Filing a Foreign Corporation or LLC in South Carolina

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If your company was not incorporated in South Carolina, but you wish to do business there, you need to apply for a South Carolina Certificate of Authority.

Known as Foreign Qualification, this process allows a company formed in Delaware or any other state to legally transact business in South Carolina.

How to Get a Certificate of Authority in South Carolina:

LLCs and Corporations both must provide the following document to South Carolina:

  • Certificate of Good Standing from the company’s home state, dated within 30 days.
    Note: this document is also referred to as a Certificate of Existence in some states.

LLCs must complete an application for their Certificate of Authority and pay a fee of $110 to the state, plus a $15 online processing fee. Corporations must submit this application and fee as well, but also submit an additional form (South Carolina Initial Annual Report of Corporations) and additional fee of $25 to the state.

In addition, you must appoint and maintain a South Carolina Registered Agent at all times. We can provide this service for just $99 per year.

Harvard Business Services can assist with your application so you don’t have to deal with the South Carolina Secretary of State directly. We do charge our own fee for this service, in addition to state fees. The exact fee can vary based upon whether your company is already filed and whether you need us to obtain additional documents to meet the state’s requirements. Contact us for an exact quote.

How Do I Know if I Need a South Carolina Certificate of Authority?

Generally, if you plan to do business in the state of South Carolina and are incorporated elsewhere, you will need to obtain Foreign Qualification. “Doing business” is typically defined by activities such as maintaining a physical office or having employees in the state.

Keep in mind that even if the state of South Carolina does not require a Certificate of Authority for a specific activity, a bank, vendor or another party can still require one in order to establish a relationship.

South Carolina Annual Report Requirements

If you have Foreign Qualification for a corporation in South Carolina, you will be required to submit an annual report with a fee of $25 or more* in order to keep your company in good standing status with the state. South Carolina does not impose any annual reporting or fee requirements for foreign LLCs.

Please note that the annual requirements above are independent of requirements you may have in Delaware or other states.

*Exact amount of this fee is determined by your corporation’s capital stock and “paid-in surplus.” For more information on this fee, see the South Carolina Code of Laws, section 12-20-50.

Since 1981, Harvard Business Services, Inc. has helped form 186,938 Delaware corporations and LLCs for people all over the world.

Registered Agent Service

Harvard Business Services, Inc. guarantees your annual Delaware Registered Agent Fee will remain fixed at $50 per company, per year, for the life of your company.