NORTH CAROLINA

Why Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?


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The NC Department of Revenue & Business Taxes for Your LLC 

There are a wide variety of business taxes that your North Carolina LLC will need to pay. These include tax that’s payable to the North Carolina government, like North Carolina sales and use taxes and North Carolina state tax. You will also need to pay federal, self-employment and possibly payroll tax to the IRS.

If you want help with your taxes, Incfile provides a complete Business Tax Filing service.

How Your North Carolina LLC Will Be Taxed

The profits of a North Carolina LLC are not taxed at the business level like those of C Corporations. Instead, taxes for a North Carolina LLC work as follows:

  1. North Carolina LLC owners pay self-employment tax on business profits
  2. North Carolina LLC owners pay NC state tax on any profits, less state allowances or deductions
  3. All LLC owners pay federal income tax on any profits less federal allowances or deductions
  4. Some NC LLCs pay North Carolina sales tax on products
  5. Employers pay payroll tax on any salaries they pay to employees
  6. Employees pay federal, state and payroll tax on their earnings

Items 1, 2 and 3 are taxed as “pass-through” income for any LLC owners, managers or members who receive profits from the business. Any profits are reported on federal and North Carolina personal tax returns, and that’s where you will pay those taxes.

North Carolina Taxes Payable to the NC Department of Revenue

There are two main types of tax that you will pay to the North Carolina Department of Revenue: North Carolina state income tax and North Carolina state sales tax.

North Carolina State Income Tax Payable on LLC Earnings

As a North Carolina business owner, you will need to pay NC state tax on any money you pay to yourself. These earnings flow through to your personal tax return, which is where you will pay North Carolina income tax. You will be taxed at the standard rates for North Carolina state taxes, and you will also get to apply regular allowances and deductions.

Any salaried employees will also need to pay personal North Carolina state taxes.

The North Carolina state tax rate is 5.25 percent. 

Get details on the North Carolina state tax online here.

North Carolina Sales and Use Tax

If you sell physical products or certain types of services, you may need to collect sales tax (also known as sales and use tax) and then pay it to the NC Department of Revenue. North Carolina sales tax is collected at the point of purchase. North Carolina sales tax rates do vary depending on the region, county or city where you are located.

You will typically need to collect North Carolina sales tax on:

  • Tangible, personal property and goods that you sell like furniture, cars, electronics, appliances, books, raw materials, etc.
  • Certain services that your North Carolina business might provide

Most states do not levy sales tax on goods that are considered necessities, like food, medications, clothing or gas.

Get details on the North Carolina sales and use tax online here.

Sales Tax Rates for Your North Carolina LLC

Sales tax rates do vary between states, counties and cities. Typically, the state will set a base sales tax rate, then specific counties and cities may levy small additional sales tax amounts on top of that. 

Federal Self-Employment and Income Taxes 

There are a couple different federal taxes that every LLC will need to pay, including North Carolina LLCs. These are self-employment tax and federal income tax, which are taxed as “pass-through” income via your tax return forms.

Federal Self-Employment Tax for LLCs

All North Carolina LLC business members or managers who take profits out of the LLC will need to pay self-employment tax. This tax is also known as FICA, Social Security or Medicare tax. It applies to all the earnings you withdraw from your North Carolina business. The current self-employment tax rate is 15.3 percent.

You will be able to deduct your business expenses from your income when working out how much self-employment tax you owe. Here are some examples of how much self-employment tax you may need to pay, depending on your earnings:

  • On profits of $30,000, you would pay self-employment tax of $4,590
  • On profits of $60,000, you would pay self-employment tax of $9,180
  • On profits of $90,000, you would pay self-employment tax of $13,770
  • On profits of $140,000, you would pay self-employment tax of $21,420

Pay Less Self-Employment Tax by Treating Your North Carolina LLC as an S Corporation

The Internal Revenue Service allows LLCs to ask to be treated as an S Corporation for tax purposes. This can help you reduce the amount of self-employment tax that you pay by declaring some of your income as salary and other income as distributions or withdrawals. 

You can do this by making an “S Corporation Tax Election” with the IRS using a form known as Form 2553. We can file your Form 2553 with the IRS on your behalf.

Incfile Form 2553 S Corporation Tax Election for an LLC service

Speak to your accountant for more information on reducing your North Carolina LLC self-employment tax through an S Corporation tax election.

North Carolina LLC Federal Income Tax

You must also pay regular federal income tax on any earnings you take out of your North Carolina LLC. The amount of income tax you pay depends on your earnings, current income tax brackets, deductions and how you file. 

You only pay federal income tax on your North Carolina LLC profits that you take out of the business, less certain deductions and allowances. This includes your tax-free amount, plus LLC business expenses and other deductions for areas such as healthcare and some retirement plans. Speak to your accountant for more information.

Employer and Employee Taxes for Your North Carolina LLC

If you pay employees, there are some slightly different tax implications. Speak to your accountant to get clear guidance for your own unique situation.

Employer Payroll Tax Withholding 

All employers must collect and withhold payroll tax from their employees when they receive their salaries. You would normally withhold 7.65 percent of the taxable salary that you pay to your employees.

Employer Federal and State Tax Withholding 

You may also choose to withhold federal and North Carolina state income tax on the wages you pay to employees. Speak to your accountant for more information.

Employees May Need to File Tax Returns

Regardless of whether you withhold federal and North Carolina state income tax, your employees may need to file their own tax returns.

North Carolina LLC Employee Insurance and Other Requirements

You may also need to pay insurance for any employees, like workers compensation insurance or unemployment tax. There will also be other requirements you have for employees.

Get more requirements from the North Carolina Department of Labor website.

Other Taxes and Duties for Your North Carolina LLC

Depending on the industry you are in, your North Carolina LLC may be liable for certain other taxes and duties. For example, if you sell gasoline you may need to pay a tax on any fuel you sell. Likewise, if you import or export goods you may need to pay certain duties. Speak to your accountant about any other taxes you may need to withhold or pay.

Estimated Taxes for Your North Carolina LLC

Most North Carolina LLCs will need to pay estimated taxes throughout the year, depending on the amount of income and profit you expect to make. The most common types of estimated tax are:

  • Federal income tax

  • Federal self-employment tax

  • North Carolina state tax

Most North Carolina LLCs will pay estimated taxes four times a year. Speak to your accountant for more information.

FAQs on North Carolina LLC Business Taxes

Does North Carolina Have Sales Tax?

Yes. North Carolina does have a sales tax, which may vary among cities and counties. You can find more information above.

Does North Carolina Have a State Tax?

Yes. North Carolina does have a general state income tax. You can find more information above.

Do I Need to Pay Estimated Taxes?

Yes. In most cases you must pay estimated taxes on your North Carolina tax, federal income tax and self-employment tax. Speak to your accountant for more information.

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What are the fees and requirements to form a business in North Carolina?

Filing Time and Price

The state charges this amount to file a new business entity. This fee goes directly to the Secretary of State.

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$127 5 Weeks 14 Business Days

Compliance Requirements

This report is mandatory and must be filed within the specified time frame in order for the entity to remain in good standing with the state. Failure to file this report can lead to the company being revoked or administratively dissolved.

Annual Report

Frequency: Annually

Due Date: April 15th

Filing Fee: $200

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