How to Set Up an LLC in North Carolina

by Salvatore Jackson

A limited liability company, or LLC, is a hybrid form of business association that combines the limited liability of a corporation with the pass-through taxation and reduced annual filing requirements of a partnership. A North Carolina LLC can be a highly beneficial method of organizing a new small business in that state. To form an LLC in North Carolina, you must file a document, called an articles of organization, with the North Carolina secretary of state.

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Step 1

Create a name for your LLC. North Carolina law requires that the name must contain one of the following phrases or abbreviations: “limited liability company,” “L.L.C.,” “LLC,” “ltd. liability co.,” “limited liability co.” or “ltd. liability company.” The name of your company must also not be identical to or likely to be confused with the name of a business association previously registered in North Carolina. The secretary of state maintains a free online database of all businesses registered in North Carolina (see Resources).

Step 2

Choose a registered agent and registered office for your LLC. North Carolina law requires you to designate a registered agent and office. A registered agent is the individual or business that, in the event your company is sued or subpoenaed, will receive service of process. A registered office is the business office of the registered agent. If you are a North Carolina resident, you may serve as the registered agent of your company. If you are not a North Carolina resident, or do not wish to have your name and home address associated with your company in a publicly accessible record, you may choose to hire a registered agent service, which is a business that will receive service of process on behalf of your company.

Step 3

Download the articles of organization form. The North Carolina secretary of state will only accept an articles of organization if it is filed on their form (see Resources).

Step 4

Fill out your company’s articles of organization. Provide the name of your LLC. While the default option is perpetual duration, you have the option of indicating a date of dissolution. Provide your name and address, as well as the name and address of any other person executing the articles of organization with you. Provide the address of your LLC’s registered office and the name of the registered agent. Indicate if your company has a principal office, and provide the address of your company’s principal office. Indicate whether your LLC will be managed by members -- individuals with an ownership stake -- or managers -- individuals without an ownership stake. Date and sign the articles of organization.

Step 5

File your company’s articles of organization. As of 2010, the fee is $125. You have the option of paying in person, by fax or mail. If paying in person, include a Cover Sheet for Corporate Filings (see Resources). The secretary of state will accept payment by check or money order made payable to the North Carolina secretary of state.