How Much Does an LLC Cost in North Carolina

Written by: Mary Gerardine

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How Much Does an LLC Cost in North Carolina

The minimum North Carolina LLC Cost is $125, which covers the processing fee for filing your LLC formation document (known as the Articles of Organization).

Having said that, the total cost of forming a North Carolina LLC will depend on several factors, including your personal preferences and business needs.

In our How Much Does an LLC Cost in North Carolina article, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about the different costs associated with launching and maintaining an LLC.

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LLC Cost in North Carolina

In the table below, you can find a summary of the main requirements of forming a North Carolina limited liability company (LLC) and their associated fees.

Articles of Organization$125-$250+
Registered Agent$0-$130+
LLC Name$0-$56
Operating Agreement$0+

North Carolina LLC Filing Fee ($125-$250+)

In order to officially form an LLC, you’ll need to submit specific formation documents with the Secretary of State. For domestic entities this involves filing the Articles of Organization (Form L-01), while foreign entities must submit an Application of Certificate of Authority (Form L-09) instead.

In order to submit one of these formation documents by yourself, you’ll be required to pay one of the following fees:

  • Domestic entities: $125
  • Foreign entities: $250

However, if you choose to use an LLC formation service, the cost will be a little higher as it will include a small service fee in addition to North Carolina’s state filing fee.

The typical cost of forming an LLC can range significantly, but can start from as low as $29, increasing if you decide to purchase any additional offerings.

Note: For more details on the formation process, you can check out our North Carolina LLC Formation guide.

North Carolina Registered Agent ($0+)

As part of the process of filling out your North Carolina LLC Articles of Organization or Certificate of Authority, you’ll be required to appoint a registered agent. This is a person or entity that you must assign to receive tax, legal, and governmental correspondence on behalf of your North Carolina LLC.

While you can act as your own registered agent at no cost, it’s often recommended to hire a professional service so you avoid any potential penalties or legal issues caused by non-compliance with state regulations. This can also be a great way of protecting your personal information.

While the exact North Carolina registered agent fee you’ll be required to pay will depend on the specific provider you choose, this is typically around $130 per year.

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Naming Your North Carolina LLC ($0-$56)

When forming your North Carolina LLC, you’ll be required to pick a suitable name that’s available to use.

While registering a name in itself has no cost, there are two potential costs to be aware of when naming your LLC.

Reserving Name

If you already have a business name in mind but aren’t looking to form an LLC at the moment, you can keep it safe for later by filing an Application to Reserve a Business Entity Name with the North Carolina Secretary of State (either online or by mail).

It will cost $30 to submit this form, which keeps your name safe for 120 days. After this expires, you’ll need to decide whether to renew this reservation (and pay another $30 filing fee) or proceed to create your LLC.

Note: We recommend checking the name you’re hoping to use is actually available, which you can do by performing a Business Entity Search on the North Carolina Secretary of State’s website. 

When choosing a name for your LLC, it’s important to select one that corresponds to an available domain. This is because a matching domain ensures consistency between your LLC’s name and its online presence, which helps to strengthen its brand recognition and credibility.

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Doing Business As (DBA) Name

If you want to operate your North Carolina business under a name other than the one it’s currently legally registered as, you’ll need to obtain a Doing Business As (DBA) name — which is also known as an assumed business name in this state.

In North Carolina, DBA names are registered by filing an Assumed Business Name Certificate with the County Register of Deeds in the area you plan to operate. However, since DBA regulations are administered by the state, all counties will use this form — which costs $26 to submit regardless of your location.

While you’re not obligated by North Carolina law to select a unique DBA name, doing so is recommended as it can avoid confusion among customers and potential legal issues (such as trademark infringement claims) later on.

Note: You can check to see if the DBA name you’re after is already being used by another company in North Carolina by using the state’s Assumed Business Name Database. It costs nothing to perform this search.

North Carolina LLC Operating Agreement ($0+)

While not mandatory, it’s good practice for North Carolina LLCs to have an operating agreement (or “company agreement” as it’s known in North Carolina).

This document defines the roles and responsibilities of the members or managers in your LLC and will help prevent and solve any business disputes that may arise later on.

While you can opt to hire an online service or business attorney to draft this document for you (which typically costs at least a few hundred dollars), it’s actually quite straightforward to do it yourself at no extra cost.

It’s also important to note that this doesn’t actually need to be filed with the North Carolina Secretary of State — it’s purely an internal document.

Additional North Carolina LLC Formation Costs

On top of the more common fees outlined above, there are a number of potential additional formation costs that LLCs in North Carolina may encounter depending on their circumstances.

We’ve summarized some of these additional costs below:

Expedited North Carolina LLC Filing

The New Jersey Secretary of State typically takes between 15 and 18 days to process LLC filings.

