South Carolina Business Facts
Overall, South Carolina is a relatively business-friendly state. The cost of doing business is reasonable when it comes to the corporate tax environment, competitive labor environment, incentives available to start a business and cooperative government structure.
South Carolina currently ranks #4 for hosting a favorable regulatory environment. Coupled with low utility and operation costs, the Palmetto State has become a viable option for business formation.
South Carolina is the headquarters of many major companies including Cryovac, Michelin, Sonoco, The InterTech Group, Corestaff Services, AVX and Domtar.
Small businesses thrive in South Carolina and employ over 772,000 people. The Palmetto State’s Department of Commerce helps entrepreneurs by offering business grants and incentive programs to help reinforce the state’s economy. These incentives include the job tax credit, no wholesale tax, no local income tax and no state property tax.
There are 3 basic options: a DBA, a Corporation or an LLC. Click here to learn more about business entities.
Choosing a business name is easier said than done – many legal and business problems can arise from picking the wrong name (you can always change it later but the less times you have to do that the better). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in South Carolina, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching South Carolina state databases:
TIP: search misspellings, plurals, variations of spelling, sound-alikes and other versions of your chosen name to be sure it’s not already registered.
Restrictions on South Carolina Business Name & Business Purpose
Each state has its own requirements for registering a business. Now that you’ve chosen a business structure and selected your business name, here are the requirements to register your business in South Carolina.
How to form an LLC in South Carolina
How to Incorporate in South Carolina
NOTE: When registering a new company the Secretary of State can take several weeks to file the paperwork. You can expedite the process by hand delivering the documents directly to them or one of their field offices and paying an additional fee.
How to File a DBA in South Carolina
Optional Considerations when registering a South Carolina business
Ready to register a business in South Carolina?
Sure, you could do all the steps above or you could spend 5-10 minutes on our order form and let us take care of it while you work on more important things.
Your EIN is like your Social Security Number for your company. It’s required for Corporations and LLC’s and optional for DBA’s (if you don’t have any employees, then it’s required). However, if you are a DBA and don’t obtain an EIN you will be forced to use your Social Security Number on many documents so it’s typically recommended you obtain the EIN to prevent identity theft.
TIP: We will obtain your EIN for you if you we form your company.
To keep business and personal expenses separate, you should open a separate account for your business. In addition, getting business credit cards is how you begin to build a company credit profile (corporation or LLC required) and can later qualify for larger loans and lines of credit. To open the account simply call your chosen bank and inquire on the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork b) your EIN c) a company resolution authorizing your company to open the account (signed by the owners, members, officers or directors, etc.).
Click here to view a list of our recommended banks in our Vendor Network.
TIP: Our business formation service includes a free banking resolution for your use
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including: a list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial statements, annual reports, amendments or changes to the company. All Tax and Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years. View our “Accounting & Financial Management” section for help with setting up an accounting system and purchasing accounting software.
Now that you’ve registered your business name you may need to obtain a business license for your company depending on the type of service you offer. This authorizes your company to do business in your city or county. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process).
TIP: We can help you identify the necessary forms to obtain your business license.
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both). View our “Employees & Payroll” section for help with hiring employees and processing payroll.
Review our list of recommended Payroll Providers in our Vendor Network.
There are many types of insurance for businesses but they are usually packaged as “General Business Insurance” or a “Business Owner’s Policy”. This can cover everything from product liability to company vehicles. A decent policy can run as little as $300/year and offers a great extra level of protection.
Click here to view our list of insurance providers in our Vendor Network.
Prepare the business as if someone needed to take it over and run it for you. This means have a method to process orders, pay bills, pay employees, pay taxes, maintain your permits, etc. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the business as automated and efficient as possible so you can concentrate on growing your business. View our “Manage Your Company” section for help with systemizing and automating your business.
Now that you’ve set-up the company for success, you need to get the word out. Create a marketing plan for your products and services that targets your ideal customer. View our “Marketing & Sales” section for help for more information.
DBA: South Carolina does not have a DBA requirement.
LLC: South Carolina LLCs do not file an annual report.
Corporation: Every year you will be required to file an Annual Report on the 15th day of the fourth month following your Corporation’s fiscal year end.
Click here to view our MyCompanyWorks Premium™ service which can automate most or your ongoing compliance tasks.
South Carolina Secretary of State
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
South Carolina Taxation Department
South Carolina Labor and Employment Department
South Carolina Startup Resources
1. Small Business Administration (SBA)
2. SCORE South Carolina
3. South Carolina Legal Statutes
5. SCBOS (South Carolina Business One-Stop)
6. South Carolina Angel Investors
7. South Carolina Business News
10. South Carolina Green Business
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