How to Start an LLC in North Dakota
Here are the 7 steps to start a limited liability company (LLC) in North Dakota
For more information on how to form an LLC in any state, see the article How to Form an LLC.
Find out how to form a North Dakota LLC for yourself
Learn about North Dakota LLC formation, including information on Registered Agents, naming rules, business licenses, and more.
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Creating an LLC in North Dakota
A limited liability company (LLC) offers many benefits to small businesses, including liability protection and tax advantages.
In order to form a North Dakota LLC, you must file the Articles of Organization with the North Dakota Secretary of State, which costs $135 online.
However, you’ll first need to choose a name and registered agent for your North Dakota LLC.
If you file online, you can have an LLC in North Dakota in as little as two weeks (or 4-5 weeks if you file by mail).
An LLC can be easily formed in North Dakota. Our step-by-step guide on How to Start an LLC in North Dakota will help you get started today. Find out more about LLCs and their benefits in our What is an LLC guide.
Step 1. Choose a Name for Your LLC North Dakota
Creating an LLC in North Dakota requires you to choose a business name before you can file a Articles of Organization. Be sure that your business name complies with the North Dakota naming requirements and can be searched by potential customers.
- North Dakota law requires an LLC name to contain the words “Limited Liability Company” or “Limited Company,” or the abbreviations “Ltd.,” “LLC,” or “LC.” “Limited” may be abbreviated as “Ltd.” or “LTD,” and “Company” as “Co.”
- It is not acceptable for your North Dakota LLC to have words associated with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- You should avoid using words or abbreviations that may make your LLC North Dakota appear to be a different type of entity, such as “LP” or “corporation”.
- There may be additional documentation and licensure paperwork required for certain restricted words (bank, lawyer, attorney, credit union, etc.).
- Check the state’s business name database to ensure the name you want is not already taken(including businesses no longer in operation)
See a complete list of North Dakota’ naming rules here.
Check URL availability: You are likely to need a web page even if you don’t think you do. Buying your domain name now will at least give you the option of having one in the future. It’s a good idea to check the URL availability before finalizing your North Dakota LLC name.
By filing a Reserve Name Application (SFN 13015) with the North Dakota Secretary of State, you can reserve a name for a period of 12 months. The application can be submitted online, by mail, or by fax. The filing fee is $10.
An LLC stands for a Limited Liability Company. A simple business structure that is more flexible and offers many of the same benefits as a traditional corporation. For more information, see "What is a Limited Liability Company?".
A DBA isn't always required, depending on the state and the type of business conducted. However, if you want to operate under a name other than your own, you'll need an LLC or a DBA. To learn more about DBAs, read our "What is a DBA" Guide.
Step 2: Appoint Your Registered Agent in North Dakota
Your next step in forming an LLC in North Dakota is to appoint a Registered Agent, an individual or company authorized to receive legal and state mail on your behalf.
All North Dakota LLCs must have a registered agent. Please include your registered agent’s name and address on your Articles of Organization.
Registered Agent Requirements in North Dakota
To comply with North Dakota law, your LLC’s registered agent must be a resident or business entity that maintains a physical address in North Dakota. The “registered address” cannot be a P.O. box. It must be a real physical address that can be visited in person.
Although you do not have to submit this form to the Secretary of State, your business must record it. Learn more about North Dakota Registered Agents by reading our full guide.
A Registered Agent must be a North Dakota resident or a corporation authorised to conduct business in North Dakota, such as a registered agent service. You have the option of electing someone from your company, including yourself.
By submitting a "Commercial or Noncommercial Statement of Change" form to the Secretary of State's office, any business entity operating in North Dakota can change its commercial or noncommercial registered agent. The LLC and the new registered agent must be listed on this form.
Are You looking for a Registered Agent?
Wise Business Plans offers a free year of registered agent service when forming an LLC in North Dakota.
Step 3.Prepare and File the Articles of Organization
To create a North Dakota LLC, you will need to file Articles of Organization (SFN 58701) with the North Dakota Secretary of State You may apply online, by mail, or in person.
If you choose our business formation services, we can handle this step for you.
The following information is typically required to create a Articles of Organization:
- Your LLC name and principal place of business.
- Name, address, and signature of the LLC’s registered agent
- Decide whether your North Dakota LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. Indicate the names and addresses of each member and manager.
