How to Start an LLC in South Carolina

Register your South Caroline LLC (limited liability company) with us. We will make the South Caroline LLC registration easy and hassle free for you.

For more information on how to form an LLC in any state, see the article How to Form an LLC.

Find out how to form a South Carolina LLC for yourself

Learn about South Carolina LLC formation, including information on Registered Agents, naming rules, business licenses, and more.

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Our services go beyond just creating your South Carolina LLC. We will handle everything from writing your business plan to creating your LLC, licensing, branding, website, and marketing.

Creating an LLC in South Carolina

A limited liability company (LLC) offers many benefits to small businesses, including liability protection and tax advantages.

An Limited Liability Company LLC must be formed in South Carolina by file the Articles of Organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State and paying the $110 filing fee.

However, you’ll first need to choose a name and registered agent for your South CarolinaLLC . The formation of an LLC may take up to 24 hours online and 5 to 7 business days by mail.

An LLC can be easily formed in South Carolina. Simply follow these six steps, and you’re done. Find out more about LLCs and their benefits in our What is an LLC guide.

How to Start an LLC in South Carolina

Step 1. Choose a Name for Your LLC South Carolina

Creating an LLC in South Carolina requires you to choose a business name before you can file the Articles of Organization. Be sure that your business name complies with the South Carolina naming requirements and can be searched by potential customers.

  • South Carolina law requires an LLC name to contain the words “Limited Liability Company” or “Limited Company,” or the abbreviations “Ltd.,” “LLC,” or “LC.” “Limited” may be abbreviated as “Ltd.” or “LTD,” and “Company” as “Co.”
  • It is not acceptable for your South Carolina LLC to have words associated with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • You should avoid using words or abbreviations that may make your LLC South Carolina appear to be a different type of entity, such as “LP” or “corporation”.
  • There may be additional documentation and licensure paperwork required for certain restricted words (bank, lawyer, attorney, credit union, etc.).
  • Check the state’s business name database to ensure the name you want is not already taken(including businesses no longer in operation)

See a complete list of South Carolina’ naming rules here.

Check URL availability: You are likely to need a web page even if you don’t think you do. Buying your domain name now will at least give you the option of having one in the future. It’s a good idea to check the URL availability before finalizing your South Carolina LLC name.

Recommended: Consider setting up a business phone service after securing a domain name for your  South Carolina LLC to establish credibility and improve customer satisfaction.
 
Wise business plans offer a variety of features for businesses, including Toll-free numbers, Coverage in US and Canada, team messaging and more. Try our business phone services today.

If "ABC Company, LLC" wants to trade as "Best Hot Dogs in Town," for example, the owners may need to file a DBA. South Carolina does not require the registration of a DBA in general.

By filing an Application to Reserve a Limited Liability Company Name with the South Carolina Secretary of State Corporations Division, you can reserve a name for 120 days. The reservation must be sent through the mail. The cost of filing is $25.

An LLC stands for a Limited Liability Company. A simple business structure that is more flexible and offers many of the same benefits as a traditional corporation. For more information, see "What is a Limited Liability Company?".

LLCs do not usually require a DBA. Your LLC's name can serve as your company's brand name, and you can accept checks and other payment methods under that name. You may however choose to register a DBA if you wish to conduct business under a different name.

Step 2: Appoint Your Registered Agent in South Carolina

Your next step in forming an LLC in South Carolina is to appoint a Registered Agent, an individual or company authorized to receive legal and state mail on your behalf.

All South Carolina LLCs must have a registered agent. Please include your registered agent’s name and address on your Articles of Organization.

Registered Agent Requirements in South Carolina

To comply with South Carolina law, your LLC’s registered agent must be a resident or business entity that maintains a physical address in South Carolina. The “registered address” cannot be a P.O. box. It must be a real physical address that can be visited in person. Learn more about South Carolina Registered Agents by reading our full guide.

A Registered Agent must be a South Carolina resident or a corporation authorized to do business in South Carolina, such as a registered agent service. You have the option of electing someone from your company, including yourself.

It's a simple process to change your LLC's registered agent, but it's critical to do it correctly to avoid compliance issues. A registered agent is someone or a company that receives and sends legal documents on behalf of your LLC. After you have formed your LLC, you can change your registered agent.

Are You looking for a Registered Agent?

