As an attorney who routinely handles business law related questions this situation is not unusual. Most businesses have a life cycle and it’s good to know how to legally dissolve a corporation which has decided to end its operations.
North Carolina has laws specific to this question. In its most basic form, the corporation needs to vote to dissolve and then file the proper documents with the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office. The process is slightly different if you have issued shares or have not issued shares, and if you have a board of directors or not. There are a number of other things a corporation has to do as well. Keep in mind, also, that there are other ways and methods by which a corporation can become dissolved, such as by court order.
A partial excerpt of the relevant section of the North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 55 Article 14, Part 1, is pasted further below; while not exciting, it’s a must-read for anyone considering corporate dissolution or already in the process of dissolving a corporation.
The Small Business Administration has issued a guide that will also assist you in dissolving a corporation. It is not specific to a particular state, but is generally helpful. It is recommended that you procure the services of an attorney in order to assist you with this process.
If you have a need for business law advice or services in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, or Tennessee, please feel free to contact our office for assistance.
Part 1. Voluntary Dissolution.
§ 55‑14‑01. Dissolution by incorporators or directors.
(a) The board of directors or, if the corporation has no directors, a majority of the incorporators of a corporation that has not issued shares may dissolve the corporation by delivering to the Secretary of State for filing articles of dissolution that set forth:
(1) The name of the corporation;
(1a) The names and addresses of its officers, if any;
(1b) The names and addresses of its directors, if any, or if none, the names and addresses of its incorporators;
(2) The date of its incorporation;
(3) That none of the corporation’s shares has been issued;
(4) That no debt of the corporation remains unpaid;
(5) Reserved for future codification purposes; and
(6) That a majority of the incorporators or the board of directors authorized the dissolution.
(b) A corporation is dissolved upon the effective date of its articles of dissolution. (1955, c. 1371, s. 1; 1959, c. 1316, s. 261/2; 1989, c. 265, s. 1; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1024, s. 12.19.)
§ 55‑14‑02. Dissolution by board of directors and shareholders.
(a) A corporation’s board of directors may propose dissolution for submission to the shareholders.
(b) The following requirements shall be met for a proposal to dissolve to be adopted:
(1) The board of directors shall recommend to the shareholders that the proposal to dissolve be approved unless one of the following circumstances exist, in which event the board of directors shall communicate the basis for not recommending approval of the proposal to dissolve to the shareholders at the time it submits the proposal to dissolve to the shareholders:
a. The board of directors determines that, because of conflict of interest or other special circumstances, it should not make a recommendation that the shareholders approve the proposal to dissolve.
b. G.S. 55‑8‑26 applies.
(2) The shareholders entitled to vote must approve the proposal to dissolve as provided in subsection (e).
(c) The board of directors may condition its submission of the proposal for dissolution on any basis.
(d) The corporation shall notify each shareholder, whether or not entitled to vote, of the proposed shareholders’ meeting in accordance with G.S. 55‑7‑05. The notice must also state that the purpose, or one of the purposes, of the meeting is to consider dissolving the corporation.
(e) Unless the articles of incorporation, a bylaw adopted by the shareholders, or the board of directors (acting pursuant to subsection (c)) require a greater vote or a vote by voting groups, the proposal to dissolve to be adopted must be approved by a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast on that proposal. (1901, c. 2, s. 34; Rev., s. 1195; C.S., s. 1182; 1941, c. 195; G.S., s. 55‑121; 1951, c. 1005, s. 4; 1955, c. 1371, s. 1; 1989, c. 265, s. 1; 2013‑153, s. 14.)
§ 55‑14‑03. Articles of dissolution.
(a) At any time after dissolution is authorized pursuant to G.S. 55‑14‑02, the corporation may dissolve by delivering to the Secretary of State for filing articles of dissolution setting forth:
(1) The name of the corporation;
(1a) The names and addresses of its officers;
(1b) The names and addresses of its directors;
(2) The date dissolution was authorized;
(3) A statement that shareholder approval was obtained as required by this Chapter.
(4) Repealed by Session Laws 1991, c. 645, s. 10(c).
(b) A corporation is dissolved upon the effective date of its articles of dissolution.
(c) For purposes of this Chapter, a dissolved corporation is a corporation whose articles of dissolution have become effective and includes a successor entity to which the remaining assets of the corporation are transferred subject to its liabilities for purposes of a liquidation. (1901, c. 2, s. 34; Rev., s. 1195; C.S., s. 1182; 1941, c. 195; G.S., s. 55‑121; 1951, c. 1005, s. 4; 1955, c. 1371, s. 1; 1989, c. 265, s. 1; 1991, c. 645, s. 10(c); 2005‑268, s. 31.)