How to Start an LLC in North Dakota for $0 (ND LLC 2023)


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 ZenBusiness - ($0 + State Fees) North Dakota Online LLC Setup

How to Start an LLC in North Dakota: If you’re looking to start an LLC in North Dakota for $0, you’ve come to the right page. Setting up an LLC is easy and cost-effective. To form an LLC, you must follow a few steps that include naming your LLC, hiring a registered agent, filing your formation documents, doing the operating agreement, and finally obtaining the EIN. You can easily set up your LLC for free in North Dakota. However, you must pay the mandatory state filing fee. These fees and charges can be tax deductible, making the LLC formation cost $0.

On this page, You’ll find all the steps that must be taken to ensure that your North Dakota LLC has been correctly formed. We recommend you read the whole article very carefully, word by word, don’t miss anything 🙂

North Dakota LLC

How to Start an LLC in North Dakota

An LLC (aka Limited Liability Company) is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection. For an LLC, members’ personal assets are not affected by business debts. However, in some cases, if the LLC is sued for business debts, courts might pierce the corporate veil and use the owner’s personal assets to meet their corporate liabilities.

If you wish to start an LLC in North Dakota, you must file your Articles of Organization with the State and pay a filing fee of $135. While it’s the most important step, it’s not the only one. There are 4 other crucial steps to follow to get your LLC formed in North Dakota. Below mentioned all 5 steps that explain everything you need to do to start a North Dakota LLC in 2023. Let’s get started! You can always hire a professional LLC formation service in North Dakota to set up your LLC instead of doing it alone; a Pro service will ensure everything is done properly.

Step 1: Decide a Name for Your North Dakota LLC

north dakota name your llc

The first step while forming a limited liability company in North Dakota is to give a proper name to your LLC. Before you name your business, you must know that the name should be easy to remember, available in the state, and follows all the LLC naming guidelines.

North Dakota LLC Naming Guidelines

There are a few specific requirements all the LLCs in North Dakota have to follow while naming their Company. Some of the most important requirements are as follows:

  • Your business name should be available, and no other existing business in North Dakota can have the same name. ZenBusiness offers unlimited business name searches at $0.
  • “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, and “L.L.C.” – any one of these has to be used as a suffix in your business name.
  • You cannot use any name for your business that is confusing or misleading. Terms such as “Treasury”, “State Department”, “FBI”, “CIA”, etc. shouldn’t be included.
  • Terms like “Bank“, “University“, “Attorney“, “Doctor“, etc can be added only after the additional requirements by North Dakota State Government are fulfilled.
  • (Optional) It’s better to name your business something for which your desired domain is available.
Important Links –Submit Offline Form to –
North Dakota Business Entity Search – Online Name Search
Name Reservation Form – PDF
Name Availability Standards – Guidelines
North Dakota LLC Name Search – Instructions
Secretary of State
State of North Dakota
600 E Boulevard Avenue Dept 108
Bismarck ND 58505-0500

Reserve Business Name for Future

If you do not wish to file your LLC right now but want to hold the name you have decided, then you can reserve your LLC name for 1 year. To keep the name, you must file a name reservation application and pay $10 to reserve your name with the North Dakota Secretary of State.

Doing Business As (DBA) or Trade Name

Once you have a legal name for your LLC, you can register it. However, it is not mandatory. You can, instead, use DBA, Fictitious Name, or Trade Name. In that case, you must register your name with the North Dakota Secretary of State by submitting an Application to Register Trade Name in North Dakota along with the filing fee of $25.

Recommended: You can do name search, business domain, website, emails, and a lot more in one place by hiring a professional service. We recommend using –

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Apart from LLC formation, ZenBusiness offers customized website templates and business emails at a very reasonable price. If you plan to get a website, then it is wise to have a “.com” domain for your business, but these days you can also use other TLDs like “.io”, “.company”, “.xyz,” etc. Here you can get everything you need for your business in one dashboard.

Do I have to include LLC in my company email/domain?

It is not legally mandatory to use the word LLC in your domain name or email. If you want, you can use it. However, it is recommended not to use LLC in the domain name. A domain name should be short and easy to remember.

Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in North Dakota

north dakota registered agent

The second step to forming an LLC in North Dakota is to appoint a Registered Agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity working on your LLC’s behalf. This person or business will receive important tax forms, legal documents, all notices of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in North Dakota. Hence, hiring a competent North Dakota Registered Agent for your LLC is necessary. 

Make sure your registered agent is a resident of North Dakota or has a physical street address. This address will be used as the principal address of your LLC to receive any legal documents. Most LLC formation companies also provide registered agent services. Below are two great LLC formation services; even if you buy their cheapest plan (normally $0/year), you also get registered agent service and other services at a very reasonable price.

LLC Service

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$0 + State Fees

  • 100% accuracy guarantee

  • Worry-free service

  • Great customer support

$39 + State Fees

  • Free operating agreement

  • DIY packages

  • Good customer support

These two are our top recommendations for registered agent service, as they are competent and authorized to conduct business in North Dakota. Some LLC formation services also offer standalone North Dakota registered agent services. You can purchase only Registered Agent services without purchasing any other LLC formation services. This standalone service might become handy if you are doing it yourself and don’t want to disclose your home address or you don’t want to pierce the corporate veil.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

A person above 18 years of age and has a physical address in the state of North Dakota can be a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent can be an independent person or can be a business entity. One is responsible for handling all the legal documents on the LLCs behalf.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?

Yes, you can be your own registered agent if you are a resident of the state of North Dakota and you are above 18 years of age. To become a registered agent, you must have the authority to conduct any type of business in North Dakota.

Why Shouldn’t I be My Own Registered Agent?

There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t be your own registered agent. The address of the registered agent is used to communicate with the SOS or for any legal activities. If you are your own registered agent, you might have to upload your personal address to the public forum. Besides, the registered agent must be at the address during business hours. It won’t be easy for you as you also have to take care of other things in your LLC. Hence, it is wiser to appoint a separate entity as your registered agent.

What is Piercing the Corporate Veil in LLC?

If an LLC is sued in North Dakota, in some cases, courts might decide to lift the corporate veil, which means the owners of the LLC will be personally liable for their business debts. They might have to forgo their personal assets to repay their business debts. This is called piercing the corporate veil, where personal and business assets are not separated anymore. Your personal assets can be protected if you have enough capital and all your LLC documents are properly filed.

Step 3: File Articles of Organization in North Dakota

north dakota certificate of formation

The third and most important step in forming a North Dakota LLC is to file the Articles of Organization. This North Dakota Articles of Organization is a legal document that is required to register your business with the North Dakota Secretary of State. It costs $135 to file your formation certificate in North Dakota.

The Articles of Organization include details like the name of the LLC, the registered agent’s name, address, employees’ details, and the company’s structure (member-managed or manager-managed). Before hiring employees in North Dakota LLC, one should know the rules and regulations thoroughly. Also, if you are expanding your existing business (an LLC) in other states to North Dakota, you must register as a North Dakota Foreign LLC.

How to File Online

Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. You will get the online service page. If you are already a subscriber then click on the “log in to Subscribe Account” option and log in with your credentials. If you’re not subscribed, then you can create your business account and directly start filing your LLC by clicking on the “Online Filing” button below. Read more about the North Dakota Articles of Organization for online registration.

Processing Time: Normally, it does not take much time to get your LLC formed in North Dakota. With an additional cost, you can get expedited filing as well. However, the document processing time can be changed due to various factors.

