How To Get A Business License In NC?

Business Link North Carolina (BLNC), a free of cost service of the North Carolina Department of Commerce, furnishes business visionaries with business permitting data, one-on-one advising choices, web based recording structures, and public and private area references. The BLNC offers an arranging agenda and a posting of possible awards and credits to put organizations on the way to creating or further extending their organizations. The state’s Small Business Ombudsman can likewise help answer questions and help new companies in exploring business and legislative orders. It is true that getting a business license is a hefty feat. This article focuses on how to get a business license in NC. Keep on reading to find out.

How Do I Start  A Small Business In NC?

The following steps are to be taken if you want to start a small business in NC or if you want to get a business license in NC: (*Note that the NC Secretary of State website has details and contact information that you can check out for more help.)

1) Business Registration

Before You Begin

It is safe to say that you are just selling to companions or online and pondering am I in business? If you felt the need to pose the inquiry,then  you most likely are. Usually a hobby can turn into a business. Some people have certain confusions when it comes to online business and question: Do I need a business license to sell online In NC? The answer to that is yes. If you participate in the following (or anything of the sort), you will be considered a business and would have to get yourself registered:

  • You start to sell that special barbecue sauce you once made for your family
  • You purchase and sell products online
  • You purchase and sell products at the flea market

The IRS says, that if you plan to make a profit out of your hobby then it is a business

Choose A Business Name

Naming your Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership:

In the event that you use a name that is different from what is on your driver’s permit, at that point it is ideal to document a Sole Proprietorship/General Partnership. A business name that has nothing to do with your own name, is viewed as an “assumed name.” This is equivalent to “doing business as.” With an assumed name, you should direct a hunt with your province Register of Deeds to see if somebody is now working together under the name you need. Data documented at local level is assembled into an online accessible statewide information base at the NC Secretary of State’s office.

Naming your Corporation, Limited Partnership (LP), or Limited Liability Company (LLC):

The NC Secretary of State’s Office goes over possible business names and even has a guide on how to select the right name for your business.

Choose A Business Structure

Pick your business structure cautiously. Your decision influences how your business is burdened, your money related risk and who settles on choices about the organization. You ought to consult your lawyer or accountant to assist you with settling on the correct decision for your specific business. The State of North Carolina can’t advise you.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is a business that is claimed and worked by a person. It is the least difficult and most normal structure picked to begin a business. There is no distinction between the business and you, the proprietor. You are qualified for all benefits and are liable for all your business’ obligations, misfortunes and liabilities.

General Partnership

A general partnership is shaped by at least two people who consent to contribute cash, work, or potentially skills to a business and to share its benefits, misfortunes, and management. All accomplices commonly are considered lawfully answerable for their own activities and the activities of different accomplices.

Other types of business structures are as follows:

  • Business Corporation
  • Non-Profit Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Partnerships
  • Professional Entities

Register Your Business

How to register a business name in NC? This is one question that you will definitely ask yourself when trying to start a business in North Carolina. The type of business determines where you file to register your business.

Sole Proprietor

  • Choose your sole proprietor business name.
  • If working under an assumed name, download and file an Assumed Business Name Certificate with your County Register of Deeds. Be careful because a fee may be charged.

General Partnership

  • Choose your general partnership name.
  • If working under an assumed name, download and file an Assumed Business Name Certificate with your County Register of Deeds. Be careful because a fee may be charged.

If your business is any of the following, the NC Secretary of State is the proper place to register:

  • Business Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Limited Partnership (LP)
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • Limited Liability Limited Partnership (LLLP)
  • Nonprofit Corporation
  • Professional LLC
  • Professional Corporation

The following steps show how to register with the NC Secretary of State’s Office:

  1. Prepare the documents and attachments

Each business type needs specific documents. The Secretary of State North Carolina website has all the details you need concerning this.

  1. Submit the documents and attachments for filing
  • You can submit your documents online by:
  • Preparing the documents for uploading
  • Signing in to your account from the Secretary of State webpage
  • Navigate to online business services
  • Enter data in regard to the document
  • Choose the Examination Method
  • Attach the PDF Document
  • Attach the PDF Document
  • You can also submit your documents via mail:

You can use the United States Postal Service (USPS) or any other third party courier (i.e., USP, or FedEx) and mail your documents to the Business Registration Division. Use the following addresses for the documents being mailed.

