​Registering Your Business


There is no statewide business license in South Carolina. All business licences are issued through your local municipality. SC does require businesses to register their business name and type with the SC Secretary of State's office. If your business is a Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership you are not required to register with the Secretary of State. 

Look up a business name
Secretary of State's- Look up here​​

Business Structures
​Formally organizing a business carries both great advantages and legal consequences. Care should be taken when deciding which business form to utilize and while operating a venture. 

One person who conducts business for profit. The sole owner assumes complete responsibility for all liabilities and debts of the business. The income of the business is reported as part of the owner's personal income.
Two or more individuals serve as co-owners of a for-profit business. Partnerships should operate under a written Partnership Agreement to avoid future problems. All partners are responsible for the liabilities and debts of the partnership. Partnerships enjoy single taxation. Income is reported as part of each partner's personal income.
 (LLC) Limited Liability Corporation
An LLC is a formal association that combines the advantage of a corporation's limited liability and the flexibility and single taxation of a general partnership. An LLC has members rather than shareholders. A member enjoys protections from the liabilities and debts of the LLC. Although not required by law, an LLC should operate under an Operating Agreement, which is like a Partnership Agreement. If the LLC qualifies under IRS guidelines, it may be taxed only once, like a partnership, at the employee or member level, while not having the same restrictions as an S Corporation.​

Visit SBA to learn about other less common business structures.
​Small Business Administration​
Non Profit
Limited Partnership
Limited Liability Partnership

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 an 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