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How to Form a South Carolina LLC

South Carolina is an attractive state for LLC due to its low cost of doing business. For limited liability companies, there is no general or state-wide business license requirement. Similarly, there is no annual filing fee, and there are no LLC annual reports to file.

South Carolina is an attractive state for business owners due to its low cost of doing business. For limited liability companies in South Carolina, there is no general or state-wide business license requirement. Similarly, there is no annual filing fee, and there are no LLC annual reports to file. However, these are just a few of the many benefits offered when you do business as a South Carolina limited liability company.

The main benefit of opening a South Carolina limited liability company, also known as an LLC, is that the LLC keeps your business finances separate from your personal finances. This means that your assets are protected, so bank accounts, cars, properties, and other possessions cannot be touched in the case of lawsuits or debts regarding your South Carolina business.

This article will help new businesses register their LLCs in South Carolina. We will answer the following questions:

  • How do I form an LLC in South Carolina?
  • Who can be a registered agent of a business for a South Carolina LLC?
  • What does it cost to register a limited liability company in South Carolina?
  • How long will it take to register the LLC in South Carolina and start business operations?
  • How do I get an employer identification number(EIN) for my LLC in South Carolina?
  • Do you need to write an LLC Operating Agreement for a South Carolina LLC?
  • How do I open a business account for my South Carolina LLC?

Forming an LLC in South Carolina

To register a limited liability company in the state of South Carolina, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State. The LLC Articles can either be filed online with the Secretary of State or you can send the documents to the Secretary of State by registered mail. The filing fee for online registration for your Articles of Organization is $125.

Once you have filed your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State, you will get a confirmation from the South Carolina Secretary of State along with the Certificate of Organization for your South Carolina LLC. Many LLC owners choose to display their formation documents at their place of business.

Filing the LLC Articles if usually a straightforward process, however, you may need the help of a professional LLC formation company if your company has more than one partner or members. In such cases, a professional LLC formation company can help you fill the form according to the legal status and the operational setup of the South Carolina LLC.

Irrespective of the fact if you are the only owner or you have multiple partners, a professional agent or LLC formation company charges a nominal fee to file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of state. This will ensure that your LLC Articles of Organization is filed correctly with the South Carolina Secretary of State so you can work on forming your LLC in South Carolina.

If you are looking to form an LLC in South Carolina, Contact the professionals at LLC Formations about how to file your important LLC Articles. We can help you file for your LLC so you can get your business up and running.

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How Do I Name the South Carolina LLC?

In the first step, you will be required to choose a business name for your South Carolina LLC. Under South Carolina law, every limited liability entity must include “Limited Liability Company” in its official business name. Most business just put LLC at the end of the name to meet the requirement.

While naming your South Carolina LLC, you should also ensure that the LLC name is not similar to any government entity such as the FBI and State Department. Similarly, you cannot use the title reserved for banks and universities in your LLC name.

Before naming your South Carolina LLC, you should check if the name is available in the state of South Carolina. You can do it easily by checking the LLC name availability using the South Carolina LLC lookup online tool at

If the LLC name is available for registration, you may register it. Under certain circumstances, the name will not be available to register if it is already taken by another business entity.

If there is another business entity with a similar name in another state, it has nothing to do with your legal status and you can continue to processing your South Carolina LLC. Since that organization is registered in another state, it will have no impact on your name because you are filing for registration in a separate state. In a nutshell, it means that there can be two or more business entities with a similar name if each company is registered in a separate state.

If you want to extend your business and open a branch of your business in other states, it is highly recommended to think about a unique name for South Carolina LLC search so you can expand your South Carolina LLC to other states. Your unique company name will ensure that there are no other companies in the United States with the same name. A unique name is ideal to stay away from legal and brand identity issues as your company expands its operations. This is important to keep in mind when you form an LLC in South Carolina.

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Choosing a Registered Agent for Your South Carolina LLC

When you form an LLC, it’s important to consider who will work as your registered agent or registered agent service. Choosing your registered agent is an important part of processing the formation of your business in South Carolina.

In this field, business owners must name an agent for service of process. An agent for service of process is a professional company that offers business-related services, including the service of offering a name and physical address that collects mail for your South Carolina LLC. Each registered agent service is properly registered with the state authorities, enabling them to provide a legal address for mail pertaining to your business in South Carolina.

Without a doubt, the registered agent plays a critical role in the business affairs of companies that don’t have an office in South Carolina. For instance, your registered agent will receive all of your legal documents from the South Carolina Secretary of State, Department of Revenue, or other state offices. Once your agent receives everything, they organize and send the appropriate documents on the behalf of your LLC.

These registered agents and professional companies also provide additional services, such as offering business agent service that will handle important business calls for you. In addition, they will also offer a physical space for you at their location in case you want to invite someone to a meeting. In fact, a professional company offers virtually endless possibilities to help businesses grow.

Does the Registered Agent Need to Live In South Carolina?

The initial designated office is the physical address of your LLC. Forming an LLC in South Carolina requires your business structure to have a street address as you cannot give a P.O. Box address. If you have a physical storefront or a retail space for your LLC in South Carolina, you just need to give that name and address because the physical space will act as your headquarters and office address for doing business.

Still, there are thousands of companies that do not have a physical presence in South Carolina. Most of these companies are foreign entities or online companies that do not require a physical space to operate their South Carolina LLC. Irrespective of the type of operation, everyone needs to give a physical address to keep in communication with the state authorities, such as the South Carolina Secretary of State and the South Carolina Department of Revenue.

One way to do it is to give a physical address of your relative or someone you know who can collect legal documents and business filings for you. This method will work, but it is risky as you need to depend on others to inform you whenever an important document arrives. Instead of giving the physical address of your acquaintance, it is recommended to partner with a service so you may use their designated office address.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?

Anyone who is over 18 years old and who has a physical address can become a registered agent. Anyone who has a physical space in the state of South Carolina can give their name and address as a registered agent to form an LLC.

Interestingly, a lot of business owners in South Carolina still prefer to designate a professional service as their registered agent. This trend suits company owners who don’t want to be bombarded with spam and bogus marketing calls. When you file the Articles of Organization, your email address and telephone are accessible by marketing companies.

Many marketing companies use the information to market their products to your business structure. They also distribute this to other advertising outlets for a price. As a result, it is common for the registered agent to get a lot of junk email, general mail, and phone calls on their official or personal numbers. To avoid this, businesses designate a professional company to handle their legal paperwork. These companies forward legal papers and other important calls to the members of the South Carolina LLC.

Filing Your Articles of Organization

An important step of forming your LLC in the state of South Carolina is to file your Articles of Organization. Your LLC Organizer is the person who signs and submits the Articles of Organization on your behalf. Any person over 18 years old can be LLC Organizer. If you are working with a registered agent, your agent or the professional company can be your LLC Organizer because they will prepare business registration documents for you.

Anyone in your team including your business partner, member of a company or someone outside the company can be an LLC Organizer. It’s mandatory to name your LLC Organizer, but you don’t need to worry too much about it at this stage because it’s more of a formality rather than a legal requirement.

The Duration of Your South Carolina LLC

You cannot logically tell the duration of your business, therefore, most individuals skip this part as it does not have any effect on your business filing. This field is mostly used by franchise and businesses that are working on a contract.

If you’re under a contract with someone to return the rights to use the name of the parent organization and other business particulars, you may fill this field. If you really don’t want to leave a blank, you can just put “indefinite” in this field to let the state know that you intend to continue your business indefinitely.

LLC Management

This field requires you to list the management that oversees the South Carolina LLC. If you have partners or you have an entire team to handle your business affairs, you should put the address, the name, and the title of each stakeholder. If it’s member managed, include every member.

Sometimes, businesses name a manager or a general manager to manage their business. If someone is in charge of your business, you should put the name of the manager. On the other hand, if you are the sole owner of the business, you can put your name as you are the manager of the company for your business in the state of South Carolina.

Member Liability

Most business will skip this section. However, if you want someone to be liable for a certain task, then you can put their names and duties in this section. Member liability is often a very important section because it can prove handy if there is any dispute in the future. Before filling in the field, talk to your members about their roles and liabilities within the LLC.

You may also want to list the duties and liabilities of each member to prove to the team that everyone should take their responsibilities very seriously. In the future, this document can prevent lawsuits and complains because every member will understand that they are required to fulfill their duties for the LLC. By filing this field, you adopt a professional approach to running a business.

If you think you may want to fill this field and have further questions, contact the professionals at LLC Formations. We can guide you appropriately so you don’t miss anything. Otherwise, you may skip this field because it will not affect your application for registering your business.

Effective Date of LLC South Carolina

This is the date that you will start your business. If you want to start your business as soon as you register it, you may leave this blank. Most LLC will leave it blank because they see no purpose of providing the date. In certain circumstance, you may want to fill in the date if there is a specific timeline that you want to follow.

If the next tax period is arriving, it may persuade you to start a business on a certain date. The effective date is up to 90 days in the future, which means you can only put an effective date 90 days after registration. Certain businesses such as franchise, businesses on contract, and foreign LLC entities may also be interested in filling this field when they file.

How Much is the Filing Fee for A South Carolina LLC?

If you want to file your Articles of Organization through registered mail, it will cost $110. In addition, you must include a check for the registration fee. If you’re doing it online, then you have to pay a higher fee of $125 but can pay using a credit card. This information is readily available on the South Carolina Secretary of State website.

