Running a company is a dream come true for many Americans. It is a way for them to pursue a passion while growing financially and personally. However, owning a business is not only about the perks. One should also be prepared to take on various responsibilities.
Those who have been planning to launch a business venture may have heard of the limited liability company (LLC) structure. It is a popular option for many startups. That is because of the asset protection and flexibility in taxation that it offers. The owners of the LLC, who are called members, will not be held personally liable for the actions and debts of the company. LLCs can also choose whether to be a pass-through entity or be taxed as a corporation. To know more about LLC taxes, check out our article “How Are LLCs Taxed?”
South Carolina Articles Of Organization For LLC Formation
Each state has laws governing business entity formation. A company will have to comply with the regulations that the state has set to ensure the legality of its operations. States may refer to the necessary documents differently, but they are pretty much the same. However, there are requirements specific to some states only. Research them to prevent encountering any legal issues.
- Completed Form – Organizing a business as an LLC in South Carolina requires the filing of formal paperwork with the Secretary of State. The South Carolina Articles of Organization can be submitted online or by mail. The form can be downloaded from the website of the Secretary of State. Mailed submissions should include 2 copies of the form signed by the organizers and should be addressed to:
South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office
Attn: Corporate Filings
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
- Filing Fee – LLC formation comes with a filing fee. It is $110 for mailed submissions and $125 for online filings. Normal processing of paper filings takes around 2 to 3 weeks. Meanwhile, the Secretary of State’s office will only take 24 hours to complete the processing of an online filing.
What Companies Need To Prepare
Before filing the South Carolina Articles of Organization, an LLC will have to understand what pieces of information will be needed to accomplish the paperwork.
- LLC Name – The state requires companies to have distinguishable names. That means that an LLC can no longer use a name if another entity has already taken it. Additionally, South Carolina has set naming guidelines that LLCs need to follow.
- It has to include the phrase “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited Company,” or any of their abbreviations like “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “LC,” and “L.C.” The word “limited” can also be abbreviated as “Ltd” and “company” as “Co.”
- It cannot include any word that could confuse the company with a government agency.
- Certain restricted words such as “bank,” “attorney,” and “university” may require additional paperwork.
To ensure the availability of the name, the LLC has to conduct a name search on the website of the Secretary of State.
Companies also have the option to reserve the desired name by filing a completed Application to Reserve a Limited Liability Company Name form with the Corporations Division of the Secretary of State. It comes with a $25 fee. Doing this will reserve the name for 120 days.
- Initial Designated Office Address – The state needs to know where to reach the LLC. The LLC office address stated in the Articles of Organization does not have to be an actual office address. It just has to be a street address where the LLC can be found.
- Registered Agent And Office – Like other states, South Carolina requires all business entities to maintain a registered agent. They will be accepting and sending legal documents on behalf of the LLC, so they will be the point of contact between the state and the LLC. Companies should also make sure that the agent is available at the listed registered office during regular business hours. The registered office address cannot be a P.O. Box.If the LLC chooses an individual registered agent, they have to be at least 18 years old and a resident of the state. Meanwhile, a commercial registered agent should be authorized to do business in South Carolina.
- Management– The state allows LLCs to choose the management structure for the operations of the business. If an LLC is member-managed, it can leave this section blank. On the other hand, if it is manager-managed, it has to check off the section that says the LLC has managers. Then, it should add the contact information of all LLC managers.
- Organizers – The form requires the names and addresses of the people filing the Articles of Organization with the state. An LLC can have one or more organizers. The organizer does not have to be a member of the company.
- Member Debt Liability – This section is optional. If an LLC member will be liable for the debts and obligations that the company may incur, then check this item.
- Duration Of The Company – By default, most LLCs are perpetual. That means the company will continue to exist until the owners choose to dissolve it. However, some companies prefer to automatically shut down on a specific date. In that case, the LLC will have to disclose that information in the Articles of Organization.
- Effective Date – Some LLCs choose to delay the start of the company’s existence. In that case, they will have to inform the state. However, a company can only put a date no later than 90 days after the submission of the Articles of Organization. If the LLC wants to go into existence as soon as the Secretary of State approves its paperwork, then it can leave this section blank.
How Long The Approval Takes
The waiting time for the approval of the paperwork will depend on the manner of filing. Online filings take around 1 to 2 business days. The Secretary of State office will send an email to the company. If the LLC was rejected, they will explain the reason why and what the company will have to do to refile. If the LLC was approved, the email will include a link to download copies of the approved documents.
On the other hand, mailed submissions often take around 2 to 3 weeks. The Secretary of State office will send a stamped and approved copy of the Articles of Organization along with a Filing Receipt.
Aside from the Articles of Organization, LLCs may also need to prepare an operating agreement. The state does not require this internal document. However, it is beneficial to the company.
The operating agreement will establish the processes in running the LLC. It will also be helpful for LLCs with multiple members because it will set out the powers, rights, duties, and responsibilities of the members and managers. With it, disagreements can be prevented.
Additionally, this paperwork will preserve the asset protection feature of the structure. It shows that the LLC is a separate entity. LLC laws in South Carolina will govern LLCs with no operating agreement.
The South Carolina Articles of Organization will formally register the LLC with the state. However, the business formation process involves multiple steps. A company needs to learn and understand each task to prevent making any mistakes that could have serious repercussions. For a simple guide on the process, check out our article about a South Carolina LLC.
Forming an LLC in South Carolina is easy and affordable. However, some companies may find the whole ordeal a little overwhelming and time-consuming. That is because of all the requirements and steps that the company has to accomplish. In such cases, companies can opt to hire a reliable third-party organization like DoMyLLC.
Working with our team of experts gives you access to various services. We can prepare and file the formal paperwork for your company. Our team is also well equipped to handle other compliance obligations set by the state.
Additionally, we are authorized to serve as a registered agent in South Carolina. LLCs can also request personalized solutions based on their specific needs and circumstances. Contact us now to find out how your company can benefit from our services.
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