How to File the Articles of Incorporation for a South Carolina Nonprofit

Person submitting paperwork.

Filing the Articles of Incorporation is a critical step in starting a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit in South Carolina. Whether you have been running a charity for a while or are just starting out, your nonprofit organization will need to fill out the Articles of Incorporation and file them with the State of South Carolina. This will allow you to file for 501(c)(3) status and reap the benefits of having an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Want to form a nonprofit elsewhere? Check out our other How to Start a Nonprofit guides.

Don't have time? Use a trusted professional service:

four point eight out of five stars Northwest (Starting at $29 + State Fees).

Starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in South Carolina is easy, just follow these easy steps to file the South Carolina Articles of Incorporation:

If you are starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in South Carolina, you have come to the right place. After reading the comprehensive guide for South Carolina nonprofit formation, follow this guide to file the South Carolina Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State.

What is covered in this guide:

  1. Information you will need to file the South Carolina Articles of Incorporation
  2. How to file the South Carolina Articles of Incorporation
  3. South Carolina Nonprofit Formation FAQ

Information you will need to file the South Carolina Articles of Incorporation

To become a nonprofit corporation in South Carolina you must file Form 33-31-202, the Articles of Incorporation for Nonprofit Organizations. If you plan to seek 501(c)(3) status, you must fill out the 501(c)(3) attachment as well.

Here are the sections that you will need to complete.

Section 1: Entity Name and Type

Enter the name you have selected.

For help with selecting a name for your nonprofit read our comprehensive guide on how to name a South Carolina nonprofit.

Section 2: Initial Registered Office

Enter the information of the registered agent you have selected.

For more information read our guide: What is a registered agent? And The South Carolina Registered Agent Guide.

Section 3: Select the Appropriate Nonprofit Type

Choose one of the following:

  • Public Benefit Corporation
  • Religious Corporation
  • Mutual Benefit Corporation

NOTE: If you will be applying for 501(c)(3) exempt status, you are most likely a public benefit corporation.

Section 4: Membership

Select the box appropriate depending on whether or not your nonprofit corporation will have members.

Section 5: Address

List the address of the principal office of your nonprofit corporation.

Section 6: Public Benefit or Religious Corporation Dissolution

You must include provisions ensuring that in the event your organization is dissolved, the assets of the organization will be used towards tax-exempt purposes.

Section 5 of this sample document provides an example of these provisions required for 501(c)(3) eligibility.

Section 7: Mutual Benefit Corporation Dissolution

This section is not relevant for organizations that will be applying for 501(c)(3) status.

Section 8: Supplemental Provisions/Information

You may use this section to state any additional provisions regarding your organization.

Section 9: Incorporator(s)

The incorporator is the person who completes, signs, and submits the certification of formation. This person does not need to be a part of your organization. This can be you or a lawyer helping you with the process of formation.

Enter the incorporator(s) name and business address here.

Section 10: Director(s)

At least 3 directors will need to be named. Their names and signatures should go in this section.

When filling the form do not use any prefixes such as “Mr.” or “Ms.” and only use the suffix box for titles of lineage such as ‘Jr.’, ‘Sr.’, or ‘III’ but not for designations such as M.D. or Ph.D.

Enter the information of the directors selected.

Section 11: Incorporator(s) Signatures

Each incorporator listed in section #9 needs to sign the form in this section.

Section 12: Effectiveness of Filing

This section allows you to determine the date on which your nonprofit corporation officially forms.

Option A: your organization will officially form on the day the Secretary of State files your certificate of formation.

Option B: you select the date of formation.

How to file the South Carolina Articles of Incorporation

There are two ways to submit your Articles of Incorporation: online or by mail.

Online:

You can file your Articles of Incorporation for Nonprofit through the Secretary of State’s online portal.

By Mail:

Submit 2 copies of the Articles of Incorporation, a 501(c)(3) attachment, and a self-addressed stamped envelope to the address below:

Secretary of State
ATTN: Corporate Filings
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201

The filing fee is $25 with an additional $7.50 for online filing.

  • Checks and money orders for mailed forms must be made payable to the "SC Secretary of State"
  • Accepted credit cards for online filing include Visa, Discover, MasterCard, and American Express

South Carolina Nonprofit Formation FAQ

How long does it take to process Form 33-31-202?

If you file online it typically takes about 24 hours. If you file by mail expect to get a response in 2-3 business days.

How do I contact the Secretary of State for more information?

You can call for information at (803) 734-2158 or visit them at their website.