If you want to apply for a business loan or carry out business in another state, you’ll likely need a North Carolina Certificate of Existence (COE). It’s also known as a Certificate of Good Standing/Certificate of Status/Certificate of Compliance depending on which state you’re in. This document is a way to prove your business complies with state law. Here’s what it shows and how you can get one.
A North Carolina Certificate of Existence is a document that confirms your business is legally registered in the state and that you’re permitted to do business there.
For companies in North Carolina, the North Carolina Secretary of State issues the COE.
A COE confirms that the business is in existence and is in compliance with state requirements. General compliance requirements include filing annual reports and paying franchise taxes.
A North Carolina COE contains the following information:
For a North Carolina domestic (in-state) entity:
For a North Carolina foreign (out-of-state) entity (incorporated outside North Carolina):
Although it isn’t a legal requirement to have a COE to be in compliance, you may need one if you want to do any of the following:
You can get a COE if your company is a registered state entity, such as one of the following:
Some entities aren’t required to register with the state and can’t get a COE:
If you’ve decided you need to get a North Carolina COE, there are a few steps you need to take to get one.
The first step is to make sure that your business is in fact in compliance with the state laws, such as paying relevant taxes and filing annual reports. To check your status, you can search for your business on the Secretary of State website. If your status is Current-Active, this indicates that your business is in good legal standing. On the same page, you’ll also find a link to do your annual report filing if you need to.
In North Carolina you have lots of different options to get your COE:
If you think you might need a COE, check that it’s the type of certificate that you need for what you’re trying to do, and be sure that it will be valid when you need it. Although they don’t have an expiration date, some requesters may ask that you have received your certificate within the last 90 days.
When you’ve got your certificate, you can send it on to the requesting party. This could be the bank if you’re trying to open a business bank account, for example.
Compliance may not be simple to keep up with, especially when considering all the other aspects that make a business go round. At ZenBusiness, we understand that your business needs don’t stop after the business has been registered. ZenBusiness can keep you in good standing with our worry free compliance service. With this service, we not only help keep your business in compliance, but we can also secure a North Carolina Certificate of Existence for you if you need one; you just pay the state fees. And, if you don’t have worry-free compliance but still need a COE, our Certificate of Good Standing service can help.
The cost of a Certificate of Existence is $12 for online processing and $15 for normal processing.
If you apply for your certificate through the website, you can print it immediately. If you apply in person, you’ll have to wait for the processing of the certificate. If you apply by any other method the processing usually takes three to four days plus mailing time.
No, expedited processing isn’t available, but online processing is immediate.
To stay compliant with North Carolina laws, businesses aren’t required to have a COE, but you’ll need one if you’d like to carry out business in another state or do certain other tasks.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
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