How to Find the Best Registered Agent in South Carolina
This guide will help you find the best registered agent in South Carolina. We’ll explore key factors to consider, evaluate top providers, and equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision for your business’s registered agent needs.
What is a registered agent?
According to the South Carolina Secretary of State, a registered agent is a person or business entity that accepts service of process and official correspondence for a business organization.
The primary responsibility of a registered agent in South Carolina is to be the point of contact for a business that accepts legal notices and important documents such as:
- Articles of Organization – the South Carolina formation documents for an LLC
- Articles of Incorporation – formation documents for corporations
- Certificate of Existence– proof of good standing in South Carolina
- Corporate income tax – expected on or before the fourth month at the end of the taxable year
An agent is a business street address
The Secretary of State requires a registered agent to be physically available to receive official documents in person.
You can list the physical address of your registered agent or service in the South Carolina Secretary of State public directory of business addresses instead of a personal one.
A registered agent is the point of contact required by the Secretary of State
The South Carolina Secretary of State requires you to appoint a registered agent so that they know someone is available during regular business hours to accept time-sensitive legal documents.
According to state law, a business or individual in South Carolina has 14 days to respond to a subpoena.
A commercial registered agent service will send you a notification that the service of process has happened so that you can respond quickly to avoid default judgments and contempt of court.
A commercial registered agent service is a due date alert
The deadline to file state taxes in South Carolina is before the 15th day of the fourth month following the taxable year, which isn’t an easy due date to keep up with.
If you fail to file your state taxes on time, you lose good standing and liability protection in South Carolina.
Professional registered agent services will alert you of the state tax due date and help you file the appropriate documents to safeguard your liability protection.
Cost of a registered agent in South Carolina
According to the Secretary of State, a registered agent must be at least 18 years old and have a street address in South Carolina.
You can appoint anyone for free to your company as long as they meet the registered agent requirements.
- Adult child
Commercial registered agent services in South Carolina can cost between $50 and $500 annually.
When to appoint a registered agent
All businesses in South Carolina must appoint a registered agent upon business formation and list the registered agent information on the formation documents.
A limited liability company (LLC) lists the registered agent’s name and address on the Articles of Organization.
Corporations in South Carolina provide the registered agent information on the Articles of Incorporation.
How does a South Carolina LLC appoint a registered agent?
File the Articles of Organization
You will complete the Articles of Organization for an LLC form and submit it to the South Carolina Secretary of State Corporate Filings Division by mail or in person.
Mailing and address:
South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office
1205 Pendleton StreetSuite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
You can use the South Carolina Business Entities Online portal to submit the Articles of Organization online.
Appoint your registered agent
Section 3 of the South Carolina Articles of Organization form will request the registered agent information.
- Agent for service of process name
- Registered agent street address
Pay your South Carolina filing fees
The cost to file South Carolina Articles of Organization is $110.
The Secretary of State Corporate Filings Division does not offer expedited business filing services.
The cost to file your LLC Articles of Organization in South Carolina is $110.
How to change your registered agent in South Carolina
If a registered agent resigns, retires, or there is an address change, you must notify the South Carolina Secretary of State.
Submit the notice of change online
You will use the South Carolina Secretary of State Business Entities Online website to submit the notice of change online.
Submit the notice of change by mail or in person
Depending on your business structure, you must complete the appropriate notice of change form and submit it to the South Carolina Secretary of State by mail or in person.
The cost to switch registered agents in South Carolina is $10.
How to resign as a registered agent in South Carolina
You complete the agent’s resignation for service of process form and send the original and two copies to the South Carolina Secretary of State Corporate Filings Division.
The Secretary of State will mail one of those copies to the entity you’re resigning from.
The agent’s resignation for the service of process form will request specific information.
- Company name
- Statement of resignation
The cost to resign as a registered agent in South Carolina is $3.
Benefits of appointing a registered agent in South Carolina
You’re ensuring you remain in good standing
Your state taxes are due annually, and the due dates can get away from you.
When you don’t pay state taxes in a timely matter, you risk losing good standing and asset protection in South Carolina.
The professional registered agent you appoint will use a current compliance calendar to send you alerts when due dates are near and help you through the process of submitting them.
A private address stays out of the South Carolina public record
Small business owners in South Carolina commonly work from a home address or a private office.
By appointing yourself, that personal address becomes the business address and part of the South Carolina Business Search and is searchable using the business name or keywords.
A business owner can choose to list an appointed registered agent address in the Secretary of State business database instead of their personal address.
You get the benefit of peace of mind
A process server can pop up at a business without having to notify the business owner in order to serve legal documents.
You safeguard your reputation by appointing an outside professional registered agent service that can accept sensitive documents, such as subpoenas, away from your place of business.
You’re the boss of your work hours
According to Title 33 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, a registered agent must be available during regular business hours so that they can accept official documents from:
- Law firms
- The Secretary of State
- South Carolina Department of Revenue
By appointing yourself as your own registered agent, you become responsible for that mandated availability.
A professional registered agent service has resident agents on staff during normal business hours to relieve official correspondence from South Carolina.
You always have access to the Certificate of Existence
Banks and other financial institutions will ask you to provide proof that you’re in good standing with the Secretary of State.
The appointment of a registered commercial agent service means you have 24/7 access to the Certificate of Existence and other formation documents to make doing business convenient.
Expansion into other states is easy
All states require you to appoint a registered agent when forming a foreign LLC in a different state.
If you have one appointed already, you can begin the LLC formation process easily and quickly.
Does South Carolina require a registered agent to consent to the appointment?
The registered agent you appoint does not have to sign the formation documents or change of agent form. However, appointing a registered agent or service without consent is not recommended as it can still lead to administrative dissolution.
What South Carolina business filings can a registered agent complete?
A South Carolina registered agent can only complete business filings with authorization from the business owner. Once authorized, a registered agent can help you with business filings.
How do registered agents get served in South Carolina?
A process server will physically contact the registered office address with the appointed registered agent. The process server, typically a sheriff, will notify South Carolina Courts and the law firm that it was served.
What is the difference between a registered agent and an owner?
A registered agent in South Carolina is only a representative that accepts legal documents and state-related correspondence for a company. But, an LLC owner or member can appoint themselves as their own registered agent.
Are there business entities not required to appoint a registered agent in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, all businesses must appoint a registered agent regardless of business structure.
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