South Carolina Nonprofit Compliance

Required annual filings

This guide covers the required filings to maintain a nonprofit corporation in South Carolina. If you are looking to form nonprofit in South Carolina, please visit our Start Your South Carolina Nonprofit guide. The steps below apply to nonprofits that are both incorporated and foreign qualified in South Carolina. Please note that this is a general list and may not be exhaustive or applicable to all nonprofits.

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1 File IRS Form 990
Agency:Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Form:

IRS Form 990-N, 990-EZ, 990-PF or 990

Instructions:

See Form 990 Thresholds to determine which form to file.  Then see Current Form 990 Series for instructions.

Due:

By the 15th day of the 5th month following the end of the taxable year.  For most organizations, the tax year ends December 31 so the Form 990 is due May 15.

Fact Checked:8/28/19
2 File South Carolina Corporate Tax Returns
Agency:South Carolina Department of Revenue
Form:

SC 990-T

Instructions:

There is no annual report for a domestic or foreign South Carolina nonprofit. You are required to file SC 990-T annually by five months and 15 days after the close of your fiscal year (usually May 15th) with South Carolina Department of Revenue; otherwise, the South Carolina Secretary of State may dissolve or revoke your entity.

Filing Method:

Mail

Due:

Annually by the fifteenth day of the fifth month after the end of the tax year. 

Law:

S.C. Code § 12-20-20

Fact Checked:9/4/15
Agency:South Carolina Department of Revenue
Form:

SC 990-T

Due:

4.5 months after fiscal year end. So if the fiscal year ends December 31, the report is due April 15.

Notes:

Only required if the organization has business income unrelated to its exempt purposes.

Fact Checked:9/4/15
3 File South Carolina Corporate Tax Exemption Renewals

Not required



There is no renewal requirement for South Carolina corporate income tax exemption.

More information: South Carolina Department of Revenue
4 File South Carolina Sales Tax Exemption Renewals

Not required



South Carolina does not have a renewal requirement for sales tax exemption, but organization information most be kept up to date.

More information: South Carolina Department of Revenue
5 File South Carolina Annual Report

Not required



Domestic and foreign South Carolina nonprofits do not have to file an annual report.

6 Renew the Charitable Solicitation Registration

South Carolina Charitable Organization Registration

Agency:South Carolina Secretary of State - Division of Public Charities
Law:

South Carolina Code Annotated §33-56-10 and following

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Yes
Fact Checked:4/10/20

Automatic Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • Religious organizations
  • Political organizations
Notes:

Religious organizations and political candidates and groups are automatically exempt from registration.

Fact Checked:8/15/18

Registration to Obtain Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:

Organizations that do not use professional solicitors, professional fundraising counsels, or commercial coventurers to solicit and meet one of the following criteria:

  • An educational institution which solicits contributions from only its students and their families, alumni, faculty, friends, and other constituencies, trustees, corporations, foundations, and individuals who are interested in and supportive of the programs of the institution
  • A person requesting contributions for the relief of an individual specified by name at the time of the solicitation when all of the contributions collected, without deductions of any kind, are turned over to the named beneficiary for his use, as long as the person soliciting the contributions is not a named beneficiary
  • A charitable organization which (a) does not intend to solicit or receive contributions from the public in excess of $20,000 in a calendar year and (b) has received a letter of tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service, if all functions, including fundraising activities, of the organization exempted pursuant to this item are conducted by persons who are compensated no more than $500 in a year for their services and no part of their assets or income inures to the benefit of or is paid to an officer or a member
  • An organization which solicits exclusively from its membership, including a utility cooperative
  • A veterans' organization which has a congressional charter
  • The State, its political subdivisions, and an agency or a department of the State which are subject to the disclosure provisions of the Freedom of Information Act

 

Also, organizations that meet one one of the following criteria regardless of whether or not they use professional solicitors, professional fundraising counsels, or commercial coventurers to solicit:

  • A public school district located in the State and any public school teaching pre-K through grade twelve located within the public school district. For purposes of this chapter, the term "public school" includes any student organization within the school that does not maintain separate financial accounts or a separate federal Employer's Identification Number (EIN) from the school and whose fundraising revenues are deposited in the school's student activity fund
  • A charitable organization that does not intend to solicit or receive contributions from the public in excess of $7,500 during a calendar year
Form:

Application for Registration Exemption

Agency Fee:

$0

Law:

