North Carolina Filing Forms

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Filing North Carolina LLC
Articles of Organization

Quick Start Guide
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in North Carolina.

Detailed Lessons:

 

North Carolina LLC Costs:
North Carolina LLC filing fee: $125 (one-time fee)
North Carolina LLC annual report fee: $200 per year

Need to save time?
Hire a professional to form your LLC in North Carolina:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

In order to form an LLC in North Carolina, you need to file an Articles of Organization and a Cover Sheet with the North Carolina Secretary of State. These are the documents that officially register and create your LLC under North Carolina law (North Carolina LLC Act).

North Carolina LLC Secretary of State Corporations Division

(North Carolina Secretary of State, Corporations Division Building)

You can file your Articles of Organization and Cover Sheet in 1 of 2 ways:

1. Online: the LLC filing fee is $125 and your North Carolina LLC will be approved in 3-5 business days.

2. By mail: the LLC filing fee is $125 and your North Carolina LLC will be approved in 4-6 business days.

Note: The $125 is a one-time filing fee.

Note: The “LLC filing fee” (the fee to create a North Carolina LLC) is the same thing as the “Articles of Organization fee”. The Articles of Organization is the document, that once approved by the Secretary of State’s office, creates your North Carolina LLC.

Regardless of the filing method you choose, you’ll need to download the documents and sign them.

If you file by mail, you’ll put the documents in an envelope and mail it to the state along with a check or money order. If you file online, you’ll scan and upload the documents to the state’s website and submit payment with a credit or debit card. Either way, you still have to print and sign the forms.

Our Recommendation: Since the approval times are nearly identical, we recommend choosing whichever method you are most comfortable with. Meaning, if you’re good with computers and knowledgeable about scanning documents to PDF format, then we recommend filing online. However, if you’re not very “tech-comfortable”, we recommend filing by mail.

You’ll find instructions for both options below.

Prior Lessons: Before filing your North Carolina LLC Articles of Organization and Cover Sheet, please make sure you have read the prior lessons:
North Carolina LLC Name
North Carolina Registered Agent

Need to save time? Hire a professional to form your LLC in North Carolina:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

Video Instructions:

The video below includes an overview of forming an LLC in North Carolina as well as detailed instructions on how to complete the Articles of Organization. We recommend watching the video below as well as reviewing our written instructions further down the page.


Video Transcript:

