Form a North Carolina Corporation with Inc Authority

Inc Authority offers free C-Corp formation services and has successfully helped over 250K companies across the states get started. And you get numerous complimentary services and benefits to further sweeten the deal.

Start Your North Carolina Corporation Today

1-Year Registered Agent Service Free

Free North Carolina Articles of Incorporation preparation, review, and filing services.

Complimentary registered agent services for the first year, with both free and paid plans.

Free federal S-Corp election services, align with review and filing Form 2553 of the IRS.

Things to Know Before Starting a North Carolina Corporation

When starting a C-Corp in North Carolina, you should know the various formation and compliance costs to get an idea of how affordable it is.

Let’s discuss some of the major costs briefly.

  • For filing your North Carolina Articles of Incorporation, you must pay a one-time fee of $125 to register your business.
  • If you want to run a Foreign Corporation in North Carolina, you need to pay a filing fee of $250 to register it in the state.
  • Every Corporation in North Carolina must file an annual report, which costs $23 if you file online and $25 if you file a physical report.
  • The dues date for filing the annual report is the fifteenth day of the fourth month after the fiscal year ends for your business.

Some other costs include fees for acquiring licenses, reserving your business name, etc. Overall, North Carolina is a relatively affordable state for starting a Corporation.

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Choose a Corporate Name

To register your new business, you will need a unique business name that is not used by any other business within the state. You can search the state database to find out of your selected name is available for use within North Carolina.

Also, ensure that your chosen name follows the North Carolina naming conventions for C-Corps. Your business name, for example, should include a term like corporation, incorporated, inc, and a few others to mark your business as a C-Corp.

Choose a Corporate Name
Reserve Your Business Name

Reserve Your Business Name

If you foresee a delay between name selection and business registration, then you can reserve your corporate name for a period of 120 days. This will ensure that no other business can take your reserved name for that period of time.

You will need to file an application with the North Carolina Secretary of State to reserve your corporate name, which you can file online or via mail. For this, you will need to pay a one-time filing fee of $30, which is non-refundable.

Appoint a North Carolina Registered Agent

While not all states require a Corporation to have a registered agent, North Carolina does. You must have a designated registered agent for your company and must provide their contact information to the Secretary of State’s office.

The job of a registered agent is to receive legal documents and notices on behalf of your business and forward them to you. A registered agent can be an individual or business, in the state of North Carolina, that accepts the responsibility.

Appoint a Board of Directors
File North Carolina Articles of Incorporation

File North Carolina Articles of Incorporation

Preparing and filing the Articles of Incorporation will register your business with the state and formally create your Corporation. You can file this application online from the official website or using the services of an agency like Inc Authority.

You can also download the application, fill it out manually, and submit it via mail or in person. In any case, you will need to pay a nominal state fee of $125 along with the application to get your North Carolina Corporation officially registered.

Appoint a Board of Directors

Every C-Corporation must have one or more directors who will be the key decision-makers for the business. These initial directors will be responsible for creating bylaws and setting the strategic direction for the business.

Given that you need to provide the information about directors in the Articles of Incorporation, you should appoint them as soon as possible. This will also ensure that you don’t need to make amendments to the formation documents later.

Appoint a Board of Directors
Draft Corporate Bylaws

Draft Corporate Bylaws

One key responsibility of your chosen board of directors is to craft corporate bylaws for your business. This is an official document that lists down all the rules and regulations of how the Corporation will be run and business decisions will be made.

Typically, shareholders create these bylaws during the first board meeting. The bylaws must cover all essential guidelines from how a conflict will be resolved among shareholders to who will be responsible for which tasks.

Hold the First Board Meeting

One of the most important steps in the process of starting a new Corporation is holding that first board meeting. Due to the formal structure of a C-Corp, this is a mandatory task, one that needs to be recorded using meeting minutes.

At the first meeting, all the directors come together to discuss the strategic direction the business will take. This is when corporate bylaws are formed and officers are appointed to run and manage the day-to-day operations of the new business.

Hold the First Board Meeting
Issue Stock for Your Corporation

Issue Stock for Your Corporation

A C-Corporation in North Carolina is allowed to issue various classes of stock, unlike S-Corporations, which are allowed only one. But when you first register your business, you may not have planned far ahead to think about all the stock you’ll issue.

But during your first board meeting, you need to issue some shares to shareholders, in proportion to their contributions. While it’s not mandatory to issue physical stock certificates, it is a good practice to present shareholders with these.

Get an Employer Identification Number

An EIN is a must-have for every Corporation in North Carolina as it is used for a wide variety of business purposes. First and foremost, you’ll need an EIN to hire employees and pay their salaries. You also need it to pay taxes for your business.

