How to Start an LLC in South Carolina

How to Start an LLC in South Carolina

by Michael H. Cohen, Esq., August 2014

LLCs in South Carolina are affordable and easy to form. And as with other states, the State of South Carolina has some unique LLC requirements.

Interested parties must register with the Secretary of State by filing the necessary forms, paying the necessary fees and meeting all naming and formation requirements.

The specifications required of an LLC in South Carolina are:

Registration. LLCs are required to file, in duplicate, Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. The articles must include the following information:

  • LLC name and designated office address
  • Registered agent’s name and address
  • At least one organizer’s name and address
  • Whether or not the company being set up for a specific length of time
  • Type of management (member-managed or manager-managed)
  • Manager’s name and address, if LLC is manager-managed
  • Member liability, if applicable (optional)
  • Effective date, if other than filing date
  • Dated signature of each listed organizer

All forms must be submitted with the necessary filing fee. If you submit two copies of your filing with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, the Secretary of State’s Office will return a filed copy back to you by mail.

Forms and fees. LLC registrants are required to complete and submit Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. The filing fee must also be paid upon submission of documents.

Timeline. Processing time for business filings with the South Carolina Secretary of State is generally between one to two business days. However, processing can be delayed if there is an increased volume in submissions. Expedited services are not available.

Naming requirements. LLC naming requirements can be confusing. However, the easiest way to ensure that your LLC name will be approved is to make it distinguishable from other LLCs and to include specific words required of LLCs. You may opt to have a preferred name checked for availability before filing your LLC formation documents.

Formation requirements. To form an LLC, a registrant must first file their Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. All submissions must be accompanied by the filing fee payment.

An LLC with more than one member is also strongly advised to have a limited liability operating agreement among its members.

Please take note that LLCs offering a specific professional service are obligated to contact the necessary South Carolina licensing boards as mandated by state law.

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Starting a South Carolina LLC

Before you begin the registration process for an LLC in South Carolina, it’s important to know what an LLC is and whether or not it is a viable business structure for your company, so be certain to read up on the definition and benefits of an LLC.

These steps will guide you through the LLC registration process with the South Carolina Secretary of State:

1. Decide on a name for your business. You can choose any name for your LLC as long as it ends with “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited Company” or any variation of its abbreviation—e.g., L.L.C., LLC, L.C., LC or Ltd. Co.

Names may be reserved for up to 120 days. You may file a name reservation application with the Secretary of State by mail or in person. The application must be accompanied by the filing fee. Be sure to include in the application the name to be reserved, applicant’s name and address and the applicant’s dated signature. The name reservation is non-renewable.

Prior to filing a name reservation application, you may check the availability of the preferred name on the Secretary of State website.

2. Assign an agent for service of process. This is also referred to as the registered agent.

3. Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. If there are two or more members in your LLC, your company will need to obtain an EIN from the IRS, for tax purposes.

4. Create an operating agreement. Although LLCs in South Carolina are not required to have a limited liability company operating agreement, it is wise to have one in place with other members should your LLC have more than one member. The State of South Carolina recognizes limited liability company operating agreements as governing documents.

5. Familiarize yourself with the LLC’s continuing legal obligations. LLC annual reports are no longer required to be filed with the Secretary of State’s office.

Filing an LLC and Fees

Following are the forms and fees that are required when starting an LLC in South Carolina:

1. Forms. Those looking to form a South Carolina LLC will have to file Articles of Organization, along with the required filing fee, with the Secretary of State.

2. Limited liability company operating agreement. Although the LLC operating agreement is not filed with the Secretary of State, it is a good idea to have one in place for LLCs with more than one member. This document should be kept on file by the registered agent.

3. Taxes. LLCs in South Carolina are treated as corporations, limited liability partnerships or single-member LLCs and are subject to federal income tax classifications. Depending on the type of taxation you opt to have for your LLC, you will have different federal tax responsibilities.

You should always make sure to acquaint yourself with the state laws regarding taxation. Your LLC may be subject to other taxes depending on the kind of services your LLC may offer.

Form an LLC Online in South Carolina

LegalZoom provides LLC formation and filing services, including providing a registered agent in South Carolina.