The following information is provided for educational purposes only and in no way constitutes legal, tax, or financial advice. For legal, tax, or financial advice specific to your business needs, we encourage you to consult with a licensed attorney and/or CPA in your State. The following information is copyright protected. No part of this lesson may be redistributed, copied, modified or adapted without prior written consent of the author. A Limited Liability Company is a hybrid between a Corporation and a Partnership. An LLC protects your assets in the event of a lawsuit. In order to form your LLC, you must file LLC Formation Documents and pay the State filing fee. Once your documents are approved and sent back to you, your LLC is now in existence and authorized to do business in the State. Before completing your LLC Formation Documents, you need to have 2 things completed. First, make sure you have watched the Lesson on researching your LLC’s name. Your desired LLC name must be available for use before you proceed. Second, make sure your have watched the Lesson on Registered Agent and that you’ve made your selection. Now, let’s discuss your LLC Formation Documents. The name of the LLC Formation Documents for the State of North Carolina are called the Articles of Organization and the Cover Sheet. These documents are not complicated and contains basic information, including listing your Registered Office and Registered Agent. They will also require you to list your LLC’s name and the names and addresses of your LLC’s members. We will walk you through the details of the Articles of Organization in just a couple minutes and we will make sure you get it filled out correctly. Once your Articles of Organization and Cover Sheet are complete, you will need to mail them to the State along with the filing fee. You will find the filing fee amount, the accepted forms of payment and the address where to mail your documents to below this video. You will also be able to download both the Articles of Organization and the Cover Sheet. Just look below this video and you’ll see the download links. Once you mail your Articles of Organization and your Cover Sheet along with the filing fee, the State will review and process your documents. If there are any issues with your filing, the State will notify you by mail or email telling you what corrections need to be made. The State will laos hold your filing fee until they receive your corrected documents. If there are no issues with your filing, your LLC will be approved in 7-10 days. Once your LLC is approved, you will receive back a Certified Copy by mail or email. This confirms your LLC is now a legally formed business in the State of North Carolina. Please keep the Certified Copy of your Articles of Organization with your business records. Do not order your EIN (also known as your Federal Tax ID Number) or start to use your LLC for any business purposes until you’ve received this approval. Once your LLC is approved, paperwork with the State is not over. As part of the ongoing requirements for your LLC, North Carolina requires that you file an Annual Report and pay a yearly fee. Also, depending on your type of business, you’ll be required to file State taxes every year. We will discuss these items in later Lessons. We are now ready to fill out the Articles of Organization and the Cover Sheet. You can download these documents below this video. Let’s get started. Let’s first take a look at the Cover Sheet, since this is a simpler document and it’s just 1 page. Please note that this form can be filled out on the computer, or it can be printed and filled out by hand. If you fill it out by hand, please use blue or black ink. Also, make sure to print these documents on white paper that is letter-sized (that’s your standard 8-and-a-half-by-11 inches). Also, I have a professional version of Adobe Acrobat with lots of functionality. You likely have the free version of Adobe Reader. However, you should still be able to type inside the document, but if you have any issues, again simply print out the document, and then fill it out by hand. Also, 1 more important thing to take note of. Below this video, you will the most up-to-date mailing address and filing fee information. At the time of this recording, the mailing address that you see in this video may be outdated, so please use the address that we have listed below this video. All right, let’s get started. In the 1st section Under “Personal Name”, you’re going to list your name. I’m going to be using dummy information just as an example. I filled in “John Doe”. Next, you’re going to enter your phone number. Under “Business Name”, you’re going to put the name of your LLC. Remember to include the designator “LLC” or “L.L.C.”. Here’s my sample company: “ABC Widgets”. You’ll notice here I’ve used a comma. A comma is optional, so you can leave 1 in if you’d like, or you can leave it out if you prefer. Next, you’re going to end your mailing address on 2 lines. Next, you’re going to enter your email address and your fax number if you have 1. For this example, I’m not going to include the fax since email is fine. Under “Customer Reference Number”, you can leave this blank as its not applicable. Next, we have a “Check One” for 2 different sections here. The first is about the speed of your filing. The regular process here is what I’m going to go with, which is 7-10 days. However, if you need an expedited filing and you need your LLC approved quicker than that, you can do a “24-Hour Guarantee”, or a “Same Day Guarantee” for an additional $100 or an additional $200. Again, For this example, and what most people usually do is just go with the regular process (7-10 days is fine). In the next section, we’re going to select how we would like to receive our Certified Copy of the Articles of Organization (that’s the approval of the LLC). In this case, I’m going to select “E-Notification” to be notified at this email address. However, if you like to receive it by mail, just go ahead and check off “Mail to above”. Again, I’m going to check off “E-Notification”. “Special Notes”, you can leave blank unless you have something specific you need to mention to the State. However, in this example, I do not. And then in the next section under “FILINGS ONLY” and “ORDERS ONLY”, these you can leave blank. These for the State and they will fill that out when they receive this document. Again, pretty simple: you’re just going to list your name, your phone number, the name of the LLC, your physical mailing address, your email address and then check at which speed you’d like your LLC approved, and then how you’d like that approval (whether by mail or by email). You’re going to print this document out. You don’t need to sign it; simply just print it out and we’re going to include this with the Articles of Organization. All right let’s shift gears and let’s take a look at the Articles of Organization. Okay, here we are in the Articles of Organization. This is a 3-page PDF document. Page 1 has instructions, and pages 2 and 3 are the actual form. Feel free to read through the instructions if you’d like, but we’ve already covered this information in the video. All right, let’s scroll down to page 2 and let’s start filling this document out. Some of the boxes are red and that means that they’re required. 1st section, you’re going to list the name of your LLC. Let me first zoom this document in a little bit so you can see it better. There we go. I’m going to list the LLC in this example: “ABC Widgets”. Again, same thing as the Cover Sheet. Make sure to include the designator “LLC” or “L.L.C.” , and the comma is optional. Make sure you capitalize the words in your business the way you’d like it to appear. Next, in section 2, we’re going to list the name and address of each person executing these Articles of Organization. Also it says “State whether each person is executing these articles of organization in the capacity of a member and organizer or both”. In this case, if you’re forming your LLC yourself, you’re going to be the member and you’re going to be the organizer. Also, if you’re a Multi-Member LLC with 2 or more members, each of those members we also recommend that you list them as an organizer as well. Important thing to note here is that each person that’s listed also needs to sign this document. Again, we recommend that all members fill their name and their address, and they all sign the document as a member and an organizer. For this example, let’s say that this is a Multi-Member LLC with John Doe and Mary Doe. I’m going fill in their name and address in Section 2. Don’t worry that the 1st box has a larger font, and the 2nd one (it’s just the way they formatted the boxes, they didn’t make sure that the correct font size … it’s not important). All right, No. 3, (“the name of the initial registered agent”). So if you are representing your LLC and you’re going to be the Registered Agent, you’re going to put your name here. Or if it’s a friend or family member, you’re going to list their name and their address in Section 4. Actually, this is 1 important thing to make note of: Nos. 3, 4 and 5 are all related to your LLC’s Registered Agent. Let’s see how this document would look if John Doe is going to be the Registered Agent for the LLC. Let’s fill his name in, in Section 3. Then, we’re going to list the street address and county of the initial Registered Agent Office. In this case, it’s the same address where John and Mary live as this is a street address (remember, no PO boxes allowed). Okay, I filled in John’s street address here and listed the county where it’s located. No. 5, again this is related to the Registered Agent. It says “The mailing address, if different from the street address, of the initial registered agent office is”. Now, just a warning: this document is a little bit confusing because as you scroll down further