How Much Does an LLC Cost in South Carolina (Full Guide)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: June 21, 2024
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Creating an LLC in South Carolina isn't as simple as just paying a fee and filing the necessary documents.

As an experienced Mergers and Acquisitions specialist, I helped several businesses and individuals form LLCs in different states.

Together with business experts in the state, we have spent months researching the costs and requirements to create an LLC in South Carolina to provide you with information on all the costs associated with starting an LLC.

Quick Summary

  • An LLC in South Carolina costs $110 to file the Articles of Organization. 
  • Forming your South Carolina LLC may come with other costs, including a registered agent service, business licenses and permits, filing for an EIN, a DBA, name reservation, and other documents.
  • According to SBA data, a significant 42.2% of South Carolina employees work for small businesses, highlighting the vital role of LLCs and similar entities within the state's economy.
  • Through my experience, I learned that it’s important to hire a legal professional to ensure all LLC documents are legally binding. 


Cost to Start an LLC in South Carolina

An LLC owner doing paperwork in an office

There are mandatory fees and optional costs when forming an LLC in South Carolina. These include the following:

1. LLC Formation Filing Fee ($110 - Mandatory)

An LLC in South Carolina costs $110. This fee is to register your LLC and file your Articles of Organization with the Department of State.

The notable change of -2.2% in new business applications from December 2022 to December 2023, as per U.S. Chamber of Commerce data, reflects a nuanced shift in the entrepreneurial landscape within the state [1].

You can file your South Carolina Articles of Organization in person, via mail, or online at the Business Entities Online website [2].

When I wanted to file using the expedited service, I learned that the state doesn’t offer one, which was fine since online submissions are processed within 24 hours.

2. Registered Agent Service Fee ($80-$300 – Optional)

South Carolina law requires you to choose a registered agent when filing for your South Carolina LLC. It costs $80 to $300 to employ the services of one.

To remain compliant with state laws, I advise my clients to hire a registered agent since they receive service of process on behalf of the company.

3. Name Reservation Fee ($25 - Optional)

To reserve a business name for your LLC in South Carolina, you must submit an application and a $25 fee payable through the Secretary of State. Your reservation lasts for 120 days.

Name reservation prevents any other LLC in South Carolina from using your company name before you register it.

Before reserving a name, I ensure that the LLC name complies with state naming guidelines. I look up a South Carolina LLC if it is available using the Business Name Search [3].

Expenses Following the Approval of Your LLC

Once the limited liability company has been approved and is legally operating in the state, you may need to pay for additional documents.

1. Business License (Depending on the Line of Business - Mandatory)

South Carolina doesn't have a statewide business license for LLCs; however, each municipality controls its own business licenses and registrations. The cost will vary depending on where your LLC does business.

Interestingly, 839,283 small business employees make up 42.2 percent of all employees in South Carolina, according to the SBA, highlighting the critical role small businesses, including LLCs, play in the state's economy [4].

I navigated the South Carolina Business One Stop, since it has a listing of the requirements for each locality concerning business licenses [5].

2. Annual Report Fee ($0)

Unlike most states, a South Carolina business doesn't need to pay an annual report fee. Only an LLC taxed as an S-corporation must pay the fee [6].

"If your LLC opts for taxation as a C-corp or S-corp, remember to submit the Initial Annual Report of Corporations (Form CL-1) and remit a $25 fee within the first 60 days after your LLC's formation."

- Jon Morgan, Co-Founder & Chief Editor of Venture Smarter

South Carolina doesn't require an operating agreement, but it is a good idea for your business to have one. An operating agreement is a statement that establishes how your LLC will be run, profit distribution, and voting requirements, to name a few.

The cost of an operating agreement can vary depending on whether you do it yourself ($0) or pay an attorney to draft one up.

A client of mine opted to use an online template from a reputable LLC formation service. The costs range from $100 to $200.

4. DBA Name ($10 - Optional)

A DBA name costs $10 in South Carolina. If you are considering doing business under any name other than your legal business name, register a Doing Business As Name.

Unlike most states, DBAs aren't registered with the South Carolina Secretary of State but are registered in the county where the business is.

5. Certified Copies ($3 + $0.50 per additional page - optional)

You can order certified copies for $3 plus $.50 per additional page. This includes South Carolina LLC, including your Articles of Organization, LLC owner's information, and more.

I keep a copy of these documents for protection against potential legal issues.

Certified copies can be ordered online, by phone, or in person at the South Carolina Secretary of State [7].

6. Certificate Of Existence ($10 - Optional)

For an LLC in South Carolina, a certificate of existence is the same as a certificate of good standing. You can order a certificate of existence for $10.

I advise clients to obtain this document since a South Carolina business is required to provide a Certificate of Existence if creating a business bank account or registering as a foreign LLC in another state.

An employer identification number (EIN) costs $0 to file and can be done online, via mail, or by phone through the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS employer identification number can be used to get a business bank account and is necessary if you have employees.

Related articles:

FAQs

How Much Is A Business Bank Account In South Carolina?

The cost of a business bank account in South Carolina varies. Some banks can charge monthly fees ranging from $10 to $50, while others don't charge monthly fees or offer incentives instead of monthly fees.

How Much Does South Carolina Tax An LLC?

South Carolina doesn't charge LLCs any corporate tax. LLC members individually need to pay state and federal income on earnings from the LLC.


References:

  1. https://www.uschamber.com/small-business/new-business-applications-a-state-by-state-view?state=sc
  2. https://businessfilings.sc.gov/businessfiling
  3. https://businessfilings.sc.gov/BusinessFiling/Entity/Search
  4. https://advocacy.sba.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/2023-Small-Business-Economic-Profile-SC.pdf
  5. https://scbos.sc.gov/county-resources
  6. https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t12c020.php
  7. https://sos.sc.gov/online-filings/business-entities/document-request-online

About The Author

Author
Delina Chantel Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions at Deloitte and PwC, managing billion-dollar transactions. Educated in Accountancy at California State University and holding advanced degrees from Loyola Law School, she is highly skilled in tax law. Delina also dedicates time to pro bono work for women and children.
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Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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