How to Get a Business License in North Carolina

Updated on December 21, 2023

Starting a business in North Carolina requires navigating various state regulations, including obtaining a business license. This guide outlines the necessary steps, fees, and essential permits to ensure your business complies with North Carolina’s regulations in 2024 and provides necessary steps to get a business license in North Carolina.

1. Register Your Business:

Before applying for a business license, you must register your business. This involves choosing a business structure, confirming the availability of your business name, and filing a Business Creation Form electronically. The business structure affects taxation, legal, financial liability, and decision-making authority. For business structure and registration details, visit NC Secretary of State’s Office and EDPNC.

2. Obtain Necessary Licenses & Permits:

North Carolina does not have a single generic business license. You may require multiple state-specific licenses or permits depending on your business type. To determine what licenses or permits your business needs, consult NC BOLD, which lists all required licenses and permits. To apply for a North Carolina State Privilege License, complete the B-202A Form available at NCDOR.

3. Apply for Sales & Use Tax Number:

Register for a Sales and Use Tax number through the NC Department of Revenue (NCDOR) if applicable. This registration can be done electronically at NC DOR. The NCDOR provides tutorials on filing sales and use tax forms and registration here.

4. Apply for Employer Identification Number (EIN):

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if required. The EIN application can be completed through the IRS website. Check your requirement for an EIN and apply at IRS.

5. Prepare for Applicable Taxes:

Understand the specific tax liabilities for your business type. This includes Sales & Use Tax, Privilege License Tax, State and local Tax, State Withholding Taxes, and Federal Taxes. For more information on business taxes, visit EDPNC.

6. Obtain Insurance:

Check if your business requires Workers’ Compensation Insurance or other forms of business insurance. The North Carolina Industrial Commission provides information on workers’ compensation here.

7. Comply with Regulations:

Ensure your business complies with OSHA standards, ADA regulations, environmental regulations, and new hire reporting requirements. The NC Department of Labor and the NC Department of Environmental Quality provide guidelines and assistance for compliance with EDPNC.

8. Arrange for Business Financing:

Estimate startup costs and explore financing options for your business. Tools to calculate startup costs can be found at SBA.


How to Register a Business in North Carolina?

Choose a business structure, check name availability, file a Business Creation Form with the NC Secretary of State, and obtain necessary local licenses and permits.

Types of Business Licenses Required in North Carolina?

License requirements vary based on business type, location, and industry. Common licenses include professional, sales tax permits, and health department permits.

Fee for Applying for a Business License in North Carolina?

Fees vary depending on the type of business and specific license or permit required.

Time to Get a Business License in North Carolina?

The processing time varies based on the license type and local issuing authority.

Applying for a Sales & Use Tax Number in North Carolina?

Businesses selling goods or certain services need to apply for a Sales & Use Tax Number through the NC Department of Revenue.

Priyank Singh

Priyank Singh, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Stilt, specializes in technology-driven financial solutions. He is having experience of starting FinTech Company, understanding regulations and coming up with creative solutions to solve difficult problems.