there’s also a No. 6 which asks for the Principal Address, and then down here there’s another Mailing Address section. It can get a little confusing so, bear with me, I’ll try to make this clear as possible. No. 5 is most likely going to be left blank. It’s basically saying even though you’ve listed a street address here, if you want to get your mail somewhere else, please list that address here. If that’s the case for you, it’s kind of rare. If it is, feel free to include that additional address here. If you don’t need it, just leave it blank. So here’s how this document going to look if you, or a friend, or family member represent the LLC and you have a street address in North Carolina. Now, if you don’t have a street address in North Carolina or you don’t want to be the Registered Agent for your LLC, let’s say that you hired Northwest Registered Agent, we’ll quickly fill out Sections 3 and 4 and show you what that would look like. Okay, here’s Sections 3 and 4 filled out with Northwest Registered Agent’s information. We have their company name here, and their street address in Raleigh, North Carolina which is in Wake County. Again, this is how your document’s going to look if you hired a Commercial Registered Agent, or it may just have your name and your address, or a friend or family member’s name and address. I’m going to revert back to John Doe as the Registered Agent and we’ll continue on with this document. All right, moving onwards: again, No. 5, the mailing address, if different than the street address in 4 in this example, I’m going to leave this blank as it does not apply. Okay, No. 6 has to do with what’s called your “Principal office information”. You’re going to select either “a” or “b”. “a” states “The limited liability company has a principal office”, and then we would fill that information. And here, if we scroll down to page 3 (which is the 2nd page of the Articles), you can also check off “b” if you do not have a Principal Office. Let’s explain that a little bit. Scroll back up to No. 6. Now, let’s say that you’re the Registered Agent for your LLC and the Street Address that you listed here is also the Principal Office Address of your business. In that case, you’re going to check off “a”, and then under “The principal office telephone number”, you’re going list your phone number here. And then under “street address”, you’re going to include the address, city, state and zip, and the county. Again, it’s going to be identical to No. 4. Then under here, this is where this document gets a little confusing. Again, bear with me. Here it says “The mailing address, if different, from the street address above for the principal office”. Again, the mailing address is only going to be used if you cannot or do not want to get mail at this address; You can list an alternative address. Again, it’s a little bit overkill, so most likely you’re just going list the phone number and Principal Office Address here which is also going to be the Mailing Address and the county, and you can leave this Mailing Address section blank. Now, having said that, if you don’t have a storefront, or an office, or brick-and-mortar location, or you don’t want to list a Principal Office Address, you can also just come down here and simply check off “b”. If that’s the case, let me uncheck “a” and we’re just going to say to the State that we don’t have a Principal Office Address. The address that you have on file here (whether it’s ourselves as the Registered Agent of the LLC or its a Commercial Registered Agent), that address is good enough; they can send their mail to you their. All right, hopefully that covers the Address section. We can move onward on this document. Let’s say For this example, we’re just going to check off “the limited liability company does not have a principal office address”. No. 7 is most likely not going to be applicable. It states if there are additional provisions that they’re attached to this filing. Again most of our customers don’t need to attach additional provisions, so you can disregard No. 7. No. 8 says “Please provide a business email address”, and again this is optional, but we do recommend it if you want to get notified. What that means, is if you read this paragraph down here it says “The State will email the business automatically whenever a document is filed”. The email address that you provide here will not be viewable on the website so it’s private. In this case, I recommend it, so I’m going list the email address for John Doe. Next, No. 9 (“The articles will be effective upon filing unless a future date is specified”). Now, so long as it’s not in the months of November or December, we recommend leaving this section blank. What that means is simply that your LLC goes into existence on the date that it is received and approved from the State. Having said that, again if this is November or December and you don’t really need the business open at the end of this year, we recommend that you fill in Section 9 and put a date in January, or you simply just wait and you file these documents in the month of January. The reason being, is that if you don’t need your business open in November or December and it’s approved in those months, you’re going to owe a tax return most likely for those few months, and it’s a little bit tedious and just an extra headache, and you know, costs you don’t have to pay with a tax professional or a CPA. So again, if it’s not November or it’s not December, or you don’t care about the fact that you have to file taxes and you need to open your business right away, just leave this blank. And again, that just simply means that your LLC is effective on the date it is received by the State. Do note that you cannot date this more than 90 days out. Basically, your cut-off is October 1st, meaning you can’t file this in August and make it effective in January. Hopefully that makes sense. Again, you cannot change the effective date to more than 90 days out from the date of your filing. For this example, No. 9, we’re just going to leave blank. We’re going let this business become effective when it’s approved by the State. Next, in the date section, we’re first going to list the day of the month. Let’s say it’s the fifth, and let’s say it’s March, and let’s say it’s 2015. Pretty simple. Next, in the signature box, again remember in Section 2, it says that all names that are listed in Section 2 must sign this document. So first, this box here is going to be for John Doe. It may look a little bit confusing at first since there’s an extra line at the top, and then the signature line, and then it says “Type or Print the Name and Title”. This section is going to be blank here most likely. This is only if a business is doing this filing, and since you’re filing directly, we’re going to ignore that. So, under here, you’re going to list your name and then put “, Member and Organizer”. I’m going to fill in John Doe as an example. There we go. Now, after I print out this document, “John Doe” or myself in this example is going to sign here on this line. Again, that 1st line’s going to be left blank. Now because this is a Multi-Member LLC, just for this example. Having said that, if you’re a Single-Member LLC, you’re just going to have to sign right there and list your “name, Member and Organizer. Now in this case, I’m going to go down here and this is for additional Members and Organizers. In this case, I’m going to list Mary Doe and write “Member and Organizer”. All right, and once I print this document out, Mary’s going to sign here, John’s going to sign here, they’re going to include this document with the Cover Sheet and filing fee, send it off to the State and wait 7-10 days for their LLC to be approved. Let’s just do a quick run-through to make sure we have all the sections here. Again, page 1 is Instructions. Here we go: page 2, Section 1 (“name of the LLC”), Section 2 (“the names and addresses of all the members which are also going to be the organizers”), Section 3 and 4 is the name and address of the Registered Agent and their Registered Office, the street address located in the State of North Carolina. In this case, John Doe is going to be the Registered Agent for the LLC and we listed his address. If you’re hiring a Commercial Registered Agent, we’ll put the business name here and their address here. No. 5, again, most likely going to be left blank (I don’t think you need a different mailing address from the street address), but use 1 if you want to receive mail elsewhere if you’re representing the LLC as the Registered Agent. Section 6 is if you have a Principal Office location such as a storefront, brick-and-mortar office, etcetera. If that’s the case, you check off “a”, fill in your address here and also include your phone number, or if you don’t have a Principal Office Address, you can just check off “b”. Again, this section down here (“the mailing address, if different than the street address, for the principal office”), most likely you’re going to leave that blank. No. 7, you can disregard. No. 8, fill in your email address. No. 9 (“the effective date upon filing”), again future-date this if it’s maybe the end of October, November, December. You can list January 1st of the following year. or if you’re for filing, you know, January into October, you can just leave it as is (and by leave it as is, I mean you can leave it blank). Next, you’re to list the day of the month, the month and then the last two numbers of the year. Put your “name, Member and Organizer”, and if you have more members, please list their names, as well as “Member, Organizer” below. Print this document out, all the members sign where it says “Signature”, email this along with a Cover Sheet and the filing fee, and then you wait 7-10 days for your LLC to be approved. Once your LLC is approved, you can then proceed to the Next Lesson. And that concludes this video.

