How Much Does It Cost to Start an LLC in South Carolina?
Legal business registration — and making sure your business is in compliance — involves some necessary expenses. Some of these costs are payable to the South Carolina Secretary of State, while others are due to additional state entities or the federal government. Here are some of the most common requirements and fees.
Please be aware that South Carolina business license and permit fees may need to be paid when you first form your business, on an ongoing schedule or on an ad hoc basis. Find more details below.
Initial South Carolina LLC Fees
You’ll need to file as an LLC with the South Carolina Secretary of State and pay a filing fee when you first formally form your business. Here are the current South Carolina LLC fees and filing times:
When you form your LLC with us, Incfile will charge you this fee and forward it to the South Carolina Secretary of State when we file your formation paperwork.
Employer Identification Number
Every LLC in the U.S. should obtain a unique Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service. You'll use it when you open a business bank account, file taxes and pay employees. It's available at no cost from the IRS, or have Incfile obtain one for you.
When you want to do business in a state other than the one where your business is based, you must create a Foreign LLC.
South Carolina Foreign LLC Registration
Foreign companies are those which are formed in another state or country. In order to transact business in South Carolina, these entities must file an Application for Certificate of Authority to Transact Business in South Carolina with the SC Secretary of State.
The registration must be accompanied by a Certificate of Good Standing or a Certificate of Existence from the domestic state of formation. Register your out-of-state foreign company by filing your Application for Certificate of Authority with the Secretary of State. The filing fee for a South Carolina Foreign LLC is $110. The state may have additional requirements, so contact the South Carolina Secretary of State for more information.
Foreign Qualification to Operate in Another State
If you plan to expand your South Carolina LLC into another state, you’ll first need Foreign Qualification or a Certificate of Authority or Compliance from that state. This is necessary if you'll have a physical presence, employees or banking in that state.
This process will likely require you to complete an application and pay a filing fee. Each state typically has its own requirements, so you’ll want to contact the state government entity that administers business (usually the Secretary of State) for specific instructions.
If you need assistance, Incfile provides complete Foreign Qualification service for all states.
Annual Report Requirements
Most states require businesses to file an annual (or other periodic) report with the Secretary of State. For the State of South Carolina, LLCs are not required to file an annual report every year. If your LLC has elected to be taxed as an S Corp however, you'll have to file form SC 1120S to the Department of Revenue.
South Carolina Business License and Permit Requirements
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure you have the proper state, federal or local business licenses to operate your South Carolina LLC. Some of the associated fees only need to be paid once, while others are ongoing charge
Permits and licenses vary based on:
The State of South Carolina does not require businesses to have an LLC Operating Agreement in place.
An Operating Agreement is a document that covers the rights and duties of pertinent members, how the business will be run, how managers and members are chosen and several other key areas. It is typically filed with your Articles of Organization at the time that you officially form your LLC.
This document can be extremely helpful in making sure you’re organized and prepared for any future events that may affect your business.
If you have any unique requirements, you can make the necessary changes to accommodate them.
Other Potential South Carolina LLC Fees or Requirements
It is normal for your business to pay and meet several other fees and requirements during the life of your LLC. These ad hoc fees will only be payable in specific circumstances, as listed below.
Reserving a Name for Your LLC
If you don’t want to form your LLC right away, you can reserve a business name for 120 days with the South Carolina Secretary of State by filing an Application for Reservation and paying a filing fee of $25. First, perform a South Carolina business search and learn about business name rules to ensure you choose a name that meets state requirements.
Amending Certain Facts About Your LLC
Your business formation documents state certain facts about your South Carolina business at the time it's formed. Over time, these facts may change. If they do, you'll need to file Articles of Amendment with the South Carolina SOS for a filing fee of $110. You can do this yourself or have Incfile file the amendments on your behalf.
You may want to file Articles of Amendment when you:
- Add, remove or change an LLC member or manager
- Change the business address of your LLC
- Alter the stated business activities of your LLC
Getting a South Carolina Certificate of Compliance
Some organizations will request that you prove your LLC’s compliance with laws and tax requirements. Most states refer to this as a Certificate of Compliance, Existence or Good Standing. If you need to prove you have met your commitments, you’ll need a Certificate of Existence from the South Carolina Secretary of State. You can order a Certificate of Existence from the SOS online and pay a fee of $10.
The fees listed above detail many of the charges a standard LLC will be required to pay in South Carolina. In some unusual circumstances, there may be other one-off, periodic or ad hoc fees not listed above.
Of course, your LLC will also probably need to pay self-employment, payroll, federal, state and sales taxes. More information about taxes can be found on the South Carolina Business Tax page.