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Start a Business in South Carolina

Starting a business in South Carolina is easy. All you need to do is file a few forms with the South Carolina Secretary of State and start running your business. Below, we show you how to get started and walk you through some of your options.

One option is, of course, to stop reading and just hire us to start your business for you. At Northwest, we form businesses and provide registered agent service throughout the US. That’s our business, and obviously we recommend starting your business in a certain way. We call it “Starting a Business the Right Way."

Starting your business the right way means hiring a registered agent to form your LLC or corporation so you can protect your privacy and receive the care your business needs to stay active. If you hire us to start your South Carolina business, we’ll be your registered agent, provide Privacy by Default®, a business address, mail forwarding and local Corporate Guide® service for life.

All You Need

Hire us to start your South Carolina LLC or corporation and get all the tools you need to start fast:

  • SC registered agent service

  • South Carolina business forms

  • Online client account

  • Easy access to all our business services & answers to your business questions

Start Your Business the Right Way

As your registered agent, when we start your business, we give you what other filing services can’t:

  • Privacy by Default®
  • Business address
  • Free mail forwarding
  • Lifetime support from local Corporate Guides®

Start Your South Carolina Business

$225 + State Fees
Rated 4.6 / 5 stars by 427 clients on Google

How to Start a Business in South Carolina

File Your Articles

You file articles of incorporation for a South Carolina corporation or articles of organization for a South Carolina LLC with the SC Secretary of State.

Obtain a Federal Tax ID

You obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) with the IRS after you have confirmation and filed articles from the State of South Carolina showing your approved South Carolina business.

Open a Bank Account

Opening a business banking account under your new South Carolina business name should be easy with these two items.

Register with the Dept of Revenue

If you’re going to have employees or need to withhold sales tax, you will probably need to register with the SC department of revenue. We provide all these links in your online account.

Apply for Licenses

If your business trade requires a license, you’ll have to apply for a license with the South Carolina licensing board.  (Most businesses don’t.)  But if you do, these quick links and contact details are in your online account. Some local cities or counties have a general license, but most don’t. You obtain a local trade license if the city or county you’re going to be working in requires it.

Get Proper Zoning

If you’re going to have an office or shop you might need an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in that location.

Get Up and Running

If you get overwhelmed, just get your business pulling in money and worry about regulations later.

Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer? You Can Save Some Money:

If you want to start a business in South Carolina yourself, you can just hire us as your South Carolina registered agent, and you’ll instantly have the South Carolina LLC or corporation forms to file along with filing instructions on the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to incorporate a South Carolina corporation or form a South Carolina LLC. You’ll get the ongoing support of our online tools, reminders and the support of a professional South Carolina registered agent service.


South Carolina LLC vs Corporation

Most business owners that choose to start a corporation are seeking to grow large companies and want the option of selling stock to investors. Also, the well-established management structure of a corporation can be very appealing. LLCs are great for small businesses because they’re easier to maintain. Plus, LLCs offer flexible management and great tax options.

But, what about South Carolina? Any pros and cons for a South Carolina LLC vs a SC corporation?

In terms of initial filing, there is an advantage to starting a South Carolina LLC versus a South Carolina corporation. Corporations must have their formation papers signed by a state licensed attorney—a small wrinkle, but it’s something LLCs don’t have to worry about. Initial costs tend to be cheaper for many LLCs as well. The Articles of Organization and Articles of Incorporation both cost $110 to file.
However, S and C corporations also must file an initial report with a minimum fee of $25.

During tax season, C corporations are subject to a corporate income tax rate of 5%. South Carolina S and C corporations will also need to pay an annual license fee—which includes an annual report. The license fee is based on capital and paid-in surplus, and there’s a $25 minimum. LLCs that aren’t taxed as an S or C corp won’t have to worry about an annual license.

If you want a corporation, you file South Carolina Articles of Incorporation:

The South Carolina articles of incorporation cost $135 with the South Carolina Secretary of State. This include the fee to file your initial report with the state. We custom draft your South Carolina articles of incorporation when you hire Northwest to start your South Carolina business.

The basic requirements of South Carolina corporations are:

  • An incorporating South Carolina ending such as Inc, corporation, or incorporated;
  • An amount of South Carolina corporation shares you would like to authorize;
  • The class of the shares;
  • The date you would like the SC corporation executed;
  • The name, address and signature of at least one South Carolina incorporator;
  • The registered agent of the proposed South Carolina corporation;
  • The signature of a South Carolina licensed attorney.

South Carolina requires original ink signatures on SC incorporation filings. We have our SC licensed attorney sign the filing so you don’t have to worry about finding someone and paying them a fortune to sign a form.
The filing confirmation will be mailed to the address of the person who filed the documents.

Start Your South Carolina Business!

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If you want a LLC, you file South Carolina Articles of Organization:

To form a South Carolina LLC, you file articles of organization and pay a $110 filing fee.

The basic requirements of South Carolina LLC filings are:

  • The business name must have a limited liability company ending or variation of it.
  • New South Carolina LLCs name must be different than already registered South Carolina companies.
  • Duration of the South Carolina LLC is perpetual unless you check the box to choose a specific duration.
  • The South Carolina registered agent and the physical address.
  • The South Carolina designated (principal) office address.
  • The name, address, and signature of the organizer(s).
  • If the limited liability company is to be managed by one or more managers, you must check a box and list the name and address of each manager.
  • The articles of organization are effective when filed, unless you specify a date.

South Carolina requires original ink signatures on new SC LLC filings. You’ll get a filing confirmation mailed to the address on the filing after the state approves it.

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