How to Start an LLC in South Carolina (SC LLC 2022)


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How to Start an LLC in South Carolina: If you’re interested in setting up an LLC in SC, you’ve come to the right place. Having an LLC not only protects your personal assets but also is less complicated than other business structures. South Carolina laws make it easy to establish your LLC in South Carolina. On this page, You’ll find all the steps that must be taken to ensure that your South Carolina LLC has been correctly established. We recommend you read the whole article very carefully word by word, don’t miss anything 🙂

llc-in-south-carolina

How to Start an LLC in South Carolina

An LLC or a Limited Liability Company is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection.

If you wish to start an LLC in South Carolina, you mainly have to file your Certificate of Formation with the State and pay a filing fee of $110. There are some more steps to follow to get your LLC established in South Carolina. The following steps explain everything you need to create your LLC in South Carolina in 2022. Let’s get started! It is always recommended to hire a professional LLC formation service in South Carolina to set up your LLC.

Step 1: Decide a Name for Your South Carolina LLC

South Carolina name your llc

The very first step while forming an LLC in South Carolina is to give a proper name to your LLC. Before you name your business, you must know that the name should be easy to remember, available in the state, and follows all the LLC naming guidelines.

South Carolina LLC Naming Guidelines

There are a few specific requirements all the LLCs in South Carolina have to follow while naming their Company. Some of the most important requirements are as follows:

  • Your business name should be available and no other existing business in South Carolina can have the same name. Perform a name search from the below-mentioned source to be sure your name isn’t taken already.
  • “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, and “L.L.C.” – any one of these has to be used as a suffix in your business name.
  • You cannot use any name for your business that is confusing or misleading. Terms such as “Treasury”, “State Department”, “FBI”, “CIA”, etc. shouldn’t be included.
  • Terms like “Bank“, “University“, “Attorney“, “Doctor“, etc can be added only after the additional requirements by South Carolina State Government are fulfilled.
  • (Optional) It’s better to name your business something for which your desired domain is available.
Important Links –Submit Offline Form to –
South Carolina Business Entity Search – Online Name Search
Name Reservation Form – PDF
South Carolina LLC Name Search – Instructions
Secretary of State
Attn: Corporate Filings
1205 Pendleton Street Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201

Reserve Business Name for Future

If you do not wish to file your LLC right now but want to hold the name you have decided then you can reserve your LLC name for 120 days. To keep the name, you have to file a name reservation application and pay $25 to reserve your name with the South Carolina Secretary of State.

Doing Business As (DBA) or Trade Name

In South Carolina, there is no need for DBA filing. LLCs can file and reserve their LLC names if not registering the business right now.

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TailorBrands offer DIY website templates and incredible logo designs. If you plan to get a website then it is wise to have a “.com” domain for your business but these days you can also use other TLDs like “.company”, “.xyz” etc. With TailorBrands, you can get everything you need at an affordable price.

Do I have to include LLC in my company email/domain?

It is not legally mandatory to use the word LLC in your domain name or email. If you want you can use it. However, it is recommended not to use LLC in the domain name. A domain name should be short and easy to remember.

Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in South Carolina

South Carolina registered agent

The second step to forming a South Carolina LLC is to appoint a Registered Agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity that will act or work on your LLC’s behalf. This person or business will receive important tax forms, legal documents, all notices of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in South Carolina. Hence, hiring a competent South Carolina Registered Agent for your LLC is necessary. 

Make sure your registered agent is a resident of South Carolina or has a physical street address. Their business address or the principal address should be in South Carolina. Most LLC formation companies also provide registered agent services. Below are two great LLC setup services, even if you buy their cheapest plan (normally $49/year) you also get registered agent service and other services at a reasonable price.

LLC Service

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$299 + State Fees

  • Turnaround in a few days

  • EIN & Website Included

  • Operating Agreement Included

These LLC formation services are recommended registered agent services as they are authorized to conduct business in South Carolina. Some LLC formation services offer standalone South Carolina registered agent services. You can purchase only Registered Agent services from them without purchasing any other LLC formation services.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

A person who is above 18 years of age and has a physical address in the state of South Carolina can be a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent can be an independent person or can be a business entity. One who is responsible for handling all the legal documents.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?