Download North Carolina LLC Articles of Organization (L-01):

1. Go to: https://www.sosnc.gov/forms
2. Choose “Business Registration” from the “Within the Department” drop down menu.
3. Choose “Limited Liability Company” in the second drop down menu.
4. The Articles of Organization (L-01) will appear at the top of the list. Click on the link to download a PDF copy.

Tip: You can either print the form, fill it out by hand (using a black pen), then sign; or, you can type in the form on your computer, then print it out and sign it. When printing, use regular white paper (8.5″ x 11″).

1. North Carolina LLC Name

Enter your desired North Carolina LLC name. Make sure to include the designator at the end of the name. As per North Carolina law (Section 55D-20), here are the allowable designators:

  • LLC (this is the most commonly used)
  • L.L.C.
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Ltd. Liability Co.
  • Limited Liability Co.
  • Ltd. Liability Company

Comma in LLC name: You can use a comma in your North Carolina LLC name if you’d like, or you can leave it out. For example, “Bayside Bicycles, LLC” and “Bayside Bicycles LLC” are both acceptable.

2. Name and address of each person signing the documents (aka, the Organizers)

Enter the name and business address of the persons who will execute the Articles of Organization and indicate whether they are a Member, an Organizer, or both by checking the appropriate boxes.

An LLC Organizer is a person who files the Articles of Organization with the state. Just being the Organizer of an LLC does not automatically make someone a Member (owner) of an LLC, although, sometimes, an Organizer can also be an LLC Member.

Tip: Most filers are usually both the LLC Organizer and a Member.

If your LLC has more than 3 Members (and you’d like to list these additional names on your Articles of Organization), then you will need to include an attachment with your filling. We’ve prepared that document for you here: https://www.llcuniversity.com/north-carolina-llc/additional-members/

Note: You don’t have to list all LLC Members here though. You can just list an Organizer and then have the LLC Member(s) sign an Operating Agreement, which will discuss in the next lesson.

3. Name of Registered Agent

A North Carolina Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to receive “Service of Process” (legal mail) on behalf of your LLC in the event it is involved in a lawsuit or court case. So in this section, you’ll be entering the name of a person or the name of a company (if you hired a Commercial Registered Agent).

Remember: You have 3 options for who can be your LLC’s Registered Agent in North Carolina (you, your friend or family, or a Commercial Registered Agent). Please make sure you have read our North Carolina Registered Agent lesson before proceeding.

4. Registered Agent’s Street Address

Enter the complete street address of your North Carolina Registered Agent. Remember, this address must be located in North Carolina and it must be a street address. PO Boxes are not allowed.

5. Registered Agent’s Mailing Address (if applicable)

If your North Carolina Registered Agent receives mail at an address different from that listed in #4, then enter that address here. You’re allowed to use a PO Box address for this section, if needed.

Tip: This is not commonly used and most filers just leave #5 blank.

6. Principal Office Address & Phone Number

Tip: #6 sort of has “2 parts” to it and the 2nd part extends onto the top of page 2. #6 can also be a little confusing at first glance, but don’t worry, we’ll explain it all below.

First, what is a Principal Office? A Principal Office is a place where the actual business is conducted or a place where the official LLC documents and business records are kept.

So for example, an office, a store, a warehouse, or your home.

At first, when filers see two options in #6 (“check off ‘A’ if you have a Principal Office or check off ‘B’ if you don’t have a Principal Office”), a lot of people think that they can just check off ‘B’ and keep their address private.

Well, that won’t be the case, because next year, when you file your Annual Report, you’ll be required to list a Principal Office address. It’s mandatory.

The purpose of having option “B” is really a courtesy on behalf of the Secretary of State. You see, many people are in the process of finding office space (or a store or a warehouse) at the same time they are forming their LLC, so they often haven’t found a space yet, or they have, but haven’t signed the lease yet. So the Secretary of State lets you check off “B” so you’re not forced to write down an address you don’t know or don’t have yet. But again, you’ll need to include this information in your Annual Report next year, and every year your LLC is in business.

So, having said all that:

If you have a Principal Office location, we recommend checking off “A” and listing your address.

But “Wait“, you say, “…there are two addresses. What’s the difference?

Street address: This is simply the street address of your Principal Office. So again, that’ll be an office, a store, a warehouse, or your home. If you check off “A” you have to include an address here. This address doesn’t have to be located in North Carolina (only your Registered Agent address does), but it must be a physical street address. It cannot be a PO Box address.

Mailing address: This section is optional and is usually used by filers who received mail at a PO Box because they cannot receive mail at their street address location. This address doesn’t have to be located in North Carolina. It can be located in any state. However, most filers leave this blank.

“Will my phone number be made public?”
Don’t sweat, your phone number will not be made public. Your number will only be used by the Secretary of State in case they have questions and need to call your LLC. You can use a home phone, a cell phone, or an office phone number. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you list some phone number.

Note: Although it looks like the phone number is only a part of section A, that is not the case. Regardless of whether you check off A or B, you still need to list a phone number in #6. Again, this phone number will be blacked out on your documents and only used by the Secretary of State (if needed at all).

7. Additional Provisions

This section basically states that if your LLC will have any additional provisions that they will be attached (included) with your Articles of Organization. This doesn’t mean you have to include attachments though. This is an optional section.

You can think of additional provisions as “additional rules” which your LLC must follow.

Note: Most filers do not attach additional provisions unless they’ve been instructed to by their attorney or other business advisor.

8. Company Officials

This section, which is optional, can be used for listing the Company Officials (aka, the LLC Members).

The Secretary of State’s office is trying to help avoid confusion for bank representatives when you go to open an LLC bank account. Since most bank representatives aren’t trained on the details of how LLCs work, they sometimes will look for all of the LLC Members to be listed on the Articles of Organization (although they don’t have to be).

While we appreciate the state’s attempt to be helpful, we find this section hard to use for people who have more than 2 Members.

So here’s what we recommend:

• If your LLC has more than 2 Members, we recommend leaving this section blank to help avoid confusion when opening a bank account. Just have the LLC Members sign an LLC Operating Agreement. And to take it a step further, you can also have the LLC Organizer sign a Statement of Organizer. This helps connect the “paper trail” and shows how the Organizer appoints the Members after the LLC is formed. With this document and your LLC Operating Agreement, you should have no issues at the bank.

