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Starting a Business in North Carolina

Choosing a business name, filing articles of incorporation, and obtaining an employment identification number in North Carolina can be an arduous task. Our black owned law firm has business attorneys that can lead entrepreneurs through the business formation process. Our Charlotte, NC based law firm offers full service packages for North Carolina based business owners to get started.

Starting a business and choosing a structure with the North Carolina Secretary of State is a big deal and should not be taken likely. Our small business focused attorneys can help you chose the right business structure and file articles of organization with the Secretary of State on your behalf. This will help insure that the business has the proper structure to maintain protection and compliance.

Our business formation packages are designed to give North Carolina business owners a running start:

  • Articles of Incorporation: Filing Articles of Incorporation sets the tone for protection against liability and tax structure for your business.

  • Tax ID (Employer Identification Number): Every business must have its own unique tax number that separates its identity from the  business owner(s) social security numbers. The tax ID number is also known as the employer identification number and is often required by banks for opening accounts or applying for loans.

  • Operation Agreement: Operation Agreements serve as the bylaws of businesses and describe the ownership structure and rules of running the business. The operation agreement is often required by financial institutions to open business banking accounts.

  • Corporate Resolutions: It is common practice for businesses to hold meetings to describe the status of the business and make important decisions about the direction of the business. These reports and decisions are often expressed as corporate resolutions that can be used as evidence that the decisions were made internally and not in the individual capacity of the business owner(s). This can be very important for potential future litigation for liability and debt issues.

  • Contract Drafting: Enforceable agreements are integral to the success of any business. Our business law attorneys can help business attorneys develop contracts and templates to use with suppliers, partners, and customers as necessary to keep the business running smoothly.

Seward Tran LLP offers our complete business package or in individual tasks as required by our clients. Our black owned law firm prides itself on being a great resource to other minority owned businesses to be successful. Our team of business attorneys our at your service and can be reached at 704-500-2045 or

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Starting a Non-profit

Forming a board, choosing a name and Filing 501(c)(3) applications…Starting a non-profit in Charlotte, Mecklenburg, NC and sounding counties of Gaston, Rowan, Iredell, Pitt, and all over the rest of North Carolina can be confusing and overwhelming. However, with the right information and proper legal advice, you should be able to get started with running your organization in no time.  Being a black owned law firm, we understand the impact 501(c)(3) organizations can have on the local community.

We are not saying forming a 501(c)(3) going to be a hitch-free process for businesses in North Carolina. Similar to forming a for profit business, starting a non-profit requires planning, commitment, strategy, and skills. You will also need some determination and hard work to sustain the non-profit for years to come.

However, one of the most important aspects to setting up a non-profit is Filing for 501(c)(3) status. We say this is important because, if done successfully, it comes with some mouth-watering benefits for non-profits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Improved Credibility: By filing for official non-profit status, you command credibility, and this will convince potential donors to give to your organization.

  • Tax Exemption Benefits: As an official non-profit recognized by law, you can apply for either federal or state tax-exempt status.

  • Tax-deductible Donations: Once you file for non-profit status, donations can be tax-deductible.

  • Exemption from certain property taxes

  • Reduced Postage Rate

If you have read to this point, we believe you are ready to get started with establishing your non-profit.

Minority owned law firm Seward Tran LLP is glad to help you with getting started and here is a step by step guide to help you establish your 501(c)(3) organization with primary focus on your 501(c)(3) applications.

Let’s get to it.

Identify your Purpose

This is the backbone of any non-profit. Your purpose is what pushes staff members to do their job and donors to give. Based on the purpose chosen, you should be able to know what type of non-profit you are running, whether Religious, Educational, Literary, Scientific, etc. The ability to carefully identify and communicate your non-profit’s purpose will make it easier to get things together.

Setup your Board

In the North Caroline Area, a non-profit must have at least one director and some officers. Your board members will help split the work-load while developing the strategy and mission to move the organization forward. They are also involved in the creation of your bylaws.   

It is worthy to note that the minimum age allowed for directors is 18, except for cases where the organization is involved in some youth activities where the director can be 16.

Give it a Name

This is an obvious step, and we know that. However, we will like to advise you on how to go about this. When coming up with a name for your organization, you should choose a name that uniquely identifies you in relation to the main purpose of your non-profit.

Create your Bylaws

The bylaws of your organization should clearly state operating rules and inner workings of your management procedures. The laws may include things like electing directors, holding meetings, appointing officers and more.

You can lookup bylaw templates online. But you should be aware that these templates don’t often have the needed language to qualify you for 501(c)(3) status. To achieve this, you must include statements like:

  • The organization will not engage in political or legislative activities prohibited under section 501(c)(3).

  • The corporation’s activities will be limited to the purposes set out in section 501(c)(3) of the IRC.

File your Incorporation Paperwork

Since you have your name, board and bylaws ready, filing your incorporation paperwork won't be a problem. Here, you must state your business name, location, board members and their details.

We advise that you incorporate in the state or area your non-profit services or programs will be held.

Note: Incorporating your organization doesn’t make it 501(c)(3) registered. At this point, you should also register for a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) before the next step, even if you are yet to be an employer of labor.

File for 501(c)(3) Status

To get started with your application for 501(c)(3) exempt status, you must visit the IRS office to file the IRS Form 1023. We advise that you do this within 27 months you file your nonprofit article of incorporation. This will help you get the most from your tax-exempt status.

It should take around 3-12 months for the IRS to respond with their decision. This duration is dependent on the number of questions the IRS has about your organization. So, it's important to start as soon as possible.

The 501(c)(3) application is where the previous steps become important. This is because the IRS will scrutinize and examine your nonprofit's goal, framework, working structure, and programs. This examination helps the IRS know if there is any conflict of interest or benefits for insiders. If found guilty, it's a possible ground for denial.

The form 1023 is 28 pages long and will require some detailed information which includes:

  • Basic information like the name of the organization, location, contacts, board member details, etc.

  • A copy of your articles of incorporation and your bylaws.

  • Clauses that states that your organization was formed for a recognized 501(c)(3) tax-exempt purpose.

  • A detailed explanation of your nonprofit’s activities, including past, present and scheduled activities.

  • Clearly stated terms of proposed compensation for each member of the board, including directors, officials, trustees, top-paid employees, top-paid contractors.

  • A statement of expenses and the balance sheet.

Ensure Ongoing Compliance

Once you have successfully filed for a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, you should prepare your nonprofit for annual reporting. You will have to file form 990 with the IRS stating clearly your nonprofit’s activities, finances, work processes directors and primary staffs while ensuring your office is open for inspection.

However, some states have their own renewal and reporting requirements. So, we advise that you keep track of your organization’s activities all through the year.


Setting up your nonprofit in Charlotte, Mecklenburg, NC and surrounding counties in North Carolina can be a bit complicated when you consider the number of activities to be done. But with the steps stated above, we are sure your registration and 501(c)(3) filing process should be a smooth one.

However, we recommend that you get the service of a lawyer to give you legal advice when needed, making it a stress-free process for you.

Contact us at 704-500-2045 to get started.  

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Setting a Business in North Carolina

North Carolina, known for its healthy labor market and taxes, is one of the best places to set up a business. Forbes recently rated the city as the second lowest business cost in the state. These statistics make it a mouth-watering option for business owners and investors. However, how do you set up a business in North Carolina? Let’s help you.

You see, every city within North Carolina, has its laws and tax settings. Therefore, making sure you have everything in place will help make put you on the right path all through your set up process. To help ensure this is the case, we at Seward Tran LLP have taken it upon ourselves to provide you this guide on setting up a business in Charlotte, Mecklenburg, North Carolina.

5 Things to Put in Place when setting up your Business in North Carolina

The Right Business Idea

This seems like an obvious thing, but most people tend to make a mistake from this point. You see, the worst thing to do is to start a business that dies on arrival. So, you want to research your business idea and see if there are people in need of such service/product before you even begin. This step will help you determine if it’s worth it while setting you on the right path.

Your Business Plan

Once you have your idea figured out, it’s time to put it to plan. You should set your objectives and strategies on how to dominate your market. If you are unfamiliar with this, you can look up similar business plans online and fine tune it to your taste.

Set a Business Structure and get Registered

If you have your business plan set, then you know the right structure for your business. So, your next line of action should be getting your company registered. Registering your business with the state of North Carolina will help you operate legally.

