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South Carolina is an excellent place to start a business. It was recently ranked one of the top five states for doing business in 2021.
Perhaps you’re ready to take advantage of this favorable business environment and start your own limited liability company (LLC). To officially form a new LLC, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization in South Carolina for your business.
In this guide, we’ve assembled all the critical steps you need to follow to complete and submit a copy of the State of South Carolina’s Articles of Organization. However, you don’t have to fill out and send in the form on your own. Instead, you can use our South Carolina LLC Formation Service to get your formation documents filed in no time.
To get started, locate a template Articles of Organization form for an LLC in South Carolina. You can download and print a copy of this form online. The form may not seem too complicated, but make sure you fill it out carefully. If you don’t want to use the default Articles of Organization for your LLC in South Carolina, you can draft your own as long as they follow the state’s requirements.
Once you have the template form (or have your own template ready), you can begin by listing your LLC’s official name. Make sure your LLC’s official name complies with South Carolina’s LLC naming guidelines as found in Section 33-44-105 of the state’s Code of Laws.
The name of your LLC must include either “limited liability company” or “limited company.” You can also use the following abbreviations of those terms:
Furthermore, your business’s name needs to be distinguishable. You can’t use a name that’s already tied to another company in South Carolina.
After you’ve chosen your LLC’s name for your Articles of Organization, reserve it in South Carolina by using the state’s Application to Reserve a Limited Liability Company Name. When filling out the form, list the name you want to reserve and your contact information. After that, date the document and sign it. Don’t forget to include the necessary filing fee.
For obvious reasons, the Secretary of State requires all Articles of Organization to state the LLC’s mailing address. Having your LLC’s address on file with the state government helps ensure that your LLC receives essential documents, like annual reports and business licenses.
The State of South Carolina requires that Articles of Organization include the contact information of the LLC’s registered agent.
If you haven’t heard of a registered agent before, the concept is straightforward. Businesses enlist registered agents to serve as points of contact for critical legal documents and financial correspondence. For instance, a registered agent is responsible for accepting service of process for any legal papers served upon the business. Registered agents are also tasked with receiving regulatory documents from the local, state, and federal governments.
Having a registered agent is part of South Carolina’s business registration process. South Carolina law requires that LLCs and corporations maintain a registered agent at all times. (See sections 33-44-108 and 33-5-101, respectively.)
Technically, any person 18 years of age or older with a valid street address in South Carolina can be a registered agent. However, you don’t want to pick just anyone to be a registered agent for your company. If you want to find a high-quality registered agent quickly, we can help you out with our Registered Agent Service.
This step is far less complicated than it might seem at first glance. The “organizer” merely refers to the person responsible for filing the LLC’s formation paperwork. The LLC’s organizer can be almost anyone with appropriate authorization, including:
With our LLC Formation Service, we can serve as your business’s organizer.
Some LLC owners designate a definite period or term for the life of their businesses. When that term finishes, the business dissolves automatically. South Carolina calls these companies “term companies.” Indicate your business’s status as a term company by checking the appropriate box and specifying its term length.
If you don’t designate your LLC as a term company, you’ll have to file Articles of Termination when you want to start winding it up.
LLCs have two kinds of management structures. Some of them have managers that run the business. Others are managed collectively by their members. If your business is managed by a few managers rather than its members, make sure you list the name and address of each manager.
By default, your SC LLC’s Articles of Organization become effective on the date you file them with the Secretary of State’s office. However, if you want to delay the date your Articles of Organization go into effect, write down that date.
Once you’ve selected an effective date, be sure to include any other provisions or documents you want to add. Then, have the organizer you listed in Step 5 sign the document.
Congratulations! You’re ready to file your South Carolina Articles of Organization. The South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office has several filing methods. To file the form by mail, submit two complete copies of the form. In addition, include a self-addressed and stamped return envelope. Filing in person is another possible filing method.
South Carolina’s Secretary of State also accepts online submissions. Online submissions have several benefits, including a lower chance of rejection, instant confirmation, and shorter processing times. In most cases, you can expect to receive a notice of acceptance from the state within 1-2 business days.
Whatever filing method you choose, make sure you include the applicable filing fee.
After you’ve filed your Articles of Organization in SC online, in person, or by mail, there are still a few final matters to wrap up.
LLCs don’t have to have Operating Agreements under South Carolina law. Nonetheless, it’s a great idea to draft one when you start your own LLC. Operating Agreements lay the ground rules for your business’s operations, management, and organization. With clear and concise rules, everything runs more smoothly. Operating Agreements also serve as a great opportunity to customize your business and make it the way you want it. Examples of topics you can include in your LLC’s Operating Agreement include:
Without a good Operating Agreement on file, misunderstandings and disagreements can cause you a lot of trouble. If you’re looking for an excellent place to start work on your Operating Agreement, you’ll love our Operating Agreement Template.
Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) are a requirement for most businesses. An EIN identifies your business when you file tax returns. It also lets your LLC hire employees and open a business bank account.
Technically speaking, you don’t need an EIN if you plan to be the only member of your business. But for the reasons stated above, we strongly recommend that you obtain one right away.
Business owners who want to get an EIN need to apply for one with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Don’t want to spend your time dealing with a government agency like the IRS? We’ve got you covered. Let us help you obtain an EIN hassle-free with our Employer ID Number Service so you can focus on getting your business off the ground.
Those of us here at ZenBusiness know how overwhelming it can feel to open a new company. With so many things to do, it’s essential that you prioritize the tasks that need your time and attention. Let us do the heavy lifting for everything else.
To help business owners thrive, we’ve developed a huge variety of handy business formation and compliance tools. We can assist with almost any business need you have. Need to keep track of your income and expenses? We can help with our Money Service. Are you looking to keep your current business compliant? Check out our Worry-Free Compliance Service so that you can stay ahead of the game. We’re standing by to pitch in. Let us help your business thrive!
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
If you need to change your Articles of Organization, you’ll need to file an amendment. The easiest way to do this is to fill out and submit a copy of South Carolina’s Amendment Articles of Organization form. File the form online, in person, or by mail. The filing fee is the same regardless of the filing method you choose.
Don’t have time to amend your Articles of Organization? Let us help by using our South Carolina LLC Amendment Service.
File Articles of Termination online, in person, or by email with the South Carolina Secretary of State. Include the correct filing fee. After you’ve submitted Articles of Termination, ensure that you properly wind up your business by paying off your creditors and closing all business bank accounts.
If you want to form a corporation in South Carolina instead of an LLC, submit South Carolina Articles of Incorporation to the Secretary of State. Articles of Incorporation are the only documents required to start a corporation. However, you should also draft corporate bylaws and a shareholder agreement to create the best setup for your business. Check out our guide on forming a South Carolina corporation to learn more.
You don’t need an Operating Agreement to operate your LLC in South Carolina. Nonetheless, we strongly recommend that you draft an Operating Agreement to minimize the risk of business disputes. Having your own Operating Agreement also gives you the power to make the business run the way you want.
It’s not a requirement to use a lawyer to form a South Carolina LLC. That said, it’s always a good idea to consult a legal professional. A lawyer can provide you with personalized legal advice and inform you of the potential risks of starting a business.