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by Mike Vestil 

The Hidden Costs Of Starting An LLC In North Dakota

To start a business in North Dakota, it is essential to understand the process of forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC).  Without such knowledge, it is difficult to ensure compliance with state and federal laws.  In this article, I will review the requirements for forming an LLC in North Dakota, helping you have a straightforward setup process.

How To Start An LLC In North Dakota

To create a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in North Dakota, you must file Articles of Organization - SFN 58701 with the Secretary of State. When filing your Articles of Organization, you will need to provide important information about your company, such as its name, address, and registered agent information. 

Additionally, you must include when it began running its course and what purpose it serves. The filing fee is $135 and you may submit this form by post or fax along with the price.

Registering Your Business Name

Before submitting your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State, ensure that your LLC’s name meets state requirements. All words must end in either “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations – “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “Ltd.,” or “Co.” Additionally, business names cannot contain any restricted words such as “bank” or “attorney-at-law” unless written permission has been obtained from the state government first. Finally, check that no other businesses use the same name before finalizing yours.

The Cost Of Running An LLC In North Dakota

One crucial aspect to consider when starting an LLC is the cost associated with running your business. In North Dakota, LLCs are subject to several fees that may add up over time. Understanding them before you start so you can plan for the expenses and ensure your business has enough cash flow to cover them.

Reserving A Preferred Name ($10)

When filing for an LLC in North Dakota, choosing a name that reflects your company’s mission and values is essential. You can reserve a preferred name for up to 12 months before filing the paperwork ($10 fee). This allows you to ensure that nobody else has claimed the same name and gives you time to consider an alternate if needed.

Registering An Alternate Trade Name ($25)

After reserving your preferred name, you may want to register an alternate trade name beside the official business title ($25 fee). This adds flexibility when marketing or advertising your business and helps avoid confusion among customers or clients who may not be familiar with your logo or brand. 

Accessing Critical Documents ($20 Plus Added Costs Per Page)

It’s also important to remember that accessing critical documents such as certified copies or Certificates of Good Standing requires separate payments of $20 plus added costs per page. Therefore, keeping track of documents needing copying will save money in the long run.

How To Create An Operating Agreement For Your North Dakota LLC

An operating agreement is a great way to protect your North Dakota LLC from potential conflicts between business owners. It clearly states the rights, responsibilities, and duties of every member involved with the company.

An Operating Agreement is a binding contract that outlines how a business will be run, who owns it, and how profits (or losses) will be shared among members of the LLC. It serves as a governing document that establishes rules and regulations and sets up procedures for decision-making, voting rights, and other essential matters regarding the ownership and management of the LLC. This document should be created before the formation of the LLC.

Having an Operating Agreement in place benefits both you and other members of your LLC by providing clear guidelines for handling disputes or disagreements that may arise between members. Additionally, it outlines expectations from each member about contribution/activity within the company, thus making it easier for everyone involved to stay organized without any confusion about roles or responsibilities. Finally, an Operating Agreement can help protect against personal liability should something go wrong with your business since all aspects are outlined in writing before formation.

The first step towards creating an effective operating agreement is understanding what needs to go into it so that everything is covered adequately without leaving anything out. Generally speaking, this document should include information about ownership percentages, voting rights, capital contributions (if any), profit-sharing arrangements amongst members as well as detailed descriptions of the roles/responsibilities of each member. Additionally, it's essential to include information on how decisions will be made, such as whether a majority vote or unanimous consent will be required for some issues, etc. Once this information has been gathered and compiled into a cohesive document, you're ready to sign off on it.

Obtaining An Employer Identification Number (EIN) For Your North Dakota LLC

An EIN is a unique nine-digit number issued by the IRS to identify your business to the government, much like a Social Security Number (SSN). The EIN is used to report all financial activities and transactions of your company, including filing taxes and opening bank accounts. It's also called a Federal Tax Identification Number or FTID.

You must obtain an EIN to open a business account or hire employees in North Dakota. You'll need it when filing taxes, registering with state agencies, obtaining permits or licenses, and more. All of these tasks are necessary when setting up any company or organization.

Fortunately, applying for an EIN isn't complicated; it can be done online quickly and free from the IRS website. Here’s what you should do:

  • Visit The IRS Website: Go to irs.gov/ein and select “Apply Online Now” in the center of the page or click here. This will take you to Form SS-4 – Application for Employer Identification Number page on the IRS website, where you can begin your application process.
  • Complete The Form: Fill out the form with all required information about your company, such as legal name, address, etc., and other relevant details, such as type of business entity, etc., indicated by asterisks (*). When finished, click “Continue” at the bottom of this page.
  • Submit Your Application: After double-checking that all information provided is accurate, press the “Submit” button at the bottom right corner of this page.
  • Receive Your Confirmation Letter & PIN: Once submitted, you will receive a confirmation letter that contains a PIN that should be kept safe as proof of application submission.
  • Wait For Your Confirmation Notice From The IRS: Within four weeks of submitting your application, you should receive a second confirmation notice with the assigned nine-digit employer identification number.  

Naming Your North Dakota LLC - Tips And Tricks

Naming your North Dakota LLC can be a tricky business. You want to ensure that you follow all the regulations, avoid certain words and phrases that could confuse your business with a government agency, and use the correct terminology for your chosen business entity.

The most important part of naming your North Dakota LLC is to include “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.). This distinguishes your company from other entities such as corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships. Failing to include this phrase when filing your LLC paperwork can result in hefty fines or even delays in processing your application.

When choosing a name for your North Dakota LLC, avoiding words that could confuse your business with a government agency is essential. Examples of words to avoid include “federal,” “state,” “city,” “county,” “OEM” (which stands for Office of Emergency Management), and anything else that may suggest an affiliation with a governmental entity. 

In addition, certain words such as “lawyer” and “doctor” require special licensing approval before they can be used in an LLC name, so be aware of this when making your choice.

Once you have chosen the perfect name for your North Dakota LLC, there are still two more considerations – finding an available URL and designing a logo for the business. Luckily, free URL generators allow you to quickly check whether the desired web address is available. Likewise, there are free logo generators online that provide customizable options so that you can create a unique look for your brand without having to spend hours designing something yourself.

How To File A DBA In North Dakota

Did you know that LLCs can conduct business under a name different from their own company’s moniker? If this flexibility sounds like something your business could benefit from, registering a Doing Business As (DBA) could be just what you need.

A “Doing Business As” (DBA) is another name for filing an assumed business name. This is when an individual or company points a trading name with the Secretary of State to conduct business legally under that alternate name. This can be useful if you want to register and operate your business under two different terms, such as if you have products or services with distinct identities.

In North Dakota, businesses must file their assumed names with the Secretary of State before using them. Filing a DBA is not required for all businesses. Still, it is essential for those who wish to use an alternate company name without creating and registering another legal entity. It also ensures that no other businesses use the same trade name as yours.

To file your DBA in North Dakota, several steps and requirements must be met. First, all DBAs must register their trade names within 30 days of conducting business under them. Before filing your application, you must submit the Assumed Name Certificate form with the required fee and provide proof that each owner has completed any necessary licensing requirements or obligations. Additionally, any paperwork must include the full legal address of each owner listed on the certificate. The Secretary of State may reject incomplete applications, so ensure everything is filled out correctly before submitting.

Summing Up The Process Of Starting A North Dakota LLC

All LLCs in North Dakota must have their names registered with the Secretary of State. You also need to appoint a local physical street address and submit Articles of Organization to complete registration requirements - though you won't need to file Operating Agreements. A trade name for your LLC can also be filed for an additional fee.

In North Dakota, LLCs are governed by Chapter 10-32.1 North Dakota Century Code. This code outlines all the legal requirements necessary to form an LLC in the state and guides maintaining proper records and documents as required by law. For example, all LLCs must hold an annual meeting where tax returns and financial statements must be presented and approved by members. Additionally, members must understand their rights and responsibilities within the company as outlined in their operating agreement or other organizational documents that may have been created when registering with the state.

Several other factors should be considered when forming an LLC in North Dakota, such as insurance requirements, zoning regulations, etc., so it is essential to research before making any decisions or commitments related to setting up your business venture. 

As with any business endeavor, it is also crucial that you obtain legal advice from a qualified attorney before proceeding with any transaction or document preparation related to your new business venture. In addition, ensure that you discuss any potential tax implications associated with starting an LLC in North Dakota before taking action on any steps toward the formation or administration of your company’s operations.


In conclusion, starting an LLC in North Dakota requires careful research and planning. Make sure to understand all the legal requirements related to forming an LLC in the state and discuss any tax implications with a qualified attorney before proceeding. 

Additionally, consider filing for a DBA if you wish to use an alternate name for your business. It will provide additional protection and ensure that no other company uses the same trade name. With these steps in mind, you will be well on your way to forming a successful LLC in North Dakota!

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About the author 

Mike Vestil

Mike Vestil is the author of the Lazy Man's Guide To Living The Good Life. He also has a YouTube channel with over 700,000 subscribers where he talks about personal development and personal finance.

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