How to Start an LLC in South Carolina | 2024 Guide

Start a LLC in South Carolina

How to Start an LLC in South Carolina: If you’re looking to launch a business in South Carolina, starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) may be the right choice for you. An LLC provides personal liability protection for its owners while giving them flexibility in managing and taxing the business. This guide provides a step-by-step process for starting an LLC in South Carolina. From choosing a unique name to registering with the state and obtaining necessary licenses and permits, Webinarcare Editorial Team will walk you through setting up your new business entity. So grab a pen and paper, and let’s get started!

What is a Limited Liability Company?

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a type of business entity that combines a corporation’s limited liability protection with a partnership’s tax benefits. LLCs are popular among small business owners for their flexibility and ease of formation. In South Carolina, an LLC must have a unique name and file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. Depending on their business needs, LLCs may also elect to be taxed as a corporation or an S-corp. Owners of an LLC, called members, are not personally liable for the company’s debts and losses, and the company’s profits and losses are passed through to the member’s personal tax returns. This makes an LLC an attractive option for those seeking personal liability protection and simplified taxation.

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Steps on How to Start an LLC in South Carolina

To form an LLC for your business, you must follow the guidelines that include naming your LLC, hiring a Registered Agent, filing your Articles of Organization, creating your LLC operating agreement, getting an employer identification number, opening a bank account and getting business licenses and permits.

Step 1: Name your LLC in South Carolina

After you have decided on the idea to form an LLC in South Carolina, deciding the name for your LLC is significant. There is a complete guide on LLC name guidelines for you to have a proper LLC business name. Here are some regulations you must follow while naming your LLC,

  • The name should not be confused with a government entity.
  • The name should be unique.
  • The name should be available to use.
  • Any other business does not use the name.
  • The new name must include “LLC” if it is a limited liability company.

In South Carolina, if you do not wish to file your LLC right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your LLC name for 120 days. You must file a name reservation application in South Carolina Secretary of State to keep the name.

Recommended: We recommend a professional service that can offer you unlimited name search, trademark and copyright registration at a reasonable price. We recommend using –

LegalZoom($0 + State Fees for LLC Formation)

You can register your business under a different legal name if your preferred name isn’t available. Once you have chosen a name, you can submit an application for filing South Carolina DBA (doing business as). In this manner, you can choose any name you desire for your business. A DBA allows a company to operate under the name of the person or entity who owns it. If you have decided to file for a DBA, you can file it in two methods, by mail and in person. However, before filing a DBA, you should know that you need to renew your DBA from up to five years, which costs around $10.

Step 2: Hire a Registered Agent in South Carolina

Hiring a Registered Agent in South Carolina is a must since a Registered Agent is a person or business entity responsible for receiving important legal documents on behalf of your South Carolina LLC. Most states require you to designate a Registered Agent when forming your LLC.

The qualifications of a Registered Agent vary depending on the jurisdiction. Still, generally, a Registered Agent must meet the following criteria:

  • Availability: A Registered Agent must be available during regular business hours to receive and process legal documents and official correspondence.
  • Physical Address: A Registered Agent must have a physical street address within the state where the LLC is registered. This address, known as the registered office, cannot be a P.O. Box.
  • Residency or Authorization: For individuals serving as Registered Agent, they must be residents of the South Carolina where the LLC was formed. A business entity acting as a Registered Agent must be authorized to do business within that state.
  • Age: A Registered Agent must be at least 18 years old.
  • Good standing: A Registered Agent should not have any legal or financial issues that impede their ability to fulfill their duties.

Choosing a reliable and responsible Registered Agent is essential, as failure to receive and respond to legal documents can seriously affect your business. Some businesses use professional Registered Agent services to ensure compliance and proper handling of legal matters.

However, if you would like to have an easier process in filing the necessary documents, you can get South Carolina Registered Agent Services.

Step 3: File your Articles of Organization in South Carolina

The Articles of Organization for an LLC is an important document to start your limited liability company (LLC). South Carolina Articles of Organization is a simple document that contains the business name and address as well as the name and address of the person who received lawsuits on behalf of the organization.

