Before you can form a limited liability company (LLC) in South Carolina, you need to appoint an official point of contact who can receive legal and other important notices in person for your business. That person (or company) is called a registered agent. We’ll tell you below what the registered agent is, their duties, and the requirements to be one.
What is a South Carolina Registered Agent?
A registered agent is an individual or business that is designated by the LLC to receive important legal documents and state correspondence on behalf of the company. This position is essential to ensuring that the correct people within an LLC are notified in person when there are time-sensitive events, such as service of process for lawsuits. The agent also receives important notices from the state, such as garnishment notices against employees, a notice of annual reports, and tax notifications.
Who can be a Registered Agent in South Carolina?
State law (SCL 33-5-101) says that each LLC in South Carolina must continuously maintain:
(1) a registered office that may be the same as any of its places of business; and
(2) a registered agent, who may be:
(i) an individual who resides in South Carolina and whose business office is identical with the registered office;
(ii) a domestic corporation or not-for-profit domestic corporation whose business office is identical with the registered office; or
Should you be your own South Carolina Registered Agent?
Although it may seem like the simplest option is to be your own registered agent, there are some very good reasons to instead use a registered agent service, such as:
- Availability – A registered agent needs to generally be available at the principal address during normal business hours. This makes it difficult to leave the office to run errands, meet up with potential clients, take vacations, etc.
- Avoiding Embarrassment – If you serve as your own registered agent and a lawsuit is filed against the business, you could have papers served to you at your office in front of clients. That could be both embarrassing and bad for business.
- Compliance Reminders – Some registered agent services (like ZenBusiness) provide reminders of upcoming state requirements, such as filing annual report filings. Not keeping up with your compliance obligations can get you in trouble with the state.
- Penalties and Fees – By not continuously maintaining a current registered agent, the LLC may be responsible for penalties and fees, in addition to the potential for administrative dissolution of the LLC.
How is a Registered Agent Appointed in South Carolina?
You must designate your registered agent when you complete the official paperwork with the state to form your LLC, so you need to decide who your registered agent or registered agent service will be before starting that process. Of course, you need to be sure to inform whomever you’re appointing and get their permission to serve as your agent.