South Carolina LLC Registration
Starting a South Carolina LLC is an exciting decision. Unlike a sole-proprietorship or a general partnership, an LLC (limited liability company) separates your personal assets from your business. Just like the name suggests, an LLC limits your personal liability. Forming a South Carolina LLC is a smart, responsible decision for your business.
Wherever you are in the LLC formation process, we are here to help. We can form your South Carolina LLC and answer all your questions—everything from where do I get an EIN to do I need to file an operating agreement? Establishing South Carolina LLCs is simply what we do. You know how the I-26 is the fastest route from Columbia to Charleston? Think of us as the I-26 of LLC formation—we’re the quickest, most efficient, and smoothest road to success.
Let us do the work for you
Setting up your South Carolina LLC is a lot of work. Do it right, and you’ll be set up for success. Cut corners and life will be harder in the long run. Let us help form your South Carolina LLC. We take care of everything—beginning to end—to set you up for success.
Here’s what’s included when you sign up for our South Carolina LLC Formation Service:
- Complimentary use of our business address on state documents
- Privacy Protection
- A full year of South Carolina registered agent services
- South Carolina annual report reminders
- Free Operating Agreement template
- A secure online account for storing important documents and forms
- Lifetime customer support
How much does our South Carolina LLC Formation cost?
We believe in 100% transparency—no hidden fees or sudden increases. Here’s a clear breakdown of what we charge:
|South Carolina LLC Filing Fee||$125|
|Our Incorporation Service Fee||$100|
|One Year Registered Agent Service||$49|
Hiring us is the most efficient way to start your South Carolina LLC. If you’d rather navigate the ins and outs of LLC formation in the Palmetto State yourself, here’s a step-by-step guide:
Pick a Name
Appoint an Agent
File Articles of Organization
Make an Operating Agreement
Get an EIN
Pick a Name for Your South Carolina LLC
First things, first. You’ll need to name your South Carolina LLC. Easy, right? Well, picking a name for your business can be a little harder than naming your child or pet. Why? Because naming a business requires following some state rules:
1. The name of your South Carolina LLC must be distinguishable from other South Carolina businesses. Remember in school when the teacher called on Chris and two kids answered? South Carolina wants to prevent name duplication and confusion. Similar names like Christopher’s Supplies and Kristopher’s Supplies are not allowed, unless you get permission from the business that originally the name. To make sure the business name you want is available, you can search the state’s database for available names or let us do it for you as part of our LLC formation package.
2. Your South Carolina LLC name has to contain a identifier such as “limited liability company” or “LLC.” In addition, you can’t use identifiers like “corporation” or “non-profit”—basically, don’t give the impression that your LLC is a different type of business entity.
Do I need a DBA?
A DBA—which stands for “doing business as”—is often called a fictitious or trade name. If your LLC is not using its legally-registered name to conduct business, you should have a DBA. Using a DBA, you can advertise, sell product, and even open new business locations. A DBA also lets you also expand your business beyond your original legal name. Let’s say you started as Suzzie’s Haircuts LLC, but want to expand into doing manicures and facial treatments. Using a DBA, you can rebrand as Suzzie’s Spa without fussing with the LLC paperwork.
In South Carolina DBAs are registered at the county or city level depending on your location. In most municipalities, registering a DBA is part of the application process for local business licenses. (See our FAQs below for more information on business licenses).
Appoint a Registered Agent for your South Carolina LLC
A registered agent is a person or entity who handles your South Carolina LLC’s legal and state documents. Your registered agent must have a street address in South Carolina and be able to accept state mail and service of process during regular business hours. Keep in mind your registered agent will be handling and receiving many of your business’s most important and sensitive documents. You’ll want a responsible, trusted registered agent who values your business.
Can I be my own registered agent?
Sure. But if you’re unable to accept mail during regular business days, or you prefer to keep process of service out of your physical place of business, you should consider hiring a registered agent. Running a business is tough work. Focus on your business, and let us be your registered agent.
One huge benefit of hiring our registered agent service is that we will protect your privacy. If you elect to be your own registered agent, your name and address is listed on government documents and easily available to solicitors. Hire us, and we’ll list our name and address on the formation documents, shielding you from prying eyes and pesky solicitors.
File Articles of Organization
To officially form your LLC with the state, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State. Fortunately, the form itself is fairly straightforward. Here’s everything you’ll need to include:
- The name of your South Carolina LLC. Remember to include a proper ending like LLC or LC.
- The address of the initial designated office for your LLC (Note: This is your business location, not the registered agent address.)
- The physical address for your registered agent
- The name and signature of your South Carolina registered agent
- The names and addresses of your LLC’s organizers
- Set a length of existence for your LLC, if your business will close on a specified date. You may leave this section blank if it doesn’t apply to your LLC.
- Elect to have your company run by managers. If you decide to do have managers, their names and addresses will need to be listed, otherwise you can leave this section blank.
- Outline specific debts and obligations for LLC members under SC Section 33-44-303(c), if applicable
- Delay the start date of your LLC to a certain date and time if you so choose
- Optional: Attach any other provisions for your LLC permitted by your operating agreement.
- Signatures. Each of your LLC’s organizers must sign and date the form.
Should I file online or by mail?
It’s your preference. Filing online is faster and costs an extra $15 for the convenience. Typically, you’ll hear back in one to two days. Filing by mail can take up to two weeks. You’ll have to pay the $110 filing fee by check, include a self-addressed stamped envelope, and two copies of your Articles of Organization. Send the check, envelope, and articles to:
South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office
Attn: Corporate Filings
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
Or, you can let us start your LLC for you. It’ll take two days, and we deal with the paperwork.
Make an Operating Agreement for your South Carolina LLC
While you’re not required to have an operating agreement, we strongly recommend having one. Many banks will ask to see your operating agreement before you open a business account. Additionally, the operating agreement can help keep your LLC out of legal trouble. Think of it this way: before playing a board game, everyone must know the rules. A good operating agreement will outline:
- The LLC’s business structure
- Distribution of profits and losses
- The responsibilities of LLC members and, if applicable, managers
- How business will be conducted
- The process for dissolving the LLC
Don’t know where to start? As part of our South Carolina LLC formation package, we offer a customizable operating agreement.
Get an EIN for your South Carolina LLC
An EIN is needed for any business that plans to hire employees. An EIN is like a social security number for your business. You’ll need an EIN for tax purposes, for banking, and other business-related functions. Even if you’re a single-member LLC, we’d strongly recommend having an EIN, to avoid sharing your social security number to potential vendors. You can apply for an EIN on the IRS website or let us do it for you as part of our South Carolina LLC formation package.
File Your LLC’s Beneficial Ownership Information Report
As part of a push to reduce financial crime in the US, the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) requires most newly-formed LLCs to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) report. In contrast with state filings, the information in your BOI report doesn’t go on the public record and the report is free to file.
Your report must include basic information about your LLC and those with the most power over your business. This includes your beneficial owners, defined as any person with significant control over business decisions and/or who owns at least 25% of your LLC, and your company applicant(s), defined as the person(s) responsible for filing your Articles of Organization.
For your reporting company:
- Legal business name
- Any DBAs
- US business street address
- Jurisdiction of formation
- Tax ID (SSN, EIN, or TIN)
- Full legal name
- Residential address
- Birth date
- Copy of ID (for example, passport or driver’s license)
Note: If your LLC is formed before 2024, you don’t need to provide information about your company applicant(s).
Reports can be submitted online using FinCEN’s secure database. LLCs formed before 2024 must file before January 1, 2025. LLCs started during 2024 have 90 days from formation to file, and LLCs created in and after 2025 have 30 days.
Not excited about having another document to file? We’ll take care of it for you with our $9 BOI report filing service.
South Carolina LLC FAQs
What are the advantages of an LLC as business entity?
Simply put, an LLC gives you liability protection. If you don’t file Articles of Organization, you can still conduct business, but you’ll do so as a sole proprietor or general partnership. What does that mean in terms of liability protection? Well, if your business were to face legal actions, then your personal assets would be at risk. Forming an LLC creates a legal separation between you and the actual business, shielding your personal assets.
Do I need a business license?
Yes, more than likely. The state of South Carolina does not have an all-encompassing business license. Instead, almost every local government requires your company to have a business license or locally register your business. Costs and applications vary from city to city and from county to county. If your business is located in one municipality and operates in another, you will need a license for both places. South Carolina Business One Stop is a great place to figure out where exactly you will need to apply for a business license.
How are South Carolina LLCs taxed?
By default, South Carolina LLCs are pass-through tax entities. That means your business does not pay income tax at the federal level. The LLC members are responsible for reporting business losses and revenue on their personal income tax filings. You can also elect S or C corporation status for your LLC.
Why should I use a registered agent service?
Hiring a registered agent service makes your life as a business owner and operator much easier. For example, when you act as your own registered agent or list your business address, you’ll get an influx of junk mail. Buried in that junk mail are important documents from the state. An attentive registered agent service like us receives your mail (including the junk). We save the important documents and shred the rest. You have better things to do as a business owner than sift through the mail and, frankly, we’re good at it.
The privacy offered by a registered agent service also protects you from potential embarrassment. Let’s say the worst happens, and someone files a lawsuit against your LLC. Unfortunately, acting as your registered agent means you’re responsible for accepting service of process. Electing a professional registered agent service ensures those dreaded words—You’ve been served—are kept out of your business and out of your customer’s earshot.
How much does South Carolina charge if I do it myself?
If you file your Articles of Organization online, you will spend $125, which includes a $15 online fee. Or, you can save fifteen bucks by filing by mail if you’re not in a hurry.
Do I need a business bank account for my South Carolina LLC?
The question is better asked, Should I open a business bank account for my LLC? And the answer is yes, you should. You’ve gone through the trouble of forming a limited liability company, so you want to continue to limit your liability, right? A business bank account is a great way to keep your business assets separate from your personal assets. Plus, if you plan to take credit card payments, you’re probably going to need a business bank account. To open a business bank account, you’ll likely need your articles of organization, operating agreement, and EIN.
How do I dissolve my South Carolina LLC?
To formally dissolve your LLC, you must file articles of termination in duplicate with the South Carolina Secretary of State and pay a $10 filing fee. The forms must be typed or printed with black ink and signed. The forms should be accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope and sent to:
South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office
Attn: Business Filings Division
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 734-2158