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Forming an LLC in South Carolina

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

One of the first decisions that you must face when launching your business is which corporate structure will be the best fit. Making the decision to form an LLC will impact taxes, daily operations, and how much of your personal assets are at risk. This article explains the requirements for forming an LLC in South Carolina and provides links to helpful forms and relevant statutes.

Forms for South Carolina LLC Formation

An important part of forming a South Carolina LLC involves completing and filing the right documents with the right agency. It's easy to start the process with FindLaw's South Carolina LLC Formation Package.

LLC Attributes

An LLC or "limited liability company" has aspects of both corporations and partnerships. An LLC offers tax advantages in the same way that a partnership does, but it also offers owners protection against personal liability for the company's debts and judgments in a similar way that a corporation does.

South Carolina Business One Stop

The South Carolina Business One Stop (SCBOS) is a business web portal that provides easy access to business resources for multiple state government agencies, including the South Carolina Secretary of State, Department of Revenue, and Department of Employment and Workforce, among others. Because you can complete many of your tasks through this portal, this is a good starting point in the early stages of forming your South Carolina LLC.

Summary of Forming an LLC in South Carolina

Despite the uniformity of many of the LLC formation requirements across the country, there are state-specific differences in the law. Read on for a summary of forming an LLC in South Carolina.

Statutes

Name the LLC

South Carolina law requires that the LLC names must:

  • Contain the term "Limited Liability Company"; or "Limited Company"; or
  • Approved abbreviations including "L.L.C.", "L.C." or "LLC"; and
  • Be different from the names of existing businesses that are already registered.

Perform a Name Check

Check with the South Carolina Secretary of State Business Name Search Database for name conflicts.

Reserve LLC Name

You may reserve an LLC name for 120 days by registering with the South Carolina Secretary of State Corporations Division. You must file via regular mail and the filing includes a fee.

Select a Registered Agent

Every LLC in South Carolina must have a registered agent for service of process purposes if the company is sued. The registered agent:

  • Must have a physical street address in South Carolina; and
  • May be a South Carolina resident; or
  • A business entity authorized to do business in South Carolina.

File Articles of Organization

You must file the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. The filing (which includes fees) must include the following information:

  • The LLC's name and address;
  • The registered agent's name and address;
  • The name and address of every LLC organizer;
  • Whether the LLC is member-managed or manager-managed; and
  • The names and addresses of the managers (if applicable).

Create an Operating Agreement

South Carolina doesn't require them, but it's recommended that you to create an operating agreement.

Comply with Tax and Regulatory Requirements and Determine Necessary Business Licenses/Permits

If your company sells goods and collects sales tax or has employees, you'll likely have to register with the South Carolina Department of Revenue.

Check The South Carolina Business One Stop (SCBOS) to get started with registration.

IRS Employer Identification Number

If your LLC has more than one member, then you must apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Business Licenses

You may also have to obtain local and state business licenses, depending on the type of business and the location.

Foreign LLCs

All LLCs organized outside of the state must register with the South Carolina Secretary of State to do business in the state. All foreign LLCs must appoint a registered agent for process of service that is either a South Carolina resident or a business entity authorized to do business in South Carolina.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Forming an LLC in South Carolina: Related Resources

If You Need Help Forming an LLC in South Carolina, Contact an Attorney

Fortunately, forming an LLC in South Carolina is generally easy after you have obtained the forms. However, if your situation is unique or you have a specific formation issue that you can't handle, don't delay getting help. Contact a skilled business organizations attorney near you today.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.