Recommended: Online LLC Formation service can provide all these documents way faster than usual time with lifetime customer support and 100% accuracy. We recommend using –

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Every LLC owner has to pay the filing fees to register their business in North Dakota. This fee is mandatory but also tax deductible. If you’re doing it yourself (filing on your own), it will not cost you any additional service fee. However, it is not feasible to do that as the DIY process might be delayed, complicated, and messy, especially if you’re a novice entrepreneur. Hence, it is recommended to get professional guidance to get your LLC formed in North Dakota.

Step 4: Create Your North Dakota LLC Operating Agreement

North Dakota operating agreement

Moving on to the fourth step, filing your operating agreement. An operating agreement is a document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC. This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.

When it comes to filing a North Dakota LLC Operating Agreement, the state does not require you to have a comprehensive operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all the details of your business operation that helps in taking future business decisions, especially if you decide to dissolve North Dakota LLC later. Hence, having an operating agreement may not be necessary, but it is surely ideal.

Recommended: You can get a professionally made operating agreement for very less cost with ZenBusiness. You don’t need to worry about drafting it as they will take care of it on your behalf. We recommend using –

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The operating agreement draft can be created for free if you don’t hire a professional. However, there is an advantage to appointing a proficient person/service. You will get a businesslike quality operating agreement at a very cheap fee, which will help you in the future. Hiring a professional service means you can sleep well at night 🙂

Step 5: Filing a North Dakota LLC EIN

North Dakota file EIN for llc

The Employer Identification Number (Aka EIN) is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify the type of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business. 

EIN is needed when the LLC hires employees. Hiring employees in North Dakota LLC requires following specific rules and regulations. On the other side, EIN for North Dakota foreign LLC should be obtained if your LLC is based in other states.

To obtain EIN (aka FEIN), one must fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Enter details of your LLC, and finally, complete the form and send it to the address given. You can also get an EIN Assistant to help you with the process.

Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free

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Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.


Congratulation, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your Limited Liability Company in North Dakota. If you do it yourself, it should take you a long time to understand and do all the steps properly.

However, if you use ZenBusiness, it should be way faster. You will always have a live chat option and phone support with experts for any help you need. Their worry-free service will make things easier for you.


After Starting Your North Dakota LLC

After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. The most important thing is to separate your business and personal assets. LLCs have limited liability protection that protects your personal assets from business liability. This is called a corporate veil. However, the corporate veil can be lifted or pierced by the court if the LLC is sued. In that case, the owners of the LLC become personally liable for their corporate debts. A few things like appointing a legit registered agent, having enough capital, and filing all the major documents with the state can save the LLCs from being pierced into the corporate veil.

Apart from that, there are a few things you need to take note of,

This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.

Cost of North Dakota LLC

LLCs can be formed for $0. Apart from the mandatory state filing fees, you don’t have to bear additional service charges if you do it yourself. Following are the fees and taxes LLCs in North Dakota must pay to register and run a business in the state. Forming an LLC is no doubt cost-effective compared to other business structures. However, the fees and charges (tax-deductible) that you must pay to the state, such as name reservation fee, name filing fee, LLC filing fee, and Franchise Tax & Sales Tax (If applicable). Here are the main fees and taxes you must pay while forming your limited liability company in North Dakota,

Fees/TaxAmount to be Paid
Name Reservation Fee$10
Articles of Organization Fee$135
LLC Annual Fee$50
Sales Tax5%

In North Dakota, an LLC name reservation is not mandatory. You can register your LLC name at the time of registering your LLC. If you wish to hold the name for some time without registering your LLC, then you can do that online. Your LLC name will be reserved for 1 year without registering your LLC. It can be done by paying $10.

In North Dakota, an Annual Report has to be produced every year. It costs $50. Also, the State of North Dakota requires LLCs to pay a Sales Tax of 5% every year. Read our guide on LLC costs in North Dakota for more information.

