Why Start an NC Corporation?
The North Carolina Department of Commerce offers a range of grants and incentives, giving businesses in North Carolina a competitive edge. Your corporation may be able to take advantage of these incentives, provided it meets certain qualifying criteria.
For example, the Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) is an incentive program that provides cash grants directly to a company when the company creates jobs and invests in the state. JDIG grants hold companies to strict performance targets, but the grants can significantly help offset the cost of locating or expanding a facility in the state.
An NC incorporation may be the best choice for many entrepreneurs looking to start a larger business in the state. As a corporation, your business is able to buy and trade stock, and when it comes to excess profits, corporations offer more flexibility than a limited liability company (LLC). A corporation is allowed to pass income and losses to its shareholders, who report taxes on an individual tax return at ordinary levels.
Is an LLC Better Than a Corporation?
It all depends on what you wish to achieve. For smaller businesses, limited liability companies are usually a better option. LLCs are easier to set up and receive many of the same benefits as corporations, but with less regulation.
Learn more about forming a North Carolina LLC so you can decide which business entity is right for you.
Benefits of Forming a North Carolina C Corporation
Benefits of Forming a North Carolina S Corporation
It offers several advantages similar to those provided by a C Corp including, but not limited to:
- Options for creating, transferring and selling stock, though not as many as a C Corp
- The capacity for up to 100 shareholders
- Simpler rules than those that apply to C Corporations
- Easy transfer of ownership simply by selling your stock
- The possibility of saving money by allowing you to pay less self-employment tax
In this guide, you’ll find information on naming your corporation, getting a Registered Agent, the fees you’ll need to pay, business taxes and much more. We also cover what you'll need to register your corporation and how you'll interact with the Secretary of State in North Carolina.
How to Form an NC Corporation Yourself in 6 Steps
Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a State Business Search
Every North Carolina business must have a unique name that hasn't already been claimed by another business in the state. If you’re having difficulty thinking of a name, try using our Business Name Generator to gather ideas. You'll need to follow a few naming rules, which you can read about in detail on the North Carolina Corporation Names page.
Once you’ve chosen a name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available in North Carolina. To see whether another company in the state is using your desired business name, use our tool to do a North Carolina entity search. You can also carry out a name search on the Secretary of State's website.
Provide an Official Business Address for Your Corporation
All North Carolina corporations must have a designated address. It could be a building where your office is located, your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence) or any physical address of your choice. The address can be outside the state of North Carolina and can be a P.O. Box.
A virtual mailbox may also be used as your business address. Incfile can provide you with a North Carolina virtual mailbox where we'll receive your mail, scan it and upload it for your online review. This can be especially helpful if you run a home-based business and don't want your place of residence published as part of your business public record.
Assign a Registered Agent
Someone who receives official correspondence and documentation and is responsible for filing reports with the North Carolina Secretary of State is known as a Registered Agent. Every North Carolina corporation is required to have a Registered Agent.
You may fill this position yourself, assign another manager in your business or use a Registered Agent service. If your Registered Agent in North Carolina is a person, they must have a physical street address in North Carolina and must be available during business hours to receive important documents on behalf of your company. You'll appoint your Registered Agent when you file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State and formally create your corporation.
All of Incfile’s business formation packages include Registered Agent service. It’s free for the first year and just $119 per year after that. You can also access a digital dashboard to view any document we've received on your behalf.
File Your Articles of Incorporation with the North Carolina Secretary of State
Once you've gathered all the information for your corporation, you’ll need to file your Articles of Incorporation online via the Secretary of State's business creation wizard and officially create your business.
Here’s what is typically included in the Articles:
- Your business name
- The corporation’s capital structure (number of shares to be issued)
- Registered Agent's name and address
- The principal address of the corporation
- The name and address of each incorporator
- The filer's name and signature
File by Mail
Business Registration Division
PO Box 29622,
Raleigh, NC 27626-0622
File in Person
2 South Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
You only need to file your Articles of Incorporation in North Carolina once, but every thereafter, you'll also need to file an annual report with the Secretary of State in NC. Incfile can remind you about this every year, or we can do it for you if you have us handle the paperwork.
What are the fees and requirements to incorporate in North Carolina?
*includes $3 paper copy fee
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
You'll need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You'll use this number for filing and paying taxes, submitting payroll information and payments for your employees and opening a business bank account. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you as part of the NC corporation creation process.
A set of rules that govern how a corporation will be run, bylaws detail how many directors the corporation will have, whether the board of directors will have annual meetings and what the voting requirements will be, among other things.
Some states - including North Carolina - legally require companies to create bylaws. You don't however need to file your bylaws with the Secretary of State - simply keep them with your other business records.
It's always a good idea to write and follow bylaws to protect your business from any future changes and events.
Types of NC Corporations
Chapter 55B, § 55B-2 also specifies a few of the professions permitted to form a Professional Corporation in North Carolina, which include, but may not be limited to:
- Public Accountants
- Registered Nurses
- Practicing Psychologists
Check with the Secretary of State to confirm whether your business should and can be a Professional Corporation.