This guide will outline what you need to know about changing a registered agent in South Carolina and how to get started when you’re ready.
You formed your South Carolina LLC. You did the paperwork. You started operating your business.
And now, for one reason or another, you need to change your registered agent. No worries, we’ve got you covered.
There are a number of reasons you might need to change your South Carolina LLC’s registered agent. Maybe your designated registered agent moved out of state, left the company, or no longer wants the responsibility. Maybe you had assigned the job to yourself, and you no longer want your address on public record. Maybe (hopefully) your business has expanded so much that you no longer have time to handle the registered agent responsibilities.
Whatever your reason may be, changing a registered agent in South Carolina might seem like a daunting task, with a mountain of paperwork and legal proceedings involved. However it’s actually quite simple, and this guide will help make the process quick and painless.
The state of South Carolina has certain requirements for changing your LLC’s registered agent. Any entity wishing to change its registered agent must file the appropriate documentation with the Secretary of State’s office and pay a $10 fee. Entities may mail in a “Notice of Change” form, or make the change online through the Electronic Filing System. Your new registered agent must sign the form to approve their appointment.
The Secretary of State outlines this information on a specific registered agent forms page, as well as in their FAQs.
You can’t pick just anyone to be a registered agent for your LLC. The state of South Carolina puts certain restrictions on who can serve as one. If you’re choosing or changing your registered agent, keep these requirements in mind. The registered agent in South Carolina must:
* If your registered agent is a foreign business entity, it must be authorized to transact business in South Carolina
Ready to welcome your new registered agent to the team? First, you need to make the change official. The Secretary of State allows LLCs to submit change requests online and by mail. Since online filing is the fastest method, let’s start there.
The whole process will take place on the Business Entities Online portal. Select “Existing Business” and enter your LLC name to find your company. On the next page, choose “Add Filing.” At this point, you will need to create an account if you haven’t before. After you’re logged in, choose the resident agent change form and follow the instructions to complete it.
Prefer paper documents? No problem. Download the form titled “Notice of Change of Designated Office, Agent or Address of Registered Agent,” from the Business Forms page. Use black ink or type to fill it out, as the Secretary of State will not accept documents in other colors. Print two copies and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you’d like a copy back. When finished, mail it to:
Secretary of State
Attn: Corporate Filings
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
Don’t forget to pay this form’s $10 filing fee with a card online, or a check (made out to “Secretary of State’s Office) by mail.
South Carolina doesn’t require LLCs to file Annual Reports, so making your registered agent change there isn’t an option like it is in some states.
If you’re too busy, or if you’d feel more comfortable letting someone else take the reins, you have the option of hiring a company or individual to file your paperwork for you. It’s a great way to save time and stress.
Submit your form? Pay your fee? Then you’ve finished your part! Just sit back and wait for your change to take effect. Generally, the Secretary of State’s office processed online submissions within 24 hours and mailed documents in 2-3 business days.
Think of your registered agent as a mediator between you and the state of South Carolina, the person or business entity that handles some of your most important paperwork.
In case you thought the registered agent was just a formality, look at the documents they handle:
A lot of important stuff. Which is why a reliable registered agent is essential to every South Carolina business owner.
By handling high-priority and sensitive documents on your behalf, your registered agent takes care of your communications with the state, so you can spend more time building your business.
Plus, if you operate a South Carolina small business from out of state, a trustworthy registered agent is especially important, as the state requires a local contact for your LLC. Having this contact ensures your company will receive and respond to time-sensitive documents, so you won’t miss filings and get hit with penalties.
If you’re unsure where to find a good South Carolina registered agent, consider using a registered agent service. These companies provide you a reliable, professional registered agent so you can have peace of mind knowing you won’t ever miss a filing, tax deadline, or state correspondence.
Sure, you can jump online, search “registered agent service,” and get a ton of results. But the truth is that not all of these services are trustworthy. So, we’ve done some research for you. If you want to know you’re getting a top-quality registered agent, take a look at our comparison guide on the top registered agent services. Many of these providers can also form an LLC for you if you’re needing a fresh start. ZenBusiness is a very well known option.