• If your LLC has 1 or 2 Members, and you don’t mind them being listed publicly, enter them in this section. If you prefer for the Members not to be listed, leave this section blank and have the Member(s) complete the Operating Agreement. You can also complete the Statement of Organizer as well.

9. Email Address

We recommend entering your email address in this section as the state will use it to notify you of any documents that are filed on behalf of your LLC.

This helps the state prevent what is called “business identity theft”, which is the act of someone filing documents on behalf of an LLC they do not own or do not have the right to do so.

Don’t worry, your email address will not be made public.

You can use any email address you’d like. It doesn’t have to be a “business email” address. We recommend using your primary email address; the one you check most often.

10. Effective Date

An LLC Effective Date is the date your LLC officially goes into existence. Think of this as the day your LLC is “born”.

If you would like your LLC to go into existence on the date it is approved by the North Carolina Secretary of State, then leave this section blank (this is what most filers do).

However, if you want your LLC to go into existence on a future date, then enter that date here. This date cannot be more than 90 days ahead.

Tip: If you’re forming your North Carolina LLC in October, November or December (and you don’t need your LLC open right away), you can forward-date your filing to January 1st of the following year. This will save you the hassle and expense of filing any unnecessary paperwork or taxes. For more information, please see LLC effective date.

Notes:
– The Effective Date cannot be back-dated.
– Do not enter the Effective Date in the “This is the _____ day of _____________, 20____” section.

Date, Signature, Name, and Title

In the “This is the ______ day of _____________, 20____” section, enter today’s date (regardless of what date you used for the effective date).

To the right is where the LLC Organizer will sign and enter their name and title.

You’ll notice there are 3 lines, however, the top line should be left blank (we’re not really sure why it’s there).

On the 2nd line (“Signature”) you’ll sign your name after you print the document.

On the 3rd line (“Name and Title”) you’ll enter your name followed by a comma and the word “Organizer” or the words “Organizer and Member”. Most filers are both the Organizer and a Member, so they use “Organizer and Member”.

If you listed more than 1 person in #2, then that person (or people) will need to sign and enter their name and title below.

Congratulations! Your North Carolina LLC Articles of Organization is complete and ready to submit to the state, but… before you do that, you’ll need to complete a Cover Sheet.

Download the Cover Sheet for Corporate Filings

1. Go to: https://www.sosnc.gov/forms
2. Choose “Business Registration” from the “Within the Department” drop down menu.
3. Make sure “Business Entities Common” appears in the the second drop down menu (it will appear by default).
4. The “Cover Sheet for Corporate Filings” will appear at the very top of the selection. Click on the link to download a PDF copy.

Tip: You can either print the form, fill it out by hand (use a black pen), or, you can type in the form on your computer, then print. When printing, use regular white paper (8.5″ x 11″).

Cover Sheet instructions:

Contact Person Name: Enter your first and last name.

Phone: Enter your phone number. This can be a cell phone, an office phone, or a home phone number. Enter whichever number you prefer.

Contact Business Name: Leave this blank.

Mailing Address: Enter your mailing address.

Email Address: Enter your best email address; the one you check most often.

Fax #: You can leave this blank.

Customer Ref #: You can leave this blank.

Name of Entity: Enter your LLC name here.

Type of Document: Enter “Articles of Organization”.

Processing Method:
– Select your “Processing Method”. Most filers choose “Regular Process” (which is the regular $125 filing fee). If you need your documents faster (faster than 3-6 business days) you can choose “24-hour Guaranteed Filing” and submit an extra $100 ($225 total).

Return Method:
– Select whether you will personally pick up your documents, you want them returned by mail, or you want them returned by email. You can leave “Special Notes” blank.

Below this box are two different sets of instructions: one for submitting your documents online, and one for submitting your documents by mail. Both have a similar approval time, so we recommend choosing whichever option you are more comfortable with. If you’re okay with scanning and uploading PDF documents, then we recommend submitting online. If you’re not very tech-comfortable, then we recommend submitting by mail.

Instructions for Filing North Carolina Articles of Organization Online

Note: You need to create a free online account with the North Carolina Secretary of State in order to upload your Articles of Organization and Cover Sheet online. Also, after you complete and sign your documents, they’ll need to be scanned and saved in PDF format.

Create an account:

1. Go to the North Carolina Secretary of State’s website: https://www.sosnc.gov

2. Click on “Sign In” in the upper right corner of the home page, then select “First Time User”.

Notes:
– Although it looks like only a few sections are required (sections with a red asterisk), all sections need to be completed.
– All information entered here will be kept private. It will not be listed on public records.

3. Create a username and a password in the first section, then enter your password again to confirm it.

4. Enter the name of your LLC in the “Business Name” box. It’s okay that your LLC doesn’t exist yet. You can always change this field later (if needed). The state just requires that you enter something here.

