​Registering with th​e Secretary of State


Registering Your Business

*Notice: Be aware of the "Certificate of Status" scam that is circulating. This scam requests that the business registrant promptly pays $87.25 for a "Certificate of Status". The only official Certificate of Existence comes from the SC Secretary of State's Office and has a $10.00 fee. Click here for more info from Secretary Mark Hammond.

When starting a business you need to decide what type of business entity to establish. The type of entity determines how you file taxes and what you have to file. Each structure has its own advantages and disadvantages, be sure to check out the Small Business Administration's website to determine what the best fit is for you.
Look up a business name
Secretary of state- Look up here​​

      1. Sole Proprietorship
      2. Partnerships
      3. Corporations
      4. Limited Liability Company


Where can I register my sole proprietorship?
Sole proprietorships and general partnerships DO NOT register with the Secretary of State. 

Should I register as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), Sole Proprietor, or and S-Corp?
Each business structure is unique to your business model. For additional info, refer to the 
Small Business Administration's (SBA) Choose Your Business Structure site. 

What's the fastest way to register my business with the state? 
You're in luck! Most state agencies have made registering and filing online simple. You can register your business online with the SC Secretary of State's Office at sos.sc.gov. You will need to create a username and password to begin. 

Where do I register my Doing Business As (DBA) name? 
DBA names are NOT registered with the Secretary of State. The DBA cannot be in conflict with a business name registered with the SC Secretary of State. If it is desirable to protect the DBA name, the business can trademark the name.

How can I protect a word, name, or symbol for my business?
For in depth trademark information visit the Secretary of State's site on Trademarking

For more Secretary of State frequently asked questions visit SOS FAQs