North Dakota Foreign LLC

If you are interested in forming a Foreign LLC in North Dakota then you need to file the Certificate of Foreign LLC to the North Dakota Secretary of State. Foreign LLCs allow you to operate your business in more than one state. Along with the Certificate of Foreign LLC, you need to submit some more documents like the Certificate of Good Standing, etc. to the North Dakota SOS to form your foreign LLC in North Dakota. To know more in detail, check out our guide on North Dakota Foreign LLC.

Reasons to Start an LLC in North Dakota

There are plenty of tax benefits and income-boosting opportunities available in North Dakota. As such, a North Dakota Limited Liability Company enjoys several incentives. Due to these incentives, the number of companies opening up in the state is enormous. If you, as an entrepreneur, are also thinking of considering it as an option for your business, then here are some detailed benefits.

Sales and Service Tax exemptions 

There are several tax exemptions that the government decides for those businesses that are thinking of incorporating as an LLC in North Dakota. Read more on North Dakota’s classification of LLC tax. These exemptions are based on the products and services which are mentioned in detail below.

  • A sales tax exemption is provided on all livestock and poultry products, commercialized fertilizers, gasoline and fuels, food and its products, medicinal equipment, etc. The start-up, which is based on these products’ sales, is eligible to return the sales tax that they will give to the government.
  • The next exemption is provided to those giving up services like public transportation, hospital and nursing services, repairing and restoring services, and cleaning tangible personal property. They are liable to file a service tax returned to them as a business incentive by the government.
  • The Hotel- Motel rental and mobile home renting services are also exempt from sales tax but are covered under conditional exemptions.

North Dakota Renaissance Zone

There are many renaissance zones formed by the Commerce Division of Community Service in the North Dakota state. An LLC, when chooses this zone to Start an LLC in North Dakota. Then they are eligible for some incentives on tax paid. These taxes are the purchase or leasing of the property in the zone bundled and many other exemptions like state income tax, local property tax, etc. All this is provided to choose the special zone as the LLC will improve and develop in the special zone.

New Business Income Tax Exemption Program 

This package is available for the tourism business or some primary sector entities. In this program, the income generated from the business is not taxable, and one can reinvest it back for their expansion. The only condition is that for application, one needs to visit the state tax commissioner and get all the business details verified to enjoy the benefits.

Wage Credit program 

To boost up the company hiring procedure, the government of North Dakota is providing a 1% tax rebate on the income tax to the LLC. The value will be based on the wage that the company pays to the employees. This benefit will last for 3 years from their establishment as North Dakota LLC.

Leading Businesses in the North Dakota State

Are you looking forward to forming an LLC in North Dakota? For that, you must have complete economic statistics knowledge of the state and its top businesses. Here is the list of the best businesses in North Dakota.

Energy Businesses

The North Dakota state is known for its oil reserves along with mines of coal and shale gas. The coal that can be procured from North Dakota’s mines is lignite, out of which 90% is used in power generation of the state and nearby states. If we talk about the oil production, then the average oil, then the average production in the state is 50,000 barrels every day, which has helped the energy sector contribute $8.51 billion.

An interesting fact about the energy businesses is that there is a rise in wind energy due to the continuous wind flow at 10 miles/hr.

Tourism In North Dakota

Exceptionally few people choose the state for going on a vacation, but it is still the best economy driver. Only the state’s tourism sector contributes around $3 billion, which is huge for this small state. About 24 million visitors that North Dakota caters to, and the biggest reason for their visit are Clark’s historic tail and Theodore Roosevelt National park.

Agriculture

It is the leading sector that is known for trading for fur. Approximately 10% of the state is handling the farm area of North Dakota, which is around 90% of the state’s total area.  State agriculture has a significant share in oilseed production also which is described below.

  • 94% of flaxseed of the USA is produced in Dakota farmland.
  • 92% of canola seed is grown in North Dakota
  • 62% of the whole mustard seed of the USA is also produced in North Dakota, with 53% of sunflower oil.

Some small business ideas that are currently booming in the state are:-

  • Home-based oil production
  • Graphic designing
  • E-commerce business

North Dakota LLC Formation Review

Time needed: 5 minutes.

Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in North Dakota. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.

  1. Name your North Dakota LLC

    The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
    name your llc

  2. Choose a Registered Agent

    In North Dakota, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. Get a professional Registered Agent from LLC formation services to get things done hassle-free.
    registered agent

  3. File a Formation Certificate

    Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC in North Dakota. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
    articles of organization

  4. Create an Operating Agreement

    An operating agreement is not a strict requirement in North Dakota but something encouraged when you start an LLC to avoid future conflicts.
    operating agreement

  5. Get an EIN

    The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
    file EIN for llc

How Fast Can I Form an LLC in North Dakota

Filing for an LLC in North Dakota may take upto 4 weeks of time, while it also depends on the number of applications received.

If you’re considering starting a business in North Dakota, you might wonder how fast you can form an LLC. The good news is that it can be done in just a few weeks. However, there are several steps you must take before you can register your business.

You should first choose a name for your company. There are plenty of options, including a trade name, DBA, or fictitious name. Your choice should fit your brand and message. It is also important that your company name is unique and will not be used by another business.

Another step you’ll need to complete is filing your articles of organization. This is a legal document that tells the state how your LLC will operate. To form an LLC in North Dakota, you’ll need to select a registered agent. A registered agent is an individual or business entity that receives all official documents related to your business. For example, a registered agent will accept legal documents on your behalf and send them to the state.

The next step is to choose an address for your principal executive office. This is a physical location in North Dakota, and it can be your home or an office where your business records are stored. Once you’ve chosen your location, you’ll need to apply for the appropriate business licenses.

Next, you’ll need to open a separate bank account for your LLC. Opening a bank account is important for protecting your business against liability, and it will also allow you to keep the funds separated from your personal funds. As an LLC, you’ll need to make sure that you have a valid Employer Identification Number (EIN). EINs are similar to social security numbers and are issued by the Internal Revenue Service. They’re necessary to file your federal and state tax returns.

Finally, you’ll need to sign an operating agreement. An operating agreement is a contract between the owners of your LLC. It states what the members of your LLC can expect, and it can also set rules for how your business should operate. In addition, an operating agreement will provide you with a framework for disputes among your members.

While you’re waiting for the state to approve your LLC, you’ll need to choose a registered agent. The registered agent will serve as a point of contact for the state and help to ensure that your company stays in compliance with the law.

There are many benefits to forming a Limited Liability Company in North Dakota. Not only can you separate your business finances from your personal funds, but you’ll have the flexibility of hiring employees, and you can pay taxes using your EIN. But if you’re new to business, you may not have a clue how to form an LLC, and this guide is here to walk you through the process.

Whether you’re looking to start a business in Fargo, Bismarck, or the Black Hills, you’ll find that North Dakota has lots of opportunities for entrepreneurs. With a hungry workforce, and an opportunity for tax incentives, there’s no shortage of excitement for new business owners.

F.A.Qs

Can I file an LLC in North Dakota by myself?

If you are a resident of North Dakota, then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.

What is the cost of forming an LLC in North Dakota in a year?

Apart from the formation fee of $135 (domestic LLC) and $135 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in North Dakota include $50 for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 5% every year.

How long does it take to get an LLC in North Dakota?

It takes 24 hours to get a North Dakota LLC if you file it online. If you hire a professional LLC service, then it might take less than that. We recommend ZenBusiness which has impeccable turnaround time.

How to renew my LLC in North Dakota?

Every year all the LLCs have to submit an Annual Report and pay $50 to the North Dakota Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.

What is the tax structure for an LLC in North Dakota?

Generally, for the LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you will obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens. Read more on the North Dakota Classification of LLC Tax.

In Conclusion

LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups can easily start their LLCs in North Dakota at a bare minimum cost. LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, and leave a comment below.

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