a business name for just $30. This reservation is valid for 120 days and requires submitting an Application To Reserve A Business Entity Name to the Secretary of State [7]. You can easily submit it online with a small $2 electronic transaction fee.

To determine whether a name is available, it is advisable to look up a North Carolina LLC before reserving it.

Learn how to change an LLC name in North Carolina, if you have to.

2. LLC EIN Number Fee

Using a calculator for an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), commonly called an EIN, serves various functions.

This code is necessary for business-related activities, from filing business income taxes and establishing LLC bank accounts to hiring employees.

Obtaining an EIN for your LLC doesn't have to cost you a dime. Thanks to the Internal Revenue Service, filing online is free and only takes minutes!

Don't let websites charge you service fees when you can get it done without hassle—for no cost.

3. DBA (Doing Business As) Name


The term "assumed business names" (DBAs) is used in North Carolina.

DBA is sometimes called a Trade Name, Fictitious Name, Assumed Name, or Fictitious Business Name.

These assumed business names must be registered in the same county where your LLC operates.

Not to worry though - no matter which county you are registering it in, each registration fee remains at $26.

Ensure you also check both the Assumed Business Name and Business Registration databases before proceeding with any filings; this way, you can guarantee that nobody has already taken hold of your desired name.

4. Certified Copies Of Business Documents

Getting a folder document of business

LLC owners may need or desire certified documents of essential papers they have registered with the state.

The great news is that you can order these records online in North Carolina, and they are processed immediately for a fee of $12 per document plus an additional charge of $1 per page.

If sent by mail, it will take up to five days for processing after receipt at $15 for each document and a further expense of one dollar per page.

5. North Carolina Certificate Of Good Standing

As your North Carolina LLC grows, there may come a time when you need to demonstrate that it is compliant with all state regulations and fees.

In this case, obtaining a Certificate of Good Standing (also referred to in N.C. as a Certificate of Existence) can be immensely helpful.

These documents are simple enough to get online for just $12 - typically take under 24 hours once requested - or through mail submission at $15 but require up to seven days until processing.

6. LLC Operating Agreement

Shaking hands for an agreement and payments

Although North Carolina LLCs are not obligated to possess a limited liability company operating agreement if your LLC has multiple members, it is prudent to have one in place.

This agreement would guarantee that all parties are aware of the expectations and rights of each member.

An Operating Agreement for any LLC based in North Carolina is an essential document that outlines its ownership, management, and distribution of profits among all stakeholders.

In essence, it serves as a binding contract between members within the company.

Save time and money by writing your own Operating Agreement for a sole proprietorship or Multi-Member LLC. You should keep the operating agreement in your business records and provide each member with their own copy.

Whereas other websites charge up to $200 for such an agreement, you can beat this price simply by crafting it on your own.

7. North Carolina Business Insurance Premiums

Consider budgeting for workers' compensation insurance if your LLC has at least three full-time employees. Of course, this rule has some exemptions, such as independent contractors, LLC members, and seasonal staff working full-time.

And if your business operates in an industry that could be considered hazardous - like roofing or tree trimming - then investing in workers' comp is especially important.

8. Taxes

Calculator with tax note

The wide range of North Carolina LLC taxes that a business owner must be responsible for results in a yearly cost variance.

LLC owners must pay taxes on the following:

  • Federal taxes
  • State income tax
  • Local income tax
  • Business taxes
  • Self-employment taxes
  • Sales and use tax
  • Payroll tax (if you have employees)
  • Property tax (if the LLC owns the property)

Your North Carolina LLC taxes will vary depending on your sector and the amount of business activity, so it is impossible to give you an exact figure. Each enterprise has its own specific situation that dictates what taxes are applicable.

The amount of tax your LLC pays hinges entirely on how much revenue your company generates.

Related articles:


Are There Penalties For Paying My Fees Late In North Carolina?

Yes, there are penalties for paying your fees late in North Carolina. You can fall out of good standing and be subject to a $200 fine if your LLC is eight days late. The state may also administratively dissolve the LLC, and you must re-register it with the state.

How Do I Register An LLC In North Carolina?

To register an LLC in North Carolina, you can visit the North Carolina Secretary of State website and complete the online registration form. You must provide information on your LLC, including its name, address, purpose, and members/managers.

How Much Does It Cost To Register A Foreign LLC In North Carolina?

It costs $225 to register a foreign LLC in North Carolina. To become a North Carolina foreign LLC, submit your Application for Certificate of Authority to the North Carolina Secretary of State and pay a $250 filing fee ($3 if chosen online). You must obtain a North Carolina Certificate of Registration and any relevant professional or local business licenses required to run your venture.

Do You Need Professional Help with Your North Carolina LLC?

Forming an LLC in North Carolina requires various fees, documentation, and taxes. Consider professional help to ensure all necessary steps are completed correctly, depending on your situation.

A qualified attorney can guide the LLC formation process and provide ongoing advice. They can also guide the various business regulations in North Carolina to keep your LLC compliant with North Carolina Law.

To help you handle this process quickly and successfully, we have made a roundup of the best LLC services in North Carolina.



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