However, you can request for your North Carolina business documents to be processed more quickly if you’re willing to pay extra for one of the following expedited filing services:

  • 24 Hour Processing: $100
  • Same Day Processing: $200 (must be received by 12 p.m.)

Note: The fees for expedited filing are identical regardless of whether you’re filing as a North Carolina foreign LLC or domestic LLC.

Local Business Licenses

In order to comply with the local-level regulations of your city and county, your business may be required to obtain some local business licenses. While very few municipalities impose a general licensing requirement for businesses operating within their limits, your LLC might need a specific business license if it’s involved in certain activities.

For example, pushcart vendors in the City of Raleigh will need a specific license costing $172 in order to operate. Similarly, dry cleaning businesses in the city of Durham are required to obtain a permit that costs $150 in order to operate legally.

This is generally reflective of the licensing situation in most North Carolina municipalities, with business licenses typically ranging from $75 to several hundred dollars.

Note: You can find the contact details of the relevant body in your county by referring to the County Government Websites page provided by the State of North Carolina.

Certificate of Existence

A Certificate of Existence is a document often required to open a business bank account, or by lenders in order to check that your LLC is properly registered and legally authorized to conduct business in the state.

You can request this certificate either by mail or online through the North Carolina Secretary of State website for a fee of $15.

Note: For Foreign entities this document is known as a Certificate of Authorization, and includes the same processing fee.

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Cost to Maintain an LLC in North Carolina

In addition to the cost of forming an LLC in North Carolina, there are also several ongoing costs you’ll be responsible for paying each year.

We’ve outlined these recurring costs associated with maintaining a North Carolina LLC below.

Annual Report

In order to maintain your LLC’s registration with the state active, you’ll need to submit an Annual Report by April 15 each year with the North Carolina Secretary of State. This costs $200 to submit, though a $3 electronic filing fee is imposed if you file online.

If you miss this April 15 deadline, you’ll either be sent a Notice for Grounds for Administrative Dissolution, or a Revocation of Foreign Business.

If you don’t submit your Annual Report within 60 days of receiving either of these, your LLC will be dissolved.

Registered Agent Maintenance

If you decide to take advantage of a professional registered agent in order to handle your legal documents, you’ll be required to pay an annual fee in return for their services. This fee commonly ranges between $35 and $300 depending on the provider and features you select.

While you’re not required to use a professional registered agent service, it’s highly recommended for most small LLC owners.


In addition to the federal tax obligations your LLC owes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there are a variety of state-specific taxes in North Carolina you need to be aware of, including:

  • Sales tax
  • Employment taxes
  • Business privilege taxes
  • Property taxes

Additionally, there are various local taxes your LLC may need to pay depending on the municipality or county it’s based in, such as:

  • Sales and use taxes
  • Property tax

North Carolina vs Other States

Compared to many of the other great options available to you, North Carolina represents quite an expensive state in which to form an LLC. While its initial startup fee of only $125 isn’t overly pricey, its ongoing annual fee of $200 makes it relatively costly compared to other states.

As an example, if you were to form an LLC in California you’d only be required to pay $9 every other year in ongoing costs. However it is true that the initial startup fee is slightly higher at $200 (instead of $125 in North Carolina).

Ultimately, however, the best state to form your LLC will be one in which you plan to primarily operate your business from.

This makes it far easier to stay legally compliant on a number of levels, including taxation, licensing, and filing requirements, as you’ll only need to deal with one state’s set of rules.

LLC Cost in North Carolina FAQ

What is needed to create an LLC in NC?

You’ll need to file your North Carolina Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State, choose a unique name for your LLC, designate a registered agent, and likely need to obtain a Certificate of Registration from the North Carolina Department of Revenue. For a more detailed look into these steps, you can check out our guide on How to Start an LLC in North Carolina.

How long does it take to get an LLC in NC?

While the timeline for forming an LLC in North Carolina varies, it typically takes between 15 and 18 days for the Secretary of State to process the Articles of Organization. Note that you can pay extra for expedited services, including 24 hour and same day turnaround — though this will add to total LLC costs.

What are the benefits of an LLC in NC?

One of the main benefits of this structure is the protection it provides to the personal assets of its LLC members from business debts and liabilities. On top of this, LLCs allow you to choose between various management models and tax classifications based on your needs. For more information, see our article on How Much Does it Cost to Start an LLC.

How are LLCs taxed in North Carolina?

Just like every other state, single-member LLCs are taxed as disregarded entities, while multi-member LLCs are taxed as partnerships. However, LLCs can elect to be taxed as C corporations or S corporations if desired. For a deeper look into the total LLC cost, North Carolina business owners can check out our How Much Does an LLC Cost in North Carolina guide.

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