1. Name your LLC
This is the first and most important step in starting your LLC. Do some research to make sure the name you choose is suited to your business venture and is easily searchable for potential clients.
- Follow the naming guidelines: Your entity name must contain the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviation L.L.C. or LLC. Restricted words require additional paperwork (e.g. Banc, Bank, Banque, etc) and/or licensed individuals (e.g. Doctor, Engineer, etc). to be part of the LLC. Prohibited words are those that would confuse the name of your LLC with a federal or state agency e.g. FBI, Secret Service, Treasury etc.
- Is the name available? Make sure the name isn't already taken by doing a name search on the North Carolina website.
- Is the URL available? Check to see if the name of your LLC is available so that you can reserve your domain name. Even if you don't plan to make a website today, you may want to buy the domain name in order to prevent others from acquiring it.
An email address is also something to consider when choosing a name. Get a professional email (@yourcompany.com) with Google apps. Also get access to the top business tools, cloud storage, and business-grade security. - Try it for free
2. Choose a Registered Agent
You must nominate a Registered Agent for your LLC in North Carolina
What is a Registered Agent? A registered agent is a person or business nominated by your company to officially receive and send papers on your behalf including annual state filings.
Who can be a Registered Agent? The registered agent must be a resident of North Carolina or a corporation authorized to transact business in North Carolina. You may elect an individual within the company including yourself.
Click here to find out why you may want to use a registered agent service.
Recommended: This registered agent service provides a great package.
3. File the Articles of Organization
How to register your LLC with the State of North Carolina
File the Articles of Organization for a Domestic LLC.
File Online by registering for an account with North Carolina SOS: Begin Online Application
- or -
Download the PDF: Articles of Organization - Domestic North Carolina LLC
Select the 1st PDF, you will then be prompted to download it
Fee: Nonrefundable $125, made payable to "N.C. Secretary of State".
Follow the instructions on the PDF.
Important: If you're expanding your existing LLC to North Carolina you are forming a Foreign LLC. Learn how.
4. Create an Operating Agreement
What is an Operating Agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of your LLC. This agreement allows you to form financial/working relationships with co-owners into an established system suitable to your business. It is not required to form an LLC in North Carolina, but is good practice to have one.
Recommended: We provide a free operating agreement however we recommend getting one professional drafted by a lawyer, especially if you are starting a multi-member LLC.
Further Requirements After LLC Formation
1. Obtain an EIN
What is an EIN? The Employer Identification Number (EIN), or Federal Tax Identification Number, is used to identify a business entity. It is essentially a social security number for the company.
Why do I need an EIN? An EIN is required for the following:
- To open a bank account for the company
- For federal and state tax purposes
- To hire employees for the company
Where do I get an EIN? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after they form their business. This can be done by one of two ways:
2. Register for State Tax
Do I need to register for State taxes? You will need to register for State taxes if:
- you have employees
- you are selling a physical product that requires sales tax within your State
3. Obtain Business Licenses & Permits
Do I need business licenses & permits and how do I obtain them?
To operate your LLC you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.
Find out what types of special licensing you need by doing the following:
- Fill out the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) comprehensive guide. Follow the directions to obtaining the correct licenses and permits.
- Contact your local Chamber of Commerce and ask about local licenses and permits.
The details of business licenses and permits vary from state to state. Make sure you read carefully. Don't be surprised if there are short classes required as well.
Fees for business licenses and permits will vary depending on what sort of license you are seeking to obtain.
4. Hire Employees
Once a business decides to hire employees, they are obligated to adhere to certain legal requirements, such as:
- Ensuring that potential employees are eligible to work in the US
- Reporting employees as a "new hires" to the State
- Providing workers' comp insurance for employees
- Withholding income taxes
- Printing compliance posters and place in conspicuous location
- Ensuring payment of employees in specific increments as required by the state
Learn more about hiring employees for your small business.
5. Get Insurance
What is Workers Compensation Insurance? This form of insurance is required for most businesses with employees, but varies by State. Click here to learn more.
What is General Liability Insurance? This is an important service, but is not required in most States. Click here to learn why.
How much will the right insurance cost you? Click here to find out.
Jump Start Your Business
As a new business there are a lot of services you'll need to get started. Below we have provided a short list of some of the things that will help jump start your business.
- Design your own logo FREE with LogoGarden.com
- Secure the URL for your business and get cheap web hosting with GoDaddy
- Get a professional email (@yourcompany.com), and access to top business apps with Google
- Send beautiful professional-looking emails to your current/potential clients with Constant Contact
- Get practical suggestions you can implement in order to improve marketing, sales, business administration and operations from TRUIC. Click here.