SC Code § 33-56-50

Fact Checked:1/16/20

Renewal to Maintain Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:

Organizations that do not use professional solicitors, professional fundraising counsels, or commercial coventurers to solicit and meet one of the following criteria:

  • An educational institution which solicits contributions from only its students and their families, alumni, faculty, friends, and other constituencies, trustees, corporations, foundations, and individuals who are interested in and supportive of the programs of the institution
  • A person requesting contributions for the relief of an individual specified by name at the time of the solicitation when all of the contributions collected, without deductions of any kind, are turned over to the named beneficiary for his use, as long as the person soliciting the contributions is not a named beneficiary
  • A charitable organization which (a) does not intend to solicit or receive contributions from the public in excess of $20,000 in a calendar year and (b) has received a letter of tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service, if all functions, including fundraising activities, of the organization exempted pursuant to this item are conducted by persons who are compensated no more than $500 in a year for their services and no part of their assets or income inures to the benefit of or is paid to an officer or a member
  • An organization which solicits exclusively from its membership, including a utility cooperative
  • A veterans' organization which has a congressional charter
  • The State, its political subdivisions, and an agency or a department of the State which are subject to the disclosure provisions of the Freedom of Information Act
     

Also, organizations that meet one one of the following criteria regardless of whether or not they use professional solicitors, professional fundraising counsels, or commercial coventurers to solicit:

  • A public school district located in the State and any public school teaching pre-K through grade twelve located within the public school district. For purposes of this chapter, the term "public school" includes any student organization within the school that does not maintain separate financial accounts or a separate federal Employer's Identification Number (EIN) from the school and whose fundraising revenues are deposited in the school's student activity fund
  • A charitable organization that does not intend to solicit or receive contributions from the public in excess of $7,500 during a calendar year
Form:

Application for Registration Exemption (Renewal)

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Annually within 4.5 months after the organization's fiscal year end.

Fact Checked:1/16/20

Initial Registration

Form:

Registration Statement for a Charitable Organization

Filing Method:

Online or mail.

Agency Fee:

$50 + $2 online filing fee.

Turnaround:

1 week

Notes:
  • The CEO and CFO must sign.
  • Late registration forms may result in a fine of up to $2,000 against the charitable organization.
  • Some South Carolina counties and municipalities may require charities that solicit in-person to register prior to fundraising.
Before you Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  • Check the available exemptions to see if your charity is eligible for exemption from the full registration requirement.
  • Appoint a registered agent to receive legal documents in South Carolina.
  • Look through the list of required attachments and make sure that you have each required document in hand before starting the registration application.

Foreign Applicants:

  • Check the available exemptions to see if your charity is eligible for exemption from the full registration requirement.
  • Appoint a registered agent to receive legal documents in South Carolina.
  • Look through the list of required attachments and make sure that you have each required document in hand before starting the registration application.
  • If you will foreign qualify in South Carolina, obtain a certificate of good standing from your home state to submit during the foreign qualification process. The certificate cannot be more than 30 days old when filing foreign qualification documents.
How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. File entity formation documents with the South Carolina Secretary of State - Division of Business Filings.
  2. Submit a Registration Statement for a Charitable Organization and all required attachments to the South Carolina Secretary of State - Division of Public Charities.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. Determine whether or not your charity will need to foreign qualify based on your activity in South Carolina. If not required, skip to number 3.
  2. File foreign qualification documents with the South Carolina Secretary of State - Division of Business Filings.
  3. Submit a Registration Statement for a Charitable Organization and all required attachments to the South Carolina Secretary of State - Division of Public Charities.
Required Attachments:

  • IRS determination letter
  • List of officers and directors
  • Professional fundraising contracts
Fact Checked:4/14/20

Registration Renewal
Annual Registration Statement

Form:

Registration Statement for a Charitable Organization (Renewal)

Filing Method:

Online or mail.

Agency Fee:

$50 + $2 online filing fee.

Due:

Renewal must be filed annually within 4.5 months after the close of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31, then file by May 15.

Due Date Extension:

The registration statement renewal must be submitted on time, but the due date for the annual financial statement can be extended for 6 months beyond the original due date by emailing the department at charities@sos.sc.gov with your request.

Penalties:

Late registration may result in a fine of up to $2,000 against the charitable organization.

