Many North Carolina entrepreneurs choose to form a limited liability company (LLC) because of the many benefits of this business entity type. An LLC provides liability protection, for instance, so your assets are not at risk if your business is sued or cannot pay debts.
An LLC is a “pass-through entity” for tax purposes, meaning that the LLC itself is not taxed. Instead, income passes through the business to the LLC owners or members, who report it on their tax returns. LLCs also offer flexibility in terms of management and taxation.
Creating an LLC is relatively straightforward, but ensuring it’s done correctly is crucial to getting your North Carolina business off on the right foot. The most critical step is filing articles of organization.
What Are Articles of Organization for an LLC?
The articles of organization is a legal document filed with North Carolina’s Secretary of State to form an LLC officially. It will include your business name, address, registered agent information, and more, as detailed below.
First, Select a Registered Agent for Your North Carolina LLC
North Carolina requires LLCs to appoint a registered agent, a person or company authorized to accept and respond to official business correspondence, such as legal, tax, or financial documents.
The registered agent ensures all required notices and documents are received. In North Carolina, the registered agent can be an LLC member, individual, or entity that meets state requirements. In North Carolina, a registered agent must:
- Be 18 years or older
- Have a physical address in the state
- Be available during regular business hours
- Be registered to operate in the state, if it’s a business
Many business owners hire a registered agent service to ensure their LLC stays fully compliant and for convenience.
If you choose to be your registered agent, you must be at your registered agent’s address for all business hours. A registered agent service allows you to be wherever you need to be to run and grow your business.
How to Submit Articles of Organization in North Carolina
To start, visit the Secretary of State’s website and create an account to access the articles of organization online.
In North Carolina, the articles of organization require the following information:
- LLC name
- Principal office address
- Registered agent information
- Registered office address
- Organizer name and address
After you create your account, log in and select “Register Your Business Online” from the homepage. You’ll begin by choosing a limited liability company from the drop-down menu and entering your business name. Then, if it’s available, you’ll proceed through the rest of the form.
Next, you’ll be prompted to enter the rest of the necessary information. Once all steps are complete, you’ll have the opportunity to review your entries before confirming and moving to the payment screen.
The filing fee is $125. You should receive confirmation in seven to ten days if you file online. You can also submit a paper form if you wish to file by mail. Turnaround time is up to three weeks.
Some entrepreneurs hire an LLC formation service like ZenBusiness to handle this step, saving time and ensuring the process is done correctly.
Draft an Operating Agreement
North Carolina does not require an operating agreement, but it’s a crucial document that defines members’ ownership percentages and profit allocations. Those are the two key elements, but it should also include the following:
- Each member’s rights and responsibilities
- Management structure and roles
- Voting rights of each member
- Rules for meetings and voting
- What happens when a member sells their interest, becomes disabled, or dies
You can find operating agreement templates online, but it’s best to have them drawn up or reviewed by an attorney. The language of an operating agreement is crucial and can often help determine how member disputes will be resolved. Here you can obtain a free operating agreement template for your North Carolina LLC.
Contact Information for the North Carolina Secretary of State
North Carolina Secretary of State Website
2 South Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
PO Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27626-0622
There’s only one way to create an LLC in North Carolina: successfully filing articles of organization. If you make any mistakes, you’ll likely have to refile, so be sure to do it right the first time and set your business up for serious success!