Step by step
Register Your Business
The way your business is structured affects taxation, legal and financial liability as well as decision-making authority. Before selecting a business structure, consult your attorney and/or accountant as each structure carries with it unique legal and tax consequences.AccordionTab/Accordion Items
This resource from the Secretary of State's office provides the most popular types of business entities formed in North Carolina. Find out more about the structure, formation and tax requirements for Business Corporations, Nonprofits, LLCs, Partnerships and Professional Entities.
Search your Business Name in the NC Secretary of State Business Registry, to determine if it is available for you to use.
Questions about Doing Business as (DBA)?
Doing Business As (DBA) Form is also known as Assumed Business Name Form. If you decide to use a DBA name that differs from the legal name of your business, check with the Register of Deeds in the county where your business is located to learn whether you need to register your DBA with their office. For questions about DBA form, call EDPNC Small Business Advisors at 1-800-228-8443
Obtain Necessary Licenses & Permits
North Carolina has no single generic business license that will ensure compliance with all requirements. Some businesses may be subject to several state requirements while others may not be subject to any. For questions about which license or permit your business needs, call EDPNC Small Business Advisors at 1-800-228-8443.AccordionTab/Accordion Items
NC BOLD lists all of the business licenses, professional licenses, and privilege licenses required to do business in the State of North Carolina.
Apply for Sales & Use Tax Number, if applicable
Who Should Register for Sales and Use Tax? Check out the North Carolina Department of Revenue Page to find out more.AccordionTab/Accordion Items
Register with NC DOR to Pay Sales and Use Tax - NC Department of Revenue (NCDOR) online business registration allows you to electronically register for an account ID number for income tax withholding, sales and use tax, and other taxes and Service Charge instead of submitting Form NC-BR.
Apply for Employer Identification number (EIN)
Do I need an Employer Identification Number (EIN)? - IRS provided the criteria to help you determine if you require an Employer Identification Number (EIN).Accordion
Prepare for Applicable Taxes
Small business taxes and employer requirements can be simple or complex depending on the size and structure of your business. In addition, specific tax liability for each type of business is different. We have information on: Sales & Use Tax, Privilege License Tax, State & Local Tax, State Withholding Taxes, Federal TaxesAccordionTab/Accordion Items
Who Should Register for Sales and Use Tax? Check out the North Carolina Department of Revenue Page to find out more.
North Carolina Department of Revenue provides tutorial videos on how to complete the most common sales & use tax forms and how to register for a sales & use account.
How you can apply for Sales & Use Tax - Watch a Video on how you can apply for Sales & Use Tax with NC Department of Revenue (NCDOR).
State privilege license taxes are imposed for the privilege of carrying on the business, exercising the privilege or doing the act named in Article 2, Schedule B of the Revenue Laws of North Carolina. These privilege license taxes are in addition to any regulatory or qualification requirements to engage in the practice of a profession, business or trade.
NC Department of Revenue (NCDOR) online business registration allows you to electronically register for an account ID number for income tax withholding, sales and use tax, and other taxes and Service Charge instead of submitting Form NC-BR.
Watch a Video on how you can apply for Income Tax Withholding with NC Department of Revenue (NCDOR).
Are you required to pay Unemployment Insurance Tax? Check out the North Carolina Division of Employment Security page to find out more.
The form of business you operate determines what Federal taxes you must pay and how you pay them. The following are the five general types of business taxes: Income Tax, Estimated Taxes, Self-Employment Tax, Employment Taxes and Excise Tax.
Check out upcoming events and webinars offered by NC Department of Revenue (NC DOR) that include topics like Business Tax essentials, Withholding Tax basics, Sales & Use Tax Basics, Privilege License Tax Webinar.
Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) offers free online training to help small businesses be successful. Some of the topics include: Pre-Venture Training Series, SBIR/STTR Grant eligibility and proposal process Training, Government Contracting, Safety and Health Management, Small Business Tax workshop.
Check out upcoming free seminars and workshops offered by Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) to help small businesses be successful. Some of the popular topics include: Business and Income Tax Seminars, Think like a Lender, Kickstart your business in 4 weeks, Supply Chain Management.
Small Business Centers offer year round a wide variety of free seminars and workshops to help small businesses be successful. Some of the topics include: How to Start a Business, How to write a Business Plan, Financing Your Business, Bookkeeping and Taxes, Marketing for Success
Obtain Insurance, as applicable
Are you required to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance? Check out the North Carolina Industrial Commission's Worker's Compensation page to find out more.
Comply with Regulations, as applicable
Reach out to private Insurance providers to see if it makes sense to protect your business from Hazards and Liability Claims.AccordionTab/Accordion Items
NC Department of Labor (NCDOL) helps the employer determine which Occupational Safety and Health Standards apply to them as it pertains to recordkeeping, general industry, construction, agriculture, shipyard employment (public sector) and marine terminals (public sector). This includes North Carolina state-specific standards.
Contact the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) Small Business Advisors helpline for assistance.
NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) lists all rules and regulations for Air Quality, Coastal Management, Energy, Mineral and Land Resources, Mining, Marine Fisheries, Waste Management, Water Resources.
Do Environmental Regulations Apply to your business? Contact the Small Business Advisors at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) helpline.
Arrange for Business Financing
How much money will it take to start your small business? Calculate the startup costs for your small business so you can request funding, attract investors, and estimate when you’ll turn a profit.AccordionTab/Accordion Items
Small Business Center Network (SBCN) provides some very good resources for you to review as you start determining how you might want to finance your business.
The Small Business & Technology Development Center SBTDC’s Capital Opportunities for Small Businesses provides information about financial resources available to small businesses in North Carolina.
Small Business Centers provide free local, confidential, experienced counselors as advisors for new and existing businesses on a variety of topics including Sources of Capital and Loan Preparation.
Federal funding opportunity to support research and development projects through Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. SBTDC can help you navigate these grant programs.
Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) provides counseling assistance to growth companies seeking equity capital, help with loan package preparation, offers educational programs for both qualified investors and growth company entrepreneurs, works with angel and venture capital funds, and serves as a statewide resource and connection to private equity investment and funding opportunities.
Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) specialize in financing to underserved communities and businesses — including nonprofits. If you’re located in a low-income or rural area, or you’re a member of a historically disadvantaged group, you might be able to get approved for more competitive terms with these lenders than elsewhere.
Open a Business Bank Account
SBTDC Counselors can help guide you in choosing the right bank for your Business.
Protect Intellectual Property
Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) has developed an Intellectual Property Guide to help small businesses and inventors in the development of their inventions and in the maintenance of their intellectual property rights.AccordionTab/Accordion Items
Advisors at the Entrepreneurship Hub can work with you to determine if your intellectual property is protectable.
SBTDC offers this FREE Startup Accelerator Program. Participants will learn about different aspects of starting a business, including identifying potential markets, writing a business plan, running the finances of a business, and marketing a business. You’ll work with mentors and peers in fun breakout activities designed to help strengthen your business ideas and prepare you for success!AccordionTab/Accordion Items
Entrepreneurship Training is available at all SBCN locations across the state of North Carolina. SBCN also provides events such as “REAL Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship” and “How to Start a Business".
The Entrepreneurship Hub's Maker’s Space gives entrepreneurs a unique opportunity for business simulation and to create prototypes so they can “Fail Fast Fail Cheap” and optimize their idea for consumers, investors and manufacturers.
Find entrepreneurship events, programs, and seminars at The Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub. We offer a broad range of opportunities to develop your start-up, Kickstart your Business in 4 weeks, Time Management for Small Business Owners, How to Finance your Small Business, Marketing your Business with Social Media, Basics of Bookkeeping.