The IRS uses an EIN to identify businesses for tax purposes and track their tax payments. Moreover, you will also need an EIN to open a business bank account, as it is one of the required documents that banks ask for when opening an account.

Get an Employer Identification Number
Get the Required Licences and Permits

Get the Required Licences and Permits

Every business requires certain licenses and permits to start operating in a state or county and you will too. These requirements vary depending on your industry, type of business, and the location where you want to operate your business.

Find out what permits your business will need and acquire them. North Carolina doesn’t have a generic business license and has a list of over 700 occupational and state-issued licenses, so make sure you’re thorough in your research.

Launch Your Business Website

To be successful in this digital age, you must have an online presence and a website is the perfect way to do that. Your website acts as the main source of information about your business for your potential customers and other stakeholders.

To launch your business website, you’ll need a web domain that matches your chosen business name. Choose a good website design and marketing solution to ensure your site is user-friendly and easy to navigate by your potential customers.

Get the Required Licences and Permits
Follow Ongoing Compliance Requirements

Follow Ongoing Compliance Requirements

By now, you’ve completed all requirements for starting and running a North Carolina Corporation. But your job doesn’t end here, as you also need to follow ongoing requirements and North Carolina law to stay in good standing with the state.

This means you need to pay all application taxes on time, file an annual report before the due date, and meet other compliance requirements. Any change in registered agent or business information also needs to be communicated in a timely manner.

Why You Should Outsource the Corporation Formation Process

Forming a North Carolina Corporation requires a lot of steps and outsourcing the process makes things simpler for you. Here’s why you should outsource.



By letting a professional take care of everything, you can simplify the process and make things convenient for yourself.



Letting experts file your application ensures there will be no mistakes and your application will get approved 100%.



Some service providers offer expedited filing and processing, which means you can get your business started quickly.

Form Your North Carolina C-Corp Today

Best Liability Protection

If you want to protect your personal assets in case the business fails, then forming a Corporation is your best bet. Of all the business structures, Corporations provide the best personal liability protection for business owners and shareholders.

So if the business is unable to pay its debts or is sued, you or any of the other business owners will not be personally liable to remedy the situation. This makes it an almost risk-free business entity for entrepreneurs who’re starting a new business.

Best Liability Protection
Separate Legal Identity

Separate Legal Identity

A Corporation is a legal entity in and of itself and is considered separate from its owners. It has all the legal rights that an individual would have, such as entering into contracts and getting loans and funding in the name of the business.

This makes it easier to acquire business funding as investors trust the formal structure of a Corporation more than that of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Partnership. This is great for keeping your personal and business finances separate.

Easy Ownership Transfer

A North Carolina Corporation can issue stock and make its shares public, to acquire a lot of funding. This means that anyone can become a partial owner (shareholder) of a Corporation simply by buying its shares in the stock market.

This makes ownership transfer and succession planning easier. Shareholders are free to sell their shares and transfer the ownership to someone else, without affecting the day-to-day operations of the business in any shape or form.

Easy Ownership Transfer
Perpetual Existence

Perpetual Existence

As mentioned above, the transfer of shares or a change in ownership of a Corporation does not affect its operations. This means that even if all the original co-founders leave the company or die, the business can keep functioning as usual.

A Corporation, therefore, can have perpetual existence and go on for hundreds of years, long after the original founders are dead. This is what makes Corporations the most credible entities, as they are not dependent on their owners.

Expense Write-Offs

One major drawback of a Corporation is that it is subject to hefty corporate taxes. However, if you play your cards right, you can get some tax advantages from your Corporation in the form of tax-deductible expense write-offs.

Many of the common business expenses, such as employee salaries or retirement plan contributions, can be written off and deducted from the taxable income of the business. By utilizing all available deductions you can achieve tax savings.

Expense Write-Offs
Ease of Business Expansion

Ease of Business Expansion

For entrepreneurs who plan on expanding their business to several locations, a Corporation is the best business structure. The main reason behind this is that it’s easiest for a Corporation to get funding than any other business structure.

Since it’s a legal entity separate from owners, investors are less hesitant to give funding to Corporations. The same goes for bank loans. Also, C-Corps can issue shares to the public to acquire large amounts of funding, which other entities can’t.


Here’s what you’ll get with the free plan:

  • Corporate name search: Using a simple search bar on its website, you can check whether your chosen company name is available for use.
  • 1-year registered agent services: You get complimentary registered agent services for one year, after which you can upgrade to the paid service.
  • C-Corp registration: Experts at Inc Authority will prepare and file Articles of Incorporation to get your new company registered with the state.
  • S-Corporation election: Inc Authority will fill out and file Form 2553 of the Internal Revenue Service to get you the special S-Corp tax status.
  • Quick tax consultation: With the free plan, you get a brief tax consultation with an expert who’ll guide you through the process and help save on taxes.
  • Online document management: You can create an Inc Authority account and get free online storage for managing all your business documents.
  • Business funding needs analysis: An expert will analyze your current and future business funding needs and offer you various sources of funding.