  1. USPS Mailing Address:
  • For Annual Report: PO Box 29525, Raleigh, NC 27626-0525
  • For Any other type of document: PO Box 29622, Raleigh, NC 27626-0622
  1. Courier Physical Mailing Address:

Business Registration Division

2 South Salisbury Street

Raleigh, NC 27601

  • You can submit your documents in person as well:

You can directly take your documents to the Secretary of State’s office between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday except for weekends and State holidays. The address is 2 South Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC 27601, which is found right opposite the State Capitol Building. There is adequate paid parking around the structure along Hillsborough, Salisbury, and Morgan Streets.

After You File

After you electronically submit business development records with the NC Secretary of State’s Office, you will get an email about the status of the business. Make sure that it will take 5 to 7 business days to get this email. You cannot utilize your business name for any official reason until the NC Secretary of State’s Office favors the report for documenting, which makes the entity. We prompt you not to buy writing material or business cards with your business name until accepting affirmation from the Secretary of State that your business is created.

Maintain Your Registration

For any businesses documented with the Secretary of State’s Office, ensure that you follow the requirements to maintain registration. The details are given on the NC Secretary of State’s website.

2) Licensing

There are various kinds of licenses engaged with maintaining a business in North Carolina. You may require a license, permit or accreditation, as well as a work related permit. A few organizations and occupations additionally need an privilege permit. You can look into the prerequisites for these permit types at NCBOLD.

Know that there are additional ecological permits and zoning necessities, contingent upon area and sorts of organizations. Contact your local city, province or district for zone explicit permit necessities, or call Business Link NC at 1-800-228-8443 to find out about these licenses.

3) For Employers: What To Do If You Have Employees?

Under precedent-based law rules, if you control what tasks are performed and how they are completed, anyone providing services for you is considered your employee, even if they have some freedom of action. The crucial factor is your ability to dictate the specifics of how the services are carried out.

An individual becomes an independent contractor when the payer can only control or direct the outcome of the work, not the methods or processes used to achieve it. In North Carolina, withholding applies to non-resident contractors or independent contractors with an individual tax identification number if they earn over $1,500 in a calendar year. As an employer, it’s imperative to adhere to all the necessary requirements outlined below.

Employee Withholding

State personal charges must be retained from representative wages and dispatched to the N.C. Department of Revenue. Each new manager needed to retain North Carolina annual duty must finish and record Form NC-BR with the N.C. Department of Revenue. Form NC-BR can be submitted electronically or the employer can finish and mail a paper variant of it.

NC Income Tax Withholdings From Non-Wage Compensation

On the off chance that, over the course of a payer’s trade or business, a payer pays a compensation of more than $1,500 during the scheduled year to a payee for administrations acted in North Carolina. The payer is needed to retain North Carolina annual assessment from the remuneration. In the event that another payer who is needed to retain North Carolina personal duty does not have a N.C. withholding account identification number, the new payer must finish and record Form NC-BR with the N.C. Department of Revenue. Form NC-BR can be submitted electronically or the payer can finish and mail a paper adaptation of it.

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance charge is a tax on employer payrolls paid by businesses and used to give assets from which unemployment benefits are paid to qualified jobless laborers. Additionally, unemployment tax is not deducted from worker compensation. Every business is needed to submit valid and exact data for deciding risks. As a business in the State of North Carolina, you should finish Form NCUI604, Employer Status Report, and document it with the Division of Employment Security.

Workers’ Compensation

Typically employers of at least three employees must give workers’ compensation. On the off chance that you are dependent upon the Act, you are needed to convey workers’ compensation insurance. To acquire workers’ compensation insurance, contact an insurance agent about your inclusion needs and the kinds of inclusion accessible to you. Any business who is needed to safeguard its workers, and neglects to do as such, might be subject to financial punishments as well as criminal accusations.

