Welcome to the State of South Carolina

The state of South Carolina is strategically located halfway between New York City and Miami on the East Coast of the United States. Home to more than five million people, South Carolina is similar in size to Ireland.

The message is clear: South Carolina is one of the best places in the world to do business. With a strong international footprint, the Palmetto State ranked No. 1 in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign investment on a per capita basis in 2018 – extending its streak of top three finishes since 2011

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Why Invest in South Carolina

What are European companies finding in South Carolina that they cannot find anywhere else? The answers are as varied as the 1,200 international operations that call South Carolina home.

The state’s preeminent logistics network includes five interstate highways, 3,700 kilometres of rail and the Port of Charleston – one of the busiest container ports in the United States. In addition to its seaport infrastructure, South Carolina also operates two innovative inland ports, allowing the state’s businesses to quickly and efficiently transport goods to market.

Moreover, South Carolina's business and regulatory climate is designed to support success. In fact, the state is consistently ranked among the top 10 in the nation for its business climate and for its workforce training programs offered through readySC™. Offered at no cost to participating firms, readySC trained more than 5,000 workers for nearly 90 companies last year.

From the regulatory perspective, South Carolina has fair wage rates, no local income tax, a right-to-work policy, easy access to government, trade secret protection, one-stop permitting, minimal start-up costs and incentives that reward job creation and investment.


Low Cost of Doing Business
South Carolina businesses thrive thanks to lower operating and capital costs. Because of the state’s low cost-of-living, labor costs are also lower than the national average. Business-friendly regulations and smart investments in energy infrastructure give South Carolina one of the region's most affordable power costs. Industrial power costs in the state average only 5.9 cents per kilowatt hour, below the national average of 6.9.

Transportation Infrastructure
Served by five interstate highways, an efficient port with numerous worldwide shipping connections and the capability to support post-Panamax vessels, two Class One rail carriers and four primary airports, South Carolina offers manufacturers numerous means of reaching customers and suppliers around the world.

Workforce and Education
As a right-to-work state with the lowest unionization rate in the country, South Carolina businesses can rely on a stable, efficient workforce at competitive wage rates and free from work stoppages. Additionally, with one of the United States’ ten fastest-growing state populations, the labor force continues to expand. 

Favorable Tax Climate and Incentives
The Palmetto State offers a host of tax incentives and tax advantages to businesses choosing to locate or expand their manufacturing operations in the state:

  • No state property tax
  • No local income tax
  • No inventory tax
  • Favorable corporate income tax structure
  • Job Development Tax Credits
  • Economic Development Set-Aside Grants
  • Corporate Headquarters Tax Credits
  • Research and Development Tax Credits

What We Can Do To Help You

The State of South Carolina European Office is the European subsidiary of the South Carolina Department of Commerce. The office was first established in Brussels in 1975. Today, operating out of Munich, the office has more than four decades of experience assisting European companies establish, relocate and expand business operations in the United States.

Advisory and support services are offered, including:

  • Support for business site selection
  • Provide identification of suitable communities, sites and buildings
  • Offer detailed information on industry sectors and operating costs
  • Provide access to technical and workforce training programs
  • Offer governmental assistance, language interpretation, customary procedures and serve as an on-the-ground point of contact
  • Create new opportunities for existing businesses in overseas markets
  • Identify new direct foreign investment for South Carolina and attract new suppliers to the state
  • Provide consultative services for international businesses in South Carolina

For more information please visit www.SCcommerce.com.


Basic Business Taxes

Corporate Income Tax:

At 5 percent, South Carolina’s Corporate Income Tax Rate is among the lowest in the Southeast. The state uses a single factor sales formula for apportioning income.

Many companies qualify for a Job Tax Credit, which eliminates up to 50% of a company's corporate income tax liability for a specified number of years.

The Corporate License Tax Rate is $1 for each $1,000 of capital stock and paid-in or capital surplus, plus a $15 annual fee.

Sales and Use Tax:

The sales and use tax rate in South Carolina is 6%. Some counties assess a local option sales tax and/or a capital project sales tax, which currently range from 1 to 2.5%. Proceeds of such local taxes go toward infrastructure improvements or a rollback of property taxes.

The sales tax applies to all retail sales, leases and rentals of tangible personal property, including the value of property purchased at wholesale and then used or consumed by the purchaser. The use tax is based on the sales price of such property.

South Carolina supports new and expanding industry with a wide range of valuable exemptions to the sales tax (state and local). Those can be found here.

Property Tax:

In South Carolina, only local governments may levy property taxes. A company’s property tax liability is a function of: Property Value x Assessment Ratio x Millage.

To determine Fair Market Value, real property is appraised, while tangible personal property is recorded at cost and then depreciated based on a statutory depreciation rate (for manufacturers) and income tax depreciation (for other businesses). The Fair Market Value is then assessed at rates established in the South Carolina Constitution. The local millage rate is applied to the assessed value to determine the property taxes. Millage rates in South Carolina are site specific and set annually by local government. A mill is equal to $0.001.

Property Tax Exemptions may include inventories (raw materials, work-in-progress, finished goods), intangibles (stocks, dividends, interest) and pollution control equipment. A partial Property Tax Exemption, called an abatement, may be made available to manufacturing, research and development, corporate headquarters, office and distribution facilities meeting certain requirements. Companies may also be able to negotiate a Fee-in-Lieu (FILOT) of property taxes, which can greatly reduce their property tax liability. This property tax incentive is offered at the discretion of local governments. Companies investing as little as $2.5 million dollars may negotiate this exemption with the county in which they locate. This 20-year incentive creates significant savings for companies by lowering the assessment ratio from 10.5% for manufacturers to as low as 6%. Furthermore, the millage may be held lower than if the property were not under a FILOT.

Business Incentives

Corporate income tax credits:

In addition to a low corporate income tax rate and a favorable formula for determining the income subject to that rate, South Carolina provides a myriad of credits that in some cases can completely eliminate a company’s corporate income tax liability for up to 10, or in some cases, 15 years.

Additionally, the state offers discretionary income, license and withholding tax incentives, as well as discretionary property tax incentives. For a detailed look at all of South Carolina’s incentives offerings, click here.


State Governor: Henry McMaster

Contact Info South Carolina

Contact Name:
Vanessa Göschl, CEcD,
State of South Carolina

Managing Director, European Office

Almeida Palais
Brienner Straße 14
80333 München, Germany
Phone: +49 89 291 91 70
Mobile: +49 160 963 498 37
Email: vgoeschl@sccommerce.com

State Demographics South Carolina

Region: Southeast
Population: 5.0 million
Gross State Product: $ 219.1 billion (2017)
Exports: $ 32.2 billion (2017)
Labor Force: 2.3 million (2017) 
Latest Unemployment Rate: 3.3 % (2018)
Unionization Rate: 2.6 % (2017)
Per Capita Personal Income: $ 41,000 (2017)
Capital City: Columbia
Principal Cities: Aiken, Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, Spartanburg, Rock Hill

South Carolina Events Calendar

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