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General FAQs

The Secretary of State’s Office is a ministerial filing office and cannot provide legal advice to citizens. Nothing in the following language should be construed to constitute legal advice. The Secretary of State’s Office strongly recommends that you seek the assistance of counsel before making any decisions that may have legal implications.

 

1)      What are the general duties of the Secretary of State’s Office?

The Secretary of State’s Office is the state filing office for business corporations, nonprofit corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships and limited liability companies, as well as for all Uniform Commercial Code – Article 9 – Secured Transaction filings. In addition to business filings, the Secretary of State’s Office files state trademarks, maintains the state notary public database and issues commissions for elected officials and those appointed by the Governor. The Secretary of State’s Office is also responsible for issuing all state-wide cable franchises and serves as the repository for several types of municipal filings. Finally, the Secretary of State’s Office regulates charitable organizations and professional fundraisers, business opportunities and employment agencies. Please refer to the individual sections of our Website to get additional information about each of our divisions.

2)      What are the hours of the Secretary of State’s Office?

The Secretary of State’s Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.

3)      How do I file documents with the Secretary of State’s Office?

Documents may mailed to, or sent by UPS/FedEx or hand-delivered to:
 
       SC Secretary of State's Office
      1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
      Columbia, SC 29201

4)      Can the Secretary of State’s Office investigate businesses?

No. Pursuant to statute, the Secretary of State’s Office is a ministerial office. This means that the Secretary of State’s Office is a filing office that has no authority to investigate complaints against businesses. If you are a consumer complaining against a South Carolina business, you should contact the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs at (803) 734-4200 or http://www.scconsumer.gov/ or the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org. If you have a complaint against a business that involves potential criminal activity, you should contact local law enforcement. 

5)      Can the Secretary of State’s Office investigate nonprofit corporations?

The Secretary of State’s Office has the authority to investigate charitable organizations. If a nonprofit is also a charitable organization, the Secretary of State’s Office may look into the matter. For more information on charitable organizations, please visit the Public Charities Division on our Website. If the nonprofit is not acting as a charitable organization, the Secretary of State would have no authority to investigate the nonprofit. The Attorney General is given the authority to investigate nonprofits under the following section in the Nonprofit Act 33-31-171.

6)      Does the Secretary of State’s Office regulate elections and voter registration in South Carolina?

No. Elections and voter registration are regulated by the South Carolina Elections Commission. They can be contacted at (803) 734-9060 or http://www.scvotes.org/.

 7)      Does the Secretary of State’s Office regulate Homeowner’s Associations?

No. Homeowner’s Associations that choose to incorporate as a nonprofit corporation file the articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State’s Office. The Secretary of State’s Office can provide you with copies of any business filings the Homeowner’s Association may have filed with the office. The Secretary of State does not have any authority to regulate Homeowner’s Associations, mediate disputes between members of Homeowner’s Associations or force the Homeowner’s Association to take any action. Homeowners may need the assistance of counsel to resolve any disputes.

8)      Can the Secretary of State’s Office provide me with legal assistance?

No. The Secretary of State’s Office cannot provide legal assistance to individual citizens. If you need the assistance of legal counsel, you may call the Lawyer Referral Service of the South Carolina Bar at (803) 799-7100 or (800) 868-2284.
 
         9)   What forms of payment does the Secretary of State's Office 
                accept?
The Secretary of State's Office accepts cash, personal checks, and money orders. The office does not currently accept debit or credit cards.