Start a Business in South Carolina

Incorporation Service

Your specialist works with you 1-on-1 to form your LLC, corporation, or other business structure. We prepare and file most formations in just one business day!

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This guide on starting your business in South Carolina provides step-by-step instructions on the paperwork to file formation documents, obtain tax IDs, and set up company records.

how to start a business

Step-By-Step Startup

Below is an overview of the paperwork, cost, and time to form each of the most popular business structures. Simply click on the link for your desired structure to view detailed step-by-step instructions.

  • If you have not decided whether you want to form an LLC, corporation, or other business structure, click here.
  • If wish to form your business in a different state than South Carolina, click here.
Structure Paperwork Cost Time

South Carolina Limited Liability Company

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  • Articles of Organization - Limited Liability Company - Domestic
  • Operating Agreement
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form SCDOR-111: South Carolina Department of Revenue Tax Registration Application
  • Formation: $110
  • Formation: ~7-10 business days by mail. ~1-2 business days online.

South Carolina Corporation

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  • Articles of Incorporation - Domestic Corporation
  • Form CL-1: Initial Annual Report of Corporations
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form 2553: S-Corp Election, if desired
  • Form SCDOR-111: South Carolina Department of Revenue Tax Registration Application
  • Incorporation & Initial Report: $135
  • Incorporation: ~7-10 business days by mail. ~1-2 business days online.

South Carolina Nonprofit

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  • Form NP: Non-Profit Corporation Domestic Articles of Incorporation
  • Articles of Incorporation 501(c)(3) Attachment
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • IRS Form 1023: 501(c) Tax Exempt Application
  • IRS Determination Letter
  • Form SCDOR-111: South Carolina Department of Revenue Tax Registration Application
  • Form ST-387: Application for Sales Tax Exemption for Exempt Organizations
  • URS Charitable Registration, if applicable
  • South Carolina Registration Statement for a Charitable Organization or Application for Registration Exemption
  • Incorporation: $25
  • 501(c): $275 or $600 IRS fee
  • South Carolina Form SCDOR-111: varies based on taxes/licenses/permits required
  • South Carolina charitable registration: $50 (or $0 if filing exemption)
  • Incorporation: ~7-10 business days by mail. ~1-2 business days online.
  • 501(c): 2 weeks to 3 months

Top 5 Tips on Registering a Business in South Carolina

  1. If filing your formation documents with the South Carolina Secretary of State by mail, remember to submit the original, one copy, the filing fee, and a self-addressed stamped envelope.
  2. To incorporate, the articles must contain a certificate, signed by an attorney licensed to practice in South Carolina, that all of the requirements of Chapter 2, Title 33 of the 1976 South Carolina Code of Laws have been complied with. This halts many do-it-yourselfers in their tracks. We can help you get this certificate affordably.
  3. South Carolina offers a combined registration application for state tax accounts for your business (Form SCDOR-111). If your organization qualifies for the sales tax exemption you do not need a retail license.
  4. Corporations must file an initial report with the South Carolina Secretary of State at the same time as filing articles of incorporation. Thereafter, the report is filed annually. LLCs are not subject to a like requirement, except for LLCs that elect S-corp taxation (in which case they must file SC 1120S annually with the South Carolina Department of Revenue).
  5. Your business’s registered agent accepts service of process and other legal documents served on the business. LLCs and corporations must appoint a registered agent. South Carolina uses the terms registered agent, resident agent, and statutory agent, which are all synonyms.

Incorporation Service

Your specialist works with you 1-on-1 to form your LLC, corporation, or other business structure. We prepare and file most formations in just one business day!

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