South Carolina LLC Cost

We’ve compiled the most common fees so you know exactly what to expect when starting your South Carolina LLC.

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Start Your LLC in South Carolina

FAQs on how to determine South Carolina LLC costs

  • To start your LLC in South Carolina, you must file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State of South Carolina. Plus, if you would like to reserve your LLC name before filing your Articles of Organization, you’ll need to reserve your LLC’s name with the South Carolina Secretary of State. We can help you navigate the South Carolina LLC filing process with our South Carolina LLC Formation Service, which costs just $0 plus state fees. 

  • What does it cost to start a business in South Carolina? To help you assess your costs, here are some fees you may encounter when you start your LLC in South Carolina.

    South Carolina LLC Filing Fee

    $125: Filing your South Carolina Articles of Organization for your LLC costs$125.

    LLC Name Reservation Fee

    $25: If you would like to reserve a name for your LLC before you file your Articles of Organization, you can file an Application to Reserve a Limited Liability Company Name with the South Carolina Secretary of State for $25.

    Business Taxes

    5% of your LLC’s net income: If you choose to treat your LLC as a corporation for tax purposes, you’d have to pay South Carolina state corporate taxes. The South Carolina corporate tax rate is 5% of your company’s net income.

    Fee for Registered Agent

    Free: You can serve as your South Carolina LLC’s Registered Agent if you are 18 or older and have a physical office in South Carolina. You’ll have to be prepared to accept legal documents on behalf of your LLC during regular business hours if you serve as its Registered Agent.

    Many South Carolina businesses choose to hire a Registered Agent for their LLC as an alternative. When considering the cost to start a business in South Carolina, many business owners believe that hiring a Registered Agent is a worthwhile expense.

    We can help you find a South Carolina Registered Agent that fulfills your needs and all of South Carolina’s requirements with our South Carolina Registered Agent Service.

  • The average cost to start a business in South Carolina doesn’t end with filing your LLC formation documents and paying your taxes. Here’s a list of additional costs you might have to pay when getting started with your South Carolina LLC.

    Certificate of Existence

    Your new South Carolina LLC may need to obtain a Certificate of Existence to do business or open a bank account. A Certificate of Existence is a document that the South Carolina Secretary of State issues. A Certificate of Existence proves that your LLC was legally formed in the state. It also shows that your LLC complies with all of the ongoing requirements for a South Carolina LLC. The fee for a Certificate of Existence is $10.

    Certificate of Compliance

    A Certificate of Compliance states that your LLC has paid all its South Carolina business taxes and filed its business tax returns. A Certificate of Compliance is a document issued by the South Carolina Department of Revenue. The fee for a Certificate of Compliance is $60.

    DBA Name in South Carolina

    Often, businesses operate under a name different than their official name. These are called a DBA or “Doing Business As” name. In South Carolina, you’re not required to register your DBA name, but it still mustn’t conflict with another existing business name in the state. If you want to protect your LLC’s DBA name, you may consider trademark registration. The cost to apply for a trademark of your DBA name is about $10.

    Certificate of Authority for Foreign LLCs

    A foreign LLC is an LLC organized under the laws of another state that wishes to do business in South Carolina. The South Carolina Secretary of State requires that a foreign LLC register and obtain permission to do business in South Carolina through a Certificate of Authority to Transact Business. The cost to apply for a Certificate of Authority is $110.

    Retail Sales Tax License

    A South Carolina business that will engage in retail sales must obtain a Retail Sales Tax License from the South Carolina Department of Revenue. A retail sales tax license costs $50.

    Other Business Licenses

    Depending on the type of business you plan to run, your South Carolina LLC may need additional business licenses. You’ll need to check with the local government to determine if your LLC will need a specific license. The cost of a business license will vary depending on the locality and type of license.

    We can help you determine if your new LLC will need a business license with our Business License Report service.

    For just $0 plus state fees, we can form your South Carolina LLC for you in just minutes. No LegalZoom promo code required: Pay just $0 plus filing fees for fast LLC formation in South Carolina. 

