Whether you’re starting a new business and wish to incorporate it or are looking to convert your general partnership or sole proprietorship into a corporation, incorporating a business takes only a few short steps along with a small fee.
Before you get started, it’s essential that you understand everything that goes into incorporating a business in North Carolina, which should help you avoid making any costly mistakes.
Select a Name for Your Corporation
The first step of incorporating a business in North Carolina is to select a name for your corporation. The name that you select must be original, which means that it can’t be used by any other business in the state. It can sometimes be difficult to find the right name for your business, which is due mainly to very similar names being rejected as well.
If you find that the name you prefer has been reserved but has not yet been used, it’s possible that you could transfer the name over to your business once an agreement has been made with the current owner.
Keep in mind that every corporation must include an ending like “corp”, “inc”, or “incorporation”. Other corporate endings that you can choose from include “limited”, “corporation”, or “company”. These words aren’t considered when the Secretary of State is deciding if your name is too similar to other business names in NC.
The name that you choose cannot imply or state that the company is going to be used for some other purpose than the one that is currently indicated. Some of the words that you’re unable to use unless you receive legal qualification to do so include wholesale, realtor, architect, architectural, bank, banker, insurance, mutual, certified public accountant, surveyor, or engineer.
Once you’ve found a name that you like, you’ll have the option to reserve if for a small fee if you are still going to wait a couple months before fully incorporating the business.
File the Proper Forms
Once the company name of your choice has been verified, Articles of Incorporation will be filed with the North Carolina Secretary of State. There’s a substantial amount of information that must be included in these forms in order for your application to be accepted. You’ll need to list your exact corporate name, which includes all of the necessary abbreviations and proper punctuation.
If you have any classes of stock with your business, the total number of shares for each stock class will need to be listed. Any limitations or preferences regarding this stock must also be included.
The street address, county, and name of the registered agent will need to be provided as well, which can be the same address as your company’s. This address is where all of the official correspondence from the state will be delivered.
In order to file Articles of Incorporation, there must be one or more incorporators. The address and name of each incorporator should be listed on the forms. If you wish to set some bylaws for your corporation, these can be included as optional provisions on the document. In order for your filing to be accepted, a standard cover sheet must also be placed on the document.
Pay the Requisite Filing Fee
Currently, the state filing fee that you will be required to pay to incorporate your business is $125. It may take around 8-15 days for your business to become incorporated in North Carolina. However, it’s possible to pay an additional fee to expedite the process. If you want a decision to be made within 24 hours, you can pay an additional fee of $100. An extra fee of $200 can be paid if you want them to provide you with a same-day response.
Once the documents have been filed and the fees have been paid, all that’s left for you to do is to wait. You are not allowed to use the business name that you’ve chosen until the document is approved by the North Carolina Secretary of State.
Our North Carolina Business Lawyers Can Help
While incorporating a business in North Carolina is a relatively straightforward process, there are a range of mistakes that you could make if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, which is why it’s highly recommended that you retain the services of an experienced business attorney.
The team at Wilson Ratledge will be able to help you fill out all the paperwork and answer any questions that you might have about the process. If you find that the response to your application is taking longer than you expected, we can find out what’s causing the delay.
If you require assistance with incorporating your business in North Carolina, call us today to schedule your consultation.