There are several different options when it comes to forming a business in South Carolina. From a legal perspective, there are three main types of South Carolina for-profit business entities: LLCs, S Corporations or C Corporations. At Incfile, we believe forming an LLC provides the right blend of liability protection and streamlined administration for many entrepreneurs.
In order to start an LLC in the state of South Carolina, there are some minimum requirements you must meet. These are a completed set of Articles of Organization, a business name and a fee you pay to the South Carolina Secretary of State. We recommend taking some other steps before formally starting your LLC:
- Research your target market to make sure there’s a demand for the products and services you provide.
- Read industry guides to give you a starting point in your niche.
- Create a comprehensive business plan that defines the most important aspects of your South Carolina business.
- Write an Operating Agreement that covers how you will run your LLC.
After you’ve formed your South Carolina LLC, you will also need to review your business license requirements, understand ongoing filing needs, set up a separate business bank account and get an accountant.
In South Carolina, you register a business by completing and filing your Articles of Organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State. You will need to gather important information about your business, fill out the form and send it to the Secretary of State along with your filing fee. This will officially create your LLC in South Carolina.
You can file your Articles of Organization on the Secretary of State website or mail it in. Alternatively, Incfile can guide you through every step of the process by getting details from you and filing the form on your behalf — for free! There’s no additional charge for our basic LLC filing service, so all you need to do is pay the South Carolina state filing fee.
And get a free Registered Agent for a year.
At the time of writing the fee charged by the South Carolina Secretary of State is $110. You can always check the latest South Carolina filing fees here. In many states, you can also pay an additional fee for expedited filing through Incfile, which may help form your LLC faster. The amount of the expedited fee is dependent on how quickly you want your filing processed. Some LLC filing services do charge you extra to prepare and submit your filing documents, but at Incfile, we do this for free — so you only pay the state fee.
Once you’ve gathered all of your information together and filed your Articles of Organization (or had Incfile do it for you), it can take 24 hours or 2-3 business days (if you've filed by mail) for the South Carolina Secretary of State to legally create your LLC. As the online filing process is rather quick (24 hours), the State of South Carolina does not offer an expedited filing process like many other states.
The name of your South Carolina LLC needs to be unique, so you’ll need to check if another business is already using it. You can do that via the South Carolina Secretary of State website, or by using our fast and simple Business Name Search tool.
Find out using Incfile’s Business Name Search Tool.
Try Incfile’s Business Name Generator to brainstorm ideas.
There are a few ways to register your South Carolina LLC name.
- If you’re starting a new business and your business name is unique in South Carolina and meets state naming rules, you simply include it in your Articles of Organization.
- If you want to change the legal name of your business, file an Amendment of Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State.
- If you just want to do business under a different name, file an Assumed Name Certificate with the SC Secretary of State, or we can do that on your behalf.
If you want to prevent people from using your business name across the U.S., you can file a trademark for the name. We can help.
In many other states, the legal formation documents that you file to create a corporation or LLC might be known as Articles of Incorporation. In South Carolina, this document is called your Articles of Organization, and it performs the same functions as the Articles of Incorporation.
No, the State of South Carolina does not permit the formation of a Series LLC. A Series LLC is a special type of LLC where you create one “overall” business and then have individual, series LLCs within it, each counted as separate legal entities.
Yes, all legal business entities in South Carolina, including LLCs, must have a Registered Agent at all times. When you use Incfile for your filing, we provide a free South Carolina Registered Agent service for the first year.
Or get your first year free when you incorporate your business through us.
If you want to change your South Carolina Registered Agent you may do so by filing a Notice of Change with the Secretary of State. Here at Incfile, we provide a free South Carolina Registered Agent service for the first year if you file through us. If you’ve been using a different Registered Agent and want to switch to us, we’ll file the Notice of Change form on your behalf.
Have Incfile file the paperwork for you.
If you need to know the Registered Agent of a specific South Carolina business, you can perform a South Carolina Registered Agent search by using the Secretary of State's registered agent search.
As an LLC, any business profits you earn will be reported on your personal 1040 filing and reported and taxed as “pass-through” income. You will typically need to pay:
- Self-employment or payroll tax on all business profits
- Federal income tax on profits after you meet your tax-free allowance
- Sales tax for selling taxable products and services
South Carolina charges a 6 percent state sales and use tax on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods. You may also need to pay sales tax if you provide a taxable service, or additional sales tax if you sell or provide certain products or services. You can find a full list of SC sales and use tax rates here.
You will need to complete a Business Tax Application with the South Carolina Department of Revenue. You can complete this process online.
The base rate for South Carolina sales tax is 6 percent, and there may be additional sales tax depending on your region, county or city. Once you know your overall sales tax amount, calculate the value of all your taxable products and services. Then, multiply that by your sales tax rate to understand how much you will need to pay.
Once your LLC’s business tax application with South Carolina Department of Revenue is approved, you will receive instructions on how often you must file a sales tax return and pay sales taxes. Returns and payments may be due monthly, quarterly or annually.
Some businesses will need to pay a corporate franchise tax in South Carolina, however it does not apply to LLCs unless your LLC is treated as a C Corporation for tax purposes.
If you're starting a business in South Carolina you'll likely need some kind of business license in order to operate. The types of business licenses you need will vary depending on your type of business, industry, location and various other factors. We can research the types of business licenses you might need for you.
We hope you’ve found this South Carolina LLC FAQ useful. If you’ve used our services and have a question that isn’t answered here, let us know and we’d be happy to help.