Here are the guidelines and specific requirements in filing your Articles of Organization in South Carolina.

1. Obtain the Necessary Forms: Visit the South Carolina’s business filing office website, usually the South Carolina Secretary of State’s office, to download the required forms or file online.

2. Provide the Required Information: Fill in the necessary details in the form, which typically include:

  • The name of your LLC (must include an LLC designator such as “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” or “Limited Liability Company”)
  • The purpose of your LLC (a general statement or specific business activities)
  • The address of your LLC’s principal place of business
  • The name and address of your registered agent (the person or business entity responsible for receiving legal documents on behalf of your LLC)
  • The management structure of your LLC (member-managed or manager-managed)
  • The duration of your LLC, if not perpetual
  • The names and addresses of the LLC’s organizers or members

3. Sign and File the Form: Submit the completed form in the {state} state office, either by mail, in person, or online. You may mail it at South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office, Attn: Corporate Fillings, 1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525, Columbia, SC 29201.

4. Pay the Filing Fee: When you submit your Articles of Organization, you’ll need to pay a filing fee of $110. Make sure to check and include the correct payment with your submission.

5. Receive Confirmation: After your Articles of Organization have been filed and processed, you’ll receive a confirmation from South Carolina, typically a stamped and approved copy of the document or a Articles of Organization.

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Once you have successfully filed your Articles of Organization and it has been approved, your South Carolina LLC is officially formed. However, remember to complete additional steps, such as creating an Operating Agreement, obtaining an EIN, and registering for any required licenses and permits.

Step 4: Create Your South Carolina Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a document that contains all of your company’s organizational details. Drafting an operating agreement in most states is not required. Yet, having one as an internal document is strongly advised. An operating agreement includes information like-

  • About Business
  • Members and management
  • Capital contribution
  • Profit Distribution
  • Change of membership
  • Dissolution

To understand how an operating agreement works, you should check out how to create an operating agreement in South Carolina.

Recommended: Get oprating agreement drafts ready on your table with a help of a professional service. We recommend using –

LegalZoom($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Step 5: Get an EIN

After documenting the operating agreement, you should get or request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in South Carolina. An EIN will serve as the tax ID for your professional corporation. EIN can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is a 9-digit number similar to Social Security Number. EIN, however, is distinct from SSN. It is only used for business-related activities, particularly for submitting general taxes. The form must be completed and uploaded to the IRS website.

The application of an EIN in South Carolina can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

In obtaining an EIN for your LLC, you should be aware to ensure that your LLC is eligible for an EIN. You need an EIN if you have employees, operate as a corporation or partnership, or meet other specific IRS criteria. Before applying, gather the required information, including your LLC’s name, mailing address, and the responsible party’s Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Also, you can apply for an EIN through various methods, including online, by fax, mail, or telephone (for international applicants).

Recommended: Professional services have the EIN included in their LLC formation package. We recommend using –

LegalZoom($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Step 6: Open a Bank Account and Prepare for Taxes

After you have filed for and received your Employer Identification Number, you should open a bank account because you will use this account for yourself, your clients, and your employees.

Your business dealings in South Carolina might be simpler with a US business bank account because it boosts your company’s legitimacy and liquidity. Most banks demand an EIN to create a business bank account for firms other than sole proprietorships. Also, having an EIN makes tax preparation easier. You can anticipate paying employment and corporate taxes with South Carolina LLC.

Opening a bank account is necessary for South Carolina business. If you are still wondering where to open an account in your South Carolina, you should check the Best Bank for Small Business in South Carolina.

Step 7: Get a Business and License Permit

You must get a business license in South Carolina before establishing your LLC. A business license is a legal document granted by a state government body that permits you to conduct business within the area under its jurisdiction. The price of business licenses and permits in South Carolina ranges from $50 – $300. If there is a requirement for a specific license or city-based permit, you must inquire with the South Carolina Secretary of State.

Cost to Form an LLC in South Carolina

Even if you have a business name and structure in mind, you should consider whether you can afford the costs of forming an LLC in South Carolina. Articles of Organization costs around $110. The initial filing fee is $110, and the annual fee is $0 because it is not mandatory.

If you forget to pay the annual fee for your South Carolina LLC, you will have a penalty of $0 (not required). However, you can check the South Carolina LLC Cost for additional information.

Advantages of Creating South Carolina LLC

Even though some people decide on what to do with their businesses, some choose to put it in their own individual name, while others still choose to set it up via LLC in South Carolina. Important benefits will help you set up an LLC in South Carolina.

  • Pass-Through Taxation: The pass-through structure will make the company not pay twice the tax. Most start-ups and entrepreneurs in South Carolina apply for an LLC because of this structure. Pass-through taxation refers to how income and losses from an LLC (Limited Liability Company) are passed through to its members (owners) for tax purposes rather than being taxed at the business entity level. This means the LLC does not pay federal income taxes; the members’ profits and losses are allocated based on their interests. Each member then reports their share of the LLC’s income or losses on their personal tax returns and pays taxes at their individual tax rates.
  • Ownership Flexibility: If you need sole and primary control over your company’s operations, a sole proprietorship will allow you to do so. If you apply for an LLC in South Carolina with flexibility, you will have default rules set by law and need an operating agreement.
  • Personal Liability Protection: Personal Liability Protection protects your business from damage, debts, or legal obligations. In personal liability protection, the company’s profits and earnings will stay as is even if your company is about to be sued. This protection of having an LLC in South Carolina can also be extended to the company’s properties and assets. Many start-up companies will benefit from this since most are starting to build a company. Even if liability exists, the LLC in South Carolina will protect its assets.

FAQs

What is an LLC?
A limited liability company (LLC) is a business structure that combines the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability of a corporation.
How do I start an LLC in South Carolina?
To start an LLC in South Carolina, you must file Articles of Organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State.
What are the filing fees for starting an LLC in South Carolina?
The filing fee for starting an LLC in South Carolina is $110.
Can I form an LLC in South Carolina online?
Yes, you can form an LLC in South Carolina online through the Secretary of State’s website.
What is a registered agent, and do I need one for my South Carolina LLC?
A registered agent is a person or company who is designated to receive legal and official documents on behalf of your LLC. You need a registered agent for your South Carolina LLC.
Can I be my own registered agent in South Carolina?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent in South Carolina.
Does South Carolina require an LLC operating agreement?
South Carolina does not require an LLC operating agreement, but it is recommended that you create one to establish the rights and responsibilities of the LLC’s members.
What is a single-member LLC, and can I form one in South Carolina?
A single-member LLC is an LLC with only one owner. Yes, you can form a single-member LLC in South Carolina.
Are there any annual reporting requirements for LLCs in South Carolina?
Yes, LLCs in South Carolina must file an annual report and pay a fee to the Secretary of State.
What is the fee for filing an annual report for my South Carolina LLC?
The fee for filing an annual report for your South Carolina LLC is $10.
How long does it take to form an LLC in South Carolina?
It typically takes three to seven business days to form an LLC in South Carolina if you file online.
Can I change my South Carolina LLC’s name after it has been formed?
Yes, you can change your South Carolina LLC’s name by filing an amendment with the Secretary of State.
What is a foreign LLC, and do I need to register mine to do business in South Carolina?
A foreign LLC is a limited liability company that was formed in another state but wants to conduct business in South Carolina. Yes, you need to register your foreign LLC with the South Carolina Secretary of State to do business in South Carolina.
What is a DBA, and do I need one for my South Carolina LLC?
A DBA, or “doing business as,” is a name that a business uses to operate under if it is different than the legal name of the LLC. You do not need a DBA for your South Carolina LLC, but you can register one if you choose to use a different name.
What is the LLC tax rate in South Carolina?
LLCs in South Carolina are treated as pass-through entities, so there is no specific LLC tax rate. The profits and losses from the LLC are passed through to the members and reported on their individual tax returns.
Do I need a business license to start an LLC in South Carolina?
Yes, South Carolina requires all businesses to have a business license.
Can I form an LLC in South Carolina if I am not a citizen or resident of the United States?
Yes, non-residents can form an LLC in South Carolina.
Can I have an out-of-state address for my South Carolina LLC’s registered agent?
No, your South Carolina LLC’s registered agent must have a physical address in South Carolina.
How many members are required to form an LLC in South Carolina?
One or more individuals or entities can form an LLC in South Carolina.
Can an LLC be managed by non-members?
Yes, an LLC in South Carolina can be managed by non-members.
Will my South Carolina LLC’s income be subject to state taxes?
Yes, your South Carolina LLC’s income will be subject to state taxes if it conducts business in South Carolina.
Do I need to obtain any special licenses or permits for my South Carolina LLC?
This depends on your industry and the type of business you operate. Contact the South Carolina Business One Stop to determine what licenses or permits you may need.
Can I convert my existing business into an LLC in South Carolina?
Yes, you can convert your existing business into an LLC in South Carolina.
What is the process for dissolving an LLC in South Carolina?
To dissolve an LLC in South Carolina, you must file a Certificate of Dissolution with the Secretary of State.
What happens if my South Carolina LLC does not file an annual report?
Your South Carolina LLC will be administratively dissolved if it does not file an annual report.
Can I convert my South Carolina LLC into a corporation?
Yes, you can convert your South Carolina LLC into a corporation.
Can I file my South Carolina LLC’s taxes as an S corporation?
Yes, you can elect to have your South Carolina LLC treated as an S corporation for tax purposes.
Is there an expedited filing service for forming an LLC in South Carolina?
Yes, South Carolina offers an expedited filing service for forming an LLC for an additional fee.
What are the benefits of forming an LLC in South Carolina?
An LLC provides personal liability protection and has a simple business structure.
Can I form an LLC in South Carolina if I don’t live there?
Yes, you can form an LLC in South Carolina even if you don’t live there.
What are the step-by-step directions to form an LLC in South Carolina?
The steps to form an LLC in South Carolina include filing Articles of Organization with the state, choosing a business name, and obtaining any necessary licenses and permits.
How much does it cost to form an LLC in South Carolina?
The filing fee for Articles of Organization in South Carolina is $110.
What are the ongoing requirements for running an LLC in South Carolina?
Ongoing requirements for an LLC in South Carolina include filing annual reports, paying taxes, and maintaining good standing with the state.
How much does it cost to file an annual report in South Carolina for an LLC?
The cost to file an annual report for an LLC in South Carolina is $10.
How often does an LLC need to file an annual report in South Carolina?
An LLC in South Carolina needs to file an annual report with the state once a year.
Do I need an operating agreement to start an LLC in South Carolina?
No, an operating agreement is not required to start an LLC in South Carolina, but it is recommended.
How do I get a tax ID number for my South Carolina LLC?
You can get a tax ID number for your South Carolina LLC by applying online through the IRS website or by mail.
What is the tax rate for LLCs in South Carolina?
LLCs in South Carolina are subject to a corporate income tax rate of 5%, in addition to federal taxes.
How do I register for sales tax in South Carolina as an LLC?
You can register for sales tax in South Carolina as an LLC by applying online or by mail.
What type of insurance do I need for my South Carolina LLC?
The types of insurance needed for a South Carolina LLC may include general liability, property, workers’ compensation, and professional liability insurance.
What are the employment laws that LLCS in South Carolina need to follow?
LLCs in South Carolina need to follow employment laws related to minimum wage, overtime, workers’ compensation, and workplace safety.
Can an LLC be owned by a single member in South Carolina?
Yes, an LLC can be owned by a single member in South Carolina.
What are the name requirements for an LLC in South Carolina?
The name of an LLC in South Carolina must be unique, include “LLC” or “Limited Liability Company,” and cannot be misleading or imply it is an unlawful entity.
What are the publication requirements for an LLC in South Carolina?
There are no publication requirements for LLCs in South Carolina.
Can a South Carolina LLC change its name?
Yes, a South Carolina LLC can change its name by filing an application with the state, paying a fee, and filing the proper forms.
Do South Carolina LLCs have to file foreign LLC applications?
LLCs registered in another state that transact business within South Carolina need to file a foreign LLC application with the state.
Can I convert my South Carolina LLC to a corporation?
Yes, a South Carolina LLC can convert to a corporation by following the proper conversion procedures and filing appropriate documents with the state.
What is the role of a registered agent in a South Carolina LLC?
The registered agent for a South Carolina LLC is responsible for accepting legal documents and communications on behalf of the company.
Where can I find the necessary forms to start an LLC in South Carolina?
The necessary forms to start an LLC in South Carolina can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.
How can I dissolve my South Carolina LLC?
South Carolina LLCs can be dissolved by filing articles of dissolution with the state.
Can I start an LLC in South Carolina on my own or do I need a lawyer?
You can start an LLC in South Carolina on your own, but you may want to consult with a lawyer to ensure all legal requirements are met.
Can I trademark the name of my South Carolina LLC?
Yes, you can trademark the name of your South Carolina LLC.
What is the fee to file a trademark registration in South Carolina?
The fee to file a trademark registration in South Carolina is $50 per class.
What types of information must I provide to file an LLC through the SC Secretary of State office?
The information you will need to provide to file an LLC in South Carolina will include your business’s name, a physical address within South Carolina, a registered agent that provides a registered agent physical address, member/manager’s information among others.

Also Read

How Fast Can I Form an LLC in South Carolina

First and foremost, it is crucial to understand the importance of selecting the right name for your LLC. In South Carolina, the name must not be identical or too similar to that of an existing business. Conducting a name search through the Secretary of State’s office can help in determining the availability of your desired company name. Once you have chosen a unique and suitable name, you can proceed with the registration process.

The process of forming an LLC in South Carolina involves several key steps. One of the initial steps is filing Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State’s office. This document typically includes basic information about your company, such as its name, address, registered agent, and purpose. Filing the Articles of Organization can usually be done online or by mail, making it a convenient and straightforward process.

After filing the Articles of Organization, businesses need to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS. An EIN is necessary for tax purposes and allows your LLC to open a business bank account, hire employees, and conduct various financial transactions. Applying for an EIN can typically be done online through the IRS website, making it a relatively quick and efficient process.

Additionally, South Carolina requires all LLCs to designate a registered agent who will receive important legal and government documents on behalf of the company. The registered agent can be an individual or a professional registered agent service. Having a registered agent ensures that your LLC remains compliant with state regulations and receives crucial information in a timely manner.

Overall, the process of forming an LLC in South Carolina can be relatively fast and efficient, especially with the availability of online filing options and resources. However, it is essential for business owners to carefully follow the required steps and guidelines to ensure a smooth and successful registration process. By taking the necessary steps and adhering to state regulations, aspiring entrepreneurs can establish their LLC in South Carolina in a timely manner and begin conducting business operations.

In conclusion, while the process of forming an LLC in South Carolina can vary depending on individual circumstances, it is generally possible to establish a company quickly and efficiently. By following the necessary guidelines, providing accurate information, and utilizing online resources, aspiring business owners can navigate the registration process with ease and start building their dream company in no time.

Conclusion

In conclusion, starting an LLC in South Carolina is a strategic choice for entrepreneurs seeking a flexible, straightforward business structure with limited liability protection. By following the essential steps, including choosing a business name, filing Articles of Organization, appointing a Registered Agent, creating an Operating Agreement, obtaining an EIN, and securing the necessary licenses and permits, you can successfully establish your LLC. This business structure offers numerous advantages, such as pass-through taxation and ownership flexibility, making it an attractive option for small business owners looking to grow and protect their ventures. As always, consult legal and business professionals for guidance specific to your situation and state requirements.

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