South Carolina LLC Costs
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An LLC, or limited liability company, provides you with liability protection, unique tax breaks and incentives, and a flexible management structure. A common misconception among entrepreneurs and small business owners is that forming a South Carolina LLC is expensive and overly complicated. However, the process is straightforward and worth the investment over time.
Costs to start an LLC in South Carolina
LLC Articles of Organization ($110)
South Carolina registered agent fee (varies between $50 to $300)
- In South Carolina, you must appoint a registered agent to form an LLC in the state.
- A registered agent lets the South Carolina Secretary of State know that someone is available during office hours that can accept tax notices and subpoenas.
- You can appoint yourself or someone else in your company as a registered agent if they meet the state requirements.
- The cost for appointing a registered agent in South Carolina will depend on the service you choose, the needs of your LLC, and the state filing fees.
Fees to form a foreign LLC in South Carolina ($110)
- You will have to register your LLC as a foreign LLC if you have an existing one in another state and want to expand into South Carolina.
- You will complete the Application for Certificate of Authority to Transact Business and submit it to the Secretary of State.
- The cost for registering a South Carolina foreign LLC is $110.
LLC name reservation fee ($25)
- In South Carolina, you do not have to reserve an LLC name before formation as long as it is available.
- Reserving an LLC name in South Carolina means no one else can use it.
- LLC names in South Carolina must be unique.
- You can reserve an LLC name for up to 120 days prior to formation.
- You can use the South Carolina Business Name search to reserve your LLC name online.
- Or, you can complete the Application to Reserve a Limited Liability Company Name.
- The LLC filing fee for reserving an LLC name in South Carolina is $25.
DBA filing fees in South Carolina ($10)
- The acronym DBA is a business term for ‘doing business as.’ Your DBA name, or assumed name, is a registered name that you or your LLC uses to operate under than is not your company’s legal name.
- Registering a DBA in South Carolina does not keep other businesses from using the same DBA name.
- In South Carolina, you register a DBA with your County Clerk’s office.
- The cost for a DBA in South Carolina is $10.
Foreign LLC fictitious name fee ($2)
- LLC names are the legal name of the company. Company names in South Carolina must be unique.
- If you are registering a foreign LLC and the legal company name is not available in South Carolina, you must complete the Adopting a Fictitious Name form and submit it to the Secretary of State.
- The cost for a foreign LLC to register a different LLC name in South Carolina is $2.
Cost of certified document copies ($10)
- You will use the South Carolina Secretary of State website to order certified LLC document copies.
- The cost to request certified copies of LLC documents in South Carolina is $10.
Certificate of Existence ($10)
- In South Carolina, banks and other financial institutions will require you to present a certificate of existence before allowing you to open a business bank account.
- You will use the South Carolina Secretary of State’s website to obtain your certificate of existence.
- The filing cost for your certificate of existence is $10.
Steps to start an LLC in South Carolina
Choose a business name
You will want to consider a few things when choosing an LLC name in South Carolina.
- Your LLC name in South Carolina and your company’s legal name must be unique.
- You must meet LLC name guidelines in South Carolina.
- Check for web domain availability to keep branding simple.
You will use the South Carolina Secretary of State Business Name Search to check for LLC name availability.
LLC name reservation fee
South Carolina does not require you to register an LLC name before formation.
You can reserve an LLC name for up to 120 days before formation.
The cost to reserve your LLC name is $25.
The LLC filing fee for reserving an LLC name in South Carolina is $25.
The cost to reserve a company name in South Carolina is $25. Your LLC name is valid for up to 120 days. South Carolina does not require you to reserve an LLC name.
Appoint a South Carolina registered agent
In South Carolina, you must appoint a registered agent for the LLC formation process.
The price for a South Carolina registered agent or service varies between $50 and $100 a year. The cost depends on the state and your LLC needs.
A registered agent in South Carolina is an individual or business entity that receives tax forms, legal documents, subpoenas, civil notices, service of process, and other official government correspondence on behalf of a sole proprietorship, corporation, or LLC.
The registered agent you choose must be a South Carolina resident or a registered agent service authorized to conduct business in the state.
- Starter Plan – $39 a year plus State Fees
- Pro Plan – $149 a year plus State Fees
- Premium Plan – $249 a year plus State Fees
ZenBusiness offers a stand-alone registered agent service. The price is $99 per year.
- Total Out The Door South Carolina LLC Formation Service Package – $47 month and includes:
- South Carolina State Fee
- Filing Service Fee
- Registered Agent
- Tax ID
- Annual Plan – $225 plus State Fees a year
- Economy – $79 plus $153 South Carolina filing fees
- Standard – $329 plus $153 state filing fees
- Express Gold – $349 plus $255 state filing fees
File South Carolina Articles of Organization
You must file your Articles of Organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State.
