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Legal Consultant



Forming a business in South Carolina needs careful planning. After creating a business plan and choosing a location, you are ready to take the legal steps to form a business. The first step is to choose the entity type, whether an LLC, sole proprietorship, corporation, nonprofit corporation, or partnership. Corporations, nonprofit corporations and limited liability companies offer the most personal asset protection. Sole proprietorships and some partnerships do not offer any personal asset protection. South Carolina allows you to form a business corporation online.

Signing a Contract

Name The Business

A South Carolina corporation cannot have a business name that is the same or similar to another business's name. The first step is to check the name you chose for the business. Navigate to the South Carolina Secretary of State's office and enter the business name in the business name search tool.

If the business name is unique, you can continue with registering the business name. If another entity is already using the name, you must choose a different name. If the name is similar, you must also choose another business name. For example:

  • XYZ Widgets, Inc. à XYZ Widgets, LLC – similar names

  • The XYZ Widget Company à An XYZ Widget Company – similar names

  • XYZ Widgets, Inc. àSmith's XYZ Widgets – not similar

Once you determine the name is not similar, you can continue with registering your account and creating your business.

Business Requirements

South Carolina businesses that meet certain criteria must have a registered agent and a Federal Employer Identification Number.

Registered Agent

If a business is registered with the South Carolina Secretary of State's office, it must have a registered agent. The agent can be the business owner, or it can be a company retained for that specific purpose. If the business owner decides to be his or her own registered agent, the owner must be available during business hours. A registered agent accepts documents from the Secretary of State’s office and legal documents, including lawsuits.

Federal Employment Identification Number

Any business with employees must have a Federal Employment Identification Number (FEIN). You can apply for the FEIN yourself, or you can retain an attorney to help you. Some businesses that offer registered agent services will also apply for the FEIN on your behalf.

Banks, vendors, and creditors may require a business to obtain a FEIN even if the business does not have employees.

You should also speak with your accountant to determine how your taxes will be filed since certain entities may want to change the default tax classification.

Set Up the Business Finances

Once you register the business and obtain the FEIN, you are ready to set up the business finances. Open a bank account in the business name. Most banks will require you to provide a copy of your incorporation documents. You can also apply for credit cards in the business name.

Finally, you will need a good accounting program or an accountant. Some business owners with an accounting background might prefer to do their own accounting; however, it is better to hire an accountant in the event that the Internal Revenue Service decides to audit the business. Additionally, some creditors will require verified financial documents from an accountant.

Licenses and Permits

Business owners should check with the South Carolina Secretary of State and local jurisdictions for permits and licenses they might need. Many licenses and permits depend on the type of business you run as well as where the business is located.




We are here to help! Give us a call at 864.760.0221 or email us at We look forward to hearing from you!

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