Welcome to the Start a Business guide to forming a domestic corporation in South Carolina. Here we will go through all of the steps required in the filing process for profit and non-profit corporations. The Secretary of State has supplied an online portal in which you can create an account to manage all of your filings and stay up-to-date on the status of your business. Paper filing can be accomplished by completing a PDF application and forwarding it to the Secretary of State. Regardless of whether you choose to file online or by mail, a fee will be required. All filers forming profit corporations must supply $135 while those filing general non-profits need only pay $25, with an additional $25 for political associations. Payment can be provided by credit card for online filers and by check/money order for those sending their documents through the mail. Continue to the tutorials below to find out more about the steps necessary in filing.

Before filing for formation we recommend that you perform a preliminary check of the name database to see if the business name you have chosen hasn’t already been registered by another entity in the state. It is possible to reserve your business name for a period of 120 days prior to formation by filing the Name Reservation application along with a $10 fee.

How to File a Profit Corporation (Online)

This particular tutorial will apply for profit, professional service, and statutory close corporation as they all have very similar online filing procedures.

Step 1- You will need to begin by logging into your online account to access the Secretary of State’s filing system. If you have yet to create an account, click here to view our tutorial on that procedure.

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Step 2- Once logged on, navigate to this website to begin the filing process. Select the type of entity you would like to form by choosing one of the options from the drop-down menu.

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Step 3- Select the residency of your entity by choosing one of the options from the drop-down menu. Click Continue to proceed.

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Step 3a- Specify as to whether the shareholders, not less than one-half of the directors, and all of the officers other than the secretary of treasurer are licensed in one or more states to render a professional service (professional service only).

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Step 4- Enter the name of your corporation into the entry field. Be sure to include an abbreviation for your company as well (ex. Corp, P.C.).

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Step 4a- Specify as to whether the corporation is also a statutory close corporation and supply a detailed description of the professional services to be rendered (professional service only)

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Step 5- Continue by supplying the name of an entity which will act as the registered agent.

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Step 6- Next, supply the address of the registered agent office.

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Step 7- Specify as to whether the corporation is authorized to issue single class or multiple classes of stock.

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Step 8- Enter the total number of shares your corporation is authorized to use, and then provide a description of the relative right, preference, and limitation of the shares, as well as of each series within the class of shares.

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Step 9- In the entry field, specify the effective date of formation. Click Continue to proceed.

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Step 9a- Specify any variations in the statutory format in Sections 33-18-110 through 33-18-130 (statutory close only).

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Step 9b- Select Yes or No to specify as to whether or not your corporation will have a board of directors (statutory close only).

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Step 9c- Select Yes or No to specify as to whether or not the corporation has the right to give the estate of a deceased shareholder the ability to purchase the deceased shareholders shares (statutory close only).

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Step 9d- Note any variations to the statutory format in Sections 33-18-140 (statutory close only).

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Step 9e- A statement will then be displayed regarding the rights of the shareholders, and the exclusive rights to use the corporate name (statutory close only).

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Step 10- Additional provisions may be supplied by either manually inputting the details into the large text box, or selecting an item from your computer files.

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Step 11- On the following page you will be required to add the incorporators of your business. Begin my clicking the Add tab.

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Step 12- Type the name of an incorporator into the entry field and click Continue.

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Step 13- Next, supply the address of the previously mentioned incorporator.

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Step 14- You may now add additional incorporators by repeating three previous steps. When you are ready to move forward, click Continue.

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Step 15- Here you must supply the name and phone number of an attorney that is licensed to practice in the state of South Carolina.

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Step 16- Continue by providing the address of the previously mentioned attorney.

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Step 17- A statement will be displayed noting the rights regarding the use of a corporate name. Click Continue to proceed.

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Step 18- On this page you will be able to print the Attorney Package and Signature Sheet, which must be signed by your attorney and included with your application. Click Save & Stop if you would like to pause the registration process to execute this task. When you are ready to move forward, click Continue.

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Step 19- Here you must supply a document from your computer files containing the required signatures mentioned in the previous step. Click Choose File to select the document and then specify the file format in which it will be supplied by selecting an option from the drop-down menu on the right.

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Step 20- Click the Add icon to supply the names and addresses of each officer of your corporation.

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Step 21- Enter the name of an officer into the entry field and specify his/her business title. Click Continue to proceed.

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Step 22- Continue by supplying the street address, city, state, and zip code of the officer mentioned in Step 21.

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Step 23- At this point you may add additional officers, or move forward by clicking Continue.

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Step 24- If an employer identification number has been obtained, you may supply that information now.

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Step 25- Select the business code that comes closest to describing the activities that your corporation will perform. The code must contain at least 6 digits before you will be able to proceed.

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Step 26- On the following page you must provide the address of the business as well as a mailing address to receive statements from the Secretary of State.

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Step 27- Enter the address of the office in which corporate records for your business are to be stored.

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Step 28- Specify the month that your fiscal tax year will end as well as the business phone number for your corporation.

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Step 29- The next page displays all the information that has been submitted so far. If something has been inputted incorrectly, you can use the Previous button found on the bottom left to move back to any step that you would like to alter. At the bottom right of the page you will see an image like the one shown below. To proceed, click Continue.

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Step 30- To add the application to the shopping cart and proceed to check out, click Continue.

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Step 31- A description of the fee you will be required to pay is displayed on the following page. Click Checkout to proceed.

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Step 32- On this page a statement of the fee is displayed, similar to the one shown in the previous step. Simply click Continue to proceed.

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Step 33- Select  the method of payment that you would like to provide by choosing one of the available options.

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Step 34- Lastly, enter your EFW or credit card details into the entry fields provided and then click Continue to commit to payment and conclude the registration process.

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How to File a Non-Profit Corporation (Online)

Step 1- The filing of a non profit corporation begins by logging in with your online account. If you haven’t yet created an account with the Secretary of State, click here to view our tutorial on the registration process.

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Step 2- Continue by navigating here to access the Secretary of State’s filing system. Select the type of corporation you would like to register by choosing one of the options from the drop-down menu.

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Step 3- Specify as to whether your corporation is domestic or foreign by selecting one of the available options.

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Step 4- Enter the name of your corporation into the text box and click Continue.

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Step 5- Next, a statement will be displayed regarding the laws under which your corporation is being registered. Read this carefully before clicking Continue to proceed.

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Step 6- Enter the name of the registered agent into the entry field and click Continue.

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Step 7- The address of the registered office must then be supplied. Once entered, click Continue.

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Step 8- Select the type of non-profit corporation by choosing one of the three available options.

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Step 9- If your corporation will have members, specify that on this page before clicking Continue to proceed.

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Step 10- You must now provide the address of the principal office of your corporation.

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Step 11- Here you must select one of the available options regarding distribution of assets upon dissolution.

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Step 12- Optional provisions may be added by entering a description into the text box or by supplying an item from your computer files.

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Step 13- Click the Add icon to begin adding the names and addresses of each incorporator.

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Step 14- Enter the name of an incorporator and click Continue.

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Step 15- Next, enter the address of the incorporator that  was previously supplied.

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Step 16- You may now add additional incorporators, or move forward by clicking Continue.

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Step 17- Use the Add icon to begin adding the names and addresses of each director.

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Step 18- Provide the name of a director into the entry field and click Continue.

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Step 19- The director’s address must be supplied into the entry fields provided.

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Step 20- You may then add additional directors by repeating the previous three steps, or move forward by clicking Continue.

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Step 21- A statement will then be shown regarding the rights of the name chosen for your entity. Click Continue to proceed.

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Step 22- You must now download and print the Signature Sheet, which must be singed by the appropriate incorporators and directors. Click Save & Stop to halt the registration process so far, allowing you to gather the appropriate signatures before proceeding.

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Step 23- Click Choose File to select an item from your computer that contains all the necessary signatures mentioned in Step 21. Specify the type of file you will be providing by selecting one of the option from the drop-down menu on the right.

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Step 24- Click the Add icon to provide the names and addresses of the officers.

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Step 25- Enter the first and last name of an officer into the entry fields. Click Continue to proceed.

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Step 26- Next, provide the address of the officer previously mentioned.

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Step 27- At this point you may add additional officers, or proceed by clicking Continue.

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Step 28- Enter the FEIN number into the entry field at the top (if previously obtained). Click Continue to proceed.

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Step 29- On the following page you will be required to select the business codes that come closest to describing the activities that your corporation will perform. The business code must contain at least 6 digits.

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Step 30- Next, provide the location of your corporation’s primary place of business, as well as a mailing address to receive statements from the Secretary of State.

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Step 31- Here you must supply an address in which corporate records are to be stored.

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Step 32- Specify when your tax year ends by selecting one of the option from the menu at the top, and then enter a phone number for your corporation.

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Step 33- Next, you must indicate the political status of your corporation.

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Step 34- All the details that you have submitted so far will be displayed on the following page. If you would like to go back and adjust any information that has been inputted incorrectly, click the Previous button on the bottom left. If not, scroll down to the bottom and you will see an image like the one shown below. Click Continue to proceed.

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Step 35- To add your application to your shopping cart and proceed to payment, click Continue.

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Step 36- Most non-profit corporations will be required to provide $25, with the exception being political associations which must pay $50.

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Step 37- Simply click Continue on this page to proceed to payment.

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Step 38- Select your method of payment by choosing one of the available options.

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Step 39- On this final page you must provide your EFW or credit card information as well as an address. Clicking Continue finalizes the registration process.

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How to File a Profit Corporation (PDF)

Step 1- To file for a profit corporation in South Carolina, begin by downloading the Articles Of Incorporation application that the Secretary of State has provided.

Step 2- After downloading the previously mentioned PDF application, continue by supplying the information listed below.

Page 1

  • 1-Name of the corporation
  • 2-Initial address of the registered office as well as the agent’s name and signature
  • 3a-The amount of single class shares the corporation is authorized to issue (if applicable)
  • 3b-The class and the amount of shares the corporation is authorized to issue (if applicable)
  • The relative right, preference, and limitations of each class, and of each series of shares
  • 4-Effective date of formation

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Page 2

  • Name of the corporation
  • 5-Additional provisions you may wish to include
  • 6-Name, address, and signature of each incorporator
  • 7-Attorney’s signature
  • Date signed
  • Attorney’s signature, printed name, address, and phone number

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Step 3- With the previous application completed in duplicate, continue by downloading the CL-1 form that needs to accompany your articles of incorporation. The information that this document requires is as follows:

  • Name of the corporation
  • Street address of the corporation
  • City, state, zip, and country of the corporation
  • 1-State of incorporation
  • 2-Intended business purpose
  • 3-Address of the registered office
  • 4-Address of the principal office in South Carolina
  • 5-Effective date of formation
  • 6-Date of dissolution
  • 7-Specify whether or not the shareholders, one-half of the directors, or officers are qualified to practice services engaged by the corporation (professional service only)
  • 8-SSN, name, title, and business address of each director and principal officer
  • 9-The number of authorized shares of capital stock by class and series (if any)
  • 10-The number of issued and outstanding shares of capital stock by class and series (if any)
  • Signature of incorporator or officer
  • Title of incorporator or officer signing

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Step 4- Lastly, a filing fee in the amount of $135 must be prepared in the form of a check or money order mad payable to the Secretary of State. Forward all items to the address below for processing.

Secretary of State

1205 Pendleton Street Suite 525

Columbia, SC 29201

How to File a Non-Profit Corporation (PDF)

Step 1- Begin by downloading the Articles of Incorporation.

Step 2- The information that must be submitted is as follows:

Page 1

  • 1-Name of the corporation
  • 2-Address of the registered office, printed name and signature of the registered agent
  • 3-Select the type of corporation being registered
  • 4-Specify as to whether or not your corporation will have members
  • 5-Address of the principal office

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Page 2

  • 6a-Specify the distribution of assets upon dissolution, and if an entity should receive said assets, name the entity (if applicable)
  • 6b-If the assets of the dissolved corporation are to be distributed to one or more public benefit or religious corporations, indicate the name of said entity (if applicable)
  • 7a-Upon dissolution of a mutual benefit company, the assets shall be distributed to the members, or if no members, the individual whom the corporation is serving (if applicable)
  • 7b-Upon dissolution of a mutual benefit corporation, name the person that the assets shall be distributed to (if applicable)
  • 8-Optional provisions

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Page 3

  • 9-Name and address of each incorporator
  • 10-Name and signature of each director, if the directors are named in these articles
  • 11-Each incorporator listed in #9 must provide a signature
  • 12-Effective date, if not effective upon filing

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Step 3- With the application completed in duplicate, continue by downloading the CL-1 PDF document that must accompany your articles of incorporation (political associations only). The information required on the CL-1 form is as follows:

  • Name of the corporation
  • Street address of the corporation
  • City, state, zip, and country of the corporation
  • 1-State of incorporation
  • 2-Intended business purpose
  • 3-Address of the registered office
  • 4-Address of the principal office in South Carolina
  • 5-Effective date of formation
  • 6-Date of dissolution
  • 7-Specify whether or not the shareholder, one-half of the directors, or officers are qualified to practice services engaged by the corporation (professional service only)
  • 8-SSN, name, title, and business address of each director and principal officer
  • 9-The number of authorized shares of capital stock by class and series, if any
  • 10-The number of issued and outstanding shares of capital stock by class and series, if any
  • Signature of incorporator or officer
  • Title of incorporator or officer signing

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Step 4- The last step before mailing your documents is to attach the filing fee in the form of a check or money order made out to the Secretary of State ($25 for all non-profits except political associations which must pay $50). All documents and fees must be forwarded to the address below.

South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office

Attn: Corporate Filings

1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525 – Columbia, SC 29201

How to File a Benefit Corporation (PDF)

Step 1- Filers must first download the Articles of Incorporation Benefit Corporation.

Step 2- With the application downloaded, continue by submitting the following information:

Page 1

  • 1-Name of the corporation
  • 2-Initial address of the registered office and registered agent’s printed name and signature
  • 3a-The amount of single class shares the corporation is authorized to issue (if applicable)
  • 3b-The class and amount of multi class shares the corporation is authorized to issue (if applicable)

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Page 2

  • Name of the corporation
  • The relative right, preference, and limitations of the shares of each class, and of each series within a class
  • 4-The effective date of formation
  • 6-The purpose of the corporation
  • 7-Optional additional provisions
  • 8-The name, address, and signature of each incorporator

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Page 3

  • Name of the corporation
  • 9-Attorney’s printed name
  • Date signed
  • Attorney’s signature, printed name, address, and telephone number

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Step 3- Once your application has been completed correctly and printed in duplicate, continue by downloading the CL-1 form that must accompany your filings. The information that must be supplied on this document is as follows:

  • Name of the corporation
  • Street address of the corporation
  • City, state, zip, and country of the corporation
  • 1-State of incorporation
  • 2-Intended business purpose
  • 3-Address of the registered office
  • 4-Address of the principal office in South Carolina
  • 5-Effective date of formation
  • 6-Date of dissolution
  • 7-Specify whether or not the shareholder, one-half of the directors, or officers are qualified to practice services engaged by the corporation (professional service only)
  • 8-SSN, name, title, and business address of each director and principal officer
  • 9-The number of authorized shares of capital stock by class and series, if any
  • 10-The number of issued and outstanding shares of capital stock by class and series, if any
  • Signature of incorporator or officer
  • Title of incorporator or officer signing

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Step 4- Lastly, a filing fee in the amount of $135 must be attached in the form of a check or money order made out to the Secretary of State. Gather all articles and forward them to the address below.

South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office

1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525

Columbia, SC 29201

How to File a Benefit Statutory Close Corporation (PDF)

Step 1- Filers must begin by downloading the Articles of Incorporation.

Step 2- Once the application has been downloaded, you must then submit the following information:

Page 1

  • 1-Name of the corporation
  • 2-Initial address of the registered office and registered agent’s printed name and signature
  • 3a-The amount of single class shares the corporation is authorized to issue (if applicable)
  • 3b-The class and amount of multi class shares the corporation is authorized to issue (if applicable)

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Page 2

  • Name of the corporation
  • The relative right, preference, and limitations of the shares of each class and of each series within a class
  • 5-Specify any variations to the statutory format in sections 33-18-110 through 33-18-130
  • 6-Specify as to whether or not the corporation will have a board of directors
  • 7-Specify as to whether or not the estate of a deceased shareholder has a right to compel the corporation to purchase the deceased shareholder’s shares
  • Specify any variations in the statutory format in sections 33-18-140 though 33-18-170
  • 9-The corporation’s public benefit purpose

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Page 3

  • Name of the corporation
  • 10-Optional provisions
  • 11-Effective date of formation
  • 12-Name, address, and signature of at least one incorporator

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Page 4

  • Name of the corporation
  • 13-Attorney’s name
  • Date signed
  • Attorney’s signature, printed name, address, and phone number

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Step 3- Once the application has been completed correctly and printed in duplicate, continue by downloading the CL-1 application. The information that must be provided on this document is as follows:

  • Name of the corporation
  • Street address of the corporation
  • City, state, zip, and country of the corporation
  • 1-State of incorporation
  • 2-Intended business purpose
  • 3-Address of the registered office
  • 4-Address of the principal office in South Carolina
  • 5-Effective date of formation
  • 6-Date of dissolution
  • 7-Specify whether or not the shareholder, one-half of the directors, or officers are qualified to practice services engaged by the corporation (professional service only)
  • 8-SSN, name, title, and business address of each director and principal officer
  • 9-The number of authorized shares of capital stock by class and series, if any
  • 10-The number of issued and outstanding shares of capital stock by class and series, if any
  • Signature of incorporator or officer
  • Title of incorporator or officer signing

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Step 4- Lastly, a filing fee of $135 in the form of a check or money order made out to the Secretary of State must be attached. Gather all items and forward them to the address below.

South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office

1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525

Columbia, SC 29201

How to File a Benefit Professional Corporation (PDF)

Step 1- The filing procedure begins by downloading the Articles of Incorporation.

Step 2- Once downloaded, continue by supplying the following information:

Page 1 

  • 1-Name of the corporation
  • 2-Initial address of the registered office and registered agent’s printed name and signature
  • 3a-The amount of single class shares the corporation is authorized to issue (if applicable)
  • 3b-The class and amount of multi class shares the corporation is authorized to issue (if applicable)

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Page 2

  • Name of the corporation
  • The relative right, preference, and limitations of the shares of each class, and of each series within a class
  • 4-Effective date of formation
  • 6-Professional services to be rendered
  • 8-The corporation’s specific benefit purpose(s)
  • 9-Optional provisions
  • 10-The name, address, and signature of at least one incorporator

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Page 3

  • Name of the corporation
  • 11-Attorney’s name
  • Date signed
  • Attorney’s signature, printed name, and phone number

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Step 3- With the previous application completed in duplicate, you must then download the CL-1 form necessary to accompany your filings. The following information must be submitted on this document:

  • Name of the corporation
  • Street address of the corporation
  • City, state, zip, and country of the corporation
  • 1-State of incorporation
  • 2-Intended business purpose
  • 3-Address of the registered office
  • 4-Address of the principal office in South Carolina
  • 5-Effective date of formation
  • 6-Date of dissolution
  • 7-Specify whether or not the shareholder, one-half of the directors, or officers are qualified to practice services engaged by the corporation (professional service only)
  • 8-SSN, name, title, and business address of each director and principal officer
  • 9-The number of authorized shares of capital stock by class and series, if any
  • 10-The number of issued and outstanding shares of capital stock by class and series, if any
  • Signature of incorporator or officer
  • Title of incorporator or officer signing

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Step 4- Lastly, a filing fee in the amount of $135 must be attached to your application. Accepted forms of payment include check or money order made out to the Secretary of State. Forward all items to the address below.

South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office

1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525

Columbia, SC 29201

How to File a Benefit Professional Statutory Close Corporation (PDF)

Step 1- To begin, download the PDF application that the Secretary of State has provided.

Step 2- The information that must be supplied on this document is as follows:

Page 1

  • 1-Name of the corporation
  • 2-Initial address of the registered office and registered agent’s printed name and signature
  • 3a-The amount of single class shares the corporation is authorized to issue (if applicable)
  • 3b-The class and amount of multi class shares the corporation is authorized to issue (if applicable)

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Page 2

  • Name of the corporation
  • The relative right, preference, and limitations of the shares of each class, and of each series within a class
  • 4-The effective date of formation
  • 6-Services to be rendered
  • 8-Specify any variations to the statutory format in sections 33-18-110 through 33-18-130
  • 9-Specify as to whether or not the corporation will have a board of directors
  • 10-Specify as to whether or not the estate of a deceased shareholder has a right to compel the corporation to purchase the deceased shareholder’s shares

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Page 3

  • Name of the corporation
  • Specify any variations to the statutory format in sections 33-18-140 though 33-18-170
  • 12-The corporation’s public benefit purpose(s)
  • 13-Optional provisions
  • 14-Name, address, and signature of at least one incorporator

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Page 4

  • Name of the corporation
  • 15-Name of the attorney
  • Date signed
  • Attorney’s signature, printed name, address, and telephone number

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Step 3- Once this application has been completed and printed in duplicate, continue by downloading the CL-1 form that must be included with your filings. The following information must then be submitted:

  • Name of the corporation
  • Street address of the corporation
  • City, state, zip, and country of the corporation
  • 1-State of incorporation
  • 2-Intended business purpose
  • 3-Address of the registered office
  • 4-Address of the principal office in South Carolina
  • 5-Effective date of formation
  • 6-Date of dissolution
  • 7-Specify whether or not the shareholder, one-half of the directors, or officers are qualified to practice services engaged by the corporation (professional service only)
  • 8-SSN, name, title, and business address of each director and principal officer
  • 9-The number of authorized shares of capital stock by class and series, if any
  • 10-The number of issued and outstanding shares of capital stock by class and series, if any
  • Signature of incorporator or officer
  • Title of incorporator or officer signing

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Step 4- A filing fee of $135 in the form of a check or money order made out to the Secretary of State must be attached before sending your filings in the mail to the address below.

South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office

1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525

Columbia, SC 29201

Tips

EIN – After your registration documents have been filed with the Secretary of State, it will be necessary to apply for an Employer Identification Number. With an EIN you will be seen as a legitimate tax paying organization in the eyes of the federal government which will in turn enable you to hire employees, register for bank accounts, apply for loans, and perform a number of other business transactions. Application is simple and can be accomplished though the mail with the PDF Form SS-4, or Online. If you are having difficulty acquiring this number, you can click on the link at the heading of this paragraph to view our tutorial on the application process for an EIN.

Corporate Bylaws – Drafting a set of corporate bylaws is a great way to manage the internal affairs of a corporation. Corporate bylaws, when implemented correctly, will outline the rules and regulations under which the corporate officials must operate. There is no legal obligation to draft and implement a set of bylaws, though many corporations choose to organize their business with the use of one of these agreements. Take some time to view the free template that we have provided to see if implementing this into your business structure can benefit your corporation. Click on the link at the heading of this paragraph to download the MS Word or PDF files we have provided.

Renewal – The Department of Revenue requires that all corporations file an annual report with their income tax return. A report will let the state know of any changes that may have occurred in past year. A report can be filed with the SC 1120 document, the third page of which is designated as the annual report. A minimum fee of $25 must be included though additional fees may apply depending on the type of corporation being  filed. Furthermore,  individuals representing benefit corporations will be required to supply an addition renewal application with the Secretary of State. The application can be found here and must be completed with a $10 filing fee attached. Send each report to their respective address located 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