Required Posters

NCDOL requires all organizations in North Carolina to post a copy of the North Carolina Workplace Laws Poster in an obvious spot where notifications to employees are usually posted. The banner, imprinted in two areas, contains data on a portion of the laws that NCDOL authorizes, including occupational security and health laws, compensation and hour laws, and employment discrimination laws. Notwithstanding the North Carolina Workplace Laws Poster, organizations in North Carolina might be needed by other state and government offices to present notification to employees about other workplace laws. All posters can be downloaded from the NC Department of Labor website.

New Hire Reporting

Government and state law expect employers to report recently recruited and re-employed workers to the NC Directory of New Hires. This will help guarantee that kids get the child support they need. At the point when employees are laid off, they should be accounted for also.

Withholding Child Support

At the point when a worker is a noncustodial parent with a child support commitment, the employer is answerable for denying child support payments of their employees’ profit and sending these installments to the state Child Support office. Businesses may likewise need to enlist their workers’ children in medical coverage plans, when available, and deduct the charges from their employees’ income.

Safety And Health

The North Carolina Department of Labor directs and actualizes the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of North Carolina. OSHA guidelines shield laborers from perilous and unhealthy working conditions. The U.S Department of Labor regulates and authorizes the government OSHA rules intended to shield laborers from workplace perils.


The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 expects employers to confirm work qualification by finishing and holding a one-page Employment Eligibility Form (Form I-9). Or then again utilize the online E-Verify measure.

Health Insurance

Under the Affordable Care Act, organizations with 50 or less full time employees are not needed to give medical coverage to their workers. Despite the fact that it is not needed, you can utilize the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) to offer inclusion to your employees. Enlistment can happen any time during the year. In the event that you have less than 25 employees and need to give medical coverage to your workers, the site clarifies a private company tax break of up to 35 percent to counterbalance the expense of health care coverage.

4) Business Taxes

Tax identification numbers are given by the U.S. Interior Revenue Service (IRS) and by the State of North Carolina. They are utilized to oversee tax laws. Know that your business might be allotted any combination of these numbers:

  • Social Security Number
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
  • Employer Identification Number
  • NC Secretary of State Identification Number

Register To Pay Sales And Use Taxes And NC Income Tax Withholdings

Register your business here to pay state charges for sales tax, use tax, North Carolina income tax retention, and different duties and administration charges.

State Income Taxes

Not at all like government annual duties, no pre-enrollment is needed for organizations to cover state income taxes.

  • Sole proprietors document and pay income tax with the help of their social security number.
  • Partnerships document and pay income tax with the help of their federal identification number.
  • Corporations document and pay income tax with the help of their federal identification number.
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are taxed either as a partnership or a corporation, based on whether the members elected to be taxed work as a corporation.

Federal Taxes

The IRS necessitates that each business who pays wages to at least one worker, document an application for an Employer Identification Number or EIN. To do this:

  • You may apply online (Form SS-4) or contact the IRS.
  • Contact the Internal Revenue Service Business and Specialty Tax Line at their Toll-free number: (800) 829-4933.

County Property Taxes

As an entrepreneur, you are liable for posting your business personal property with the County Tax Assessor’s Office. You should likewise furnish the assessor with data concerning any genuine property enhancements, for example, the expansion of another structure.

Comprehensive List Of State Business Taxes

Get in touch with the NC Department of Revenue for a list of the main state business taxes.

How Much Is A NC Business License?

The state documenting expense to acquire a business license in North Carolina is $125.00. It normally takes around 10 to 15 days to consolidate in North Carolina. Assisted filings are accessible for an extra expense ($200 for same day filings, $100 for 24-hour filings).

What Are The Licenses That Are Generally Required In NC?

The major licensing issues and resources for new ventures in North Carolina are mentioned below:

  • General Business Licenses
  • Speciality Licensing Boards
  • Registering Business Organizations
  • Assumed Name or DBA Registrations


Upon absorbing the insights presented in this article, you now possess the essential knowledge to embark on your entrepreneurial journey in North Carolina. Ensure your readiness by creating an account on the NC Secretary of State’s website. This platform not only grants you access to vital information but also connects you with invaluable resources and contacts essential for your success.