Step 1) Choose a Name for Your South Carolina Corporation

Choose a Business NameThe first step to forming a Corporation is to choose a business name.

The name you choose will distinguish your business from other businesses and keep in mind that it should be distinctive and memorable. Have a few business name options in mind, and run it through the South Carolina business name search to see if the name is not yet taken.

Also, remember that your corporation’s name should contain ‘Company’, ‘Incorporation’, ‘Limited’, or any of these word’s abbreviated version.


Step 2) File the Articles of Incorporation

Register an LLCFiling a Corporation in South Carolina legally creates your business. This means you have to file the Articles of Incorporation to the Secretary of State of South Carolina.

When incorporating in South Carolina, also include the CL-1 form together with the Articles.

The document you file must have the following information: name and address of the company; complete name including signature plus address of the registered agent; the nature of your business; the total number of shares that the company is authorized to issue; incorporator’s complete name and address; article’s date of incorporation.


Step 3) Choose or Find a South Carolina Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentAfter filing the Articles of Incorporation, you need to choose or hire the services of a Registered Agent in South Carolina. This is a stipulation in incorporating your business to be compliant.

A South Carolina Registered Agent must be a resident of the state, and most importantly, must be at all times available to receive legal documents during office hours. Appointing somebody from your business to be the Registered Agent is possible, but not ideal.

That said, you can hire a Registered Agent service and pay up to $160/year, or get an Alabama Registered Agent free of charge when you form your Corporation with IncFile – which is $100 less than other online incorporation services.


Step 4) Start a Corporate Records Binder

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsWhen you incorporate in South Carolina, you will need a Corporate Records Binder.

This binder will hold all of your South Carolina Corporation registration documents in one place for safekeeping and record-keeping as well.

From corporate bylaws to minutes of meetings, you can place them here. You can buy a Corporate Records Binder directly in Amazon.


Step 5) Choose the Initial Directors for Your Corporation

Choose the Initial DirectorsAs part of forming a Corporation in South Carolina, you need to select the initial directors of your Corporation.

It is your responsibility to choose these directors to serve on the board while waiting for the first yearly meeting of your company’s shareholders.

As the incorporator of your South Carolina Corporation, you can fill out and sign an Incorporator’s Statement, and place a copy of it in the Corporate Records Binder.


Step 6) Hold the First Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsNow that you have chosen an initial number of directors, the next thing to do is hold a board of directors meeting where you can set up a few things.

Upon starting a South Carolina Corporation, you and the directors need to:

Note: If your Corporation is an S Corporation, this has to be made official during this first board meeting too. When the meeting ends, make sure that you get the signature of the initial directors on the recorded minutes.


Step 7) Take Care of Your South Carolina Business Tax & Licensing Requirements (Required)

Business LicensesComplying with your South Carolina business taxes is a must for you to operate as a business. If you follow the 3 things outlined here in this step, then you will be compliant:

  1. Process your application for an (EIN) Employer Identification Number on the IRS website.
  2. Understand and comply all your business taxes requirements. Also in the long run of your South Carolina Corporation maintenance, you should always be mindful of your tax obligations. (Check out our South Caroline tax guide for details.)
  3. (Optional) If you opt in for an S Corp status, remember to process a Form 2553 Election, and have the form signed by the Corporation’s shareholders. Check this for additional S Corporation information.

Every corporate entity has to adhere to business licensing requirements. There is no way around it.

South Carolina business licenses are quite numerous, but if you want to be compliant and not encounter any problems in the future, you need to make sure this is taken care of. Use our South Carolina business licenses and regulations guide for in depth information on how to be compliant.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountAs a new business owner in South Carolina, you need to keep your business and personal finances separate by opening a separate bank account. This keeps everything simple and separate in the eyes of the law.

Another important thing to note is that opening a business account can help you keep finances on track. You should monitor the ins and outs, put the profits and assets where they belong.

There are many options available from Bank of America to Chase. For a quick outline of the best place to open a business bank account, see this quick review.


To-Do After Starting a

South Carolina Corporation

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are officially a South Carolina Corporation. Other than those 8 steps that are based on state guidelines, here are 3 additional steps based on best practices for starting a successful Corporation. Not required, but highly recommended.

1) Write a Funding Ready Business Plan (Recommended)

Write a Business PlanWith the potential onslaught of expenses for your operations, you will likely need funding. This is where your funding-ready business plan comes in.

A special business plan software like LivePlan (25% Discount) will help you write that funding ready business plan. With video tutorials and a stunning end result – you’ll impress every investor and lender.


2) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteIf you want your Corporation to be taken seriously, build a professional website. WordPress is the platform for the non-tech savvy entrepreneurs.

WordPress is easier to build and install compared with other content management platforms. It is best partnered with Bluehost, a reliable web hosting service that has 1-click to install option for WordPress and has 24/7 online customer service.

See how to start a website through this step-by-step guide.


3) Prepare Corporate Bylaws (Recommended)

Prepare Corporate BylawsJust like your business plan, your business’ corporate bylaws is not mandated by state laws, but it makes your business operations a lot easier.

Your South Carolina Corporate bylaws will set the precedence for the ground rules of your operations. It also proves the legitimacy of your business.

Note: As stated earlier, Corporate bylaws are not required by law, but it is highly advised to have one.

Note that this guide is strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered legal advise. For in-depth information on how to form a Corporation in South Carolina or starting a business in South Carolina, talk to your lawyer.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom