Many people have never even heard of a registered agent, but having one is an important part when registering an LLC in SC. You must have a registered agent before you can file the paperwork necessary to make your LLC official. It’s one of the first things you’ll need to take care of.
The registered agent receives important legal paperwork and lets you know that it’s come in. A key duty of a South Carolina registered agent is to be available for service of process if you are sued. An agent also serves as the main communication channel between you and South Carolina state offices that need to send you official documents.
Having a registered agent ensures you will be notified quickly about a lawsuit or other legal matter. Without an agent, your important mail could get lost among all the junk mail that floods most businesses’ mailboxes. You could miss crucial deadlines and be subject to fines and other negative consequences.
You’ll need to know what the requirements are for a registered agent and how to appoint or change your agent. We’ll also look at whether it is better to be your own registered agent or to use a professional registered agent service. Let’s get started:
In South Carolina, you must have a registered agent–it’s the law. South Carolina Code of Laws Sections 33-44-108 through 33-44-111 contain the state law governing registered agents for limited liability companies. This includes the need to have an agent and office for service of process, the procedures for changing the agent or office, and what an agent must do to resign.
The agent must be available in their designated office during normal business hours.
In South Carolina, a registered agent can be an individual or a company. The agent must be one of these:
The registered agent must maintain an office in South Carolina. The office must have a street address that you provide when you file your Articles of Organization. While the office has to be within the state, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a place of business.
Yes, you can be your own registered agent. The advantage of doing so is that there would be no cost because you don’t have to pay yourself.
There are, however, several huge disadvantages to serving as your own registered agent. We’ll discuss those more below. For now, though, keep in mind that someone, preferably the registered agent, has to be available at the registered office during regular hours every business day to accept and sign documents.
You could ask a friend or someone from your company to be your registered agent, but they will run into the same problems you would if you were doing it yourself.
Make sure your registered agent agrees to being appointed!
Once you’ve selected an agent who agrees to serve, notify the state by including your registered agent’s name and street address when you file your Articles of Organization.
The Articles of Organization is the document that you file to establish your LLC as a legal entity in South Carolina. In addition to information about the registered agent, the Articles is also the form where you designate the legal name of your LLC and its address, the names and addresses of each organizer, and the names and addresses of the managers, if your LLC has them.
You can file the Articles of Organization online or by mail. Either way, the filing fee is $110.
To file online, start on the Secretary of State’s Business Name Search page. Put in the name of your LLC, and click on “Search.” If the name shows up as available, click on “Add new entity.” Then, follow the instructions to create an account with the Secretary’s office, and to enter the required information.
To file by mail, go to the Starting a Business page, then download the Articles of Organization for a Limited Liability form. Fill out all the requested information.
The registered agent must sign the form. The organizer must also sign the form. If there’s more than one organizer, they all must sign.
The organizer is the person who fills out the Articles of Organization form and sends it to the Secretary of State to be filed. You, as the owner of the LLC, can be the organizer, but you don’t have to be. If an LLC formation service is helping you, they will be the ones to sign it.
Send two (2) copies of the Articles of Organization, a self-addressed stamped envelope, and the $110 filing fee payable to the South Carolina Secretary of State to:
South Carolina’s Secretary of State’s Office
Attn: Corporate Filings
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
When you file your Articles of Organization, you provide your registered agent’s name and contact information to the state. Afterward, you have a responsibility to keep that information up-to-date.
Any time any of these three things happen, you must notify the South Carolina Secretary of State:
You notify the Secretary by filing a form called “Notice of Change of Designated Office, Agent or Address of Registered Agent.” The changes will be effective as soon as the Secretary of State approves the form, unless you ask for a later date.
You can file the form online or by mail.
To file online, go to the page for filing forms for existing businesses. Enter the name of your LLC, and click on “Search.” Your LLC should show up in the search results below.
Click on your LLC’s name to get its official business profile. From there, click on “Add Filing.” Find the Notice of Change form, and follow the instructions.
The Notice of Change form must be signed by:
If you’re filing by mail, enclose:
Secretary of State
Attn: Corporate Filings1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
While you have the right to act as your own registered agent, there are compelling reasons why you should use a registered agent service instead:
A South Carolina registered agent must always be at their office during regular business hours every business day, or they must make sure that someone is there for them. This is a big obligation that will most likely get in the way of your giving your full attention to running your small business.
If you have someone else taking care of the registered agent duties, you don’t have to worry about it and can focus your time and energy on running and growing your business.
The registered agent’s name and address must be filed with the state. This is public information that anyone can look up. If you are working from home, you may not want your address to be so readily available. Using a service will protect your privacy.
The registered agent must accept service of process and other legal documents, and handle them according to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. If you use a registered agent service, they will know what to do and what the law requires.
Having to maintain regular business hours is not going to work out if you want to travel for either business or pleasure. Knowing that a registered agent service is taking care of things gives you the flexibility to go where you want when you want.
A registered agent service will fill out and file the necessary forms for you. That’s one less bit of paperwork to worry about!
You need to find a registered agent before you can file the Articles of Organization that will make your LLC official in South Carolina. While you can use yourself, a friend, or someone from your business, there are many advantages to letting a registered agent service take care of it for you.
A good registered agent service will give you peace of mind. You’ll know that you’ll be notified of important legal documents. You don’t have to worry about making the potentially expensive mistake of overlooking legal deadlines.
You might be surprised about how economical it is to use a registered agent service, considering how much time and trouble it can save you.
Once you’ve completed the important step of finding and appointing a registered agent, you’ll be one step closer to launching your South Carolina LLC and making your business dream a reality.
This portion of our website is for informational purposes only. Tailor Brands is not a law firm, and none of the information on this website constitutes or is intended to convey legal advice. All statements, opinions, recommendations, and conclusions are solely the expression of the author and provided on an as-is basis. Accordingly, Tailor Brands is not responsible for the information and/or its accuracy or completeness.
Shai Shmarel started his life as a corporate lawyer before switching to being an SEO and Content Manager at Tailor Brands. He has experience in managing companies, rankings SERPs and covering a content-driven approach for all things legal, business and marketing. When off work, you’ll usually find him chilling with a cup of coffee and a book in the desert.