How to Start a Business in South Carolina


Starting a business in South Carolina can be a simple process. In fact, the state ranks as one of the easiest places to start a company. With inexpensive costs and low taxes, it’s no wonder why so many people choose to launch their ventures here. You can find everything from manufacturing plants to boutiques; restaurants and retail stores—and even farms!

Decide on a Structure for your Business

Decide on a structure for your business. You can choose between sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation.

  • Sole proprietorship:

A sole proprietorship is owned and operated by one person, who may hire other employees or contract work out to independent contractors but still runs the business alone. The owner has full legal control over the business and is solely responsible for its debts and liabilities. This type of entity is typically taxed as a pass-through entity rather than as an S Corporation or C Corporation.

  • Partnership:

Two or more people form this structure by filing articles of partnership with their state’s Secretary of State office; each partner owns an equal stake in the company (unless they specify otherwise). Partners are liable for any debts or claims made against them by customers.

Choose a Business Location

You should also consider the location of your business. A good place to start is the Chamber of Commerce website, which can provide you with information about the community’s demographics and size. When choosing a location, you should consider how accessible it will be for potential clients and employees. Additionally, it may be helpful to consult with local zoning officials or other business owners who may know more about the area than official documents do.

Register your Business Name

Filing a fictitious name is the first step to starting your own business. You will want to file with the Secretary of State’s office, and you must include:

  • The name of your business.
  • What type of business it is (for example, sole proprietorship or LLC).
  • The address where your company will be located in South Carolina.
  • Who are its officers? This includes an officer who has been designated as its registered agent in SC—the person responsible for receiving official documents on behalf of your company.

Get an Employer Identification Number

An EIN is a nine-digit number that identifies your business, similar to a social security number for individuals. It’s used in nearly every interaction with the IRS, including paying taxes, reporting income and deductions and applying for tax credits.

Register as a South Carolina Tax Collector

Register as a South Carolina tax collector. If you’re making $1,000 or more in sales per year, you’ll need to register with the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Doing so will allow them to collect sales tax on your behalf, which means less work for you and more money in your pocket. Pay taxes on your income. Unlike many states, South Carolina doesn’t have personal income taxes—but it does have business activity taxes that affect businesses operating within its borders.

Apply for Permits and Licenses

The first step in starting a business in South Carolina is to apply for the necessary permits and licenses. There are some permits and licenses that are required, while others are optional.


  • Building permit (if needed)
  • Business license (may be obtained online)


  • Health permit (for food service businesses)


Starting a business in South Carolina is simple. The state is one of the most business-friendly in the country, with a low cost of living and access to major markets. What’s more, it has an affordable cost structure and many tax incentives available for small businesses.


You can start the process of starting your business in South Carolina by filing your Articles of Incorporation, which will be published on the Secretary of State’s website for 21 days. After this time, you will receive a Certificate of Incorporation and an EIN number, which allows you to legally operate as a corporation or LLC.

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