How Much Does an LLC Cost in North Dakota

Written by: Mary Gerardine

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How Much Does an LLC Cost in North Dakota

The minimum North Dakota LLC Cost is $135, 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 Dakota LLC will depend on several factors, including your personal preferences and business needs.

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

Recommended: More than 72% of our readers form their LLC through a specialized LLC formation service in order to save time and avoid being caught up in procedural rigmarole.

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LLC Cost in North Dakota

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

Articles of Organization$135+
Registered Agent Fee$0-$130+
LLC Name$0-$35
Operating Agreement$0+

North Dakota LLC Filing Fee ($135-$235+)

Depending on the type of LLC you’re looking to form, you’ll be required to submit one of two formation documents with North Dakota’s Business Registration Unit in order to operate your business in the state.

If you’ll be forming a domestic LLC (i.e., one that’s registered within North Dakota), you’ll need to submit your Articles of Organization. However, to form a foreign LLC (i.e., one that’s registered in North Dakota but operates in a different state), you’ll need to instead file a Certificate of Authority.

Regardless of which of these formation documents your LLC needs to submit to the Secretary of State, you’ll be required to pay a filing fee of $135.

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 Dakota’s state filing fee.

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

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

North Dakota Registered Agent ($0+)

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

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 is an affordable alternative to hiring a business attorney, and can also be a great way of protecting your personal information.

The price of a registered agent service is generally around $130 per year, but can range significantly depending on the provider in question.

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Alternatively, you can find some of the top recommendations for professional RA services in our Best Registered Agent Services of 2024 article.

Naming Your North Dakota LLC ($0-$35)

When forming your North Dakota 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 know what you want to name your LLC but are planning on starting your business a bit later on, you can opt to reserve it for later by submitting a Reserved Name Application with the North Dakota Secretary of State through its FirstStop online filing platform.

You’ll need to pay $10 to submit this application, which keeps your name safe for a year. After this expires, you’ll need to decide whether to renew this reservation (and pay another $10 filing fee) or proceed to create your LLC.

Note: It’s a good idea to check if your desired name is available by performing a Business Entity Search on the North Dakota Secretary of State’s FirstStop platform.

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 Dakota 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 a Trade Name in North Dakota.

In North Dakota, DBA names cost $25 and are obtained by filing a Trade Name Registration with the Secretary of State. Your LLC’s DBA name will be valid for five years from the date you registered it, though you don’t need to keep track of this as the state will notify at 60 to 90 days before it expires.

Note: Make sure you’re completely happy with the DBA name you submit a registration as you won’t be able to change it without canceling your current registration and filing a new one — which wastes both time and money.

North Dakota LLC Operating Agreement ($0+)

While not mandatory, it’s good practice for North Dakota LLCs to have an operating agreement.

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 Dakota Secretary of State — it’s purely an internal document.

Additional North Dakota 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 Dakota may encounter depending on their circumstances.

We’ve summarized some of these additional costs below:

Local Business Licenses

In order to comply with the local-level regulations of your city and county, your business may be required to obtain one — or several — 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, if you were trying to launch a pawnbroking business in the City of Fargo, you’d need to apply for a license worth $250, whereas in Bismarck you’d only need to pay $75 for the equivalent license.

For a more exact estimation of how much your business may need to pay, you’ll need to contact your local county clerk’s office.

Note: You can find the contact details of the relevant body in your county by referring to the North Dakota Association of Counties website.

Certificate of Good Standing

A Certificate of Good Standing is a document often required to open a business bank account; it can also be requested 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 document — which is also referred to as a Certificate of Fact in North Dakota — from the Secretary of State by email, fax, mail, phone, or in person for a fee of $20. This covers the cost of the certificate ($15) and the Search of Records Fee ($5) that North Dakota law requires.

Note: It will cost the same amount to obtain this certificate regardless of whether you’re filing as a domestic or foreign business entity.

Certified Copies of Business Documents

Many North Dakota LLCs like to keep certified copies of important business documents (such as their Articles of Organization) — whether it’s for banking needs, legal requirements, or just for maintaining organized records.

You can easily request certified copies of your LLC’s important business documents from the North Dakota Secretary of State at a cost of $20 plus a fee of $0.50 per page.

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Cost to Maintain an LLC in North Dakota

In addition to the cost of forming an LLC in North Dakota, 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 Dakota LLC below.

Annual Report

To keep your LLC in good standing with the state of North Dakota, it’s essential to file a North Dakota Annual Report every year by November 15 through the Secretary of State’s FirstStop online filing system.

It will cost $50 to submit your Annual Report, with an additional $100 late fee being applied if you file it more than 60 days after the deadline.

Note: If your LLC fails to submit an Annual Report within six months of the November 15 deadline, it will be administratively 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 Dakota 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 Dakota vs Other States

North Dakota is arguably not the most budget-friendly option. While its initial setup fee is reasonable at $135, the state’s annual fee of $50 can make it quite expensive in the long run.

By comparison, it would be cheaper to form your LLC in Texas instead (even despite its high initial startup fee of $300) because it has practically no mandatory ongoing costs.

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

This is because 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 Dakota FAQ

How do I start an LLC in North Dakota?

To start an LLC or professional limited liability company in North Dakota, you’ll need to choose a compliant and available North Dakota business name, elect a registered agent, and file your Articles of Organization with the North Dakota Business Registration Unit. We break down these steps in more detail in our How to Start an LLC in North Dakota guide.

What is the most expensive state to form an LLC?

While the cost of forming an LLC can vary significantly from state to state, California, New York, and Massachusetts tend to have higher formation and ongoing annual fees compared to other states. For a deeper look into this topic, be sure to check out our How Much Does it Cost to Start an LLC guide.

How much is a certificate of good standing in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, the cost of obtaining a Certificate of Good Standing costs $20. This includes a $15 fee for the certificate itself in addition to a $5 Search of Records fee. For a look into the other main costs associated with starting a North Dakota LLC, check out our How Much Does an LLC Cost in North Dakota guide.

What is the operating agreement for an LLC in North Dakota?

An operating agreement for an LLC in North Dakota is a legal document that outlines the internal workings and structure of the company. It typically includes details such as the rights and responsibilities of the business owner and LLC members, ownership percentages, management structure, personal liability, voting procedures, and procedures for resolving disputes.

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