  • Yes. If you don’t pay the fees associated with starting or running an LLC in South Carolina, you could be assessed penalties or lose your LLC status entirely.

  • If you don’t pay the LLC filing fee to the South Carolina government, you won’t receive LLC status in South Carolina. The Secretary of State won’t accept your LLC’s Articles of Organization for filing, and your LLC won’t legally exist. This means that you won’t have any protection from liability, and you won’t be able to choose your tax status. Instead, your business will be treated as a sole proprietorship or general partnership, depending on the circumstances.

  • The South Carolina Secretary of State receives the filing fee for your LLC’s Articles of Organization.

  • The highest South Carolina LLC cost is the$125fee for filing your LLC’s Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State.

  • You can pay your South Carolina LLC filing fee by check or money order if you mail your Articles of Organization. However, if you use the South Carolina Secretary of State’s online filing system, you can pay your LLC filing fee by credit card.

How do I form my LLC in South Carolina?

Forming your South Carolina LLC involves several steps.

1. Name your South Carolina LLC

First, you need to select a name for your South Carolina LLC. You can choose just about any name you’d like so long as it complies with state LLC name requirements. For example, you’ll need to include some form of “Limited Liability Company” or “LLC” in your company’s name. Your LLC’s name must also be sufficiently different from other South Carolina business names. 

When you’ve decided on a name for your LLC, you need to make sure that it’s available. You then reserve it so no one else can use it before you file your paperwork.  

2. Appoint a Registered Agent

South Carolina requires your LLC to have a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent is a person or business entity that agrees to accept service of process and legal documents on behalf of your company. Your LLC can’t serve as the company’s Registered Agent. You can serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent if you’re over 18, have a physical office in the state, and make yourself available to receive legal documents during regular business hours. 

Because of these requirements, many businesses elect to hire a Registered Agent. With our South Carolina Registered Agent Service, we can help you find a Registered Agent to take this burden off of your shoulders. 

3. File Your Articles of Organization

Next, you’ll file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. Filing your Articles of Organization essentially makes your LLC an official legal entity. 

You can file your LLC’s Articles of Organization online or by mail. If you file by mail, you need to include a self-addressed stamped envelope. You can mail your Articles of Organization, filing fee, and self-addressed stamped envelope to:

South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office

Attn: Corporate Filings

1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525

Columbia, SC 29201

4. Draft an Operating Agreement

Next, you’ll want to draft an Operating Agreement for your South Carolina LLC. Although South Carolina doesn’t legally require LLCs to have an Operating Agreement, many LLCs find that it helps them run their business more smoothly. An Operating Agreement addresses issues such as:

  • How the LLC members vote
  • The titles and duties of the LLC officers
  • How profits and losses are allocated 
  • The LLC’s tax elections

Many owners create Operating Agreements so they can customize the rules for their business. If you don’t create an Operating Agreement, your LLC will operate according to statutory default rules. Because these rules are one-size-fits-all, they are often undesirable when applied to your company. 

Making your Operating Agreement may seem overwhelming. We can help you customize your own Operating Agreement with our South Carolina Operating Agreement template.

5. Obtain an Employer Identification Number

After officially registering your LLC with the South Carolina Secretary of State, you can obtain an Employee Identification Number or EIN from the Internal Revenue Service. An EIN is a number assigned to businesses for identification and tax purposes—you can think of it as a social security number for your company. Your LLC will need an EIN to open a bank account or do business with certain organizations.

You have to apply for an EIN with the IRS. Luckily, we can help you apply for an EIN through our EIN service.

Stay Compliant

South Carolina doesn’t require LLCs to file an annual report unless it elects to be taxed as a corporation. But your LLC may have additional ongoing obligations with the South Carolina government. For example, you may need to file an Amended Articles of Organization if you change your LLC’s name or select a new Registered Agent. Fortunately, we offer a Worry-Free Compliance Service that can help you keep your LLC compliant with such ongoing obligations.

We Can Help

There are many steps involved in getting your South Carolina LLC up and running. Luckily, we are here to help. We can help you navigate through the ins and outs of South Carolina’s LLC formation requirements and help you stay compliant all year long.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.


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