You can file online using the South Carolina Business Entities Online portal.
Or, you can complete the Articles of Organization form and submit it by mail.
The cost to file your Articles of Organization is $110 in South Carolina.
South Carolina does not offer any expedited LLC services.
South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office
1205 Pendleton StreetSuite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
The Articles of Organization form will ask you for specific details about your South Carolina LLC.
- LLC name and address
- Registered agent
- Contact information of at least one LLC organizer.
The fee in South Carolina for filing your LLC Articles of Organization is $110.
Get a South Carolina LLC EIN
An Employer Identification Number, or EIN, can also be referred to as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Federal Tax ID Number (FTIN).
Your EIN is a 9-digit number that acts like a Social Security Number for your LLC for income tax purposes. The IRS, or Internal Revenue Services, will assign your EIN for no additional cost.
In South Carolina, you must apply for an EIN if you plan on converting a sole proprietorship to an LLC.
Applying for an EIN is a simple process online through the IRS website.
Business banking for a South Carolina LLC
You will want to keep your personal bank account separate from your personal accounts to protect your assets and credit scores.
Most banks in South Carolina will ask for your Articles of Organization, an operating agreement, and an EIN before allowing you to do business banking.
Business banking accounts are generally free, and do not have additional charges or fees.
Business attorney fees in South Carolina
Hiring a business attorney keeps LLC formation simple, and it also provides you with someone that can handle future business-related problems that may arise.
Most business attorneys will offer first-time clients free consultations.
On average, a business lawyer in South Carolina will cost $300 per hour.
LLC taxes in South Carolina
- In South Carolina, LLCs are considered pass-through entities. It means you will file your personal tax returns rather than your LLC’s state tax returns.
- You will use the South Carolina Department of Revenue MyDorway portal to register for your seller’s permit if you sell physical products.
- The South Carolina state tax rate is 6.00%, and a max local and county tax rate of 3.00%.
- If you hire employees in South Carolina, you must register for Unemployment Insurance online using the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.
- You will also need to enroll in South Carolina Employee Withholding Tax online using the MyDorway portal.
- Federal and South Carolina state taxes are complicated. Hiring a professional tax accountant ensures you do not miss deadlines or accrue tax penalties.
Business licenses and permits in South Carolina
Your business licenses and permits will vary depending on where your LLC is located and the type of business.
You will use SC.gov to search for the business licenses and permits you may need.
A business licence cost in South Carolina averages $50. The total cost of permits and licences will depend on where your LLC is, and the type of LLC.
Local government agencies will have different procedures and policies in terms of business licenses and permits. You will want to contact the office to ask questions about the process, price, and business hours.
In South Carolina, you may find some documents that require a notarization from a notary public. For example, a DBA registration form will require a county clerk’s notarization.
Most government agencies will have a notary public on staff if you cannot find one.
In South Carolina, a notary public can charge a max of $5 per notorial act.
Employer obligations in South Carolina
- You have specific South Carolina employer obligations when you hire employees.
- You will need to verify with the federal government that your employees are eligible to work in the US by using the Form I-9 from the USCIS Website.
- You will need to enroll in worker’s compensation insurance.
- In South Carolina, you will report all new hires to the New Hire Reporting website.
- You can find a complete list of South Carolina employer obligations.
Benefits of a South Carolina LLC
- Business banking is just easier when you form an LLC in South Carolina. Banks will require you to open an LLC banking account separate from your personal one.
- LLCs have different compliance requirements than other business structures. Incorporations, for example, must answer to shareholders and stock owners when making vital business decisions.
- LLCs are pass-through entities in South Carolina. LLC earnings are only taxed once through a member’s personal tax return.
- Forming an LLC helps you to avoid being double-taxed. C-corporations are double-taxed while LLCs are not.
- In the South, you access specific business incentives as an LLC. 5-Year Property Tax Abatement or Textile Revitalization Credit and Sales Tax Exemptions are two incentive programs that are currently available.
How long does it take to register an LLC in South Carolina?
It takes South Carolina 1 to 2 business days to process LLC registration online and 7 to 10 business days if you file by mail.
South Carolina does not have expedited services for LLC formation.
How do I dissolve my South Carolina?
You will have to dissolve your South Carolina LLC to avoid ongoing costs and state fees. You will file your Articles of Termination by completing the form and submitting it by mail to the Secretary of State.
The cost for LLC cancellation is $10.
Are there publishing requirements for South Carolina LLCs?
Unlike Arizona and New York, South Carolina has no publishing requirements for LLCs.
Does South Carolina have an annual franchise tax?
One of the benefits of forming an LLC in South Carolina is that you are exempt from an annual franchise tax and annual report fee.
The lack of an annual fee makes forming an LLC in South Carolina less expensive.
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