Yes, you can be your own registered agent if you are a resident of the state of South Carolina and you are above 18 years of age. To become a registered agent you must have the authority to conduct any type of business in South Carolina.

Registered Agent Consent Application

In South Carolina, there is no separate Consent Letter to be produced to the Secretary of State. At the time of change of Registered Agent (or the name or address), the new Registered Agent has to sign the consent letter. It comes with the Application form to Change the Registered Agent. The filing fee of $10 should be paid for it. For more information on the same, read our guide on South Carolina Registered Agent.

Step 3: File Articles of Organization in South Carolina

South Carolina certificate of formation

The third and most important step in forming a South Carolina LLC is to file the Certificate of Formation. This South Carolina Articles of Organization is a legal document needed to officially register your business with the Secretary of State. It costs $110 to file your formation certificate in South Carolina. (Read more on LLC cost in South Carolina).

The Certificate of Formation includes details like the name of the LLC, registered agent’s name, address, employees’ details, and structure of the company (member-managed or manager-managed). Before hiring employees in South Carolina LLC, one should know about the rules and regulations thoroughly. Also if you are expanding your existing business (an LLC) to South Carolina then you need to register as a South Carolina Foreign LLC.

How to File Online

Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. You will get the online service page. If you are already a subscriber then click on the “log in to Subscribe Account” option and log in with your credentials. If you’re not subscribed, then you can directly start filing your LLC by clicking on the “Online Filing” button below. Read more about the South Carolina Articles of Organization for online registration.

How to File by Mail

If you prefer filing real-life forms for your South Carolina LLC registration, then you can download Domestic LLC Formation Form. Read the form thoroughly, fill it out, and mail it along with the following,

Mailing Address:

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

Processing Time: It takes 24 hours to get an LLC in SC if you file it online. For the mail filing, it takes 5 to 7 days to get an LLC. By paying an additional fee, it can be expedited.

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Step 4: Create Your South Carolina LLC Operating Agreement

South Carolina operating agreement

Moving on to the fourth step, filing your operating agreement. An operating agreement is a document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC. This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.

When it comes to filing a South Carolina LLC Operating Agreement, the state does not require you to have a comprehensive operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all the details of your business operation. Like South Carolina, there are other states that do not have a mandatory rule to file operating agreements. But, this document would be useful if you decide to dissolve South Carolina LLC later. Hence, having an operating agreement may not be necessary but it is definitely ideal.

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Step 5: Filing a South Carolina LLC EIN

South Carolina file EIN for llc

The Employer Identification Number or, simply, the E.I.N. is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify the type of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business for that matter. 

EIN is needed when the LLC hires employees. Hiring employees in South Carolina LLC requires following specific rules and regulations. On the other side, EIN for South Carolina foreign LLC should be obtained if your LLC is based in other states.

To obtain EIN (aka FEIN) one has to fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Enter details of your LLC, and finally complete the form and send it to the address given. You can also get an EIN Assistant who can help you with the process.

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

Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free

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Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.


Congratulation, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your South Carolina LLC. If you do it yourself it should take you a long time to properly understand and do all the steps.

However, if you use TailorBrands it should take fewer hours and you always have live chat with expert support for any help you need.


After Starting Your South Carolina LLC

After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. Take note of the following:

This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.

Cost of South Carolina LLC

Forming an LLC in South Carolina is no doubt more cost-effective than other structures of a business. There are some fees and charges one has to bear to form a South Carolina LLC. LLCs have pass-through taxation. Hence, your South Carolina LLC won’t bring you a massive tax burden. Here are some of the fees and taxes are needed to be paid while forming an LLC in South Carolina,

Fees/TaxAmount to be Paid
Name Reservation Fee$25
Articles of Organization Fee$110
LLC Annual FeeNot Required
Sales Tax6%

In South Carolina, an LLC name reservation is not mandatory. You can register your LLC name at the time of registering your LLC. If you wish to hold the name for some time without registering your LLC, then you can do that online. Your LLC name will be reserved for 120 days without registering your LLC. It can be done by paying $25.

