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State-By-State Initial Compliance - South Carolina

Initial Filings for South Carolina Nonprofit Organizations

For a general discussion on starting a nonprofit organization, please refer to our article, Starting a Nonprofit Organization.

To view annual filing requirements for South Carolina nonprofit organizations, refer to our annual filings

  1. To Incorporate in South Carolina

    Submit 2 sets of Articles of Incorporation (original plus a copy) to:

    Secretary of State
    Attn: Corporate Filings
    1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
    Columbia, SC 29201
    Information: (803) 734-2158
    Web Site:
    Filing Fee: $25
    Note: Political associations must include an additional fee of $25 and the first Annual Report of the organization.
  2. To Obtain 501(c) Tax-Exempt Status

    a. Submit Form 1023 (501(c)(3) organizations) or 1024 (other 501(c) organizations), Application for Recognition of Exemption to:

    Note new address:
    Internal Revenue Service
    P.O. Box 12192
    Covington, KY 41012-0192
    Information: (800) 829-1040
    Forms: (800) 829-3676
    Web Site:
    Form 1023 Filing Fee: $850 ($275 for IRS Form 1023-EZ)
    Form 1024 Filing Fee: $850 ($400 if annual receipts will average not more than $10,000 in the first 4 years)
    Note: Certain 501(c)(3) organizations, including those with gross revenues at or below $50,000 annually, may qualify to file the online Form 1023-EZ, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption. For more information and to determine if you are eligible for this form, refer to our Form 1023-EZ FAQ.

    b. 501(c)(4) organizations formed after July 8, 2016 must file Form 8976, Notice of Intent to Operate Under Section 501(c)(4), electronically within 60 days of formation:

    Web Site:
    Filing Fee: $50 (This fee must be paid through the website)
    Notes: This filing must be completed by all 501(c)(4) organizations - including "self-declaring" organizations that do not file IRS Form 1024.
    For more information about this filing, refer to the IRS website.
  3. To Obtain South Carolina Income Tax Exemption

    Submit a letter requesting exemption along with a copy of IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter to:

    SC Department of Revenue
    Corporation Return
    Columbia, SC 29214-0100
    Information: (803) 896-1730
    Web Site:
    Filing Fee: $0
  4. To Obtain South Carolina Sales and Use Tax Exemption

    Submit Form ST-387 along with IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter, Bylaws, and the most recent income statement and balance sheet to:

    SC Department of Revenue
    License and Registration
    Columbia, SC 29214-0140
    Information: (803) 896-1420
    Web Site:
    Filing Fee: $0
    Note: Exemption applies only to sales or purchases for resale by eligible nonprofit organizations. The purchase of items for use by the nonprofit organization (such as furniture, equipment, supplies etc.) are not tax-exempt.
  5. To Register with the South Carolina Secretary of State

    If planning to solicit funds in South Carolina, submit the application to register as a charitable organization along with IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter and a listing of board members and their addresses to:

    Office of the Secretary of State
    Public Charities Division
    1205 Pendleton St.
    Suite 525
    Columbia, SC 29201
    Information: (803) 734-1790
    Web Site:
    Filing Fee: $50
    Notes: Registration may also be completed online.

    Educational institutions, organizations that raise less than $7,500 (and, in some instances, up to $20,000) in a calendar year, and a limited number of other organizations may be exempt from this filing, but must submit an application for exemption to the above address.

    The Unified Registration Statement (URS) form may be filed in place of this application. This can be found at the following website:

South Carolina Employment Filings

If the organization will have employees, the following filing is also required:

  • To Register with the South Carolina Department of Revenue and Department of Employment and Workforce

    Complete the online application (SCBOS) for employer withholding and unemployment insurance taxes.

    South Carolina Department of Revenue
    Registration Unit
    Columbia, SC 29214-0140
    South Carolina Department of Employment & Workforce
    Employer Status Unit
    PO Box 995
    Columbia, SC 29202
    Website Assistance: (803) 898-5690
    Withholding Tax Web Site:
    Unemployment Insurance Tax Web Site:
    Notes: These registrations may also be completed in paper form using Form SCDOR-11 for withholding taxes and Form UCE-151 for unemployment insurance taxes.

    For answers to frequently asked questions about South Carolina withholding taxes, refer to the Department of Revenue's frequently asked questions.

    For more information on unemployment insurance taxes and related matters, contact the Department of Employment & Workforce.
  • Important note about unemployment insurance: Many states allow nonprofit organizations to fund unemployment insurance benefits on a reimbursable basis. This method of funding unemployment insurance may require additional filings not listed here. Furthermore, electing this method may require the organization to register and file in paper format. Organizations contemplating this method of funding their unemployment insurance obligations should check with the appropriate state office administering the unemployment insurance in that state.

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