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1. Choose a Name for Your South Carolina Corporation
Check on Available Names in South Carolina: If you plan to file to incorporate your small business in the state of South Carolina, you will need a unique name for your corporation. You should make an extensive search of online records and other archives and catalogs to find out if the name that you plan to use for your corporation is available. You can start by searching the database of South Carolina corporations that is available online at South Carolina Corporation.
Reserve a Corporate Name: Name reservations are optional in South Carolina. To reserve a particular corporate name, you can submit a name reservation application to the office of the South Carolina Secretary of State. You can find the name reservation application form online at Reserve A South Carolina Corporation Name. The name that you submit will be reserved for 120 days. The filing fee is $10.00.
Filing Trademarks and Doing a Corporate Name Search: It may be the case that the name that you want to use for your corporation is available in South Carolina but in use by a corporation in another state. You might discover that there are restrictions on how you use the name that you have chosen for your corporation. Consult an attorney so that you can learn what these restrictions could be and how you can prepare to trademark the name of your corporation.
South Carolina Corporate Name Requirements: When you choose a name for your corporation, you should remember that in the state of South Carolina corporate names must include the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited,” “company” or an abbreviation of one of these words.
2. Find a Registered Agent in South Carolina
Your corporation needs a registered agent who will act as an agent for service of process and receive all legal and tax documents for your corporation. You can choose an adult resident of South Carolina or a corporation to act as your registered agent. There are also companies that provide registered agent services that you can contact.
3. File Articles of Incorporation with the South Carolina Secretary of State
Minimum Requirements: When you are ready to incorporate your small business, you can prepare to file Articles of Incorporation with the South Carolina Secretary of State. You can download the form for this document online at South Carolina Corporation Set Up. The Articles of Incorporation of your corporation will need to include the name of your corporation, the name and address of your registered agent for service of process, the number of shares authorized by your corporation, and the name and address of each incorporator. All of the incorporators will need to sign the Articles of Incorporation before you submit the document to the Secretary of State.
Other South Carolina Legal Provisions: When you are preparing to file Articles of Incorporation for your corporation, consider including other legal provisions in addition to the minimum requirements listed above. It is best to consult an attorney when you are considering which additional legal provisions to add so that you can include whatever provisions are most important for your corporation.
Where to Submit Form: You should submit the completed Articles of Incorporation form to the office of the Secretary of State, 1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525, Columbia, SC 29201.
Filing Fee: The total filing fee for Articles of Incorporation in South Carolina is $135.00.
4. Create Other South Carolina Incorporation Documents (Corporate Kits)
There are other actions that you can take in your corporation after you have filed Articles of Incorporation, such as appointing officers and directors, adopting corporation bylaws, issuing stock certificates, obtaining a tax ID number, and acquiring the appropriate business license. In addition to these actions, consider creating other kinds of corporate documents such as buy-sell agreements, shareholders agreements that determine when stock can be sold, and documents that describe what will happen in the event that an owner decides to leave the company. These kinds of corporate documents can prove very useful for a corporation, especially if the corporation has multiple owners. You should consult an attorney or a professional corporate service company for help in drafting these important documents so that you can be sure to comply with all relevant legal requirements.
5. Qualify Your South Carolina Corporation to Do Business in Other States
Your corporation must qualify in order to do business in other states. For example, if your main corporate office is located outside of South Carolina, your corporation must qualify to do business in that state. Most states that you do business in also require you to pay taxes in your home state. You can find more information about how to qualify your corporation to do business in other states online at Doing Business in other states.
6. Make Annual Filings and Pay Annual Fees and Taxes in South Carolina
You may need to make some periodic filings for your corporation with the Secretary of State. Contact the office of the Secretary of State if you have any questions about what filings apply to your corporation.
Every corporation registered in South Carolina is subject to state income taxes. You must file a corporate income tax form and pay income taxes yearly. You can find more information relating to the corporate tax in South Carolina online at the official website of the South Carolina Department of Revenue at South Carolina Corporation Tax. You should consult a professional accountant for help in the preparation of your tax documents so that you can avoid mistakes that could end up costing you extra taxes.
The process of incorporating a small business is made up of complex decisions, especially for corporations that have multiple owners. You should consult an attorney and an accountant during the process of incorporating so that you can be confident that the paperwork for your corporation is being prepared correctly.
This article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advice. This information is derived from various sources and should not be relied on as an official source of information. All information should be independently verified. You should consult a legal or accounting professional before incorporating your business.
Disclaimer: This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.