How To 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. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Organization cost $110 ($125 online) to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your South Carolina LLC. However, to actually ready the LLC to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
South Carolina LLC Filing Options
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South Carolina Articles of Organization free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.
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South Carolina Articles of Organization Requirements
To form a South Carolina LLC, you must complete and file the Articles of Organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
Your name must include “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited Company,” or an abbreviation. Most businesses keep it short and sweet with “LLC.”
This is the official street address of your South Carolina LLC. Hire Northwest and you can use our South Carolina address as your initial office.
You can list an individual (like yourself) or a business that provides this service (like Northwest). We’re fans of Northwest.
This street address, like your initial office, becomes part of the permanent public record of your South Carolina LLC. When you hire Northwest, our address goes here.
Your organizer is the person you authorize to form and file your Articles of Organization. It doesn’t have to be anyone in the LLC, but the organizer does have to list their name and address. Hire Northwest, and we’ll be your organizer.
Want a self-destruct timer for your LLC? Choose to be a “term company” and include how long you want to exist. Want your LLC to continue indefinitely? Skip this section.
LLCs can be managed by members or managers. Most LLCs are managed by members, but if you don’t plan to run the day-to-day operations of your business, you can turn decision-making powers over to one or more managers. If you choose to have managers, you must list the name and address of each manager.
While one of the benefits of an LLC is limited liability (it’s even in the name!), if you want one or more members to be liable for specific debts or obligations, you can tick this box. This section is optional. Tip: Most businesses skip this section.
Pass by this section as well if you want your LLC to begin right away. Want to begin on a specific date in the future (maybe the next tax period is on the horizon)? Include an effective date up to 90 days in the future. Tip: Most businesses skip this section too.
How much does it cost to start a South Carolina LLC?
If you file by mail, the state filing fee to submit Articles of Organization for your South Carolina LLC is $110. Filing online is faster but more expensive at $125.
Hire Northwest, and your total, out-the-door cost is $350, including state filing fees, registered agent service, lifetime customer support, and loads of useful forms and resources to get your South Carolina LLC up and running.
How long does it take to start a South Carolina LLC?
The fastest way is to file online. You’ll receive your approved Articles in 1-2 business days. While you’ll save $15 if you file by mail instead, it can take a couple weeks for the Secretary of State Office to manually enter all your data and eventually process your filing.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we file online and typically have your South Carolina LLC formed within 2 business days.
Does a South Carolina LLC need a registered agent?
You bet—your South Carolina LLC is required to have and maintain a South Carolina registered agent. While some people opt to take on this responsibility themselves, it can put a real dent in your privacy and even just your ability to run your business how you want. Registered agents have to include their names and the addresses where they’ll be available in their Articles of Organization—a public document and a common target for data sellers. It’s not unusual to end up with a mailbox full of junk and solicitors banging on your door. Registered agents also have to be at the address listed during business hours. Business doesn’t just take place in the office though, so being tied to a desk can really slow you down.
That’s why many LLCs opt for a commercial registered agent service like Northwest. At Northwest, we list our address on your public formation documents. We’re ready and waiting to accept your legal notifications. We’ll also scan and send them to you the same day, so you can stay on top of your business even when you’re on the go (or just taking it easy at Myrtle Beach).
Create the South Carolina LLC Operating Agreement
Do I need an Operating Agreement?
Yes, your operating agreement is the single most important internal document for your South Carolina LLC. Consider this—you don’t have to publicly list your members in your Articles or in any kind of annual report. So, how would anyone know who was actually a member or even the owner of your LLC other than going by their word? Although it’s a private, internal document, your operating agreement holds legal weight and fills in these blanks. It lists who owns the company and who invested what. It also includes important procedures, like how profits and losses will be allocated and what happens if you shut it all down. Banks will typically ask to see your operating agreement when you go to open an account. Investors and partners will ask to see it as well.
Do I have to write the Operating Agreement?
Not from scratch. At Northwest, we understand the importance of operating agreements—that’s why we give you a free operating agreement, specific to your management style, when you hire us to form your South Carolina LLC. We’ll give you other essential forms as well, like resolutions. We’re proud of our forms and guides—we were the first website to hand out free LLC forms, and we’ve spent years refining and improving them. Over 1 million LLCs and counting have used our free LLC forms to help form and maintain their businesses.
Get a South Carolina LLC EIN
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Hiring employees? You’ll need an EIN. Filing certain federal excise taxes (like Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms returns)? You’ll need an EIN. Just to open a bank account, you’ll almost certainly need an EIN. A variety of local forms—from tax filings to business license applications—will need your EIN as well. In some cases, you can use your personal social security number instead, but that just puts your personal information unnecessarily at risk. There’s no fee to get an EIN directly from the IRS, so you might as well get one, even if you don’t think you’ll need it right away.
Want to skip yet one more application? You can hire us to get your EIN for you when sign up for services at Northwest. Whether you’re looking for cost savings or reduced workload, our aim is to give you exactly what you need. Save some cash and file your own EIN for free. Or, save yourself a little headache and hire us to do it.
Open a Bank Account for Your South Carolina LLC
To open a bank account for your South Carolina LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
- A copy of the South Carolina LLC Articles of Organization
- The LLC operating agreement
- The South Carolina LLC’s EIN
If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC. Northwest can help with this as well—LLC bank resolutions are one of the many free legal forms we provide to ensure you can get your LLC started fast.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open business accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does a South Carolina LLC need a business license?
South Carolina doesn’t have a general, statewide business license, but there are a few common, state-level licenses that many businesses need, such as a retail sales tax license from the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Cities and counties have their own requirements as well. For example, Jasper and Charleston Counties both require a general business license.
Need an EIN or a certified copy of your Articles of Organization for your license applications? Northwest can help. You can easily add on these items to your LLC formation order.
Does a South Carolina LLC have yearly reports or renewals?
It depends. Most LLCs won’t need to file any initial or annual reports; however, if your LLC elected to be taxed as an S or C Corp, then you must file an Initial Annual Report of Corporations (Form CL1) with the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Afterwards, you must continue to file an annual report. There is a minimum $25 filing fee for both (initial and annual) reports.
When you choose Northwest Registered Agent to form your South Carolina LLC, we’ll submit your South Carolina initial and annual reports for you.
Pay the LLC Taxes
What are the South Carolina LLC taxes?
The South Carolina personal net income tax rates are:
0%: $0 to $2,929
3%: $2,930 to $5,859
4%: $5,960 to $8,789
5%: $8,790 to $11,719
6%: $11,720 to $14,649
However, income from a pass-through entity (like a standard LLC) is typically taxed at a flat 3% on each member’s personal return, thanks to the South Carolina Income Tax Act.
State sales tax is 6%, but cities, counties and special rates can increase the total possible sales tax. The average total sales tax is 7.443%, but is as high as 9% in cities like Charleston.
For a general overview of South Carolina taxes, check out our South Carolina business taxes page. We also have many more free resources you can explore to help you manage your LLC. Free guides, free forms, and exceptional service—that’s Northwest.