A South Carolina registered agent service is something you may need if you are planning to start a business in South Carolina. Appointing and maintaining a registered agent is a requirement for forming a business entity in the state. The main function of a registered agent is to receive legal documents, service of process, and other official documents on behalf of your company. You can appoint yourself, a family member, or a friend as your registered agent. Alternatively, you can use a South Carolina registered agent service.

What Is a Registered Agent?

Before you file your Articles of Organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State, you are required to appoint a registered agent for your company. A registered agent refers to a person or entity that agrees to receive legal mail on your company's behalf in the event of a lawsuit. Such an individual or entity is also known as:

  • Resident agent
  • Registered office
  • Statutory agent
  • Agent for service of process

According to South Carolina law, all business entities must appoint and maintain a registered agent. Such business entities include:

  • Limited liability companies
  • Limited liability partnerships
  • Limited partnerships
  • Business corporations
  • Nonprofit corporations

The requirement applies to businesses that are formed in South Carolina and out-of-state business entities that are registered to conduct business in the state. A registered agent handles legal and state notices that are sent to your company. Improper processing of important documents, such as service of process and annual reports, may lead to disastrous consequences.

Why You Need to Have a Registered Agent

Documents that are delivered to a registered agent are usually hand-delivered to the street address provided. They are typically time sensitive and require signature on delivery. When you create a limited liability company or corporation, you are forming an entity that is unable to communicate on its own. A registered agent accepts communication on behalf of your company and ensures that you and those who are responsible for your business will be aware of the service of process and other important notices that he or she has received.

The need to appoint a registered agent may seem troublesome, but you are starting a company that may experience problems and get sued someday. It is essential to have a dependable way to be notified of important things such as a tax notice or legal problem. This is the reason why you need to have a registered agent.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent in South Carolina?

When you are selecting a registered agent for your business in South Carolina, you have three choices:

  • You can be your company's registered agent.
  • You can appoint a family member or friend to be your registered agent.
  • You can use a commercial registered agent.

Naming an Individual as Your Registered Agent

If you choose to appoint an individual as your company's registered agent, you have to make sure the individual meets the following requirements:

  • Must be a South Carolina resident
  • Must allow his or her name and address to appear in South Carolina's public records (Also known as the registered office, the address must be a physical address in the state, not a post office box or mailbox service)
  • Must be generally available at the registered office during business hours to receive documents

Using a Commercial Registered Agent

A commercial registered agent in South Carolina is a company that specializes in providing registered agent service to businesses in South Carolina, receiving service of process and other official documents on their behalf. Such a company typically charges $100 to $300 per year. Upon being hired, the agent will receive official documents on your company's behalf and then mail them to you at any address you choose. In most cases, the documents will also be emailed and faxed to you.

Finding the Registered Agent of a South Carolina Company

To find the registered agent of any South Carolina company, you can conduct a business name search on South Carolina's official website. Just enter the name of the business and look at the name and street address of the registered agent. If you wish to legally notify a company in South Carolina through its registered agent service, you can just send a certified letter to the registered agent at the registered office address.

If you need help finding a good South Carolina registered agent service, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.