Breakdown of North Carolina LLC Costs in 2024 - How to Start my LLC

How Much Does It Cost to Start an LLC in North Carolina?

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Carolyn Young has over 25 years of experience in business in various roles, including bank management, marketing management, and business education.

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How Much Does It Cost to Start an LLC in North Carolina?

How Much Does It Cost to Start an LLC in North Carolina?

If you’re starting a business in North Carolina, you may consider forming a limited liability company (LLC). Before diving in, you should know that this comes with costs. 

To prepare you, this handy guide details all you need to know about launching an LLC in North Carolina.

North Carolina LLC Costs 

Name Reservation Fee$30
LLC Registration Fee$125
Business License FeesVary by localities and type of business
Assumed Business Name Fee$26
Annual Report Fee$200

Name Reservation Fee

One of your first decisions will be what to name your LLC. Once you’ve chosen the perfect name, you can reserve it with the state until you’re ready to form your LLC officially.

To do so, first, make sure the name is available. Here’s how:

1. Check for availability in North Carolina

To ensure the business name is available, go to the Secretary of State’s business search and enter the names you like and similar names. You don’t want a business name that can be easily confused with other businesses in North Carolina.

2. Check North Carolina LLC name regulations

In North Carolina, your LLC name must contain the words “limited liability company” or abbreviation “LLC” in some form and cannot imply that the LLC is organized for anything but its intended purpose.

3. Check Trademarks

It’s a good idea to ensure the name has not been trademarked. Check with the US Patent and Trademark Office to ensure the name is available nationally. 

4. Check domain name availability

You’ll want to ensure the domain name is available. You can check at a site like and use .com or .org, as those give your business more credibility.

5. Google it

Do a Google search to ensure the name is not being used in the U.S. or internationally. This is particularly important if you plan to have a strong online presence for your business.  

Once you’ve done your due diligence and know your preferred business name is available, you can reserve the name by filing a name reservation form with the Secretary of State.

The fee is $30, and the name will be held for 120 days.

Cost to Register Your LLC in North Carolina

To officially form your LLC, you’ll file articles of organization by visiting the Secretary of State. You’ll need the following information:

  • Your LLC’s name
  • The name, address, and email address of your registered agent
  • The address of your principal office (if you have one)
  • The name and address of one organizer

In North Carolina, the fee is $125, and your LLC should be approved in five to seven business days.

Business Licenses and Permits

Your LLC may also need to obtain licenses and permits at the federal, state, and local levels. These, of course, come with varying fees. 

At the federal level, licenses and permits are generally industry-specific and may include health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  

You may need a general business license to operate at the state level. If you sell tangible goods or services subject to sales tax, you’ll need a sales tax license, also known as a seller’s permit. 

Check the SBA guide for specific licenses required for your business. Here are some standard licenses and permits you may need:

  • Industry-specific licenses for certain professions and industries such as construction, plumbing, electrical, childcare, food handling, liquor, architecture, and finance
  • Building and zoning permits
  • Doing business as (DBA) permit if you’re doing business using a name other than your LLC name
  • Health licenses and permits at federal, state, and local levels
  • Fire permits
  • Sign permits

This is a significant step in the LLC formation process, so make sure to check with your state and local government offices to find out all the licenses and permits that you need and their costs. You could face steep fines and penalties if you operate without the proper licenses and permits.

If you need help, it’s a good idea to consult with a business attorney to ensure you’re in full compliance. You can also use a service like MyCorporation to do the research and provide you with all the forms you need to license your business. 

Assumed Business Name

If you plan to do business under a name that is not your LLC, you’ll need to register an assumed business name. In most states, this is called a “doing business as,” or DBA, name. 

To do so, you’ll fill out the assumed business name certificate and file it with your local county register of deeds.

The cost to register a DBA in North Carolina is $26.

Annual Reports

In North Carolina, your LLC must file an annual report to verify your business information and confirm you’re still doing business.

The report can be filed with the Secretary of State for $200.

In Closing

Starting an LLC in North Carolina is instead a complicated process that includes a handful of fees. There are several hoops to jump through, but the benefits of ensuring your LLC is properly registered, and fully compliant are huge, while the alternative risks significant penalties. 

LLC formation can be daunting, so many entrepreneurs prefer a professional service like ZenBusiness. This ensures the process is done correctly, saving time and giving you peace of mind.