- The reason for forming the LLC in North Dakota.
- Name and address of the LLC’s organizer.
- The effective date of the certificate,
- The person forming the LLC must sign the Certificate.
Foreign LLCs: LLCs that are based in another state but intend to conduct business in North Dakota must complete a form called the Qualification of Foreign LLC.
A filing fee of $135 also applies to this form, and you need to attach your state’s certificate of good standing.
Two Ways to File the Articles of Organization
The 1st option is:
File Online with the North Dakota Secretary of State
The 2nd option is:
Filing the Articles of Organization by Mail
Regardless of which filing type you use, the North Dakota LLC charge is $135.
Address to Mail
Secretary of State
Business Registration Unit
600 E. Boulevard Avenue Dept 108
Bismarck ND 58505-0500
In a member-managed LLC, the members (owners) take on the business's daily responsibilities. Manager-managed LLCs are managed by managers who are elected by the members. Those who manage your LLC will have the authority to do a wide range of tasks-from hiring staff to opening bank accounts.
When an LLC conducts business in the state where it was formed, it is referred to as a "domestic LLC." Normally, when we talk about an LLC, we're talking about a domestic one. When an existing LLC wants to expand its operations to another state, it must form a foreign LLC.
Step 4. Get a Certificate From the State
Upon filing your Articles of Organization, the secretary of state will review it. As soon as the Articles of Organization is approved, the LLC becomes a legal entity.
By obtaining this certificate, LLCs will be able to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), licenses, and business accounts.
Step 5. Write an North Dakota LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is a legally-binding document that sets out how your LLC will operate, from the voting process to mergers.
Operating agreements are not required in North Dakota, but they are an essential part of your business.
Written operating agreements are helpful for different reasons, including resolving disputes over financial agreements and other potential litigation.
The LLC declaration can prove that your LLC is a separate entity, which can help preserve your limited liability.
An operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the possibility of future conflict.
How should an operating agreement be drafted?
The operating agreement should detail the LLC’s overall business purpose and other important matters, such as how the company will be taxed and how new members will be accepted. Legal agreements can clarify several important concerns, such as:
- Who makes decisions for the company, especially those who decide if partners disagree.
- Who is responsible for different aspects of the business as well as for strategic decisions.
- If a partner leaves the company, what will happen to their ownership interests in the corporation.
- The members and their contributions
- How profits and losses will be divided
- Procedures for admitting new members and removing outgoing members
In North Dakota, you can include just about anything in your operating agreement, as long as it doesn’t violate the state law or the Articles of Organization.
Yes.A single-member LLC in North Dakota is treated the same as a multi-member LLC for most purposes. When it comes to filing a tax return, single-member LLCs have more options.
Your LLC's operating agreement is an internal document that you don't have to file with the Secretary of State in North Dakota. It's meant to be kept for your records so you can refer to it in a crisis.
Step 6. Get an EIN for Your North Dakota LLC
Basically, an employer identification number (EIN) is a social security number for your LLC in North Dakota.
To identify your LLC for tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service assigns a nine-digit Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for your EIN either by mail or online.
An EIN is used for the following purposes:
- Manage state and federal taxes
- Create a business bank account
- Hire employees
Get an EIN Number in North Dakota
Getting an EIN number is easy and free, There are two ways to get an EIN number in North Dakota.
The 1st option is:
Apply online for an EIN from the IRS
The 2nd option is:
Get an EIN by Mail or Fax
Address to Mail
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
For your LLC, we recommend that you obtain an EIN. Although an LLC with no employees isn't required to have an EIN, not having one may make opening a business bank account more difficult. If you don't have a business bank account for your LLC, you risk losing liability protection.
When you apply for an EIN, you will be informed of the various tax classification options available to you. The default tax status is chosen by the majority of LLCs.
Some LLCs, on the other hand, can reduce their federal tax liability by electing the S corporation (S corp) status.
When converting from a sole proprietorship to an LLC, the IRS requires a new EIN.
An EIN can be obtained from the IRS for free. The process of obtaining an EIN is easy and can be done online or by mail.
Step 7. File Annual Report
North Dakota LLCs, both domestic and foreign, are required to file an annual report with the Secretary of State by November 15th of each year.
The first annual report is due the year after the LLC is registered with the Secretary of State for the first time.
