You set up an LLC in South Carolina by filing a document called Articles of Organization that complies with the requirements of the South Carolina Uniform Limited Liability Company Act of 1996. Setting up a South Carolina LLC is easy; however, determining the legal and tax consequences of operating your business as an LLC are not. Information is available from the South Carolina Secretary of State to assist you in setting up your LLC. It may be in your best interest to obtain advice from a lawyer or tax adviser regarding whether this is the right entity for your business.
Fit your business needs with the right LLC package
Select a name for your LLC that meets two requirements: it must include the words "limited liability company" or "limited company" or one of the abbreviations "L.L.C.", "LLC", "L.C.", or "LC"; and it must be distinguishable from all names on record with the secretary of state. The secretary of state’s website features a “Search Business Filings” that you can use to check the availability of a name before filing your LLC’s Articles of Organization. The name can also be reserved for 120 days by filing a form called Application to Reserve a Limited Liability Company Name along with a filing fee, which is $25 as of December 2010.
Download the Articles of Organization form with instructions from the secretary of state's website (see Resources). It can be filled-in online, but cannot be saved. It can also be printed and completed by typing or printing with black ink.
Prepare articles 1 to 4 on the form, which include the minimum information needed to comply with South Carolina LLC law. You will need to insert your LLC's name; the initial designated office for your LLC, which must be located in South Carolina but does not have to be your LLC's place of business; the agent for service of process for your LLC, as this is the person or company authorized to receive lawsuits for your LLC; and the name of each organizer of your LLC. Articles 5 to 8 are optional and should only be used with the advice of an attorney.
Complete the Articles of Organization form by inserting the name and address for all organizers in Article 10. All organizers must sign and date the articles of organization.
Make a copy of the signed articles of organization and prepare a check for the filing fee made payable to the South Carolina Secretary of State. As of December 2010, the fee is $110. Mail or personally deliver the original and copy of the Articles of Organization form, the check for the filing fee and a self-address stamped envelope to the South Carolina Secretary of State Office (see Resources).
- Articles of organization form
Tips & Warnings
South Carolina LLCs do not have to file annual reports with the secretary of state.
South Carolina LLC law does not require the members to have an operating agreement; however, in the absence of an agreement, the provisions of the Uniform Limited Liability Company Act of 1996 will control the relationship among the LLC and its members and managers. Because the law does allow members the flexibility to alter provisions of the act by using an operating agreement, it may be in your best interest to consult with an attorney or tax adviser to determine whether such an agreement can be used to better structure the operation of your LLC.
References & Resources
- South Carolina Legislature: South Carolina Code of Laws - Uniform Limited Liability Company Act of 1996
- South Carolina Secretary of State: Business Filings
- South Carolina Secretary of State: Business Filing FAQs
- South Carolina Secretary of State: Search Business Filings
- South Carolina Secretary of State: Application to Reserve a Limited Liability Company Name
- South Carolina Secretary of State: Articles of Organization
- South Carolina Secretary of State, Attn: Corporate Filings, P.O. Box 11350, Columbia, SC 29211