Why Create a South Carolina LLC?
The South Carolina Department of Commerce offers a variety of incentives that make it attractive for businesses to form their LLC in South Carolina. For example, South Carolina implements a range of sales tax exemptions that reduce startup costs and operating costs.
For entrepreneurs wanting to start a business in South Carolina, creating a South Carolina limited liability company (LLC) is generally the fastest and easiest way. With more simplified rules and regulations, an LLC is an ideal business entity for startups and small to medium-sized businesses, granting you the advantages and protections that larger South Carolina corporations benefit from.
The benefits of starting a South Carolina LLC:
Create, manage, regulate, administer and stay in compliance easily
Easily file your taxes and discover potential advantages for tax treatment
Protect your personal assets from your business liability and debts
Low filing fee ($110)
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure.
In this guide, you’ll find information on naming your LLC, getting a Registered Agent, the fees you’ll need to pay, South Carolina business taxes and much more. We also cover your registration needs, filing your South Carolina LLC and how you'll correspond with the South Carolina Secretary of State (SOS).
How to Form an LLC in South Carolina Yourself in 6 Steps
Complete a South Carolina LLC Search and Choose a Unique Business Name
To start the process, you’ll need a name for your LLC that’s unique and stands out, but you'll want to make sure that it's not being used by any other business or formed entity in the state. If you’re having trouble coming up with a name, try using Incfile’s Business Name Generator to brainstorm ideas. You'll also need to follow a few naming rules, which you can read about in detail on the South Carolina Business Names page.
Once you’ve chosen a name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available in South Carolina. To find out whether another company in the state is already using your preferred business name, use our tool to do a business name search. You can also carry out a name search within the South Carolina Secretary of State's website via their business entity name search.
Provide an Official Business Address for Your LLC
Regardless of whether your business is in an office building, a home (if the company is run from a residence) or any other physical location, every South Carolina LLC must have a designated street address. It can be located outside the State of South Carolina, but it cannot be a P.O. Box.
Assign a Registered Agent
A Registered Agent is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and is responsible for filing reports with the South Carolina Secretary of State (SOS). Every LLC in South Carolina is required to have a Registered Agent.
This position can be filled by you, another manager in your business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. If your South Carolina Registered Agent is a person, they must have a physical street address in South Carolina and must be present during business hours to receive important documents on behalf of your business. In South Carolina, you appoint your Registered Agent when you file your Articles of Organization and formally create your business.
All of Incfile’s packages include Registered Agent service. It’s free for the first year and just $119 per year after that. We also provide you with access to our dashboard, where you can easily view any document we've received on your behalf.
File Your Articles of Organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State (SOS)
Once you've gathered all the information for your South Carolina LLC, you’ll need to file your Articles of Organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State.
The certificate can be filed online using the South Carolina SOS's filing system.
File by Mail or In Person
South Carolina Secretary of State's Office
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
You only need to file your Articles of Organization once; however, many states require LLCs to file a periodic report. South Carolina does not require this unless you have an LLC that has elected to be taxed as an S Corp. Then you are required to complete and file form SC 1120S once a year to the Department of Revenue to remain compliant.
What are the fees and requirements to form a business in South Carolina?
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
You’ll need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number when filing and paying taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. An EIN is also required to open a business bank account. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or you can have Incfile obtain one for you as part of the South Carolina LLC formation process.
Create an Operating Agreement
An Operating Agreement is a kind of "instruction manual" that explains how you'll run your business. An LLC Operating Agreement will outline key components of your business — how decisions will be made, how the business is divided among members and what will happen if a member leaves the company.
Although some states require businesses to have this document in place, you're not legally required to have a South Carolina LLC Operating Agreement in place to conduct business. We recommend having one for your LLC nonetheless.
Other South Carolina LLC Types
Professional Limited Liability Companies (PLLCs) are different from professional corporations in that they typically have licensing requirements applicable to certain fields, such as law and medicine. In order to form a PLLC, you may need a state license to practice.
Learn more about PLLC vs. LLC and which one is right for your business.
If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to South Carolina — or vice versa — you’ll need to form a Foreign LLC.
Learn more about South Carolina Foreign LLC registration.