A lot of businesses use a professional company to file their Articles because these companies often provide a very quick service and charge a nominal fee. Their service fee usually includes the cost of registration and the cost of getting a unique physical address.

For just a little more cash, you get someone to do all the paperwork for you which can save you a lot of time. They can also answer your important questions and guide you on the right path of how to easily form your LLC.

A professional agent can also be your partner in success as they offer a lot of other business-related services at an extra charge. If you are an online business or you don’t have a physical setup in South Carolina, the service fee will usually include business registration and a registered agent fee. Therefore, it’s logical to evaluate your options before starting the process.

How Long Does it Take to Form A South Carolina LLC?

Under normal circumstances, it usually takes 1 to 2 business days to get a registration number if you file the application online. If you’re mailing the application to the South Carolina Secretary of State, it may take a week or two to get everything completed. Similarly, if you’ve hired a professional company to do the job for you, they can usually file everything within 48 hours.

Despite the simplicity of the filing form, you need to ensure that you have written everything correctly. Re-checking your applications is step 1. When it comes to matters of company formation, a small mistake or typo can hurt your credentials. Therefore, it is logical to double-check everything you have written on the form. If you’re not sure about the legal framework, or if you want everything to be as accurate as possible, consult the professionals at LLC Formations so we can help you form your LLC.

How Do I Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)?

You can easily register for an EIN for your LLC by filing a simple online form. All you need to do is to provide your name and address, company registration number, and some additional information. After submitting the form, you will instantly get an EIN that you can use for business-related affairs. Visit if you’d like us to guide you through the process of obtaining an EIN for your LLC.

If you are the sole owner of an LLC, it is also prudent to get the EIN because you need EIN for a variety of tasks related to business transactions and employee payment. For instance, your bank will need an EIN if you want to open a business account. Likewise, certain federal excise tax requires that businesses have an EIN.

Often, your trade partners and other business require an EIN to initiate a business because it helps the other business save tax when doing business with you. An EIN is easy to obtain and it offers many benefits to your LLC, so you may as well register for one.

Additional Resources

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Do I Need an LLC Operating Agreement?

An LLC Operating Agreement is not required in order to register your LLC, however, many organizations prefer to craft an Operating Agreement to streamline operations. An Operating Agreement defines the duties, roles, and responsibilities of partners and members of an LLC. It also defines the number of shares and profit distribution among members. It is also common for companies to include the liabilities of each member.

Creating an Operating Agreement represents a professional attitude to do business. In the case of a lawsuit or company dissolution, courts will likely let the Operating Agreement guide the lawsuit because it highlights the role of every member in the LLC.

If you’re the sole owner of the LLC, you can also create an Operating Agreement highlighting your own role and duties. In the future, it will help you provide guidance if you hire workers or contractors. As described in the following section, your bank may also need an LLC Operating Agreement to open a bank account for your LLC in South Carolina state.

How Do I Open A Business Bank Account?

In order to open a bank account, most banks will require three documents from you. These are:

  • The Articles of Organization
  • Employer Identification Number
  • The LLC Operating Agreement

If you have all these ready, you shouldn’t have any problems opening a business bank account. You’ll just need to list your business name and address. A lot of times, your bank agent may not know the requirements of opening a business account. It can happen because bank agents are mostly trained to open a personal account. Whenever opening a bank account, you should call your bank ahead of time and try to get an appointment.

Calling ahead will make sure that your bank representative knows that you are coming for a business bank account. This will also ensure that the bank representative is prepared to answer your question about LLC banking, and they are able to open such accounts as quickly as possible so you can start handling the finances for your LLC in South Carolina state.

Obtaining Business Licenses for Your LLC

Certain types of business entities will need to apply for special permits or business licenses in order to do business in South Carolina state. Whether you operate as a local LLC or a foreign LLC, it’s important that you make sure that you are compliant and legally eligible to do business in the state.

Check if permits are available at the county or state level for the specific needs of your LLC. If you don’t obtain the proper permits before doing business, you r LLC can lose its Certificate of Good Standing, also known as its Certificate of Existence, which can lead to it being dissolved.

There may be a filing fee associated with applying for permits. You can usually pay this filing fee either by check, money order, or online for your LLC.

How LLC Formations Can Help You

There are a number of things to keep in mind when forming a South Carolina LLC. You have to make sure that all of the paperwork is filled out correctly, that all deadlines are met, and that you are compliant in your tax status. Handling all of this can be overwhelming, which is why many LLC owners choose to hire a service that can help make the process easier.

Hopefully, this guide has answered all of your basic questions about registering a limited liability company in South Carolina. If you want to streamline the registration process, contact the professionals at LLC Formations so we can help you get your business up and running. The next guide is our South Dakota LLC guide.