Steps to Pay Your South Carolina Filing Fees
- Pay your South Carolina business’s initial filing fees
- Reserve your South Carolina business’s name
- Reserve a “doing business as” name in South Carolina
- Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or partnership agreement for your South Carolina business
- Apply for your South Carolina business’s necessary licenses and permits
- Pay registration fees for out-of-state businesses
- Check South Carolina’s annual report requirements and fees
- Keep your South Carolina business legally compliant
Both new and experienced South Carolina business owners know the routine: before you can even open your doors, you need to spend a lot of money to get yourself in business. Business set-up and on-going compliance comes with all kinds of fees. Limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations, also called “statutory entities,” may require you to pay South Carolina filing fees.
Other business types, like sole proprietorships, don’t require paying South Carolina formation fees. However, they may require other permits and licensing fees. Whichever business entity you choose to form, starting or maintaining a business in South Carolina means paying a variety of South Carolina business filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones here so you know what to expect.
Step 1: Pay your South Carolina business’s initial filing fees
South Carolina filing fees vary by the type of business you want to form. In other words, you’ll pay a different fee depending on whether you’re forming a corporation or an LLC. Fees can change over time. Check with the Secretary of State for the most current schedule of South Carolina filing fees. Some documents that require an initial filing fee include:
- Forming an LLC
- Creating a corporation
- Forming a statutory close corporation
- Registering a professional corporation
- Registering foreign corporations and LLCs
It typically takes about two weeks to register a statutory business if done by mail. If you choose to file through the Secretary of State’s online portal, you may be able to complete the process in as little as 24 hours. You won’t be charged an additional South Carolina filing fee for the quick turnaround. You’ll need to check with the Secretary of State’s office if you need any other arrangements.
We can help get your South Carolina business registered fast with our Expedited Filing Service. We know what to do to help your South Carolina businesses file formation documents quickly.
Step 2: Reserve your South Carolina business’s name
In South Carolina, you can reserve your business’s unique name for up to 120 days for a small fee. However, you can’t renew this South Carolina business name reservation after 120 days expires. You want to be sure you’re ready to file your formation documents during that 120 day period.
We can reserve your business’s name for you using our easy Business Name Reservation Service. We can check the availability of your desired name and help you reserve it, leaving you free to focus on running your business instead of doing paperwork.
Step 3: Reserve a “doing business as” name in South Carolina
A “doing business as” (DBA) name or a “trade name” is usually used only when your company operates under a name that’s not your own name or the business’s legal name. In South Carolina, you’ll sometimes hear a DBA referred to as an “assumed business name.”
Most DBAs or assumed business names need to be registered with the county clerk of the county where your business is located. Contact your county clerk to inquire about the correct forms and South Carolina business filing fees for DBAs in your county.
Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is similar to a social security number for your business. Your business needs an EIN to open bank accounts, hire employees, and conduct most business activities. The EIN is free to obtain online from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). However, we have an EIN Service that can do it for you and spare you the hassle of dealing with the IRS.
Step 5: Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or partnership agreement for your South Carolina business
South Carolina businesses don’t need to file their operating agreement with the state. But just because you don’t have to file your operating agreement with the state doesn’t mean that documents like operating agreements, corporate bylaws, and other foundational business documents aren’t extremely important.
We offer an online LLC Operating Agreement Template to help you get your governance in order. Our template allows you to customize an operating agreement to your business’s needs, without having to do it yourself or hire an expensive lawyer.
Step 6: Apply for your South Carolina business’s necessary licenses and permits
While not every business has to pay South Carolina formation fees, virtually every business needs to pay ongoing licensing and permit fees. You might also need a variety of different federal, state, and local licenses. Sometimes, that information isn’t very easy to find on your own.
Our Business License Report Service can help you find what licensing you need to get started. Our partner uses your business’s details and location to help customize a report detailing your licensing needs.
Step 7: Pay registration fees for out-of-state businesses
A company formed outside of South Carolina is called a “foreign” LLC or corporation. Being “foreign” doesn’t mean that it was formed in another country. If a foreign, or non-South Carolina based company wants to start doing business in-state, they’ll need to comply with certain filing obligations and pay the correct South Carolina filing fees.
On the other hand, if you want to expand your South Carolina business to other states or countries, you’ll likely need to get a Certificate of Good Standing. In South Carolina, this may also be called a Certificate of Existence, a Certificate of Status, or a Certificate of Authority depending upon your business type. A Certificate of Good Standing lets others know that your business has complied with South Carolina filing and fee-payment requirements. We have a Certificate of Good Standing Service that can help you request a certificate and make the process easy for you.
Step 8: Check South Carolina’s annual report requirements and fees
In South Carolina, businesses typically file some kind of annual reporting with their tax returns to let the state know that they’re still an operating business. Not all businesses are required to file paperwork, so be sure to check before taking on extra obligations! Keeping up with filing deadlines can be difficult, especially when your mind is on other business functions.
Our Annual Report Service can help you easily keep track of your obligations when reporting time comes.
Step 9: Keep your South Carolina business legally compliant
Business compliance isn’t just about filing annual reports or paying fees to the state. When you make certain changes to your business information, you may need to update your formation paperwork on file to stay compliant. Changes that may require filing amendments include:
- Changing registered agent
- Making material changes to your ownership structure
- Changing certain material facts in your Certificate of Organization or Articles of Incorporation
- Changing the business name
- Making certain other changes to public information
You’ll typically have to pay South Carolina filing fees when you file amendments to make these changes, which vary based on business type and filing speed. We offer an Amendment Service to help you stay on top of your obligations. We also offer our Worry-Free Compliance Service, which includes two amendments every year (you only pay the South Carolina filing fee and we do the work).
Rely on our services to keep your South Carolina business compliant
As you can see, we offer an entire suite of services geared toward helping you keep your business compliant, so you can focus on what is most important — making your business succeed!
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
- Are there penalties for paying my fees late in South Carolina?
Penalties depend on which agencies you’re paying your fees to, and what your business type is. In some cases, if you pay your fees late, your registrations and permits will simply lapse.
- What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the South Carolina government?
There may be resources in your area to help small business owners like you. Check with your local government and the Secretary of State’s office. They may be able to connect you with assistance.
- Who receives the fees for forming my South Carolina business?
The South Carolina Secretary of State receives your formation filing fees.
- What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my South Carolina business?
Fees will vary depending upon your business type and the permits that you need.
- What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the South Carolina government?
You can pay by check or credit card. If you file your documents using the online portal, you’ll need to use a credit card.