Notes:
  • The CEO and CFO must sign.
  • You must file an annual financial report with the Secretary of State. If this has not yet been filed, file it with your renewal.
  • The exemption form must be resubmitted annually.
Required Attachments:

  • IRS form 990
  • List of officers and directors
  • Professional fundraising contracts
  • IRS determination letter
Fact Checked:2/4/20

Registration Renewal
Annual Financial Report

Form:

Annual Financial Report for a Charitable Organization 

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Due annually 4.5 months after fiscal year end. So if your organization's fiscal year ends December 31, the report is due May 15.

Required Attachments:

None

Fact Checked:2/4/20

Change of Fiscal Year

Agency Fee:

$0

Turnaround:

1-2 business days

Notes:

Email charities@sos.sc.gov to update fiscal year.

Fact Checked:12/7/18

Cancellation

Agency Fee:

$0

Notes:

To close out your registration, submit on letterhead the date you wish to withdraw from soliciting in Kentucky or simply do not submit the next IRS form 990.

Fact Checked:7/14/20
7 Renew the Charitable Solicitation Registration

South Carolina Charitable Organization Registration

Agency:South Carolina Secretary of State - Division of Public Charities
Law:

South Carolina Code Annotated §33-56-10 and following

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Yes
Fact Checked:4/10/20

Automatic Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • Religious organizations
  • Political organizations
Notes:

Religious organizations and political candidates and groups are automatically exempt from registration.

Fact Checked:8/15/18

Registration to Obtain Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:

Organizations that do not use professional solicitors, professional fundraising counsels, or commercial coventurers to solicit and meet one of the following criteria:

  • An educational institution which solicits contributions from only its students and their families, alumni, faculty, friends, and other constituencies, trustees, corporations, foundations, and individuals who are interested in and supportive of the programs of the institution
  • A person requesting contributions for the relief of an individual specified by name at the time of the solicitation when all of the contributions collected, without deductions of any kind, are turned over to the named beneficiary for his use, as long as the person soliciting the contributions is not a named beneficiary
  • A charitable organization which (a) does not intend to solicit or receive contributions from the public in excess of $20,000 in a calendar year and (b) has received a letter of tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service, if all functions, including fundraising activities, of the organization exempted pursuant to this item are conducted by persons who are compensated no more than $500 in a year for their services and no part of their assets or income inures to the benefit of or is paid to an officer or a member
  • An organization which solicits exclusively from its membership, including a utility cooperative
  • A veterans' organization which has a congressional charter
  • The State, its political subdivisions, and an agency or a department of the State which are subject to the disclosure provisions of the Freedom of Information Act

 

Also, organizations that meet one one of the following criteria regardless of whether or not they use professional solicitors, professional fundraising counsels, or commercial coventurers to solicit:

  • A public school district located in the State and any public school teaching pre-K through grade twelve located within the public school district. For purposes of this chapter, the term "public school" includes any student organization within the school that does not maintain separate financial accounts or a separate federal Employer's Identification Number (EIN) from the school and whose fundraising revenues are deposited in the school's student activity fund
  • A charitable organization that does not intend to solicit or receive contributions from the public in excess of $7,500 during a calendar year
Form:

Application for Registration Exemption

Agency Fee:

$0

Law:

SC Code § 33-56-50

Fact Checked:1/16/20

Renewal to Maintain Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:

Organizations that do not use professional solicitors, professional fundraising counsels, or commercial coventurers to solicit and meet one of the following criteria:

  • An educational institution which solicits contributions from only its students and their families, alumni, faculty, friends, and other constituencies, trustees, corporations, foundations, and individuals who are interested in and supportive of the programs of the institution
  • A person requesting contributions for the relief of an individual specified by name at the time of the solicitation when all of the contributions collected, without deductions of any kind, are turned over to the named beneficiary for his use, as long as the person soliciting the contributions is not a named beneficiary
  • A charitable organization which (a) does not intend to solicit or receive contributions from the public in excess of $20,000 in a calendar year and (b) has received a letter of tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service, if all functions, including fundraising activities, of the organization exempted pursuant to this item are conducted by persons who are compensated no more than $500 in a year for their services and no part of their assets or income inures to the benefit of or is paid to an officer or a member
  • An organization which solicits exclusively from its membership, including a utility cooperative
  • A veterans' organization which has a congressional charter
  • The State, its political subdivisions, and an agency or a department of the State which are subject to the disclosure provisions of the Freedom of Information Act
     

Also, organizations that meet one one of the following criteria regardless of whether or not they use professional solicitors, professional fundraising counsels, or commercial coventurers to solicit:

  • A public school district located in the State and any public school teaching pre-K through grade twelve located within the public school district. For purposes of this chapter, the term "public school" includes any student organization within the school that does not maintain separate financial accounts or a separate federal Employer's Identification Number (EIN) from the school and whose fundraising revenues are deposited in the school's student activity fund
  • A charitable organization that does not intend to solicit or receive contributions from the public in excess of $7,500 during a calendar year
Form:

Application for Registration Exemption (Renewal)

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Annually within 4.5 months after the organization's fiscal year end.