5. Enter your name and address in the next section. This address does not need to be the same address that you listed in your Articles of Organization (like your Registered Agent or Principal Office address), although it can be. And this address doesn’t have to be in North Carolina. It can be located in any state. Just use an address where you regularly check your mail.

6. Enter your telephone number. This can be your home, office, or cell phone number. You likely won’t receive any phone calls, but the state will use this number in case they have any questions about your filing.

7. Enter your email address in the “Contact Email” field. This doesn’t have to be an official business email or anything like that. Just use a reliable email address that you check most often. Go ahead and enter that same email address in the “Notification Email” and “Billing Email” boxes.

8. Click the “Register” button at the bottom. Your account will be created and then you’ll be redirected back to the homepage (however, you’ll now be signed in).

Make sure to keep your username and password in a safe place. You’ll use this information to file your Annual Report each year.

Let’s Get Started:

Click on “Online Services” in the main menu (should be on the far right), then under the “Business Registration” column (far left) select “Create A Business Online”.

Filing Type:

Make sure “Creation” shows up as the default choice.

Requested Entity Name:

Enter the full name of your LLC here.

Make sure you’ve read our North Carolina LLC Name lesson. The #1 reason LLC filings are rejected in North Carolina is because the name isn’t available.

Has this entity been created in another state or country?

Select “No”.

Entity Type:

Select “Limited Liability Company” from the drop down menu.

Document Type:

Select “Articles of Organization Limited Liability” from the drop down menu.

Customer Reference Number:

You can leave this blank.

Return Email:

Enter your email address here.

PDF Filing:

Click “Browse for Attachment”, and attach your scanned Articles of Organization and Cover Sheet. Make sure the Articles of Organization is signed.

Note: The state doesn’t allow for uploading more than one file, so your Articles of Organization and Cover Sheet must be saved into one PDF file.

Fees & Payment:

If you want a regular approval time, select “None” from the first drop down menu. This will be 3-5 business days for approval and is the standard filing fee of $125.

If you want your documents approved faster, select “24 Hours (+$100)”. This will cost $225 total ($125 filing fee + $100 expedite fee). After the state receives your documents, they will review and process them within 24 hours.

Under the “Payment Type” drop down menu, select “Credit Card”.

Enter your credit or debit card information and then click “Pay and Submit”.

Congratulations! Your North Carolina LLC has been filed online for processing. Now you just need to wait for approval.

North Carolina LLC Approval (online filing):

After you submit your documents and payment online, your North Carolina LLC will be approved in 3-5 business days (if you did not pay for expedited filing). You’ll receive back by email a stamped and approved copy of the Articles of Organization and a Cover Letter confirming a successful filing.

Note: You can ignore the next section below (instructions for filing by mail) and skip to Next Step at the bottom of this page.

Instructions for Filing North Carolina Articles of Organization by Mail

Prepare Payment:

Prepare a check or money order for $125, made payable to the “Secretary of State”. This is the filing fee amount for a regular approval time when filing by mail (4-6 business days).

If you’d like your documents approved within 24 hours (after the state receives them), send a check or money order for $225 ($125 filing fee + $100 expedite fee).

Mail Documents:

Send your completed Articles of Organization, Cover Sheet, and filing fee to:

North Carolina Secretary of State
PO Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27626-0622

Congratulations! Your North Carolina LLC has been filed for processing. Now you just need to wait for approval.

North Carolina LLC Approval (mail filing):

Your North Carolina LLC will be approved in 4-6 business days (if you did not pay for expedited filing).

You’ll receive back by regular mail a stamped and approved copy of the Articles of Organization and a Cover Letter confirming a successful filing.

Next Step

Once you’ve filed your Articles of Organization and your North Carolina LLC has been approved, you can then proceed to the next lesson: North Carolina LLC Operating Agreement.

North Carolina Secretary of State Contact Info

If you have any questions, you can contact the North Carolina Secretary of State at 919-814-5400 (Monday through Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm Eastern Time).

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.
Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

16 Comments

  1. William October 29, 2017

    I don’t want my name listed on the NC website or on the documentation uploaded to the website; where or in what capacity should I list my name? Or should I just leave it off completely? thanks

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz October 30, 2017

      Hey William, if you prefer privacy for your North Carolina LLC, then you really don’t want your name anywhere on the Articles of Organization. Some states require that owners (“members“) be listed, but North Carolina does not. The two things you’ll need to do are as follows: 1. Have a friend or family member organize your LLC. Or hire a filing company to do this (and let them know not to list your name on the Articles of Organization). The Organizer’s name will appear in #2 and #10 of your Articles of Organization. 2. Have a friend or family member act as your North Carolina Registered Agent. Their name/address will appear in #3, #4, and possible in #5 and #6 (if allowed). If you also want address privacy, I recommend hiring Northwest Registered Agent. They’ll let you use their mailing address throughout your entire Articles of Organization. Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any followup questions.

