How to Create an LLC in South Carolina

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How to Form an LLC in South Carolina:
5 Simple Steps to Get Started
According to the IRS, each state may use different regulations around forming an LLC, and you should check with your state if you’re interested in starting a Limited Liability Company. To simplify the process of forming an LLC in the state of South Carolina, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to detail each step of the process and answer any questions you may have.

Step 1
Name Your South Carolina LLC

Your first consideration when choosing a name for your LLC is that it be unique from any other business in the state of South Carolina. You can quickly and easily check your company’s potential name options at the South Carolina Secretary of State Corporations Division business name search. You can reserve a company name for 120 days if you have an account and pay the $25 fee through the South Carolina website. To do so, you’ll need to submit the application to reserve a name form.

In order to comply with South Carolina state law, your company’s name must end with some form of the term “Limited Liability Company.” This can appear in several different formats from the whole phrase written out to one of the following abbreviated forms: “Limited Company,” “L.L.C.,” “LLC,” “LC,” or “L.C.” You can also abbreviate “Limited” as “Ltd.” and “Company” as “Co.” You must avoid any words in your LLC’s name stating or implying that it was organized for some different purpose other than what is stated in its articles of organization.

Step 2
Appoint a Registered Agent in South Carolina

The state of South Carolina requires that any LLC have a registered agent for service of process. This means your LLC must have an entity that agrees to physically accept any legal papers on the company’s behalf should it be sued.

The registered agent does not have to be an individual person and can be any resident of the state of South Carolina or a business entity authorized to do business in South Carolina so long as the agent has a physical street address within the state.

Step 3
File the South Carolina Articles of Organization
To officially create your LLC in the state of South Carolina, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization with the office of the Secretary of State. This can be done online at the South Carolina Secretary of State webpage with a $110 fee. To complete this form you will need to know the following:
  1. The final name and address of your LLC
  2. The name and address associated with the company’s registered agent
  3. Names and addresses of each organizer
  4. Whether the LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed
  5. Name and address of manager (if applicable)

Step 4
Create an Operating Agreement

You may want to consider preparing an operating agreement to outline the ownership and operating procedures for your LLC. Though not required by the state, an operating agreement will set the guidelines for running your company. This does not need to be filed with the state, but it can go a long way to ensuring your company’s success.

Step 5
Apply for an EIN and Review Tax Requirements

An IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) is required for your LLC unless it is a single-member LLC with no employees. Obtaining an EIN is as easy as completing the application on the IRS website.

It’s possible your company will need to register with the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Whether or not your company needs to follow this step will depend on the exact types of taxes it will be collecting and/or has been collecting from the state and if you have employees. Check the South Carolina Business One Stop website to start the process of registering.

If your LLC will be selling a physical product, you’ll need to register for a sellers permit through the South Carolina Department of Revenue website. This will allow you to collect sales tax on taxable sales. Additionally, if you have employees, you’ll need to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax through the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce and also register for Employee Withholding Tax through the South Carolina Department of Revenue.

Other Considerations
Foreign LLCs and Business Licenses
Foreign LLCs

If yours is a foreign LLC, also referred to as an out-of-state LLC, wanting to do business in the state of South Carolina, you’ll need to follow all the aforementioned steps.

The main difference is the form required to make your LLC legal to operate is referred to as an Application for a Certificate of Authority to Transact Business.

You can file the paperwork online or by mail with the filing fee of $110. Additionally, your application should include a statement of good standing from your home state dated no more than 30 days prior to filing.

Business Licenses

The location of and specific type of business you are creating can potentially require additional federal, state-authorized, and/or local business licenses. You can obtain federal licenses and perform a South Carolina license search to determine the appropriate licensing for your business.

Since business licenses and permits are issued at all levels of government—federal, state, and local—and for many reasons (health, building, signage, etc.), you should do careful research to find out what licenses and permits you need. You can also hire a professional service to do it for you.

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