How to Find the Best Registered Agent in North Carolina
This guide will help you find the best registered agent in North Carolina. We’ll explore key factors to consider, evaluate top providers, and equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision for your business’s registered agent needs.
What is a North Carolina registered agent?
North Carolina General Statutes require all formal businesses in the state to appoint and maintain a registered agent. The Secretary of State describes a registered agent as a person or business entity representing a company that receives service of process and official correspondence from the state of North Carolina.
A registered agent serves as the point of contact between a business and the North Carolina Secretary of State.
An appointed registered agent receives legal notices and important documents, including:
- Articles of Organization– limited liability company (LLC) formation documents
- Articles of Incorporation – the formation documents for North Carolina corporations
- Annual report fee – due by April 15
- Certificate of Existence– proof of good standing in North Carolina
- Corporate annual franchise tax- due by the 15th day of the fourth month following the end of the income year
A registered agent is a physical presence in North Carolina
According to North Carolina General Statutes, a registered agent must have a street address in the state and be physically available during normal business hours to accept legal notices and tax reminders.
Because a registered agent physically exists in North Carolina, you can list the service’s address in the public record rather than your personal address.
The agent is the state-mandated point of contact
The state of North Carolina requires an agent to be the point of contact to receive time-sensitive documents, such as subpoenas.
An individual or business has ten days to respond to a subpoena in North Carolina.
If someone fails to respond, it can result in default judgments and other monetary sanctions.
A registered agent service is a helpful due date reminder
The annual report in North Carolina is due by April 15 each year.
If you fail to submit the fee on time, you can lose good standing in North Carolina, leading to losing liability protection.
A professional registered agent service will send reminders when due dates are nearing and aid you in submitting the correct documents to avoid losing asset protection.
Cost of a registered agent in North Carolina
The North Carolina Secretary of State mandates that registered agents must be at least 18 years old and have a street address in the state.
For free, you can appoint anyone that meets those North Carolina registered agent requirements, which can include:
Appointing a commercial registered agent service in North Carolina costs between $50 and $500.
When to appoint a registered agent
When you submit formation documents, you will provide the North Carolina Secretary of State Business Registration Division with registered agent information.
In North Carolina, LLCs list the registered agent name and address on the Articles of Organization.
Corporations file Articles of Incorporation and provide the registered agent’s address and name.
Other business structures include:
How does a North Carolina LLC appoint a registered agent?
File the Articles of Organization
You will complete the Articles of Organization form (form L-01) and submit it by mail or in person.
North Carolina Secretary of State
Business Registration Division
PO Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27626
2 South Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC 27601
If you prefer to file formation documents online, you will use the North Carolina Secretary of State business filing system.
Appoint your registered agent
Sections 3, 4 & 5 of form L-01 will ask you to produce specific information about the agent or service.
- Registered agent name
- Registered office address, including the county
- Registered agent mailing address if different than the street address
Pay your North Carolina filing fees
The filing fee in North Carolina for the Articles of Organization is $125.
The North Carolina Business Registration Division does offer expedited business filing services for an additional fee.
- 24-hour – $100
- Same-day – $200
The cost to file your LLC Articles of Organization in North Carolina is $125.
How to change your registered agent in North Carolina
The Secretary of State requires a business to send an official notification if they switch registered agents or any registered office address changes.
Submit the statement of change of registered office or agent online
You will use the North Carolina Business Registration Division filing system to submit the statement of change of registered office or agent.
Submit the statement of change of registered office or agent by mail or in person
You can file the statement of change of registered office or agent in person or by mail.
The appointed agent must sign the change of registered agent form to consent to the appointment.
The cost to switch registered agents in North Carolina is $5.
How to resign as a registered agent in North Carolina
You will notify the business you’re leaving from to let them know you’re withdrawing consent to act as a registered agent.
You will then complete the statement of resignation of registered agent form and submit it by mail, online, or in-person to the NC Business Registration Division.
Form 0078 will ask for specific information about the resigning registered agent.
- Registered agent name
- Business entity name
- Proof a notice of registration was sent
- Who the notice was sent to
- Statement of resignation
The North Carolina Secretary of State Business Registration Division does not charge to resign as a registered agent.
Benefits of appointing a registered agent in North Carolina
You’re protecting your business’ asset protection
In North Carolina, the annual report is due every year to the Secretary of State by April 15.
You risk losing good standing and liability protection if you’re late submitting the payment.
An appointed registered agent service uses a compliance calendar to update you on upcoming due dates and assist you in filing the correct paperwork.
Your personal North Carolina address stays out of public record
Working from home or a private office comes with risks to one’s privacy if you appoint yourself as your business’s registered agent.
All business addresses in North Carolina are searchable using the North Carolina Business Search:
- Registered agent
- Company officials
- Assumed business name
When you hire a registered agent, you can list the service’s address in the business search rather than your personal address.
You protect your positive reputation
A law firm or a process server is not required to notify you about a pending lawsuit and can arrive at your office without letting you know.
Outside registered agents provide peace of mind by accepting legal documents discreetly.
You’re in charge of your schedule
North Carolina General Statutes state that a registered agent must be available during regular business hours to receive official correspondence from the Secretary of State and the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
You must be in your office during those mandated hours when you appoint yourself as your own registered agent.
You can hire a professional registered agent who is physically present in North Carolina and will accept any official notice or documents.
Your Certificate of Existence is accessible anytime from anywhere
You must have proof of good standing in North Carolina to open new bank accounts and apply for business loans. The Certificate of Existence is proof that you provide to the financial institutions.
Most registered agent services give business owners 24-hour access to the Certificate of Good Standing and other formation documents.
You don’t have to wait to form a foreign LLC
Appointing a registered agent is part of expanding an LLC into a different state.
Having an agent or service already means you can start forming a foreign LLC as soon as possible.
Can I use a virtual address for my LLC in North Carolina?
You can use a virtual address for mailing purposes only. You must have a street address for the business on your North Carolina Articles of Organization, whether yours or a registered agent’s physical address.
Do I hire a registered agent before or after I form my North Carolina business?
The North Carolina Secretary of State requires you to appoint a registered agent before business formation. If you file the formation documents without a registered agent listed, the state will deny the registration.
Is a registered agent considered an owner in North Carolina?
An owner of a business can be an agent in North Carolina, but a resident agent doesn’t have to be the owner.
Does my registered owner get all my mail in North Carolina?
Registered agents aren’t a mail forwarding service and should only receive official correspondence from the North Carolina Secretary of State or other legal notices. Some registered agent services do offer mail scanning services for an additional cost.
How do I choose the best-registered agent service in North Carolina?
You’ll want to find a reputable registered agent service in North Carolina with nationwide coverage to make doing business easier and more accessible. Check out some reviews and ask other companies that use the service about their experience.
Find the best registered agent in your state
Click below to get started.