North Carolina has been a historically friendly environment for innovators. Look no further than the Wright brothers, who took off from Kitty Hawk nearly 120 years ago. With that brief first flight, an entire air travel industry was born. No matter what your business aspirations may be, there are ample opportunities in North Carolina for entrepreneurial visionaries. Before you build a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, however, it can help to know some basics about structuring a business. Knowing what goes into forming an LLC, for example, can be a helpful place to start.
Limited liability companies–or “LLCs”, for short–are very popular among business owners. If you are interested in forming an LLC in North Carolina, you are going to want to understand what that process involves, as well as what sort of supplemental documentation you will need.
What Are the Advantages of Forming an LLC?
If you spent any amount of time in the business world, you are probably at least a little bit familiar with the different structuring options. There are corporations, different types of partnerships, and, of course, limited liability companies. LLCs are especially popular for a few different reasons. For one, they are relatively simple to set up in comparison to a corporation. For another they employ the concept of “limited liability.” What this means is that should your business go into bankruptcy or face costly legal judgments, the personal assets of the LLC’s members can be shielded.
Creating an LLC is also wise from a tax perspective. In the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), an LLC is considered a “pass-through” entity. What that means is that the profits generated by your business “pass through” to the members of the LLC before they are taxed. Conversely, some corporate structures have to pay taxes on both business and owner incomes. It is often prudent to consult with a seasoned tax attorney before arriving at a structure that is right for your business.
Step One: Choosing a Name and a Registered Agent
If you have landed on a limited liability company as the chosen structure for your business, your next step is to select a name. Per North Carolina state law, your name must include the words “limited liability company,” or an acceptable abbreviation. Your business’s name must also be unique and completely distinguishable from other registered LLCs in the state.
You will also need to designate a registered agent for your business. The role of this individual is to receive any and all legal correspondence on behalf of your LLC. In other words, if your business is served with process documents, your registered agent will be the designated recipient. While this is a state law, it is also an effective operational practice for your business.
Filing Your Articles of Organization
With your name decided upon, and a registered agent in-place, it is time to assemble your articles of organization. These are the formal documents that will register your LLC in the state of North Carolina. This is done by completing a “Form L-01 – Articles of Organization” and submitting it to the Secretary of State’s office.
This form will call for some basic information about your business. You will need to include the name and physical address of your organization, the name and contact information for your registered agent, and more.
You can download a PDF copy of this form from the Secretary of State’s website, fill it out hand by hand, and return it to the appropriate office. While this fulfills the basic requirements for registering an LLC, there are other matters you will want to address as a business owner. For example, drafting an operating agreement is generally a wise move. So too is promptly registering your business with state and federal tax authorities.
Form Your LLC Online Today at the Corporation Center
If you are launching your own business, chances are it is the culmination of a years- or decades-long dream. You have worked hard for this opportunity, and the road ahead is going to call for continued concentrated effort. In simple terms, owning a business is a huge time commitment, and you may soon find that your vacant minutes of the day are few and far between. With that in mind, why not spare yourself the burdens of locating, printing, filling out, and mailing complicated forms?
At the Corporation Center, we can help you register your LLC in a matter of minutes. We feature online forms for North Carolina LLCs, partnerships, corporations, and more. You can also rest easy in knowing that your information is transmitted securely–we employ an SSL-encrypted web portal to safely process your data. To learn more about how we can help you grow and shape your business, contact one of our helpful customer service representatives today.