How To Incorporate In North Carolina

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1. Choose a Name for Your North Carolina Corporation

Check on Available Names in North Carolina: If you are preparing to incorporate your small business in the state of North Carolina, you will need to choose a unique corporate name. You will need to make sure that the name that you have chosen is not in use by another corporation. There are many databases, catalogs, and other records of corporations that you can search. You may want to start by searching the online database of corporations that are registered in the state of North Carolina that is available online at North Carolina Corporation.

Reserve a Corporate Name: You can reserve a certain corporate name if you do not plan to file Articles of Incorporation right away, though a reservation is not required.  The fee is $30.00 and the name that you submit will be reserved for a period of 120 days. The application form that you need to submit to reserve a corporate name is available online at Reserve a North Carolina Corporation.

Filing Trademarks and Doing a Corporate Name Search: If you have determined that the corporate name that you have chosen is available in North Carolina, you will be able to use that name to incorporate your small business. However, it is possible that the same name could be in use by another corporation that is registered in another state. There could be certain legal restrictions on the use of the corporate name that you have chosen. You should consult an attorney to learn about what these restrictions may be and what actions you can take to protect the name of your corporation.

North Carolina Corporate Name Requirements: When you choose a name for your North Carolina corporation, remember that the name that you choose must include the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited,” “company,” or an abbreviation of one of these words.

2. Find a Registered Agent in North Carolina

After you have determined the name that you will use to incorporate your small business, you will need to choose a registered agent. The registered agent that you indicate in your Articles of Incorporation will act as an agent for service of process and will receive all the legal and tax documents on behalf of your corporation.

3. File Articles of Incorporation with the North Carolina Secretary of State

Minimum Requirements: To incorporate your small business in North Carolina you will need to file Articles of Incorporation with the North Carolina Secretary of State. You can download the form online at North Carolina Corporation Set Up. The Articles of Incorporation document provided by the state asks that you state the name of your corporation, the name and address of your registered agent, the address of your initial registered office, the name and address of each incorporator, and the number of shares authorized by your corporation. The Articles of Incorporation needs to be signed by each of the incorporators before you submit the document.

Other North Carolina Legal Provisions: You may include other legal provisions in your Articles of Incorporation. You should consult an attorney when you are preparing the Articles of Incorporation document so that you can make sure to include additional legal provisions that may be important for your corporation.

Where to Submit Form: You should submit the completed Articles of Incorporation document to the Corporations Division, N.C. Secretary of State, P.O. Box 29622, Raleigh, N.C. 27626-0622.

Filing Fee: The fee to file Articles of Incorporation in North Carolina is $125.00.  

4. Create Other North Carolina Incorporation Documents (Corporate Kits)

Once you file Articles of Incorporation with the North Carolina Secretary of State, you can begin to take other actions in your corporation such as appointing officers and directors, adopting corporation bylaws, issuing stock certificates, obtaining a tax ID number, and acquiring a business license. There are also other types of corporate documents that you can create such as buy-sell agreements, shareholders agreements that determine when stock can be sold, and documents that describe what will happen if an owner decides to leave the company. Corporate documents like these can be especially useful for corporations that have multiple owners. You should consult an attorney when you are drafting these documents. An attorney will help you to comply with all legal requirements. There are also corporate service companies that charge a fee to help you create these important corporate documents.

5. Qualify Your North Carolina Corporation to Do Business in Other States

Remember that if your main corporate office is located in another state, you will need to qualify your corporation to do business in that state. Most states require corporations to qualify in order to do business and require that you pay taxes in your home state. To learn what you need to do to qualify your corporation to do business in other states, go to Doing Business in other states.

6. Make Annual Filings and Pay Annual Fees and Taxes in North Carolina

Once registered in the state of North Carolina, your corporation will need to file an annual report. The fee to file this report is $25.00 and you can file online at North Carolina Corporation Fee. Filing an annual report allows you to update important information about your corporation, such as the name and address of your registered agent and your officers and directors.

Your corporation will be subject to North Carolina state income taxes. You will be required to file a corporate income tax form and pay the required taxes for your corporation. To learn about the corporate tax in North Carolina, go to the official website of the North Carolina Department of Revenue at North Carolina Corporation Tax. You should consult an accountant when it is time to prepare your tax documents so that you can avoid mistakes in the preparation of your tax documents that could end up costing you extra taxes.

When you are in the process of incorporating your small business, you will face many complex decisions. You should consult an attorney and an accountant during the process of incorporation so that you can feel more confident that your paperwork is being prepared correctly.

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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