Filing fee: The filing fee is $50
Due Date: Each year, the deadline is November 15th. The first annual report is due the following year after the LLC is formed.
Late Fees: Failure to file on time in North Dakota carries a $50 penalty. In addition, if an LLC fails to file an annual report, North Dakota can revoke its business registration after six months.
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What to do After Forming Your North Dakota LLC
Keep your personal and business assets separate
Your personal assets (such as your home, car, and other valuables) may be at risk when your North Dakota LLC is sued if they are mixed with your business accounts.
Here are some steps you can take to protect your LLC in North Dakota:
1. Create a Business Plan:
If you decide that a North Dakota LLC will be a good choice for your business in North Dakota, your next step is to create a business plan (although it is not required), so that you have a roadmap for what you will do and how you will accomplish it.
Free: Business Plans Examples
Do you need help creating a business plan? Check out these six free, proven business plan examples from different industries to help you write your own.
2. Open a Bank Account
As soon as your LLC is officially formed, you should open a business bank account. Why? Keeping separate bank accounts will help you maintain the legal distinction between the LLC and you (the owner).
Because LLCs are limited liability companies, creditors and litigants can’t take your assets.
It is essential for small business owners to partner with the right bank. Find out which banks offer the best business checking accounts, have low or no fees, ATM accessibility, and interest-earning accounts as well as online or mobile banking tools.
Recommended: Check out our business bank account page to learn which banks offer the best business check accounts, ATM access, interest-bearing accounts, and online and mobile banking options for businesses.
3. Obtaining a business credit card:
- Allows you to separate personal and business expenses.
- Develops your company’s credit history, which can be helpful to raise capital (e.g., small business loans) later.
4. Hiring a business accountant:
- It prevents your business from overpaying taxes while preventing penalties, fines, and other costly tax mistakes.
- Gives you more time to focus on your growing business by simplifying bookkeeping and payroll.
- Manage your business’s funding more effectively. Find out where extra profit or loss can be made
Getting Business Insurance for Your LLC
You can manage risks and grow your LLC with business insurance. Here are the most common types:
- General liability insurance protects your business from lawsuits. Most small businesses purchase general liability coverage.
- Professional liability insurance protects professionals and businesses from claims of negligence from their clients or customers. Liability insurance typically covers negligence, copyright infringement, personal injury, and more.
- Workers’ compensation insurance: Covers illnesses, injuries, and deaths resulting from a worker’s work.
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Let us help you with your business insurance needs.
- General business liability insurance
- Medical insurance
- Term life insurance
- Workers’ Comp
- Surety bonds
- Commercial auto
Create Your Business Website
A website is an important step in legitimizing your business. It is essential for all businesses. You are missing out on a large percentage of potential customers and revenue if you don’t have a website, even if your business is too small or in an offline industry.
More than 90% of consumers begin their search for products and services online. If you don’t have a website that is ready to welcome your customers, then they will simply find your competitors.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- Every respectable firm has a website. When it comes to getting your firm online, size or sector isn’t a concern.
- Creating a basic website has never been easier, thanks to website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder. To design a website, you don’t need to hire a web designer or developer.
Recommended: If you want to enhance your conversion rates and maximize revenue in order to help expand your business and meet objectives, you should always hire a professional business website design company to build your business website.
Wise Business Plans is a leading web design company, We have created over 2000 + websites across 20 countries for our clients but we are physically based in 7 major cities in the United States including Alabama web design, Pennsylvania, Las Vegas, Colorado Springs, Iowa, Michigan and San Diego.
North Dakota LLC FAQs
The Secretary of State in North Dakota charges $135 to file the Articles of Organization. For $10, you can reserve the name of your LLC with the Secretary of State of North Dakota.
Online Filling: Approval of online filings for North Dakota LLCs takes about 3 weeks in total. There is no additional transit time because approval is sent via email.
If your business has accepted any contributions, the process for dissolving a domestic LLC in North Dakota will be different. You only need to file the Articles of Dissolution and Termination by Organizers with the Secretary of State if your business has not accepted any contributions.
If you want to change the name of your North Dakota LLC, you must follow the legal procedures in place in the state. Notify the Secretary of State of your intention to change the company's name by filing an amendment. Then, on all legal records with the government, update your company's name.