Small business taxes and employer requirements can be simple or complex depending on the size and structure of your business. In addition, specific tax liability for each type of business is different. Consult your attorney and accountant regarding comprehensive tax planning for your business.

Sales & Use Tax

Every retail or wholesale merchant in the business of selling, renting or leasing taxable tangible personal property in North Carolina is required to obtain a Certificate of Registration unless specifically exempt by statute. Once registered, you will receive information from the Department of Revenue on sales and use tax reporting and remittance requirements.

Apply online for your Sales and Use Tax number, complete the Application for Sales and Use Tax (Form NC-BR) or contact the North Carolina Department of Revenue at (877) 252-3052.

Privilege License Tax

The state privilege license tax is applicable to certain professions in North Carolina and should be applied for before business commences. The privilege license is not a certification the holder is qualified to perform a specific business or profession. It is a tax for the privilege of doing business in the state. Our small business advisors can tell you about any privilege licenses that might apply to your business.

Download the Application for State Privilege License (Form B-202A) or contact the North Carolina Department of Revenue at (877) 308-9103.

Franchise & Income Tax

A franchise tax is imposed on corporations for the privilege of doing business in North Carolina. This tax is due annually as long as the corporation remains incorporated, domesticated or continues to do business in the state. For questions concerning franchise and income tax obligations, visit the North Carolina Department of Revenue’s Corporate Taxes page or call (877) 252-3052.

State and Local Tax Forms

As a business owner, you are responsible for listing your business personal property with the County Tax Assessor. You must also provide the assessor with information concerning any real property improvements such as the addition of a new structure.

State Withholding Taxes

State withholding taxes must be withheld from employee wages and remitted to the North Carolina Department of Revenue. To register with the State of North Carolina, complete an Application for Income Tax Withholding (Form NC-BR), apply online or contact the Department of Revenue at (877) 252-3052.

Unemployment Insurance Tax

The North Carolina unemployment insurance program is designed to provide temporary economic benefits to eligible workers. To determine the extent of your obligation, contact your local Division of Employment Security Job Service Center.

Workers' Compensation

The Workers’ Compensation Act is administered via the North Carolina Industrial Commission. It requires any employer with three or more employees provide workers’ compensation coverage. Any sole proprietor or partner of a business whose employees are eligible for benefits may also be covered as an employee. To obtain workers’ compensation insurance, contact your insurance agent.

New Hire Reporting Guide

Federal and state law require employers to report newly hired and re-hired employees to the North Carolina State Directory of New Hires. Register with the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services online or by phone at (888) 514-4568.

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Labor administers and implements the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of North Carolina. OSHA standards protect workers from unsafe and unhealthy working conditions. For information regarding OSHA requirements, contact the North Carolina Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Division or call (919) 807-2900.

Federal Taxes

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires every employer who pays wages to one or more employees file an application for an employer identification number (EIN). To register, file an Application for Employer Identification Number (Form SS-4) or contact the IRS at (800) 829-4933.

The Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) is the tax contribution to Social Security and Medicare.

Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

The U.S. Department of Labor administers and enforces the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) rules designed to protect workers from workplace hazards.

For information regarding compliance with federal standards, contact the U.S. Department of Labor Raleigh-Area Office at (919) 790-8096 or visit

Employment Eligibility Verification

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires employers to verify employment eligibility by completing and retaining a one-page Employment Eligibility Form (Form I-9).

Contact EDPNC Small Business Advisors