Price: Free


Apart from the services in the Free plan, you’ll also get the following services:

  • Corporate bylaws: Inc Authority will help you craft comprehensive corporate bylaws and even provide a customizable template to make things easier.
  • Stock certificates: As a North Carolina Corporation, you would need to issue stock certificates to shareholders, Inc Authority can help with that.
  • EIN/Tax Id: They’ll help you obtain an Employer Identification Number, which will be needed when you open a business bank account or hire employees.
  • Corporate forms and documents package: You will receive a whole bunch of templates that you can customize to create various types of documents.
  • Annual compliance notifications: The team at Inc Authority will help you stay in good standing with the state by notifying you of upcoming deadlines.
  • Detailed tax consultation: Unlike the brief consultation with the free plan, this will be a detailed one where you can ask questions and get custom solutions.
  • Web domain and 5 business email addresses: Inc Authority will help you secure a web domain and business email using its tie-up with GoDaddy.

Price: Custom


Here’s what you’ll get, over and above what you get in the Starter plan:

  • Customer success advisor: You will get a dedicated success advisor who will be your single point of contact for everything you need. They’ll ensure that you don’t just start your business but also grow it successfully. 
  • Private banking specialist: This is an expert who will act as your business’ private banker. They’ll help you find the best business banking accounts and guide you through the selection process to make the right choice.
  • Personalized business advisory: This expert will help you grow and scale your new business after it’s been registered. They’ll provide personalized consultation and will be there to guide you through every step of the process.
  • Expedited filing: The biggest benefit of choosing this plan is that your business formation application will go right to the top of the pile and be filed within the same day. You will get priority over users on the other plans.

Why Choose Inc Authority to Start a North Carolina Corporation

Apart from the fact that it is a trusted and reputable company with decades of experience, here are some other reasons why you should choose Inc Authority.

100 free

100% Free Service

You get free C-Corp formation, S-Corp election, 1-year registered agent services, and several other services completely free of charge; no hidden fees.

Unmatched Expertise

Unmatched Expertise

You get to work with professionals in various fields who will guide you through various aspects of starting and growing a business successfully. 

Hassle-Free Experience

No Hassles

By letting experts take care of the tedious business formation process and complex paperwork for you, you will get a hassle-free experience.

Start the Incorporation Process


Here is the step-by-step process for starting a C-Corporation in North Carolina:

  1. Choose a corporate name
  2. Reserve your business name
  3. Appoint a North Carolina registered agent
  4. File North Carolina Articles of Incorporation
  5. Appoint a board of directors
  6. Draft corporate bylaws
  7. Hold the first board meeting
  8. Issue stock for your Corporation
  9. Get an Employer Identification Number
  10. Get the required licenses and permits
  11. Launch your business website
  12. Follow ongoing compliance requirements

A North Carolina Corporation has to pay a corporate income tax at the current rate of 2.5%. However, according to a 2022 amendment, this will be reduced every year after 2025, at the following rates:

  • 2025: 2.5%
  • 2026: 2%
  • 2028: 1%
  • 2029 onwards: 0%

This means that the state corporate income taxes will end in 2029. Apart from this, North Carolina corporations also need to pay a franchisee tax of $1.50 for every $1,000 of their business income. The minimum amount for franchisee tax is $200.

Here are the key benefits offered by C-Corps:

  • Best Liability Protection: It offers more comprehensive personal liability protection than any other business entity.
  • Separate Legal Identity: It is a recognized legal entity, separate from its owners, capable of entering into contracts, taking loans, etc.
  • Easy Ownership Transfer: It’s easy to transfer ownership of a C-Corp in North Carolina by simply selling the company’s shares.
  • Perpetual Existence: Even after the initial founders leave the company or perish, the company will continue to operate without any disturbance.
  • Expense Write-Offs: A Corporation can write off several corporate expenses and effectively reduce its taxable income.
  • Ease of Business Expansion: It is easier to get loans and funding for a Corporation, compared to other entities, making business expansion easier.

While North Carolina may not be the most tax-friendly state, it does offer some benefits. The average cost of living there, for example, is much lower than most other states. And with the plan to phase out state corporate income taxes, it will become more tax-friendly by 2029.

If you do it yourself or hire the services of Inc Authority, you just need to pay a state filing fee of $125. This means that outsourcing this task to Inc Authority will not cost you anything extra, but you will get a stress-free and convenient experience. You’ll also be able to start your North Carolina Corporation quickly.