      reply
  2. Alicia W February 7, 2018

    I am really struggling with the address section. I was going to list a PO Box for the business address of an online company that I am starting. I am not entirely sure yet if I can list the physical address for my home to run a home based business since I am renting. The lease is a little vague on this issue. Well, now I’m reading that I will eventually need to put a physical address. So, I would have to put my physical address as the street address and then the PO Box for the mailing address. But my question is will the street address be listed as public record that I am running the business out of my home or will records show the PO Box I have listed.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz February 9, 2018

      Hi Alicia, I feel you… the address part can certainly require a lot of strategic thinking and planning. It’s common. I understand the situation about the lease… it’s likely a “short-term address” and not reliable to use. Yes, the street address will be public record. Everything on the Articles of Organization will be public record (except for the principal office telephone number). Here’s something to consider. If you hire Northwest Registered Agent as your Registered Agent, they’ll let you use their physical address throughout your filing for privacy and reliability. Whatever mail they receive for you, they just scan and upload to your online dashboard. So you could use their address in #2, 4, 6, and 8. Hope that helps.

      reply
  3. Richard March 3, 2018

    I’ve filed and paid online my Articles of Organization Limited Liability at https://www.sosnc.gov/online_services/business_registration/upload_a_filing on 2/22/2018 (NC state)
    I haven’t received any E-notification filing or approval from them yet (today is March 3rd).
    I’ve requested order status a few days ago and haven’t received any reply either.
    When I check my submissions it shows filing and invoice numbers and I can download them. It seems everything is done correctly but it’s been 7 business day already.
    Should I call them on Monday or wait for a couple of more days?
    Will they email me if they reject the name or if any information was missing?
    Thank you beforehand

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz March 3, 2018

      Hi Richard, thank you for the details. I would certainly call the Secretary of State’s office either Monday or sometime next week. Either way, whether accepted or rejected, the state’s office will send you the proper correspondence. I wouldn’t worry too much though… they likely just got a little busy. Hope that helps :)

      reply
  4. Stephen Henderson June 12, 2018

    Our North Carolina LLC would like to withdraw a member and add a new member. I found a statement in an answer provided in the Questions about changing the Articles that noted that the names of the initial organizers cannot be changed. What do we do?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz June 19, 2018

      Hi Stephen, that is correct. However, the LLC Organizer is not automatically a Member of the LLC by signing the Articles of Organization. The only thing the LLC Organizer is doing is submitting the Articles of Organization to the state. The steps will be as follows: you’ll first want to have a Resolution signed by existing Members agreeing to the Member coming and the other leaving. Then you’ll file Amendment of Articles of Organization (L-17) with updated “member roster” and amend your Operating Agreement. Hope that helps.

      reply
  5. Maria August 21, 2018

    Hi Matt…I am in the process of filling the Articles of Organization form but I do not see the Cover Sheet document within the file. Is that no longer needed since you posted this instructional video?

    Thanks,

    Maria

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz August 31, 2018

      Hi Maria, the Cover Sheet is not a part of the Articles of Organization PDF file, but rather, it’s a separate document. Please look above on this page for a section titled “Download the Cover Sheet for Corporate Filings”. Hope that helps.

      reply
  6. George October 17, 2018

    Hello Matt,
    I had a North Carolina administratively dissolved. Is there any way to pay the back charges and return it to active status?

    Great site–thanks, George

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz November 22, 2018

      Hi George, yes, there is. This is called Reinstatement. Just call the NC Business Registration Division and ask them to review your LLC, see what’s owed, and get the form for LLC Reinstatement. Hope that helps.

      reply
  7. Kim Y Barnes January 22, 2019

    Your a very secure individual to share this information. Which could be intimidating for new venturer’s. You explained it so easy that a midle school teen could grasp. I was apprehensive going in because in DC the process is very complicated. Thank you so much for wanting to help.

    Kim Barnes

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz January 23, 2019

      Hi Kim, thank you for your nice comment :) Yes, D.C. is a quirky place to form an LLC lol! Glad you found the site helpful!

      reply
  8. Edward February 10, 2019

    Thanks for the awesome guide! Very helpful. I’ve completed a cover sheet and articles of organization for NC, and have just 1 question. About addresses, of course. I am starting an LLC as organizer-member, and I will be the only member, working out of my home. I am temporarily renting, and would rather not have to change any addresses with the SOS down the road when I buy another house and move. I got a PMB at a UPS Store, and am using that in every address on the cover sheet and articles of organization, except for 2 places – the registered agent address, for which I used Northwest, and the street office of the principal office, for which I used my apartment. I’ve seen you and others state you can use other addresses here, but frankly, it seems that is breaking the instructions given on page 1 from the SOS. Should that be a concern, or am I over-worrying about that? Thank you again, so much! Without your guide, I’d have a lot more questions.

    reply

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