Registered Agents and Your NC LLC
Your North Carolina LLC must assign a state Registered Agent. This is a formally recognized person or business who can receive business correspondence and other documents from the North Carolina Secretary of State. Assigning a Registered Agent is a legal requirement.
Your LLC must have a North Carolina Registered Agent at all times. You can appoint a Registered Agent when you first start your business. You can also replace your existing NC Registered Agent at a later date, provided there is a smooth transition between the old and new Registered Agent service.
What the North Carolina Secretary of State Says About NC Registered Agents
Here’s some important information from the North Carolina Secretary of State on NC Registered Agent services:
You must identify the business entity’s Registered Agent name. The sole duty of the Registered Agent is to forward to the business entity at its last known address any notice, process, or demand that is served on the Registered Agent. A Registered Agent may be any one of the following:
- An individual who resides in North Carolina and whose business address is identical to the registered office;
- A domestic business corporation, nonprofit corporation, limited liability company, whose business address is identical to the registered office; or
- A foreign business corporation, nonprofit corporation, limited liability company authorized to transact business in this state and whose business address is identical to the registered office.
If the Registered Agent is a business entity required to be filed with the Secretary of State’s Office, the entity must be active upon the business registry in North Carolina.
NC Registered Agents: the Rules You Need to Follow
There are certain rules you must follow when you’re appointing a North Carolina Registered Agent service for your business. They are:
- If the Registered Agent is a person, they must reside in North Carolina.
- If the Registered Agent is a business, they must be able to conduct business in North Carolina.
- The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in North Carolina, not a P.O. Box.
- The Registered Agent must be available in person during normal business hours to sign for any correspondence.
Note that the Registered Agent address does not need to be the same as your North Carolina LLC business address.
What to Expect from a North Carolina Registered Agent Service
What can you expect from your North Carolina Registered Agent? Their main function is to accept official documents and correspondence from the NC Secretary of State. This includes:
- Correspondence from the North Carolina Secretary of State
- Service of process notices (e.g., if your NC LLC is sued or required to appear in court)
- Official North Carolina state and federal government correspondence and notifications
- Tax forms and requests to complete permits, company filings and reports
The Incfile Registered Agent Service for North Carolina LLCs
Incfile provides a complete North Carolina Registered Agent service for any LLC that’s incorporated in NC. Even better, if you choose to incorporate your North Carolina business through Incfile, your Registered Agent is completely free for the first year and only $119 a year after that.
Incfile is authorized to conduct business in North Carolina and can legally act as your Registered Agent.
Here’s what the Incfile North Carolina Registered Agent service provides for your NC LLC:
- An always-available North Carolina Registered Agent who can receive correspondence, documents and legal proceedings on your LLC’s behalf
- A digital dashboard where you can access, store and retrieve any information we’ve received for your North Carolina business
- Email notification whenever we receive documents for your business
- Automatic forwarding of all legal correspondence, documentation and information directly to you
How to Appoint a North Carolina Registered Agent for Your LLC
You can appoint a Registered Agent when you first incorporate your North Carolina LLC or at any point after that. Here’s how to go about it.
Appoint a NC Registered Agent Service When You Create Your North Carolina LLC
Your business needs to have a North Carolina Registered Agent Service as soon as it’s formed. You can achieve this through one of the following methods.
You will need to include details of your Registered Agent in your Articles of Organization. This is the form that you file with the NC Secretary of State to formally create your business.
When you incorporate through us, we complete and file your Articles of Organization based on the information you’ve provided. Additionally, we give you a free North Carolina Registered Agent service for the first year, and we’ll include details of your NC Registered Agent in the form that we file.
Assign a Different North Carolina Registered Agent Service After Incorporation
You can also change your NC Registered Agent service after you’ve formed your LLC.
Once you’ve chosen a new North Carolina Registered Agent, you can complete a form. Once you’ve filled it out, send it to the secretary of state so they can update your records.
When you choose to use our NC Registered Agent service, we take care of all the form filling and filing for you. We’ll collect important information about your business, complete the form on your behalf and send it to the North Carolina Secretary of State. We’ll let you know once we officially become your Registered Agent.
North Carolina Registered Agent Search
In some situations, you might want to know the name of the Registered Agent that represents another North Carolina LLC. If you do, you can search the business database of the North Carolina Secretary of State, which will often provide details of a specific business’ Registered Agent.
If the NC Registered Agent isn’t available from the searchable business registry, contact the North Carolina Secretary of State requesting the information.
The Problems Caused When You Don’t Appoint a North Carolina Registered Agent Service
What happens if you choose not to assign or provide details of a Registered Agent to the North Carolina Secretary of State? There are several possible ramifications, including:
- Getting served or sued and not finding out about it: If your LLC is sued and you don’t know about it, you could lose to a default judgment in your absence.
- Falling out of good standing with the North Carolina Secretary of State: If you don’t respond to certain correspondence (like the request for your annual report), certain states may revoke your right to do business.
- Losing your status as a North Carolina LLC: A NC Registered Agent “proves” to the state that your business exists. Without it, you could lose your business entity protections and your North Carolina LLC may be dissolved.
Acting as Your Own Registered Agent for Your NC LLC
If you have an address in North Carolina, you can choose to be the Registered Agent for your LLC. We don’t recommend this approach, as there can be some drawbacks:
- The NC Registered Agent must have a physical street address in North Carolina. If you’re forming an LLC outside NC, you will need to use an in-state Registered Agent.
- You always need to have someone on hand during business hours at the North Carolina address to sign for important documents.
- The NC Registered Agent’s name and address are part of the public record and available through the North Carolina Secretary of State's website. If you would prefer your name and address aren’t published, you might choose a Registered Agent service.
- If you change your North Carolina business address or move out of state, you would need to file additional documentation with the NC Secretary of State for the new address if you act as your own Registered Agent. This would not be the case if you use a Registered Agent service, making a move or address change much simpler.
FAQs About North Carolina Registered Agents
Yes. All NC LLCs are required to have a Registered Agent. This is mandated by the North Carolina Secretary of State.
You can either do it when you incorporate your North Carolina business through paperwork filed with the NC Secretary of State or afterward by filing the correct form. If you form your business through Incfile, we will file all necessary forms on your behalf.
Yes, but we don’t recommend it for the reasons listed above. If you still want to be your own Registered Agent, you just need to fill in the correct forms and pay a fee to the North Carolina Secretary of State.
Yes. Additionally, if they are a business providing Registered Agent services, they must be legally able to conduct business in your state.
Additional Resources for North Carolina Registered Agent Services
You might find these resources helpful: