How Much Does an LLC Cost in South Carolina

Written by: Mary Gerardine

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The minimum South Carolina LLC Cost is $110, which covers the processing fee for filing your LLC formation document (known as the Articles of Organization).

Having said that, the total cost of forming a South Carolina LLC will depend on several factors, including your personal preferences and business needs.

In our How Much Does an LLC Cost in South Carolina article, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about the different costs associated with launching and maintaining an LLC.

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LLC Cost in South Carolina

In the table below, you can find a summary of the main requirements of forming a South Carolina limited liability company (LLC) and their associated fees.

                                                         
RequirementFee
Articles of Organization$110-$150+
Registered Agent Fee$0-$130+
LLC Name$0-$34.50
Operating Agreement$0+

South Carolina LLC Filing Fee ($110-$150+)

If you want to register your LLC in South Carolina, there are certain formation documents you’ll need to file with the Secretary of State. If you’re setting up a domestic entity you’ll need to submit the Articles of Organization, while for a foreign entity you must instead submit an Application for a Certificate of Authority to Transact Business.

Regardless of which of these two formation documents your LLC is required to submit, it will need to pay a filing fee of $110 if submitting by mail, or $125 if submitting online.

On top of these fees, if you’ve elected for your LLC to be taxed as either an S-Corp or C-Corp, you’ll be required to pay an extra $25 fee to file an Initial Annual Report of Corporations (Form CL-1) within 60 days of submitting one of the formation documents listed above.

However, if you choose to use an LLC formation service, the total cost will be a little higher as it will include a small service fee in addition to the state filing fees outlined above.

The typical cost of these LLC formation services can range significantly, but normally start from as low as $29, increasing if you decide to purchase any additional offerings.

Note: For more details on the formation process, you can check out our South Carolina LLC Formation guide.

South Carolina Registered Agent ($0+)

As part of the process of filling out either your South Carolina LLC Articles of Organization or Certificate of Authority, you’ll be required to appoint a registered agent. This is a South Carolina resident or entity that you must assign to accept legal documents, as well as tax and governmental correspondence, on behalf of your LLC.

While you can act as your own registered agent at no cost, it’s often recommended to hire a professional service so you avoid any potential penalties or legal issues caused by non-compliance with state regulations and can ensure your personal information is kept off public records.

While the exact South Carolina registered agent fee you’ll be required to pay will depend on the specific provider you choose, you’ll typically be required to pay around $130+ per year.

However, most premium LLC formation services grant new customers access to their services for free throughout the first year.

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Alternatively, you can find some of the top recommendations for professional RA services in our Best Registered Agent Services of 2024 article.

Naming Your South Carolina LLC ($0-$34.50)

When forming your South Carolina LLC, you’ll be required to pick a suitable name that’s available to use.

While registering a name in itself has no cost, there are two potential costs to be aware of when naming your LLC.

Reserving Name

If you’ve already decided upon a name for your LLC but aren’t looking to form it right now, you can keep it safe for later by filing an Application to Reserve a Limited Liability Company Name with the South Carolina Secretary of State.

It will cost you $25 to submit this form by mail and $32.50 to submit it online. Regardless of how you file, your desired name will be kept safe for a period of 120 days. After this time, you’ll need to decide whether to renew this reservation (and repay the filing fee) or proceed to create your LLC.

Note: We recommend you do a Business Name Search for your desired name in advance to check it’s actually available for use.

When choosing a name for your LLC, it’s important to select one that corresponds to an available domain. This is because a matching domain ensures consistency between your LLC’s name and its online presence, which helps to strengthen its brand recognition and credibility.

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Doing Business As (DBA) Name

If you want to operate your South Carolina business under a name other than the one it’s currently legally registered as, you’ll need to obtain a Doing Business As (DBA) name. However, unlike the majority of states, LLCs in South Carolina are not able to register DBA names at a state level.

This means that you’ll instead have to register it in the locality in which your LLC will primarily operate, normally at no (or minimal) extra cost as part of that area’s local business license application.

The downside of this is that it means this name is only valid in the city/county in which it was registered, and will not be recognized on a statewide level.

Note: Only a foreign LLC whose legal name is already in use in South Carolina can use a fictitious name that’s recognized across the entire state.

South Carolina LLC Operating Agreement ($0+)

While not mandatory, it’s good practice for South Carolina LLCs to have an operating agreement (or “company agreement”).

This document defines the roles and responsibilities of the members or managers in your LLC and will help prevent and solve any business disputes that may arise later on.

While you can opt to hire an online service or business attorney to draft this document for you (which typically costs at least a few hundred dollars), it’s actually quite straightforward to do it yourself at no extra cost.

It’s also important to note that this doesn’t actually need to be filed with the South Carolina Secretary of State — it’s purely an internal document.

Additional South Carolina LLC Formation Costs

On top of the more common fees outlined above, there are a number of potential additional formation costs that LLCs in South Carolina may encounter depending on their circumstances.

