How to Start an LLC in North Dakota (Step-by-Step) 2024 Guide

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Starting a North Dakota LLC, step-by-step

Starting a North Dakota LLC costs $135. And it takes 5 days to get an LLC in North Dakota.

How to start an LLCHere are the 5 steps to forming an LLC in North Dakota:

  1. Choose an LLC Name
  2. Select a Registered Agent
  3. File Articles of Organization
  4. Create an Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN

If you want to form your LLC yourself, follow our free guide below.

If you want someone to take care of it for you, we recommend hiring Northwest Registered Agent

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

(We recommend Northwest. We've reviewed all the top companies in the industry. And Northwest is our #1 pick for prices, customer support, and address privacy. Check out Northwest vs LegalZoom to learn more.)

How much does it cost to start an LLC in North Dakota?

It costs $135 to start an LLC in North Dakota.

And then it costs $50 per year.

What are these fees for?

  • The $135 is to file the Articles of Organization – the document that creates an LLC.
  • The $50 per year is for your Annual Report – a mandatory filing that keeps your LLC in good standing.

To learn more about LLC Costs, see LLC Costs in North Dakota.

How long does it take to get an LLC in North Dakota?

If you file online, your LLC will be approved in 5 business days.

If you file your LLC by mail, it will be approved in 5 business days (plus mail time).

That said, the North Dakota Secretary of State prefers LLCs to be filed online.

Please see How long does it take to get an LLC in North Dakota to check for any delays.

Here are the steps to forming an LLC in North Dakota

1. Search your LLC Name

LLC namesSearch your North Dakota LLC Name to make sure it’s available in the state.

You need to do this because two businesses in the state can’t have the same name.

First, search your business name and compare it to existing businesses in North Dakota. You can make sure the LLC Name you want is unique from existing businesses using the North Dakota FirstStop Business Search.

Second, familiarize yourself with the naming rules in North Dakota (so your North Dakota LLC gets approved).

We’ll explain both in more detail here: North Dakota LLC Name.

2. Choose a North Dakota Registered Agent

The next step is to choose a North Dakota Registered Agent.

Registered AgentA North Dakota Registered Agent is a person or company who accepts legal mail and state notices on behalf of your North Dakota Limited Liability Company.

Who can be an LLC Registered Agent?

You have 3 options for who can be the Registered Agent:

  • You
  • A friend or family member
  • A Registered Agent Service

The Registered Agent for your LLC must have a physical street address in North Dakota. PO Boxes aren’t allowed.

And the Registered Agent’s name and address will be listed on public records.

If you don’t have an address in North Dakota, or you want more privacy, you can hire a Registered Agent Service for your LLC.

We recommend Northwest Registered Agent

Our favorite feature about Northwest is they’ll let you use their office address throughout your LLC filing. This way, you can keep your address off public records.

They’ll also scan any mail sent to your LLC and upload it to your online account.

Northwest has excellent customer service, and they’re who we trust to be our own Registered Agent.

Special offer: Hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), and you'll get a free year of Registered Agent service.

(Why is Northwest the best? Read our Northwest Registered Agent review)

3. File North Dakota LLC Articles of Organization

Articles of OrganizationTo start an LLC, you need to file the North Dakota Articles of Organization.

This gets filed with the North Dakota Secretary of State.

The North Dakota Articles of Organization costs $135 when you file online.

This is a one-time fee to create your LLC.

If you want to file this yourself, see our step-by-step guide: North Dakota Articles of Organization.

Or, you can hire a company to do it for you.

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

(Learn why Northwest is #1 in Northwest vs LegalZoom)

4. Create a North Dakota LLC Operating Agreement

Operating AgreementA North Dakota LLC Operating Agreement serves as a “companion” document to the Articles of Organization.

The Articles of Organization creates your LLC, and the Operating Agreement shows who owns the LLC.

Additionally, some banks require an Operating Agreement when you open an LLC bank account.

And having an Operating Agreement will be very helpful if you ever end up in court. Reason being, it helps prove that your LLC is being run properly.

That’s why we recommend that all LLCs have an Operating Agreement – including Single-Member LLCs.

Furthermore, an Operating Agreement is an “internal document“. Meaning, you don’t need to file it with the state or the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). Just keep a copy with your business records.

You can download a free template below.

Then, learn how to fill it out by watching our step-by-step North Dakota Operating Agreement video.

Download a free LLC Operating Agreement:
Member-managed: Google DocWordPDF
Manager-managed: Google DocWord

(What's better? See Member-managed vs Manager-managed LLC)

5. Get an EIN for your LLC

The next step is to get a North Dakota EIN Number from the IRS for your LLC.

Note: An EIN Number is also called a Federal Tax ID Number or Federal Employer Identification Number.

EIN Number for an LLCAn EIN Number is used to:

  • identify your LLC for tax purposes
  • open a business bank account
  • apply for business licenses and permits
How much does an EIN cost?

Getting an EIN Number from the IRS is completely free.

How long does it take to get an EIN?

If you apply online, it takes 15 minutes.

If you apply by mail or fax, it can take 1-3 months.

How can I get an EIN?

