North Carolina Registered Agent

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North Carolina LLC Registered Agent

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)

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Before filing your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State, you need to select a North Carolina Registered Agent for your LLC.

A Registered Agent in North Carolina is a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail on behalf of your LLC in case your business gets sued.

In North Carolina, your Registered Agent can also serve as a general point of contact for receiving business and tax notices, payment reminders, and other documents.

Your Registered Agent must have a street address in North Carolina (PO Boxes are not allowed).

Your North Carolina Registered Agent must also be available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm) in case Service of Process arrives. Service of Process includes delivery of legal documents such as complaints, summons, and/or subpoenas.

In short, this is how the North Carolina court and legal systems works. By providing a reliable North Carolina street address and a Registered Agent of record, the delivery of legal mail and court documents can be tracked. It’s similar to how ‘certified mail return receipt’ works. It creates a physical record that something was delivered.


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. In this video, we will discuss the Registered Office and the Registered Agent. The Registered Office and the Registered Agent are required for your LLC Formation Documents. Once you figure out who your LLC’s Registered Agent will be, you will then be able to complete your LLC Formation Documents which we discuss in the next Lesson. Again, your LLC is required to list a Registered Office and a Registered Agent within your LLC Formation Documents. The Registered Office is a physical address (it cannot be a PO Box) located in the State where your LLC is formed. A Registered Agent is a person or a company who agrees to accept legal mail and important documents on behalf of your LLC. The Registered Agent is located at the Registered Office and is generally available during normal business hours. As we mentioned, a Registered Agent can be a person or a company who has an address in the State where your LLC is formed. You can serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent. However, your LLC cannot serve as its own Registered Agent. For individuals who have an address in the State, it is most common that they serve as the LLC’s Registered Agent. Having said that, the individual person you choose as the Registered Agent does not need to be a member of the LLC. It can be a friend or family member, or, frankly, anyone you know who agrees to accept Service of Process on behalf of your LLC. “Service of Process” is the delivery of legal mail and important documents sent from the State or a law firm to your LLC. Important documents from the State can include items such as certificates, notices, and copies of Formation Documents. Legal documents can include items such as subpoenas and/or complaints for legal action. The purpose of the Registered Agent and the Registered Office is to be a “point of contact” for the State and to accept Service of Process for your LLC. You (or someone you know) can be your LLC’s Registered Agent, so long as you or they have an address in the State. If you don’t have an address in the State that you can use, or you don’t want to serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent, you should hire a Commercial Registered Agent. A Commercial Registered Agent will receive Service of Process on behalf of your LLC and then forward it to you at any address you’d like. Many Commercial Registered Agents will also fax or email Service of Process if you prefer. Again, a Commercial Registered Agent is a company that specializes in receiving Service of Process on behalf of businesses nationwide. They typically charge between $100-300 per year. If you decide to use a Commercial Registered Agent, we recommend a company called Northwest Registered Agent. They’ve been in the business for more than 2 decades and they have a solid reputation. Their fees are among the most affordable, and their support is top notch. We’ve joined forces with them in order to provide Registered Agent services nationwide to our clients. There is information below this video where you can find instructions on how to sign up for their services. If you or someone you know will serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent, you can then proceed to the next Lesson. If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, please see the information below this video. Once you’ve signed up with Northwest Registered Agent, you will then receive their address to use in your LLC Formation Documents. If you have any questions about their services, you will also find their phone number below this video. Again, once you sign up for their services and obtain their address, you can then proceed to the next Lesson. And that concludes this video.

Can I be my own Registered Agent in North Carolina?

Yes, you can be your own North Carolina Registered Agent, as long as you meet the requirements mentioned in the next section.

However, you actually have 3 options when forming an LLC in North Carolina:

Option 1: You can be your LLC’s Registered Agent in North Carolina (are there risks?)

Option 2: A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.

Option 3: You can hire a North Carolina Registered Agent Service, technically known as a Commercial Registered Agent.

Important: If your Registered Agent is going to be an individual (you, a friend, or a family member), that individual needs to be a resident of North Carolina and be at least 18 years of age.

What’s the best Registered Agent option to choose?

• If you have a street address located in North Carolina (such as a home or office address), and are available during business hours, you can be your own Registered Agent.

