This webpage has been designed to serve as a general overview of the filing process for corporations in South Carolina. Filing can be accomplished online or by mail, the former requiring account registration to access the online system. PDF applications can be downloaded for individuals who wish to file by mail. Each application must be completed and printed in duplicate before being sent to the Secretary of State. A filing fee must accompany all formation documents, regardless of which method of application was chosen. The filing of profit corporations, both domestic and foreign, requires a fee of $135. Domestic non-profit applications must include a $25 fee with an additional $25 for political associations. Lastly, foreign non-profit corporations have the lowest fee at $10.

How to File

Step 1- Before filing for formation we recommend that you perform a Business Entity Search to check the availability of the operating name chosen for your corporation. Registering an entity with a name that’s already of file with the Secretary of State will result in your application being rejected. You may also wish to reserve a name by filing the Name Reservation application, along with a $10 fee, to ensure the availability of a name for 120 days.

Step 2- With a name chosen for your corporation, you may now move on to the filing procedure. Online filers will begin by logging into their online account. Applicants filing through the mail must download the PDF application assosiated with their entity type. Click on the link below corresponding to the type of corporation you would like to form to learn more about the filing process.

Domestic

Foreign

Step 3- Individuals filing through the mail must now gather all additional certificates/forms that are demanded by the Secretary of State. This includes a CL-1 document for the majority of the available corporation types as well as a certificate of good standing for all foreign entities. These documents must be attached to your initial applications.

Step 4- Lastly, you will be required to pay a filing fee. Online filers must pay by credit card or electronic funds withdrawal (checking or savings account). Once payment has been accepted by the Secretary of State the registration process will be complete. Individuals filing their formation documents through the mail must supply all fees in the form of a check or money order made out to the Secretary of State. The fees for each corporation type are as follows: domestic and foreign profit corporations must pay $135, domestic non-profit corporations should provide $25 with an additional $25 for political associations, and foreign non-profit corporations are required to submit $10. All articles must be gathered and mailed to the address below.

South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office

1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525

Columbia, SC 29201

Tips

EIN – Newly formed corporations will be required to apply for an Employer Identification Number after filing with the Secretary of State. An EIN is a number issued by the IRS, similar to a SSN, that is used to identify businesses for tax reporting purposes. Obtaining one will allow you to hire employees, register for bank accounts, apply for loans, and perform a number of other business transactions using the corporate name. Filing for an EIN can be accomplished Online or through the mail with the PDF Form SS-4. If you are finding the process of obtaining an EIN difficult, click on the link at the heading of this paragraph to use our tutorial.

Corporate Bylaws – While there is no legal obligation to file a set of corporate bylaws with the Secretary of State, we do highly recommend the drafting of this document as it will outline the rules and regulations under which the managing officials must operate. It is essentially a guideline to define a number of logistical and financial details that will ameliorate the organizational structure of your corporation. Click on the link at the heading of this paragraph to learn more about what might go into a document of this nature and to download the free templates that we have provided in MS Word and PDF formats.

Renewal – It is necessary for all corporations to file an annual report with the Department of Revenue to update their business information and to remain in good standing. This renewal must be made when filing your annual income tax report. Begin by downloading and completing the SC 1120 form, the third page of which is designated as the annual report. The completed document must be forwarded to the Department of Revenue with the appropriate filing fee. Fees vary and are based on the amount of taxable income but will be no less than $25. Benefit corporations must supply an additional report with the Secretary of State. The benefit report can be found here and must be mailed with the inclusion of a $10 filing fee. File your applications to the appropriate addresses below.

Department of Revenue

SCDOR

CORPORATE TAXABLE

COLUMBIA, SC 29214

Secretary of State

South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office

1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525

Columbia, SC 29201

How to (Video)