There are numerous reasons you might need to give up your South Carolina registered agent role, but only one way to resign.
Registered agents play an important role in the life of an LLC, handling sensitive legal and tax documents, so it’s essential that agents follow proper resignation procedures. Otherwise, you could leave your company with unplanned fines or penalties, and you could be individually liable.
Fortunately, for South Carolina LLCs it is easy.
Follow these steps and the hardest part of your resignation won’t be the process itself, it’ll be saying “so long” to your former business.
South Carolina state law (Section 33-44-110) doesn’t require you to break the news to your LLC before formally resigning. When submitting your official resignation to the Secretary of State, you must include two copies, which they will mail to the LLC’s principal and registered offices. But the registered agent is an important position and giving advance notice can be beneficial for everyone involved. It will give your company more time to plan for a registered agent change and ensure a smooth transition.
On your end, giving prior notice can erase your name from the record sooner. After you resign, you retain your agent responsibilities for 30 days unless the LLC appoints a replacement sooner. If they have the time to get one lined up, you could be off the books right away.
Speaking with your LLC beforehand is helpful and courteous, but it’s not what enacts your resignation. To officially resign, you need to submit a “Resignation of Agent for Service of Process” form either online or with a hard copy.
Short on time? File online, as it’s the quicker and easier route. Get started by heading to the Secretary of State Business Entities Online page. Enter the LLC name and select the the correct company. Then, choose “Add Filing,” choose the registered agent resignation and follow the onscreen instructions.
Or, if you prefer to leave a paper trail, find registered agent resignation forms for all business types here. Choose the one for Limited Liability Company. Once you’ve got your hands on the form, filling it out is easy. You only need to include three things: the LLC name, your name, and the date. And that’s it! When you’re finished, send the original plus two copies to:
Secretary of State
ATTN: Corporate Filings
1205 Pendleton St., Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
Whether filing online or by mail, a registered agent resignation comes with a $10 fee. Online, you can pay with your credit or debit card. By mail, pay with a check made out to “Secretary of State.”
Online filings are processed within one day and paper forms take 2-3 business days. As we mentioned earlier, your resignation won’t take effect until 30 days after it is processed unless your LLC brings on a new agent sooner. Just be aware that you may continue receiving mail and service of process for up to a month after you resign.
When you put down your registered agent responsibilities, someone else has to pick them up, or your LLC will lose its good standing with the state. Help your LLC keep its momentum by carefully planning your transition.
This starts with finding a successor who’s ready to take over right away. Even a small gap in registered agent coverage can result in severe penalties. After you resign and remain on file for the requisite 30 days, your LLC will be without a registered agent (unless they had appointed a new one). At that point, the Secretary of State will mail out a warning. From the date of the warning, if the LLC hasn’t designated a new agent within 60 days it will be administratively dissolved.
Any replacement the LLC brings onboard must meet South Carolina’s registered agent requirements, which means they must:
An LLC is allowed to give registered agent responsibilities to one of its individual members, but instead of putting additional responsibilities on one person’s plate, it’s sometimes easier to use a professional service.
We recommend using a registered agent service, which can take over registered agent duties, freeing up more time for the LLC’s managers to focus on running the business.
You do a lot for your South Carolina LLC. You’re essentially the shield that protects it from fines, the filter that catches important documents, the conductor that keeps it on track with compliance.
Because you play such an important role, it’s crucial that you follow the resignation procedures exactly — and potentially provide a replacement agent for the business. Otherwise, you might find yourself and your LLC in hot water.
Follow this guide and you’ll be totally fine. Soon, you’ll be on to your next project, whether that’s starting a new business in South Carolina or something completely different.
If you need a fresh start and would like to form a brand new LLC, there are plenty of services that can take care of this for you. ZenBusiness and LegalZoom are two very popular options.
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