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How to Start an LLC in South Carolina: 2024 Complete Guide

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Using an LLC Formation Service

Small business entrepreneurs can benefit from online LLC services to establish their Limited Liability Companies (LLC). These services will help file the necessary documents, allowing small business owners to focus on running their businesses. They have features like guaranteed acceptance by the state, assistance with the EIN application, registered agent service, and drafting of operating agreements. Online LLC services can be a reasonable and worthwhile cost.

Business owners can customize these packages to suit their individual needs. If you want to compare services and costs before deciding, you can choose from several options. Northwest Registered Agent, Swiftfilings, and Bizee LLC services are the most popular choices and have the best ratings.

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Starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in South Carolina is an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs. An LLC combines the liability protection of a corporation with the flexibility and tax benefits of a partnership, making it an attractive option for many business owners. Here’s your guide to forming an LLC in South Carolina.

Step 1: Choose a Business Name

The first step in creating your LLC is picking a unique name. Your LLC’s name identifies your business and plays a vital role in branding. In South Dakota, your LLC name must include “Limited Liability Company” or its abbreviations (LLC or LLC). 

Here are the guidelines you must follow: 

  • The name must include “Limited Liability Company” or its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
  • It must be unique from existing businesses registered in South Carolina. The South Carolina Secretary of State’s website allows you to check name availability.
  • Avoid restricted words without the necessary licenses (like “Bank” or “University”).

If you are considering getting a website name that matches your business name, You can find good deals for your domain names on Namecheap.

Step 2: Hire a Registered Agent

Like in other states, your South Dakota LLC must have a statutory agent, known as a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or company that agrees to receive legal papers on behalf of your LLC, ensuring you get all important legal notices. The agent must have a physical address in South Dakota and be available during business hours. You can act as your registered agent, choose someone you trust, or hire a professional service like Northwest Registered Agent, Swiftfilings, or Bizee.

Check out our blog: ‘Is a Registered Agent Necessary? Your Guide to Finding an Affordable Option

Step 3: File Your Articles of Organization in South Dakota 

The cornerstone of creating an LLC in South Dakota is filing the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State of South Dakota. This document registers your LLC with the state and includes important details about your business.

What to Include in Your Articles of Organization:

  • LLC Name: Your LLC’s name must include “Limited Liability Company” or its abbreviation “LLC” to comply with South Dakota naming conventions.
  • Mailing Address: List a mailing address if it’s different from the LLC’s physical location.
  • Registered Agent: South Dakota requires you to appoint a registered agent to accept legal documents on your LLC’s behalf. Include their full name and physical address in South Dakota. The registered agent must consent to this appointment.
  • Management Structure: Indicate whether your LLC is member-managed or manager-managed, including the members’ or managers’ names and addresses. A P.O. box may be used for addresses if privacy is a concern.
  • Purpose: While a specific purpose isn’t necessary, you may briefly describe your business activities.
  • LLC Organizer: The person or entity filing the Articles of Organization should be identified here.
  • Formation Date: You can choose the LLC’s start date, either the filing date or a specific date, within 60 days of filing.
  • Signing: Ensure all information is accurate before signing. The form must be signed by either an LLC member, manager, or organizer.

How to Send Your Form:

  • Online: The quickest way to file your Articles of Organization in South Carolina is through the South Carolina Secretary of State’s website. This platform efficiently submits your paperwork and payment.
  • By Mail: If you prefer, you can also file by mail. Fill out the Articles of Organization form and send it with the required fee to the South Carolina Secretary of State, Attn: Corporate Filings, 1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525, Columbia, SC 29201.
  • In-Person: Those who wish to file in person can bring their completed Certificate of Formation to the address listed for mail submissions.

Filing Fee: The cost to file the Articles of Organization in South Carolina is $110, regardless of the method of filing.

To successfully establish your LLC in South Carolina, ensure all the information in your Articles of Organization is accurate and complete.

Step 4: Making an Operating Agreement for Your Business

Let’s discuss setting up some ground rules for your business. This is where an Operating Agreement comes in. Think of it as a handbook that explains how your business runs. It’s important because it helps everyone understand their role and what’s expected in your LLC.

Here’s what an Operating Agreement usually includes:

  • Ownership: This part talks about who owns what percentage of the business. 
  • Member’s Rights and Responsibilities: Here, you’ll write down what each person in the LLC can and cannot do and what they’re responsible for. It’s like a job description for each member.
  • Joining & Leaving: This section covers how new people can enter your business and what happens if someone decides to leave. It’s good to have this figured out so there are no surprises later.
  • Dissolution: This might sound a bit gloomy, but it’s practical. It’s about how to close down the LLC if you ever need to. It includes the steps to take and how to handle everything when wrapping up the business.

Creating an Operating Agreement is a smart move. It keeps things clear and organized so everyone knows what to expect, and it can save you a lot of time. 

Step 5: Getting Your EIN from the IRS

Your business needs a number called an EIN from the IRS. It’s like an ID number for your business. This number will help you as an identification number when getting bank accounts and credit accounts, filing taxes, and hiring employees.

It’s free, and you can get it from the IRS website.

Step 6: Steps After Forming Your LLC 

Open a Business Bank Account 

Keeping your personal and business finances separate is crucial for financial management and legal protection. Opening a business bank account requires your EIN and Articles of Organization. It makes tracking business expenses easier and simplifies tax filing.

Get a Business Credit Card

A business credit card is an excellent tool for handling business purchases and can help build your company’s credit history. Just like with personal credit, a good business credit score can make it easier to get loans and may qualify you for better terms. Visit our website to see our favorite business cards review.  


Check out our blog: Novo Review: The Best Business Banking Account in 2024?

Hire an Accountant

Managing finances can get complicated, especially as your business grows. An accountant can help you navigate tax laws, handle bookkeeping, and plan for financial growth. This professional guidance can save you time and money in the long run.

Create a Professional Website 

A website makes your business look legit. WordPress is a great tool to build your site. You can check out SiteGround or Hostinger for web hosting. They’re both good options to get your site up and running.

 

South Carolina LLC: Permits, Licenses, Tax Requirements, and Annual Reporting

Creating an LLC in South Carolina requires more than just filing the initial documents; complying with state regulations for a smoothly operating business is crucial. This includes obtaining the proper permits and licenses, understanding tax obligations, and meeting annual reporting requirements.

 

Obtain Any Additional Permits and Licenses

Depending on the nature of your LLC’s activities and its location, you might need various permits and licenses:

  • Local Business Licenses: Many municipalities in South Carolina require local business licenses. Check with your city or county clerk’s office or website for specific requirements.
  • Professional Licenses: If your LLC operates in a profession requiring state licensing, you must obtain the licenses from the relevant South Carolina regulatory boards.
  • Health Permits: LLCs involved in the food service, healthcare, or beauty industries might need health permits, which the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control or local health departments typically issue.

 

Tax Requirements in South Carolina

Managing your LLC’s tax obligations is crucial for legal compliance:

 

Annual Report in South Carolina

Maintaining good standing with the state involves submitting an annual report:

  • Filing Requirements: South Carolina does not require LLCs to file a yearly report, simplifying ongoing compliance.

 

Following these guidelines for permits, licenses, and tax obligations and maintaining your business’s good standing is essential for successfully operating your South Carolina LLC. For the most current and detailed information, visit the South Carolina Secretary of State website and the South Carolina Department of Revenue website

 

New 2024 Reporting Requirements (BOI)

Effective from January 1, 2024

Big news! Starting January 1, 2024, there are new reporting requirements for both domestic and foreign reporting companies. This includes LLCs, corporations, and other entities. Here’s what you need to know:

 

First Report Deadlines:

  • Existing Entities: If your LLC was already around before 2024, you’ve got until January 1, 2025, to submit your first report.
  • New Entities: If you’re forming your LLC in 2024, you must file your report within 90 days of your company’s creation.

 

Who Needs to Report:

  • Domestic Reporting Companies: This includes LLCs and similar entities within the U.S.
  • Foreign Reporting Companies: Entities registered foreign entities must also adhere to these new rules.

 

Exceptions to Reporting:

  • For specific exceptions, you’ll want to refer to the Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Regulations at 31 CFR § 1010.380(c)(2) and the Small Entity Compliance Guide.

 

What Must Be Reported

What you need to report is all about transparency. The exact details can be found in the compliance guide, but it generally involves information about your LLC’s ownership and control.

 

When Must Reporting File Reports

Remember, if you’re an existing entity, your deadline is January 1, 2025. For new LLCs formed in 2024, it’s within 90 days of creation.

 

Filing Reports & Noncompliance Penalties

Starting January 1, 2024, all BOI reports must be filed electronically. Here are some critical points:

  • Filing Before the Date: You must file on January 1, 2024.
  • Accuracy: Filer certification of accuracy is mandatory – you need to double-check that everything you report is correct and accurate.

 

Penalties for Noncompliance:

  • False Information Penalties: Mistakes or misinformation can result in a fine of up to $10,000 or up to two years in prison.
  • Penalties: If you slip up here, you could face a fine of up to $10,000 or even imprisonment for up to 2 years.
  • FinCEN’s Approach: The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) focuses on education and outreach to ensure compliance. 
  • Safe Harbor Rule: Did you make a mistake? If you discover inaccuracies in your initial report, you have a 90-day grace period to submit a corrected report.

If you need more information or specific guidance, please visit the FinCEN website for all the details.

Starting an LLC in South Carolina in 2024 is a process that offers both flexibility and protection for your business endeavors. By following these steps and ensuring compliance with state requirements, you can establish a solid foundation for your business. Always refer to the South Carolina Secretary of State and the South Carolina Department of Revenue websites for the most accurate and up-to-date information. If you need help, services like Northwest Registered Agent, Swiftfiling, or Bizee exist. They can handle any legal details your LLC requires, like getting your EIN and sorting out your operating agreement.

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