US Citizens/US Residents: If you have an SSN or ITIN, you can apply for an EIN online. Follow these instructions: Apply for an EIN online.

Non-US Residents: You can’t get an EIN online, but you can still get one by fax or by mail. Follow these instructions: How to get an EIN without an SSN or ITIN.

What do I do after my LLC is approved?

After your North Dakota LLC is approved, there are some additional steps.

Open an LLC business bank account

You’ll want to open a business bank account for your LLC.

This makes accounting and record-keeping much easier for your business finances.

Having a separate business bank account also maintains your personal liability protection. This is because it keeps your business entity finances separate from your personal finances.

Get North Dakota business licenses and permits

Business LicenseGood news, North Dakota doesn’t have a state general business license.

However, depending on where your LLC is located, you may need a local business license or permit.

For example, if you want to start a daycare, you may need a business license from the city or county.

You can learn more on our North Dakota Business License page.

File your North Dakota LLC Annual Report

LLC Annual ReportAll North Dakota LLCs must file an Annual Report every year.

The Annual Report keeps your LLC in good standing with the state.

How much does a North Dakota LLC Annual Report cost?

The Annual Report filing fee is $50 per year.

When is the Annual Report due?

All LLC Annual Reports are due by November 15th, every year.

When is my first Annual Report due?

Your first Annual Report is due the year after your LLC was approved.

For example, if your LLC was approved on April 3, 2024, your first Annual Report is due by November 15, 2025.

How do I file my LLC Annual Report?

You can file your LLC’s Annual Report online.

Follow our step-by-step guide here: North Dakota LLC Annual Report.

File and pay taxes

LLCs don’t pay federal taxes. Instead, the LLC Members pay the taxes for the LLC.

Said another way, the owners pay taxes for the LLC as a part of their personal tax return.

How will my LLC be taxed?

By default, a North Dakota LLC is taxed by the IRS based on the number of owners your LLC has:

  • A Single-Member LLC is taxed like a Sole Proprietorship.
  • A Multi-Member LLC is taxed like a Partnership.

Alternatively, you can ask the IRS to tax your LLC like a C-Corporation or S-Corporation.

Besides federal taxes, there are also state and local income taxes – and sales tax. Learn more in North Dakota LLC Taxes.

How to Start an LLC in North Dakota FAQs

Can I start an LLC online in North Dakota?

Yes, you can file your LLC online in North Dakota. The Articles of Organization filing fee is $135.

When you start your LLC online, it will be approved in 5 business days.

What are the benefits of an LLC?

The first benefit of an LLC is protecting your personal assets. Meaning, if your business is sued, your personal assets – like your home, cars, and bank accounts – are protected.

This protection applies to all LLC owners (called LLC Members). It doesn’t matter if you have a Single-Member LLC or Multi-Member LLC. All of the LLC owners are protected from the business debts and liabilities.

This type of protection wouldn’t apply if you operate as a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership. With these types of informal business structures, the owners aren’t protected in the event of a lawsuit. For that reason, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a much more popular business structure.

Another benefit is LLC pass-through taxation. This means the LLC itself doesn’t pay federal income taxes. Instead, the profits “pass through” to the LLC Members. And the Members pay the taxes on their personal tax return.

And North Dakota state income taxes are very similar, since the state honors the federal tax treatment of your LLC.

To learn more, please see How are LLCs taxed.

Is North Dakota a good state to start an LLC?

Whether North Dakota is a good state to start an LLC depends on where you live – and where you’re doing business.

Meaning, if you live in or do business in North Dakota, then you should start your LLC in North Dakota. While many websites talk about tax rates and advantages of certain states, none of that applies if it’s not the state where you live and do business.

For example, if you form an LLC in Wyoming, but live in and conduct business in North Dakota, you’ll also need to register your Wyoming LLC in North Dakota (and pay extra fees). And you’ll end up paying North Dakota taxes anyway. This ends up leading to more costs and more headaches with no advantages.

In summary, if you live in and conduct business in North Dakota, then yes, North Dakota is a good state to start a business. If you don’t live in and do business in North Dakota, then no, North Dakota isn’t a good state to start a business.

Real estate exception: If you’re purchasing real estate outside of North Dakota, you should form your LLC in the state where the property is located.

For more information, please see Best State to Form an LLC.

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz is the leading expert on LLC education, and has been teaching for 15 years. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

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4 comments on “North Dakota LLC”

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.

  1. Would I be able to open an investments LLC for my own personal investing in crypto currencys’?

    • Hi David, yes, LLCs can be used to invest in crypto. Many exchanges have a “corporate registration” section. Hope that helps.

  2. Hello,
    Thank you or your web site and guidance, it is very well done. I have a question for you.
    One major benefit of an LLC is to protect your other assets. If I have a business that is an LLC and another business that is not an LLC, can a lawsuit against the non-LLC business impact my LLC business assets?

    • You’re very welcome Jerry! Thank you for the kind words :) No, a lawsuit against your non-LLC business will not impact the assets of your LLC business, since they are separate legal entities. Essentially, the more legal entities you form for various assets and businesses, the more protected each asset/business is (as opposed to holding all of your assets/businesses in 1 LLC). Hope that helps.

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