How Much Is A Business License In North Carolina?

North Carolina requires a business license from any companies who want to conduct operations within this state. Without a business license, operation is considered illegal – and businesses in North Carolina without the right licenses can be closed by the state authorities. 

How much is a business license in North Carolina? North Carolina business license registration can cost $18 and up plus additional fees. Business licenses for companies such as LLCs can cost more to apply for. Business licenses are a legal requirement for all businesses who want to operate a main office or branch in the state of North Carolina.

A business license is a type of sales tax certificate that allows a company to trade within North Carolina. All businesses, even online ones or services, require a business license to operate within the law in North Carolina. Additional licenses like liquor permits can apply to special businesses who want to register here.

Getting a North Carolina Business License

North Carolina requires that all companies register for their business license before they are allowed to operate within the state. Without the relevant licenses, businesses can be considered illegal – and then, they could face closure. 

It is easy for companies to avoid legal setbacks just by registering for their business license first.

A basic business registration in North Carolina costs approximately $18 plus additional administration fees according to most state resources. Some special business types like Limited Liability Corporations could be charged more to acquire their license in North Carolina. 

An online business license application takes just a couple of minutes, and might take up to a week to process.

Once a North Carolina business license has been approved, the applicant will receive a temporary license to display their certification while the print certificate is sent in the mail.

Most North Carolina licenses and permits remain valid for 1 year after their approval. Individual licenses will state their expiration dates.

Unlike some states, North Carolina licenses do not renew automatically. Companies are required to submit renewal forms on or before the deadline. 

Late registration in North Carolina could be subject to late fees and fines. A lack of registration in North Carolina could bring legal backlash, including business closure by NC authorities until the right licenses have been obtained.

A business license is one of the most important documents in the state. No business can operate in North Carolina without one. 

Types of Business Licenses

An LLC or CompanyAn LLC license is a special type of business license that a company might require to trade within the state of North Carolina. 
A General Operating LicenseA general operating license is another name for a business license, required by all businesses who want to register in North Carolina. 
A Food LicenseFood licenses cover businesses who buy, sell, trade or deal with any food and beverage sales. A business license is still necessary first in North Carolina. 
A NonprofitNonprofit licenses are for not-for-profit organizations and charities.

NC Facts

• All businesses must be registered for a business license before they can legally open or pay tax in North Carolina. 

• Specific licenses can apply for businesses who sell liquor, food or beverages – but a basic business license is still a first important requirement.

• Application and renewal fees are not refundable, even when applications are rejected.

• Without a basic business license, North Carolina companies could be fined or closed. 

What other licenses and permits exist for North Carolina companies? 

A business who wants to register in North Carolina might need occupational licenses, environmental permits and specific sales permits for items like food, beverages or alcohol.

How long does a business license in North Carolina take?

A North Carolina business license application can take anything from 5 to 14 days to process. Online applications that are done through the online city portal are faster.

When does a business license in North Carolina expire?

Business licenses in North Carolina are valid for a period of 1 year from their approval date. Specific other licenses and permits might have different expiration dates. Each individual license will state its date of expiry, so it’s important to look.

How do I register for a nonprofit license in North Carolina?

North Carolina nonprofit registrations cover not-for-profit companies and charities in the states. This is a separate license, with no fees and different forms.

Where can I apply for a business license in North Carolina?

Business licenses can be applied for at the relevant city office, or through the state online portal for North Carolina. 

What if my business license is delayed?

Business licenses might be delayed at busy times of the year, but can also take longer when they are applied for at a physical office over an online location. 

Business Licenses in North Carolina

Business licenses are necessary for all North Carolina businesses, including ones that sell online or provide services instead of sell products. 

A business license is the first document any business needs to trade or pay tax in North Carolina. Without it, a business operates outside the law and could be subject to closure and heavy fines. 

Business license applications in North Carolina can be done at a physical business office, but can also be done online for a faster application process.

Online applications can take just a few minutes, and a North Carolina business license can be approved in just a few days to two weeks from its application date.

Most North Carolina permits and licenses remain valid for 1 year. Renewals must be done on or before the deadline in North Carolina: an expired license carries a penalty that’s almost as severe as trading without one at all.

Here are the business license costs in other states: