How Much Is A Business License In South Carolina?

Business licenses are an important legal requirement for company and corporations who want to open for business in South Carolina, and most business types will need to register for one with their city or state. The cost of licenses can vary from one city to the next in South Carolina. 

How much is a business license in South Carolina? Business Licenses in South Carolina can cost anything from $50 and up, with company types like LLCs costing more to license. South Carolina has no general business license that covers the entire state like some other places, but instead licenses and permits have to be issued by the individual city.

One of the most important documents a South Carolina business might need is the basic business license or tax certificate. Unlike other states, SC does not have a whole license for the state, but issues by-city permits for businesses from their closest town office. Most businesses in South Carolina will require one. 

Business Licenses in South Carolina

South Carolina state law requires that all businesses register for licenses and permits with their city. There is no general business license that covers the entire state, but all permits are issued by the individual city where the business intends to operate. 

A South Carolina business license can cost anything from $50 to $100 or more. Basic business licenses are on the lower end of the pricing scale, but licenses like an LLC could require higher registration fees. 

Most South Carolina city business licenses are valid for a period of 1 year after they have been approved. Unlike some other states, renewal is not automatic and the applicant will have to renew their  licenses manually.

Once an application has been made, a license can take anything from a few days to two weeks to make it through the system. 

Online permit applications for South Carolina are faster, and usually process in just a few days. 

Once a license application has been approved, a temporary license is available to display registration or permit details while the print certificate is sent to the applicant.

The best way to apply for a South Carolina business license is to visit the online website or physical office for the city that’s closest to the businesses intended location.

Other licenses or permits would be required for South Carolina businesses who fall into specific categories. Guidance is available through city resources if an applicant is not sure what they will need in this state. 

Most businesses who want to open their doors in South Carolina will need a by-city license to do it within the law. If they do not, other permits are likely to be necessary.

Without a license, businesses are subject to fines or closure by state authorities.  Renewals must be done within the stated deadline too, or businesses can face late fees or fines.

Types of Business Licenses

An LLC or Company LicenseAn LLC license is required for Limited Liability Corporations in South Carolina, and they might cost upwards of $150 to register.
A General Operating LicenseGeneral operating licenses are required for most business types in South Carolina, but must be applied for by-city, not for the whole state. 
A Food LicenseFood licenses are required for any companies who buy, sell or trade in food items.
A NonprofitNonprofit licenses require a separate form, and are free to register for charities and not-for-profit companies in South Carolina.

SC Business Facts

• South Carolina businesses cannot register for a license at state level, but have to register for their business license with their city instead. 

• Most businesses in South Carolina will require a basic business license in order to trade legally.

• Most city-based licenses are valid for 1 to 2 years from their approval date, but applicants are always encouraged to verify the validity of their application.

• Businesses without the right licenses in South Carolina could be fined or closed down until their licenses have been updated. 

How long does a business license in South Carolina take?

South Carolina business license applications can take anything from a few days to a few weeks to process. Online license applications are preferred due to their speed.

When does a business license in South Carolina expire?

Business licenses in South Carolina are valid for a period of 1 to 2 years from the application date, though applicants are encouraged to check the validity of each license or permit.

How do I register for a nonprofit license in South Carolina?

Nonprofit licenses are a requirement for any charities who want to operate within South Carolina. Registration is free, and requires different forms.

Where can I apply for a business license in South Carolina?

South Carolina business licenses can be applied for at the relevant city office, either online or in person. 

What if my business license is delayed?

Delays in the process can be called normal if the application was made at a physical South Carolina office, or at a busy time of year. 

Business Licenses in South Carolina

The majority of business types who want to open their doors in South Carolina will require a business license before they can do it in line with the law. 

South Carolina requires all businesses to register for permits and licenses at city-level.

The cost of getting a South Carolina business license can vary depending on the type of license, and might depend on the city in which the business is being registered. 

Cost expectations are between $50 and up for a regular small business license. 

Additional permits might be required by the state of South Carolina if the type of business is more specific. LLCs, food-based businesses and liquor vendors might need additional licensing – and there are other types.

Here are the business license costs in other states: