Welcome to the homepage built for those looking to start a business in the state of North Carolina. Within our many tutorials, you will be able to educate yourself on the various filings and functions available and take advantage of the step-by-step guides designed to clarify each individual registration process. This particular page should serve only as a general overview of what you can expect when navigating through the Secretary of State website and we urge you to meander through the links found on this page to get a more detailed look at each particular step necessary for doing business in this state. As there is no online filing procedure, you will be required to download the PDF (all of which are available on our site) and submit the filing through the mail or file by uploading it onto the government website. All this and more has been detailed below.
Start an Entity
Search for a Name
The process of searching for a name can be executed by performing a Business Entity Search on the Secretary of State website. This can be useful if you’d like to purchase a Certificate of Good Standing/Existence, gain insight into the detailed filing history of any business on file with the state or utilized to research the availability of your chosen business name prior to registration. This last option is perhaps the most important of the three as it is required that all companies, corporations and partnerships operating in North Carolina do so under a name which is completely unique to their entity alone.
North Carolina Online Registration
As previously mentioned, there is no way of registering your business online in the sense that you will not be able to fill out the registration forms using the government online portal. However, there are a few functions that you will be able to perform on the site that involve logging into an online account. Namely this will include the purchasing of a Certificate of Good Standing, the filing of an annual report and the uploading of the registration documents. The account can be secured for free in just a few easy steps relayed in our tutorial here.
How to Register in North Carolina
Step 1– The first step in filing, which we’ve spoken about already, is the name availability search made possible through the Business Entity Search tool on the Secretary of State website. This will ensure that your filing isn’t rejected on the grounds that your company name is indistinguishable from that of another business entity. This function however does not guarantee acceptance but only gives an indication of a name’s availability. You may also choose to conduct a Name Reservation filing prior to registration if you don’t plan on submitting your documents in the near future. This will last for a period of 120 days and cost a total of $30.
Step 2– Once you’ve got your name locked down, you will be able to download the PDF of your formation/registration documents. All of these forms are available on our site by clicking on the link below which associates with the entity type you plan on forming.
- Domestic Professional Corporation
- Domestic Profit Corporation
- Domestic Non-Profit Corporation
- Foreign Professional Corporation
- Foreign Profit Corporation
- Foreign Non-Profit Corporation
- Domestic Standard Limited Liability Company
- Domestic Professional Limited Liability Company
- Foreign Standard Limited Liability Company
- Foreign Professional Limited Liability Company
- Domestic Limited Partnership
- Domestic Limited Liability Partnership
- Domestic Limited Liability Limited Partnership
- Foreign Limited Partnership
- Foreign Limited Liability Partnership
- Foreign Limited Liability Limited Partnership
Step 3– Once you’ve completed the forms, printed them off an provided all the requisite signatures, you will be able to consolidate all necessary certificates and forms. This will mean a certificate of good standing/existence in the case of most foreign businesses as well as certification from whatever licensing board is associated with your entity type if you represent a professional LLC or corporation.
Step 4– Attach, finally, the filing fee in the form of a check made out to the Secretary of State if filing by mail. Once all documents have been gathered and the fee has been submitted, you will be able to send the documents to the below address. You may also choose to upload the files, using your online account and your credit card, ACH account or e-Check to pay the filing fees. A list of all filing fees can be found below for your convenience.
PO Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27626-0622
- Domestic Professional Corporation- $125
- Domestic Profit Corporation- $125
- Domestic Non-profit Corporation- $60
- Foreign Professional Corporation- $250
- Foreign Profit Corporation- $250
- Foreign Non-profit Corporation- $125
Limited Liability Company
- Domestic Standard Limited Liability Company- $125
- Domestic Professional Limited Liability Company- $125
- Foreign Standard Limited Liability Company- $125
- Foreign Professional Limited Liability Company- $125
- Domestic Limited Partnership- $50
- Domestic Limited Liability Partnership- $125
- Domestic Limited Liability Limited Partnership- $125
- Foreign Limited Partnership- $50
- Foreign Limited Liability Partnership- $125
- Foreign Limited Liability Limited Partnership- $125
The processing for reserving your name is just as simple as that of registering your business. You will simply need to download the forms associated with the particular filing, provide a check for $30 made out to the Secretary of State, and submit your filing through the mail to be reviewed by the government offices. In doing so, providing that the name you’re trying to reserve is available, you will be effectively reserving it for a period of 120 days. This will give you a window in which you can consolidate all documents needed to file as well as set up your registered agent, find a principle office address and the like.
Certificate of Existence
If you plan on filing with a foreign Secretary of State, or you wish to take out a large business loan, theres a distinct possibility that the authorities involved will require that you provide a certificate of existence. This will then prove that you indeed exist in the state of North Carolina and that you are up-to-date with all requisite filings and fees. You will be required to have an online account with the Secretary of State website if you plan on requesting and purchasing a certificate online. The filing fee for this document amounts to a total of $15, payable online by e-Check, ACH account or credit card.
LIke in most states, there is no legislation in North Carolina which states that those filing corporations, LLCs or partnerships are required to draft a binding agreement to delineate the rules and regulations of the business. That being said, it will serve as the only legal proof of such provisions as well as clarify the roles of each managing member within the business. For this reason it is a highly recommended step in the formation process for any business entity, no matter how small the business intends to be. To learn more, and to gain access to our free templates available in both Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF, click on the links below which correspond with your entity type.
Employer Identification Number
When starting a new business, you may be required to apply for an Employer Identification Number. This will allow the Internal Revenue Service to view your entity as legitimate and tax-paying. Once obtained, you will be able to hire employees, open bank accounts, file for large business loans and otherwise commit to all types of financial undertaking while using your company name. Please review the application process by reading our online tutorial linked here. You will find that filers can apply both Online and through the mail with the submission of the Form SS-4.