South Carolina is a great state to set up your business. It’s one of the best business environments in the US. If you plan on setting up a business in the State of South Carolina, one of the foremost requirements of the state government is having a registered agent.
What is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent can be a business or an individual appointed to receive legal documents for your company. These legal documents include tax notices, subpoenas, lawsuits, and others.
All companies doing business in the state of South Carolina must have a registered agent to ensure tracking of all legal mail sent within the state. To become a registered agent in the state of South Carolina, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be able to receive mail during business hours at an office
- Be present to receive the legal mail intended for the business you represent
- Have a physical address within South Carolina. Note that making use of a P.O Box is not allowed.
Registered Agent in South Carolina, who can work as one?
A person must meet certain requirements before he/she can work as a registered agent in South Carolina. These requirements are made by the Secretary of the State of South Carolina.
- A registered agent can be an employee of the company or third parties such as lawyers and registered agent service companies that is a resident or an organization that is located in South Carolina and has a valid street address in South Carolina. Corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) cannot be their registered agents. However, if you are a resident and of legal age (more than 18) in South Carolina, you are allowed to register as your business’s registered agent in a case whereby you have a start-up business or you are a small business entrepreneur.
- If you are a business owner based outside South Carolina, you must first have the authorization to do business.
Changing your Registered Agent in South Carolina
If you have decided to shift to another agency or entity to represent your company in South Carolina, maybe because your previous registered agent moved out of the state, no longer wants the responsibility, or he left your company for another. Changing registered agents is easy, all you need to do is follow the following steps, as outlined by the Secretary of the State of South Carolina:
- Proceed to the Online portal for Business Entities to file for your change of Registered Agent. You’ll have to create an account on the portal if you don’t have one. You’ll choose the Resident Agent change form on the portal. You can also go to the State of South Carolina Business Forms webpage to download the Notice of Change form, you need to be sure you are downloading the right form for your business structure as the State of South Carolina has different forms for different business structures. For example, a Corporation, an LLC, etc.
- You must make sure you have filled the appropriate form for your business structure. You can fill the form by typing or by completing the form with black ink.
You have the option of submitting the forms online or through the mail. The form must be correctly filled, note that there’s a fee of 10 dollars must be paid for the document to be processed. The payment can be made through a check that is made payable to the South Carolina “Secretary of State Office” or you can pay with a card (if you’re submitting online).
If you’re submitting through the mail, get 2 copies of the form and attach a self-addressed and stamped envelope if you would like to have a copy later. The documents, the envelope, and the check will be mailed to the address:
Secretary of State
Attn: Corporate Filings
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201.
It usually takes the State of South Carolina 24 hours to process Online Submissions. Meanwhile, it takes between 2 to 3 working days if the documents are filed through the mail.
You have to know that you cannot change your registered agent in the State of South Carolina by just making changes to your Articles of Organization. Since the State of South Carolina doesn’t take annual reports, you cannot change your Registered Agent through this means as well. You can only follow the process explained above.
Should I Get a Professional Registered Agent Service Company?
Getting a professional registered agent company can reduce a lot of effort and time for any business owner. There are numerous benefits to it whether you are an established company or a small business owner. Some of these benefits are:
- Making use of their address instead of your home address, especially if you don’t have an office yet. This detail will be included in public records.
- Registered Agent processes paperwork for you
- Notify you immediately if you receive any new legal mail
- Notify you of mandatory filing of South Carolina annual reports
- Help you to avoid penalties for delayed filings
- Assist you with forms and instructions needed to set up your business
- If you operate a small business out of state, they fill in as your local contact in the state.
Several agencies offer registered agent services in South Carolina. However, you have to be careful in finding a trustworthy agent to handle your business.
Advantages of Using a South Carolina Business Address vs. Personal Address
- A business address minimizes exposure of your home address as public information
- Some city municipalities may not allow using home addresses as business offices
- Using your personal address can probably link you to business liabilities
- Using a business address can help you separate business and personal transactions
Having a registered agent is your gateway to setting up a business in the state of South Carolina. Doing it yourself is possible, but it can eat up a lot of your time, money, and energy. It is better to get a registered agent service and use the resources to build your business instead. Let them help you do business hassle-free in South Carolina.