We’ve summarized some of these additional costs below:

Local Business Licenses

In order to comply with the local-level regulations of your city and county, your business may be required to obtain some local business licenses. While very few municipalities impose a general licensing requirement for businesses operating within their limits, your LLC might need a specific business license if it’s involved in certain activities.

In the city of Charleston, for example, you’ll be required to pay for an annual license fee in order to be able to run your business within the city’s limits. The exact fee you’ll need to pay depends on how much income your LLC generates, though the license cost typically varies between a flat $32 fee and a rate of $3.90 per $1,000 of your business’s income.

This is generally reflective of the licensing situation in most South Carolina municipalities, with business licenses typically ranging from $75 to several hundred dollars. However, for a more exact estimation of how much your business may need to pay, you’ll need to contact your local county clerk’s office.

Note: To find the relevant contact details for the appropriate body in your county, refer to the South Carolina Municipal Online Directory.

Certificate of Existence

A Certificate of Existence is a document often required to open a business bank account, or by lenders in order to check that your LLC is properly registered and legally authorized to conduct business in the state.

You can request this certificate from the South Carolina Secretary of State for a fee of $10 by mail, or $15 online through the Business Entities Online system.

Note: For foreign entities this document is known as a Certificate of Authorization, though it will cost you the same amount to obtain.

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Cost to Maintain an LLC in South Carolina

In addition to the cost of forming an LLC in South Carolina, there are also several ongoing costs you’ll be responsible for paying each year.

We’ve outlined these recurring costs associated with maintaining a South Carolina LLC below.

Annual Report

If you’ve elected for your LLC to be taxed as a corporation (i.e., a C-Corp or an S-Corp), you’ll be required to submit Form CL-1 with the South Carolina Secretary of State and pay a $25 filing fee within 60 days of formation.

In addition to this, your LLC will also be required to either file SC1120 or SC1120S each year by the 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the fiscal year.

When filing one of these annual forms, you’ll also be required to pay a license fee equivalent to 0.1% of the capital of your LLC plus $15, or $25 (whichever is greater).

Note: This requirement will not apply to any LLCs with a default tax structure.

Registered Agent Maintenance

If you decide to take advantage of a professional registered agent in order to handle your legal documents, you’ll be required to pay an annual fee in return for their services. This fee commonly ranges between $35 and $300 depending on the provider and features you select.

While you’re not required to use a professional registered agent service, it’s highly recommended for most small LLC owners.

Taxes

In addition to the federal tax obligations your LLC owes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there are a variety of state-specific South Carolina business taxes you need to be aware of, including:

  • Sales tax
  • Employment taxes
  • Business privilege taxes
  • Property taxes

Additionally, there are various local taxes your LLC may need to pay depending on the municipality or county it’s based in, such as:

  • Sales and use taxes
  • Property tax

South Carolina vs Other States

If you plan to run your LLC with the default tax structure, South Carolina represents a very affordable option to start your business in. While its initial setup fee of $110 is relatively standard, the complete lack of ongoing maintenance fees makes it very attractive.

By contrast, it would be far more expensive for you in the long run to establish an LLC in Delaware, even despite its initial setup fee of being $20 cheaper, due to its annual franchise tax of $300 you’d have to pay.

Ultimately, however, the best state to form your LLC will be one in which you plan to primarily operate your business from. This makes it far easier to stay legally compliant on a number of levels, including taxation, licensing, and filing requirements, as you’ll only need to deal with one state’s set of rules.

LLC Cost in South Carolina FAQ

How much does it cost for an LLC in SC?

The cost for establishing an LLC in South Carolina typically includes several fees, including a $110 filing fee to the Secretary of State, the fee of using a registered agent service, and the cost of obtaining a sales tax license from the South Carolina Department of Revenue — as well as any applicable business insurance. For more information, see our article on How Much Does it Cost to Start an LLC.

How do I start an LLC in South Carolina?

After choosing a name for your business that complies with the South Carolina LLC naming requirements and is available for use, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State, along with the required filing fee. For a more detailed look into these steps, check out our guide on How to Start an LLC in South Carolina.

How long does it take to get your LLC in South Carolina?

It typically takes between three and five business days for the South Carolina Secretary of State to process your Articles of Organization after receipt. However, additional time may be needed if there are any errors or omissions in your filing that require correction. Once your LLC is approved, you’ll receive a Certificate of Organization, which will officially establish your business entity in South Carolina.

Do LLCs pay taxes in South Carolina?

LLCs in South Carolina are treated as pass-through entities for tax purposes, which means that the business itself does not pay taxes on its income. Instead, the profits and losses of the LLC are “passed through” to the individual members, who report them on their personal tax returns. For a more in-depth look into the total LLC cost, South Carolina business owners can take a look at our How Much Does an LLC Cost in South Carolina guide.

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