Incorporating a business in North Carolina is done by filling out the Articles of Incorporation and filing the document with the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State. The Articles of Incorporation must contain certain information, including the corporation's name and address, the registered agent's name and address, and the names and addresses of the incorporators. Additional provisions may be added, such as the names of the initial directors or the initial purpose for which the corporation is being organized, provided they comply with § 55A-2-02 of the North Carolina General Statutes.
Choose a name for your business. A corporate name must include a corporate ending such as "incorporation," "inc." or "corp." The corporate name must be distinguishable from any other business of record in North Carolina. To determine if a name is available, you can search the name database available on the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State website. You may also want to check business directories, city directories and chamber of commerce lists to determine if another company in your locale is using the name. You can also search the Trademark Registration website of the North Caroline Department of the Secretary of State to determine if the words in your proposed business name are registered as a trademark or service mark under North Carolina law. It is advisable to conduct a thorough search to determine if any other business is using your chosen name.
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Go to the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State website. Scroll down to "Print Corporation Forms." Click on the type of corporation you are forming -- either business corporations, nonprofit corporations or professional corporations -- and then click on "Articles of Incorporation."
Fill out the Articles of Incorporation form on your computer or print out the form and fill it out using a black ink pen.
Write a check for the fee amount listed on the last page of the form and send the check and completed form to Corporations Division, P.O. Box 29622, Raleigh, NC 27626-0622.
An online legal document preparation and filing service can help you prepare and file the Articles of Incorporation.
The phone number for the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State is 919-807-2225.
Thomas King is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where he served as managing editor of the "Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law." He currently lives in Aberdeen, Washington where he writes and practices law.