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Business Registration

Before You Begin

Are you “just” selling to friends or “just” selling on the internet and wondering am I in business? If you have to ask the question, then you probably are.

Sometimes a hobby can become a business. You are in business if:

  • You start to charge for that barbecue sauce that you make for your friends
  • You buy and sell items online
  • You buy and sell items at the flea market (A single yard sale is not a business. You’re in business if you regularly purchase items to resell.)

If you are doing any of these under your own name, then the state considers you a sole proprietor. Minimum state requirements are to pay sales and income taxes. You should also register as a sole proprietor with your city and county.

Read the information below to understand state requirements for registering any kind of business. Before completing any of the filing, you will need to know who is responsible for the business and where the business is going to be located, even if the business location is your own home.

1. Choose a Business Name 2. Choose a Business Structure

2. Choose a Business Structure

About each business structure

3. Register Your Business

3. Register Your Business

The type of business will determine where you file. If the business will be a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, then file with the county.

If the business is any of the ones listed below, then file with the NC Secretary of State. 

After You File

After You File

After you electronically submit business formation documents with the NC Secretary of State’s Office, you will receive an e-mail about the status of the entity. Allow 5 to 7 business days to receive this email. You may not use your business name for any official purpose until the NC Secretary of State’s Office approves the document for filing, which creates the entity.

We advise you not to purchase stationery or business cards with your business name until receiving confirmation from the Secretary of State that your business is formed. Read more about choosing a business name.

Learn More

Learn More

Learn more about business registration at the Secretary of State’s Office, Corporations Division.