How to Get a Business License in SC
You can get a business license online by applying with the correct licensing or regulatory agency for your business.
Business licensing requirements generally depend on your business’s activity and location (zoning requirements).
There are three main licensing jurisdictions:
State of South Carolina Business Licensing
The main state-level permit or license in South Carolina is the retail license, also known as a seller’s permit.
You must obtain a retail license if you:
- Are engaged in business in South Carolina
- Intend to sell or lease tangible personal property or services that would ordinarily be subject to sales tax if sold at retail.
Visit the Department of Revenue to obtain a retail license.
Additionally, businesses in certain professions must have specific licenses or permits. The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation provides information about a number of these licenses and how to register for them.
Local South Carolina Business Licensing
In South Carolina, you may need other licenses or permits from your local government depending on your business activity or location.
According to the South Carolina Business One Stop website, the following counties require a business license:
- Beaufort County
- Charleston County
- Dorchester County
- Horry County
- Jasper County
- Marion County
- Orangeburg County
- Richland County
- Sumter County
Steps for Obtaining a Business License in South Carolina
South Carolina Retail License
You can register for a South Carolina retail license online.
Other South Carolina Business Licenses
The South Carolina retail license, or seller’s permit, does not need to be renewed. Check with the relevant state, city, or county government offices for the renewal requirements for any other licenses you may have.
Federal Business Licenses and Permits
You can get a business license by applying with the correct licensing and regulatory agency for your business. Business licensing requirements depend on your business’s activity and location (zoning requirements).
If your business conducts activities that are regulated by the federal government, you will need to apply for the appropriate business license or permit.
Choose a business activity below to learn how to apply:
Firearms, ammunition, and explosives
Fish and wildlife
Mining and drilling
Radio and television broadcasting
Transportation and logistics
SC Business License FAQ
What is a business license?
A business license is a permit issued to businesses by a government office that allows the business to operate in a particular area. They can be issued by federal, state, or local governments. There are typically different licensing requirements for different businesses and different locations.
What are the types of business licenses?
There are many types of business licenses. These include licenses at the local, state, and federal levels, licenses related to sales tax and other taxes, and specific licenses for various professions. There are also environmental licenses, zoning permits, and more.
Is there a national business license?
Most businesses don’t need a federal business license, but some industries, including broadcasting, investment advising, and drug manufacturing, do have federal regulations and licenses.
Is an EIN the same as a business license?
No. An employer identification number (EIN) is issued by the IRS to identify and keep track of businesses, but it does not license them to operate.
Is an LLC considered a business license?
No. An LLC is a type of business structure. While you are required to register as an LLC, it is not a business license.
Who needs a South Carolina business license?
Any business that sells goods or services that are subject to the state’s sales tax needs a retail license. Businesses in certain professions or locations may need other specific licenses or permits.
What licenses do I need to open a business in South Carolina?
Many businesses will need a retail license. Businesses in certain professions or locations may need other specific licenses or permits.
What is a seller’s permit?
A seller’s permit is the common name for a license or permit that allows you to sell products or services. In South Carolina, this is called a retail license.
How much does a South Carolina business license cost?
A South Carolina retail license costs $50 to register. The cost of other licenses and permits varies.
How do I get a South Carolina business license?
You can register for a South Carolina retail license online through the state’s Department of Revenue website. Check with the relevant state, city, or county government offices for information about how to register for other licenses or permits.