Welcome to the Start a Business guide to entity registration in South Carolina. The linked tutorials found throughout this page have been created to serve as guides to the filing procedures demanded by the Secretary of State. A streamlined online portal has been designed for the submission of all required formation/application documents, accessible only after an account has been created. The account registration process has been communicated clearly in this tutorial for those who have found this process confusing. This online registration method of application is not necessarily required as formation documents may be filed through the mail by downloading and completing in duplicate the PDF applications we have provided. Explore the links found below to get a better understanding of exact filing requirements for you entity type.
Start an Entity
South Carolina Online Account
Creating an online account is necessary to access the portal used when filing all online formation/application documents. Some may find the process of creating an account difficult, for this reason we have provided a tutorial on this procedure. Once an account has been created, you will be able to manage all of your filings though one easy-to-use website. Furthermore, limited liability partnerships will be required to create an account when filing their annual reports.
Search for a Name
The Business Entity Search function is a useful tool found on the Secretary of State’s website. Researching the details of an entity already registered in the state is as simple as entering a business name and clicking search. We also recommend that a search be performed during the initial stages of formation to check the availability of the desired operating name. Doing so will greatly reduce the chances of your filing being rejected upon submission. Regardless of the reasoning behind the search, you will find everything you need to know in the tutorial we have linked at the beginning of this paragraph.
How to File
Step 1- The first step that we recommend filers take is to perform a search of the Secretary of State’s name database to check the availability of the desired operating name. While a search is not required, it should be considered as each entity in the state must file with a unique name that is distinguishable from all others currently on file with the Secretary of State. With a name secured, you may then employ the use of a Name Reservation application. For the low fee of $10, you will be able to guarantee the availability of an entity name for a period of 120 days.
Step 2- Formation documents can now be filed by using one of the two available methods of application. Online filers must log into to their accounts to access the filing forms. Those filing by mail must download a PDF application corresponding to their entity type. Click on the link below that corresponds to the type of entity you’d like to form for more in-depth instructions.
- Domestic Profit Corporation
- Domestic Non-Profit Corporation
- Domestic Benefit Corporation
- Domestic Professional Service Corporation
- Domestic Statutory Close Corporation
- Domestic Benefit Statutory Close Corporation
- Domestic Benefit Professional Corporation
- Domestic Benefit Professional Statutory Close Corporation
- Foreign Profit Corporation
- Foreign Non-Profit Corporation
- Foreign Professional Service Corporation
- Domestic Limited Partnership
- Domestic Limited Liability Partnership
- Foreign Limited Partnership
- Foreign Limited Liability Partnership
Step 3- With the requisite information provided either through the online filing system or on the PDF application, you must then gather all additional certificates/forms to accompany your filing. The majority of the available corporation types must include the CL-1 initial report. Foreign businesses of all types must provide a certificate of existence/good standing from the initial jurisdiction of formation.
Step 4- The last step in the filing process is to provide the appropriate filing fee (fees stated below). Online applicants may choose to pay by credit/debit card, or by electronic funds withdrawal (checking or savings account). The registration process for online filers is complete upon payment. Paper filers must provide a check or money order made out to the Secretary of State. A duplicate copy of the initial application must also be included before sending all items by mail to the address below.
South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
- Domestic Profit Corporation- $135
- Domestic Non-Profit Corporation- $25 + $25 for political associations
- Domestic Benefit Corporation- $135
- Domestic Professional Service Corporation- $135
- Domestic Statutory Close Corporation- $135
- Domestic Benefit Statutory Close Corporation- $135
- Domestic Benefit Professional Corporation- $135
- Domestic Benefit Professional Statutory Close Corporation- $135
- Foreign Profit Corporation- $135
- Foreign Non-Profit Corporation- $10
- Foreign Professional Service Corporation- $135
Limited Liability Company
- Domestic Limited Liability Company- $110
- Foreign Limited Liability Company- $110
- Domestic Limited Partnership- $10
- Domestic Limited Liability Partnership- $100
- Foreign Limited Partnership- $10
- Foreign Limited Liability Partnership- $100
Filing a name reservation application will ensure the availability of an entity name for 120 days prior to filing for formation. You may find this reservation useful as you organize your affairs for filing. Reserving a name is simple and can be accomplished by completing the requisite PDF application and forwarding it to the Secretary of State with the $10 filing fee. It is always wise to perform a Business Entity Search prior to reservation to ensure that the name you plan on using isn’t already on file with the Secretary of State.
Certificate of Existence
A Certificate of Existence is a document that proves the legitimacy of the entity for which it is purchased. It is most commonly used by entities seeking registration in states/countries outside of their own jurisdiction. Financial institutions may also demand a certificate when a request for a loan has been made. Acquiring this document can be accomplished by filing a document request form in duplicate and sending the application along with a $10 filing fee to the Secretary of State. Our tutorial will provide you with more information about its use and how you can make a request.
Drafting an agreement during the initial stages of formation can greatly fortify the organizational of your business’s internal affairs. This document is filed internally and not with the state and, as a result, there is no legal obligation to draft one. However, the many benefits that are acquired upon implementation will prove its usefulness and then some. Most details pertaining to he management of the entity’s affairs are left undocumented without an operating agreement, corporate bylaw or partnership agreement. Take a moment to review the free templates we have provided below, alongside the aid of legal counsel, to see if drafting an agreement can benefit your business. All templates are available for download in both Adobe PDF and Microsoft Word format.
Employer Identification Number
An Employer Identification Number should be obtained as soon as acceptance of formation has been received from the Secretary of State. This unique method of identification is used by the IRS to keep tabs on each tax withholding employer in the United States. The acquisition of an EIN will enable you to do the following: register for bank accounts, apply for loans, hire employees and request financing. Filing may be done either Online, or through the mail with the PDF Form SS-4. If necessary, click here to view our tutorial and learn more about how you can apply by using one of the two aforementioned methods of application.