Welcome to the Start a Business webpage designed specifically with the purpose of educating prospective incorporators of the North Carolinian filing system. Within this page you will be able to review the general filing process for professional, non-profit and profit corporations whether you plan on starting a new, domestic entity or if you’re registering a pre-existing foreign business. By clicking on the tutorials linked throughout this page, you will be able to find out the exact filing requirements for each as well as download the requisite registration forms. As there is no online filing system in which to register, this process of downloading the PDF will be a necessary step.

How to File

Step 1- The first step we always recommend is the use of the Business Entity Search function on the Secretary of State website. This will allow you to cross check the name database and in turn figure out whether or not your proposed business name is indeed available in this state. Filers may also choose to submit a Name Reservation form, putting a hold on their business name for a period of 120 days for the price of $30.

Step 2- Once you’ve secured your business name, you will be able to download and fill out the registration form associated with your business type. Below, you will find the exact filing requirements for each entity by clicking on the tutorial which corresponds to the corporation you plan on forming/registering.

Step 3- This is the point in which you must consolidate all other items required to file with the state. This will mean certificates of good standing for foreign entities, certification from the appropriate licensing board if filing as a professional entity and the filing fee associated with your entity type (listed at top of the page). Send all items to the Secretary of State by mail or by uploading the PDF to the online portal. More information on the latter of these two processes in the tutorials linked on this page.

Corporations Division

PO Box 29622

Raleigh, NC 27626-0622


EIN– When forming a new corporation, it will be necessary to apply for an Employer Identification Number once correspondence has been received from the Secretary of State acknowledging acceptance of the filing forms. This will allow the federal government to view you as legitimate and will in turn allow you to hire employees, file taxes, apply for business loans and otherwise perform any financial transaction with the use of the company name. Filers my apply Online or by downloading the Form SS-4. The application process of both methods has been relayed in the link at the heading of this paragraph.

Corporate Bylaws–  If you don’t currently operate with the use of a set of corporate bylaws, you may wish to take a look at the free template we have linked in the heading of this paragraph. This link will allow you to download the form in both MS Word and Adobe PDF formats and submit the requisite information before having each applicable member sign it to confirm compliance. Essentially this binding agreement is used solely to delineate each officer’s, director’s and shareholder’s role in the corporation to clarify their relationship to the business. You should have your attorney review the document before you implement it into your business structure.

Renewal– The renewal process is fairly standard in the state of North Carolina. You will be required to file an annual report which will update the Secretary of State of any major changes in the principle office address, registered agent information and the like. It is only profit corporations which are required to file and they can do so online using their online account and the business entity search function. The fee associated with this filing is $20, payable by credit card, ACH account or e-Check. If you’d prefer to submit your filing through the mail, you will be required to send it to the below address with the filing fee attached. Your annual report is due on the 15th day of the fourth month following your initial filing with the office of the Secretary of State.

Annual Report Section

PO Box 29525 Raleigh,

NC 27626-0525

How to (Video)