North Carolina Filing Fees

What are the Business Filing Fees in North Carolina?

Starting a business in North Carolina means paying a variety of government filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones here so that you’ll know what to expect.

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To form a statutory business entity such as a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation in North Carolina, you must first file the right paperwork and pay the right fees. But maintaining compliance with the state moving forward means there are other North Carolina filing fees you’ll have to pay throughout the life of your business. If you need to create your business, we can help with our LLC Formation Service or Corporation Formation Service.

Not sure whether your business will have to pay filing fees or where to begin? Don’t worry, we are here to help. We’ll talk you through what kinds of filing fees you might encounter as a North Carolina small business owner, and how our formation and compliances services can make the process much easier.

Step 1: Pay your North Carolina business’s initial filing fees

One of the first fees most businesses need to pay is the filing fee to register your business. This is what makes your business official and allows you to legally conduct operations within the state. In North Carolina, you pay your business formation fees to the North Carolina Secretary of State. 

Processing times for business filings can vary from days to weeks. However, for faster turnaround time, you may select either 24-hour or same business day expedited filing for an additional fee. 

In a hurry? Use our Expedited Filing Service for quick and efficient processing of your North Carolina business filings. 

Step 2: Reserve your North Carolina business’s name 

One of the first decisions many people make for their business is selecting a name. Sometimes, however, you may find that your preferred business name is already taken by another entity. 

To help prevent this from happening, you might consider reserving your ideal business name. In North Carolina, you can do this by filing an Application to Reserve a Business Entity Name. For a small fee, this allows you to reserve a business entity name for a nonrenewable period of 120 days. 

Need assistance with the entity name reservation process? Use our Name Reservation Service to help you get started.

Step 3: Reserve a “doing business as” name in North Carolina 

In some cases, you may want to conduct business under a different name than the one you have officially registered with the state. This is referred to as a “doing business as” (DBA) or fictitious name in some states. In North Carolina, this is called an “assumed name.” 

If you intend to conduct business under an assumed name in North Carolina, make sure to register with the state. Also, it’s important to note that any changes to a business’s assumed name filings must be updated with the state within 60 days of any such change. 

Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number

Your business may also want to consider obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This EIN operates as a federal tax identification number for the business entity and may be necessary to partake in important business activities such as:

  • Filing taxes
  • Applying for loans
  • Opening bank accounts
  • Hiring employees

Although you can obtain an EIN yourself from the IRS, you can use our EIN Number Service and have us do it for you.  

Step 5: Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or a partnership agreement for your North Carolina business

Some businesses may choose to file a copy of their operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or a partnership agreement with the state. Operating agreements, corporate bylaws, and partnership agreements are important foundational documents for LLCs, corporations, and partnerships, respectively. 

These documents outline important aspects of a business like management structure, voting rules, and internal dispute resolution processes. Thus, while North Carolina businesses aren’t required to draft these documents, it’s typically recommended to do so.

If you need assistance with drafting an operating agreement, our LLC operating agreement template provides a great foundation. From there, you can adjust the standard format to fit the particular needs of your business. 

Step 6: Apply for your North Carolina business’s necessary licenses and permits

Additionally, your business may need to obtain various permits or licenses to legally operate within the state. In most cases, obtaining these licenses requires you to pay fees. Then, you’ll also have to pay subsequent North Carolina filing fees whenever these licenses need to be renewed. 

While North Carolina doesn’t have any single general business license, there may be others your business will have to acquire. In fact, there are over 700 regulatory, state-issued and occupational licenses and permits. There may also be local licensing requirements depending on the county or municipality in which your business operates. 

With so many licenses and permits to keep up with, it can be overwhelming to determine which ones you may need for your business. If you don’t want to do the research and legwork on your own, you can use our Business License Service to help you find what licenses you may need. 

Step 7: Pay registration fees for out-of-state businesses

In North Carolina, a foreign business entity must obtain a Certificate of Authority and pay a fee to conduct business within the state. Additionally, foreign businesses must apply for and obtain a Certificate of Existence from their state or country of formation. This Certificate of Existence, also called a Certificate of Good Standing in other states, certifies to the State of North Carolina that the business entity was properly formed in another jurisdiction. 

Step 8: Check North Carolina’s annual report requirements and fees

North Carolina businesses are also subject to annual reporting requirements. Accordingly, you’ll have to file an annual report each year and pay the requisite filing fee to keep the state up to date on important information about your business. 

Just because you have to file an annual report, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s quick or easy. 

Let us help you stay up to date with your annual report filing requirements and take this tedious, time-consuming task off your plate. 

Step 9: Keep your North Carolina business legally compliant

No matter what type of business you run, there’s always a chance that changes will come up. When changes do arise in the course of running your North Carolina business, make sure to file any necessary amendments to update the state accordingly.  

Keeping your business legally compliant is vital to the success of your business and can help prevent costly penalties later on. Not sure how to make requisite changes to your business? Use our Amendment Service or Worry-Free Compliance Service, which includes two amendments each year, to help keep your business up to date and compliant.

Stay up to date with your North Carolina business filing fees today

We’re here to help you with all of your North Carolina business’s needs with compliance tools like our Worry-Free Compliance Service. Let us help you keep your business up to date and legally compliant with North Carolina law today. 

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.

FAQs

  • Are there penalties for paying my fees late in North Carolina?

    Yes, your business may be subject to certain penalties, including interest and late payment fees, if it fails to timely submit filings and North Carolina filing fees.

  • What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the North Carolina government?

    Failure to pay required fees on time can result in late fees and even dissolution of your business altogether.

  • Who receives the fees for forming my North Carolina business?

    All businesses must pay their fees to the North Carolina Secretary of State Business Registration Division.

  • What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my North Carolina business?

    Filing fees vary significantly depending on the type of filing. However, expedited processing fees are usually some of the more expensive fees you’ll have to pay.

  • What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the North Carolina government?

    North Carolina only accepts filing fee payments by cash, check, or money order if paid in person. They accept ACH and credit card payments if paid online.

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