In South Carolina, LLCs have to pay a Sales Tax of 6% every year. Read our guide on LLC costs in South Carolina for more information.

South Carolina Foreign LLC

If you are interested in forming a Foreign LLC in South Carolina then you need to file the Certificate of Foreign LLC to the South Carolina Secretary of State. Foreign LLCs allow you to operate your business in more than one state. Along with the Certificate of Foreign LLC, you need to submit some more documents like the Certificate of Good Standing, etc. to the South Carolina SOS to form your foreign LLC in South Carolina. To know more in detail, check out our guide on South Carolina Foreign LLC.

Reasons to Start an LLC in South Carolina

In the last decade, it is noticed that the GDP of South Carolina has jumped manifolds, and the reason behind this is the businesses it is catering to. Also, the reduction in tax liabilities and various business funding options is why South Carolina is a good option for LLCs. Read more on South Carolina’s classification of LLC tax. The other benefits offered are just unbeatable, a glimpse of which is discussed below.

Service sector incentive programs 

If your start-up is based on the service sector and you start an LLC in South Carolina, this incentive program is made. There are some incentive programs in this program, like the job development program in which an entrepreneur will be provided credit based on jobs that they are creating. This fund will help out a business in leveling its cost of expansion of the business. 

Along with that, a property tax exemption is also available under this program. A person is provided an exemption on the intangible property in which they invest their money.

Manufacturing Sector incentive Programs 

Those who have a manufacturing unit running as their South Carolina LLC must know about this incentive program. There are two further divisions in this program, named Jobs Tax Credits and Investment Tax Credits. Any business entity in the sector can get a lucrative incentive in tax credits for the jobs they are creating at the altar. The range credit is from $1000 to $9000, depending on the job you create. This one-time credit program can last for a period of around 10 years.

Business Incentive Programs 

Some attractive tax incentive programs are offered under this umbrella program started by the government for LLCs in South Carolina. The eligibility of these programs is variable, and one needs to include programs like.

  • Tax credits are provided to an LLC in the form of an investment tax credit, Research and development credit, jobs creation credit, etc. It is provided to the LLC, which can help them invest more in developing their company and the state.
  • According to the operational areas of the business, a sales and use tax incentive is offered to the business. Out-of-state sales and purchase is considered in this program for exemption, and one has to file a form to be eligible for this.
  • If an entrepreneur buys new property in the state for their LLC, they get a tax rebate on that property for at least 5 years.

Top 3 Businesses in South Carolina

Before you take the major step to form an LLC in South Carolina, it is essential to brush up on your knowledge. You must go through a list of top businesses of South Carolina and their contribution to the state to better understand the business environment there.

Agriculture businesses

The state is known for its advanced agriculture techniques and machinery. They are number in the country in terms of the number of greenhouses and nurseries planted there. The area deployed under agriculture in the state is 4.9 million hectares supporting the jobs of more than 68,000 people.

Moreover, the advanced agriculture of the state is getting continuous investments with the help of which the contribution of the sector to state GDP is $41.7 billion. The main contributors to this value are cotton, wheat, eggs, and corn and cattle farms.

Automotive industry

There are a wide variety of automobile companies present in the state, which covers manufacturing to supplying automobile vehicles and their parts. If you look at the sector’s history, then the first BMW car was manufactured in South Carolina only.

Also, the state is the third-largest exporter and manufacturer of tires in the USA which has covered 1/3rd of the market. The total sales that the sector has managed to make in a year is around $27 billion, which is a considerable contribution to its GDP.

Aerospace Businesses

The aerospace industry’s economic contribution to the state’s total GDP is around $19 billion, making it an economic driver. Boeing aircraft are assembled and delivered in the South Carolina state, after which there are more than 400 companies of aerospace in the state. Right now, 22,000 people are working in the industry alone, and the numbers are rising significantly.