Register for Taxes

To register your business for tax filings, you will need a Federal EIN which is also known as the Tax ID. The EIN give you the ability to employ staffs and set up a business account with banks.

So, depending on your type of business or business structure, you should look out for specific taxes for your business. For example, companies selling physical products should register for North Carolina Sales Tax while companies who hire employees should register for Unemployment Insurance Tax and Employee Withholding Tax on behalf of their employees.

Note: While at this, it is essential to ensure you have other licenses in place while ensuring your business meets both county and federal requirements.

Get Insured

One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is failing to insure their business. By registering your company for insurance will help you manage risks while allowing you to focus on building your brand. For this purpose, we advise that you purchase a general liability policy.

In Conclusion…

Setting up a business in North Carolina is one of the smartest business moves a business person could make. The market is ripe, and the laws are favorable to entrepreneurs. However, it is important always to ensure you have all things in place, including licenses and other articles of incorporation. To make this a lot easier, we advise that you hire the service of a professional attorney who understands what it takes to set up a business in North Carolina region.

At Seward Tran LLP, we are a black owned minority firm of highly experienced attorneys that are highly skilled and ready to guide you with business formation forms and related issues. Our team will help with your articles of incorporation, operation agreement, Tax ID number, and template for corporate minutes, providing the perfect helping hand to make your registration a breeze.

So, whether it’s a business in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Union, Iredell, Rowan counties or North Carolina, we are always available to help ensure you have an itch-free process. Please call us at 704-500-2045 to discuss business inquiries.


Africa Practice

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Seward Tran LLP is dedicated to facilitating business between small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in the United States and in Africa.  In addition, we position ourselves to work with the finance vehicles interested in emerging markets such as Banks, Economic Development Organizations, and Private Equity Firms. Doing business in Africa is relationship based, and proper legal representation can make a big difference in these relationships. The Seward Tran LLP has excellent relationships with attorneys on the ground in many of Africa’s fastest growing markets. Seward Tran LLP leverages its own knowledge base with our contacts on the African continent to deliver the top notch expertise SMEs deserve and require to be successful.

Foreign Direct Investment

Seward Tra LLP can help both African businesses and individuals physically enter the U.S. market and diversify their investments in the United States. For businesses, we can help you set up the correct structure and find the right partners and take advantage of L-1 visas.  For individuals, we can facilitate the immigration process for the EB-5 foreign direct investment visa. Seward Tran can also represent African businesses in the United States for transactional purposes.

International Trade

Seward Tran PLLP  advises on a transactional basis from start to finish in Africa. We can help your business determine the proper structure for your transaction taking into account risk factors specific to your industry and the location you are doing business. Relationships with attorneys on the ground assist with everything from regulatory compliance to collections if necessary.  Our partners on the ground can provide analysis and in-country legal opinions on taxation, foreign collateral, regulatory requirements, and other important legal matters.

Partnerships and Strategy

Many African governments are implementing regulations that encourage businesses to work with or through African partners. The specific rules and implications of doing joint ventures/partnerships can make or break a new business.

Government/NGO Relations

Fortunately and unfortunately,  governments and non-government organizations (NGOs) are heavily involved and often necessary to conduct business in Africa. On the facilitation side,  NGOs such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, and International Monetary Fund are often the sole organizations willing and able to provide financing and risk mitigation solutions in certain emerging markets. While helpful, NGOs can be difficult to navigate in structure and very specific in their application and underwriting processes. Seward Tran LLP is able to assist your company in applying for opportunities, reviewing document language/structure, and providing legal expertise required to get these organizations comfortable with your transaction.

Government interference can also be helpful or preventative to doing business in Africa. There is legislation such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act that serves to promote trade. The Seward Law Firm is able to help businesses on both continents evaluate how to best make use of this legislation and the compliance work necessary to take advantage. There are also plenty of sanctions and political pressures that can cause red tape which prevents deals from closing in emerging markets. We are able to help you evaluate your compliance with regulators such as U.S. Customs & Border Protection, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and others to see if there are potential violations and exceptions related to your transactions.

Services and Areas of Expertise include:

  • Investments

  • Transactions

  • Regulatory Analysis

  • Strategy

  • Partnerships

  • Dispute Resolution

  • Taxation Opinions

  • Export-related Opinions

  • ITAR compliance

  • OFAC License

  • Foreign Collateral