Fact Checked:1/16/20

Initial Registration

Form:

Registration Statement for a Charitable Organization

Filing Method:

Online or mail.

Agency Fee:

$50 + $2 online filing fee.

Turnaround:

1 week

Notes:
  • The CEO and CFO must sign.
  • Late registration forms may result in a fine of up to $2,000 against the charitable organization.
  • Some South Carolina counties and municipalities may require charities that solicit in-person to register prior to fundraising.
Before you Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  • Check the available exemptions to see if your charity is eligible for exemption from the full registration requirement.
  • Appoint a registered agent to receive legal documents in South Carolina.
  • Look through the list of required attachments and make sure that you have each required document in hand before starting the registration application.

Foreign Applicants:

  • Check the available exemptions to see if your charity is eligible for exemption from the full registration requirement.
  • Appoint a registered agent to receive legal documents in South Carolina.
  • Look through the list of required attachments and make sure that you have each required document in hand before starting the registration application.
  • If you will foreign qualify in South Carolina, obtain a certificate of good standing from your home state to submit during the foreign qualification process. The certificate cannot be more than 30 days old when filing foreign qualification documents.
How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. File entity formation documents with the South Carolina Secretary of State - Division of Business Filings.
  2. Submit a Registration Statement for a Charitable Organization and all required attachments to the South Carolina Secretary of State - Division of Public Charities.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. Determine whether or not your charity will need to foreign qualify based on your activity in South Carolina. If not required, skip to number 3.
  2. File foreign qualification documents with the South Carolina Secretary of State - Division of Business Filings.
  3. Submit a Registration Statement for a Charitable Organization and all required attachments to the South Carolina Secretary of State - Division of Public Charities.
Required Attachments:

  • IRS determination letter
  • List of officers and directors
  • Professional fundraising contracts
Fact Checked:4/14/20

Registration Renewal
Annual Registration Statement

Form:

Registration Statement for a Charitable Organization (Renewal)

Filing Method:

Online or mail.

Agency Fee:

$50 + $2 online filing fee.

Due:

Renewal must be filed annually within 4.5 months after the close of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31, then file by May 15.

Due Date Extension:

The registration statement renewal must be submitted on time, but the due date for the annual financial statement can be extended for 6 months beyond the original due date by emailing the department at charities@sos.sc.gov with your request.

Penalties:

Late registration may result in a fine of up to $2,000 against the charitable organization.

Notes:
  • The CEO and CFO must sign.
  • You must file an annual financial report with the Secretary of State. If this has not yet been filed, file it with your renewal.
  • The exemption form must be resubmitted annually.
Required Attachments:

  • IRS form 990
  • List of officers and directors
  • Professional fundraising contracts
  • IRS determination letter
Fact Checked:2/4/20

Registration Renewal
Annual Financial Report

Form:

Annual Financial Report for a Charitable Organization 

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Due annually 4.5 months after fiscal year end. So if your organization's fiscal year ends December 31, the report is due May 15.

Required Attachments:

None

Fact Checked:2/4/20

Change of Fiscal Year

Agency Fee:

$0

Turnaround:

1-2 business days

Notes:

Email charities@sos.sc.gov to update fiscal year.

Fact Checked:12/7/18

Cancellation

Agency Fee:

$0

Notes:

To close out your registration, submit on letterhead the date you wish to withdraw from soliciting in Kentucky or simply do not submit the next IRS form 990.

Fact Checked:7/14/20
8Maintain a South Carolina Registered Agent

Maintain a registered agent that has a street address in South Carolina. The registered agent is responsible for receiving legal documents such as service of process. Appointing a registered agent service is often preferable to listing an officer or director, as their information often changes. Consider using our registered agent service in Charleston , SC to maintain compliance with the state requirement.


Continue reading

Fundraising Compliance

Learn how to stay compliant with charitable solicitation laws.

Read the guide
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