According to the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR), you may need to register for a retail license if the following applies to your business:

  • “Any person engaged in the business of selling tangible personal property at retail in this state is required to obtain a retail license. A separate retail license is required for each business location selling tangible personal property at retail.”

Every person who engages in business in South Carolina as a retailer must obtain a retail license before making any retail sales that are taxed as a Sales and Use Tax. This includes internet sales and infrequent sales made in South Carolina. If you have more than one business location, you must have a separate retail license for each location.

A Retail License may also be required for remote sellers, who are out-of-state retailers who have no physical presence in South Carolina if they meet certain requirements.

Businesses requiring a South Carolina retail license can apply online through MyDORWAY, the SCDOR’s free tax portal, by completing a Business Tax Application.

Out-of-State Retailers

The SCDOR can require an out-of-state retailer to purchase a retail license and collect the South Carolina use tax if the retailer:

  • Has retail locations in South Carolina
  • Maintains an office, warehouse, or other place of business in South Carolina
  • Has a salesperson in South Carolina soliciting orders on a regular basis
  • Has an agent located in South Carolina
  • Delivers his/her goods on his/her own trucks and advertises on a regular basis in South Carolina via South Carolina media
  • Delivers their goods on their own trucks and advertises on a regular basis in South Carolina via media located outside of South Carolina that has extensive coverage in South Carolina

NOTE: The out-of-state retailers requirements are based on the legal concept of nexus, the minimal connection necessary between an out-of-state retailer and the state, which allows the state to require the retailer to collect the use tax. What actually constitutes Nexus is determined by the courts and may change from time to time. You are advised to be aware of changes. 

Individuals Not Requiring a Retail Tax License

You may not need a retail license if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Persons selling at flea markets or conducting a yard sale no more than once per quarter
  • Certain organizations conducting sales at festivals
  • Persons furnishing accommodations to transients for one week or less in any calendar quarter
  • Certain nonprofit organizations

Any business or nonprofit organization registered with the SCDOR with a purchaser's certificate is also required to file and pay Use Tax on their out-of-state purchases of tangible personal property.

These terms also apply to online retailers.

Learn more about South Carolina sales tax.