Wise Business Plans offers a free year of registered agent service when forming an LLC in South Carolina.

Step 3.Prepare and File the Articles of Organization

To create a South Carolina LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State. You may apply online, by mail, or in person.

If you choose one of our business formation services, we can handle this step for you.

The following information is typically required to create a Articles of Organization:

  • Your LLC name and principal place of business.
  • Name, address, and signature of the LLC’s registered agent
  • Decide whether your South Carolina LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. Indicate the names and addresses of each member and manager.
  • The reason for forming the LLC in South Carolina.
  • Name and address of the LLC’s organizer.
  • The effective date of the certificate,
  • The person forming the LLC must sign the Certificate.

Foreign LLCs: You must file a South Carolina Application for Articles of Organization of Authority with the South Carolina Secretary of State, Business Filings Division, to register a foreign LLC in South Carolina. This document can be mailed, delivered in person, or submitted online.

The cost of forming a foreign LLC in South Carolina is $110 payable to the Secretary of State (Nonrefundable).

Two Ways to File the Articles of Organization

The 1st option is:

Online filing through the South Carolina Secretary of State

The 2nd option is:

Filing the Articles of Organization by Mail

There is a state filing fee of $110 payable to the South Carolina Department of State. (nonrefundable)

Mail To:

South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office
Attn: Corporate Fillings
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201

In a member-managed LLC, the members (owners) take on the business's daily responsibilities. Manager-managed LLCs are managed by managers who are elected by the members. Those who manage your LLC will have the authority to do a wide range of tasks-from hiring staff to opening bank accounts.

The Articles of Organization can be filed online in 24 hours or by mail in 5 to 7 business days.

If you're just getting started in business or have been operating as a sole proprietor for a while, you should think about forming an LLC. LLCs limit an owner's personal liability for business debts and lawsuits, and they provide a great deal of flexibility in terms of business ownership, management, and taxation.

Step 4. Get a Certificate From the State

Upon filing your Articles of Organization, the secretary of state will review it. As soon as the Articles of Organization is approved, the LLC becomes a legal entity.

By obtaining this certificate, LLCs will be able to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), licenses, and business accounts.

Step 5. Write an South Carolina LLC Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a legally-binding document that sets out how your LLC will operate, from the voting process to mergers.

Operating agreements are not required in South Carolina, but they are an essential part of your business.

Written operating agreements are helpful for different reasons, including resolving disputes over financial agreements and other potential litigation.

The LLC declaration can prove that your LLC is a separate entity, which can help preserve your limited liability.

An operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the possibility of future conflict.

How should an operating agreement be drafted?

The operating agreement should detail the LLC’s overall business purpose and other important matters, such as how the company will be taxed and how new members will be accepted. Legal agreements can clarify several important concerns, such as:

  • Who makes decisions for the company, especially those who decide if partners disagree.
  • Who is responsible for different aspects of the business as well as for strategic decisions.
  • If a partner leaves the company, what will happen to their ownership interests in the corporation.
  • The members and their contributions
  • How profits and losses will be divided
  • Procedures for admitting new members and removing outgoing members

In South Carolina, you can include just about anything in your operating agreement, as long as it doesn’t violate the state law or the Articles of Organization.

In South Carolina, an Operating Agreement is not necessary for either a single-member or multi-member LLC. Even if your company just has one member, an Operating Agreement is a valuable resource.

Step 6. Get an EIN for Your South Carolina LLC

Basically, an employer identification number (EIN) is a social security number for your LLC in South Carolina.

To identify your LLC for tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service assigns a nine-digit Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for your EIN either by mail or online.

An EIN is used for the following purposes:

  • Manage state and federal taxes
  • Create a business bank account
  • Hire employees

Get an EIN Number in South Carolina

Getting an EIN number is easy and free, There are two ways to get an EIN number in South Carolina.

The 1st option is:

Apply online for an EIN from the IRS

The 2nd option is:

Get an EIN by Mail or Fax

Mail to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Yes. An EIN is required for any LLC with employees or more than one member.an EIN, you can also avoid giving out your SSN to vendors.

Many multi-member LLCs will find that the partnership tax status is an ideal choice because it is a simple and effective tax structure. If your company plans to raise funds from outside investors or other forms of passive owners, you should consider being taxed as a corporation

Are you Looking for South Carolina LLC Formation Service?

Get the easiest and fastest South Carolina LLC formation online with Wise business Plans.

What to do After Forming Your South Carolina LLC

Keep your personal and business assets separate

Your personal assets (such as your home, car, and other valuables) may be at risk when your South Carolina LLC is sued if they are mixed with your business accounts.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your LLC in South Carolina:

 

1. Create a Business Plan:

If you decide that a South Carolina LLC will be a good choice for your business in South Carolina, your next step is to create a business plan (although it is not required), so that you have a roadmap for what you will do and how you will accomplish it.

Business Plan Template

Free: Business Plans Examples

Do you need help creating a business plan? Check out these six free, proven business plan examples from different industries to help you write your own.

2. Open a Bank Account

As soon as your South Carolina LLC is officially formed, you should open a business bank account. Why? Keeping separate bank accounts will help you maintain the legal distinction between your South Carolina LLC and you (the owner).

Because LLCs are limited liability companies, creditors and litigants can’t take your assets.

It is essential for small business owners to partner with the right bank. 

Recommended: Check out our business bank account page to learn which banks offer the best business check accounts, ATM access, interest-bearing accounts, and online and mobile banking options for businesses.

3. Obtaining a business credit card:
  • Allows you to separate personal and business expenses.
  • Develops your company’s credit history, which can be helpful to raise capital (e.g., small business loans) later.
  • This can help categorize and separate all your South Carolina business expenses for tax purposes at the end of the year.
4. Hiring a business accountant:
  • It prevents your business in South Carolina from overpaying taxes while preventing penalties, fines, and other costly tax mistakes.
  • Gives you more time to focus on your growing business by simplifying bookkeeping and payroll.
  • Manage your business’s funding more effectively. Find out where extra profit or loss can be made

Get Business Insurance for Your LLC

You can manage risks and grow your South Carolina LLC with business insurance. Here are the most common types:

  • General liability insurance protects your South Carolina business from lawsuits. Most small businesses purchase general liability coverage.
  • Professional liability insurance protects professionals and businesses from claims of negligence from their clients or customers. Liability insurance typically covers negligence, copyright infringement, personal injury, and more.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance: Covers illnesses, injuries, and deaths resulting from a worker’s work.

Ready to Protect Your South Carolina Business

Let us help you with your business insurance needs.

  • General business liability insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • Term life insurance
  • Workers’ Comp
  • Surety bonds
  • Commercial auto

Create a Professional Website for Your South Carolina Business

A website is an important step in legitimizing your South Carolina business. You are missing out on a large percentage of potential customers and revenue if you don’t have a website, even if your business is too small or in an offline industry.

More than 90% of consumers begin their search for products and services online. If you don’t have a website that is ready to welcome your customers, then they will simply find your competitors.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your business website:

  • Every respectable firm in South Carolina has a website. When it comes to getting your firm online, size or sector isn’t a concern.
  • Creating a basic website has never been easier, thanks to website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder. To design a website, you don’t need to hire a web designer or developer.

Recommended: If you want to enhance your conversion rates and maximize revenue in order to help expand your South Carolina business and meet objectives, you should always hire a professional business website design company to build your business website.

Wise Business Plans is a leading web design company in South Carolina, We have created over 2000 + websites across 20 countries for our clients but we are physically based in 7 major cities in the United States including Alabama web design, Pennsylvania, Las Vegas, Colorado Springs, Iowa, Michigan and San Diego.

Get Registered with the South Carolina Department of Revenue

South Carolina’s Department of Revenue requires certain LLCs doing business there to register. Some examples include LLCs that collect sales tax on retail goods and services and LLCs with permanent employees.

Online registration for LLCs to pay state taxes can be done through South Carolina Business One Stop Website.

South Carolina LLC FAQs

The Secretary of State in South Carolina charges $110 to file the Articles of Organization. For $25, you can reserve the name of your LLC with the South Carolina Secretary of State.

The Articles of Organization can be filed online in 24 hours or by mail in 5 to 7 business days.

Simply follow these three steps to dissolve an LLC in South Carolina: Keep the Operating Agreement in mind.

Step 1: Follow the terms of your LLC operating agreement in South Carolina.

Step 2: Close all of your company's tax accounts.

Step 3: Articles of Dissolution should be filed.

The name or managers of a South Carolina LLC can be changed by amending the LLC's articles of organization.

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