• If you don’t have a street address in North Carolina, you can use a friend or family member’s address. They need to have a street address in North Carolina and be available during business hours.

• If you don’t have a street address in North Carolina, and you don’t have a friend or family member’s address that you can use (or prefer not to), you can hire a North Carolina Registered Agent Service Company.

Using a Registered Agent Service Company in North Carolina also offers more privacy (can keep your address off public records) and can be a more reliable setup.

North Carolina Registered Agent Services

Quick Tip: The terms “North Carolina Registered Agent Services” and “North Carolina Commercial Registered Agent” mean the same thing. We will use them both interchangeably.

North Carolina Registered Agent Service Companies specialize in receiving Service of Process (legal mail) on behalf of your North Carolina LLC. Most Registered Agent Services in North Carolina cost between $100 and $300 per year.

Once hired, they will receive Service of Process on behalf of your North Carolina LLC and then forward it to you by mail, or scan and upload it to your online account.

Who’s the best North Carolina Registered Agent?

The North Carolina Registered Agent Service that we recommend (and use ourselves) is Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).

Northwest has been in the business for over 20 years and they have great customer service.

However, one of the coolest things about using Northwest is the privacy feature.

How to keep your address off public records:

It’s important to realize that your Registered Agent address (and all addresses in your LLC’s Articles of Organization) become a part of public record. If you want to keep your address off of public record, using a Registered Agent that will allow you to use their address as your LLC’s address can be very helpful.

Northwest Registered Agent is the only company that offers a Registered Agent service where they’ll let you use their address throughout your entire Articles of Organization.

Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded into your online account.

Special discounted pricing for LLC University® readers

Northwest usually charges $100 + state fees to form an LLC. However, we’ve negotiated a discounted rate (60% off) for LLC University® readers.

Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your North Carolina LLC ($39 + state fees), they’ll include their registered agent service free for the 1st year.

(to learn more about Northwest, check out our Northwest Registered Agent review)

Risks of being your own Registered Agent in North Carolina

As mentioned above, you can be your own Registered Agent in North Carolina. In fact, you, a friend, or a family member can be your North Carolina Registered Agent.

But are there any risks to being your own Registered Agent?

In short, there are risks. They are not extremely likely to occur, but if they do, you could lose your liability protection and the North Carolina Secretary of State has the power to administratively dissolve and shut down your LLC.

This can happen if you don’t maintain (always have) a Registered Agent on file, or if the Secretary of State is unsuccessful in reaching your North Carolina Registered Agent.

Additionally, if a process server (a person who serves court documents and notices of lawsuits) is unsuccessful in reaching your North Carolina Registered Agent, a court case can proceed in your absence and you might not even know about it.

A few reasons a process server might not be able to reach your North Carolina LLC’s Registered Agent:

  • you, your friend, or family member are not there during business hours (the state of North Carolina requires that your Registered Agent maintain normal business hours)
  • you/they are on vacation or out of town
  • you/they moved and you forgot to file a Change of Registered Agent with the state

Using a North Carolina Registered Agent Service like Northwest Registered Agent is a more reliable setup and offers more privacy.

It also gives you the freedom to take vacations and not worry about changing your Registered Agent address if you move.

Next Step

Once you determine who will serve as your North Carolina LLC’s Registered Agent, you can then proceed to the next Lesson: North Carolina LLC Articles of Organization.

If you need to hire a North Carolina Registered Agent Service (a Commercial Registered Agent), please do so before going to the next step.

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.

4 Comments

  1. Janette March 6, 2017

    Morning! Hope your day is going well so far. I’m considering North West to be my registered agent for my retail business. I already printed out the forms. Should I make an appointment with you or at the nearest office location near me in Raleigh, NC. Thanks, your video’s are very informative.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz March 6, 2017

      Hey Janette, good afternoon! We don’t offer in-office appointments or document review services, but we’re here if you have any questions. Is there something particular you’re stuck on, or need clarity on?

      reply
  2. Seyon December 10, 2018

    Can I change my registered agent at any time? If I choose to be the registered agent & then decide to get a commercial one later?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz December 10, 2018

      Hey Seyon, yup, it’s not “set in stone”. You can file a change of Registered Agent at any time. Hope that helps.

      reply

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