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For many years, businesses raised concerns with legislators about the inconsistencies and complicated processes found around the state among the local governments that collect business license taxes. Legislators came together with the business community and cities and towns to remedy these issues.

This process led to the General Assembly passing the SC Business License Tax Standardization Act, Act 176, in September 2020. Act 176 streamlines the business license process, creating the same process for taxing jurisdictions across the state.  As of January 1, 2022, all municipalities in South Carolina that levy a local business license tax must comply with the law.

Details of Act 176:

  • Standard due date:  April 30
  • Standard license year:  May 1 – April 30
  • Gross income is based on the prior calendar year or business fiscal year
  • Standard application as approved by SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office
  • All businesses will be listed in the standard class schedule according to their North American Industry Classification System code, or NAICS code
  • Standard class schedule is adopted by the SC RFA
  • Creation of the Local Business License Renewal Center, an online payment portal where businesses can renew all their local licenses at one time

Act 176 mandates a standard license year for all business licenses in South Carolina: May 1 to April 30. For municipalities to transition from their existing license years, some will temporarily use a shortened license period and others will use a lengthened license period. A business license tax is based on a business’s gross income from the prior calendar year regardless of the due date or license period. Businesses will only pay once on their full calendar year's gross income no matter the length of the transitional license year.