Some small businesses in the state are:-

  • Car renting business
  • Uber driver
  • WordPress developer 

South Carolina LLC Formation Review

Time needed: 5 minutes.

Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in SC. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.

  1. Name your South Carolina LLC

    The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
    name your llc

  2. Choose a Registered Agent

    In South Carolina, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. Get a professional Registered Agent from LLC formation services like NorthWest Registered Agent to get things done hassle-free.
    registered agent

  3. File a Formation Certificate

    Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC in South Carolina. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
    articles of organization

  4. Create an Operating Agreement

    An operating agreement is not a strict requirement in South Carolina but something encouraged when you start an LLC to avoid future conflicts.
    operating agreement

  5. Get an EIN

    The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
    file EIN for llc

How Fast Can I Form an LLC in South Carolina

LLC filing procedures in South Carolina take about 5 to 7 business days when done via mail. Online filings can be completed within 24 hours.

The first step in forming an LLC in South Carolina is to select a name. You can choose the name of the business that is unique and easily recognizable. Choose a registered agent who will list your business address instead of your personal one. You’ll also need to create an operating agreement to outline the company’s rules and structure. These documents will help you avoid disputes and keep your LLC’s limited liability status intact.

The process of forming an LLC in South Carolina can take anywhere from a few days to a week. However, if you file online, the process can take as little as two business days. In contrast, if you file by mail, the process can take anywhere from two to three weeks. There are various ways to reduce this process, including using a business formation service that guides you through the process.

In addition to the legal name, you may also want to use a trade name other than the name of your LLC. A DBA, or Doing Business As, allows the government and customers to identify you with a different business name. This can prevent confusion in the marketplace and prevent fraud. When choosing a business name, it’s also a good idea to search online using a business name search tool such as South Carolina Business Name Search.

Another important step in LLC formation is to open a business bank account. Your business should have a separate bank account from your personal one, so you can keep your personal and business assets separate. Having a separate bank account will help you protect your business from lawsuits. Also, remember to create an operating agreement.

An EIN is a nine-digit number assigned to you by the Internal Revenue Service. This is like your personal Social Security number, but it’s unique for your business. If you plan to hire employees, you’ll need this number. It’s free to obtain and can be found at the IRS website.

Once you have an LLC name, you must also choose a registered agent for the company. The registered agent needs to be a South Carolina resident or a business entity with a South Carolina address. There are many reasons why choosing a registered agent is important for a company.

An operating agreement is an important document in LLC formation. It sets the framework for the company, including the rights and responsibilities of the members, how profits are distributed, and much more. Without it, your LLC could end up being subject to generic state rules, which may prove detrimental to you in the event of a lawsuit. Also, if you don’t create an operating agreement, your members may not be fully aware of their roles and duties, which could lead to disagreements and litigation later on.

There are a few different ways to form an LLC in South Carolina. Filing the documents online is the most efficient and straightforward way. There are also paper forms that you can file with the state, but these only reserve the name of the new business. You’ll need to return these forms to the Secretary of State’s Corporate Filings office in order to complete the process.

F.A.Qs

Can I file an LLC in South Carolina by myself?

If you are a resident of South Carolina, then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.

What is the cost of forming an LLC in South Carolina in a year?

Apart from the formation fee of $110 (domestic LLC) and $110 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in South Carolina include fees for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 6% every year.

How long does it take to get an LLC in South Carolina?

It takes 24 hours to get an LLC in SC if you file it online. For the mail filing, it takes 5 to 7 days to get an LLC. If you hire a professional LLC service, then it might take less than that. We recommend TailorBrands which has impeccable turnaround time.

How to renew my LLC in South Carolina?

Every year all the LLCs have to submit an Annual Report to the South Carolina Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.

What is the tax structure for an LLC in South Carolina?

Generally, for the LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you will obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens. Read more on the South Carolina Classification of LLC Tax.

In Conclusion

LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups can easily start their LLCs in South Carolina at a bare minimum cost. LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, and leave a comment below.

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