Start your business in Berkeley County

Business Licenses are not required but should be filed with the Auditor’s office or DOR. All property used in any business shall be returned for taxation and taxed in the county, city, and town in which it is situated.


Department Resources

SC Community Loan Fund
The SC Community Loan Fund (CLF) is a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) that provides non-traditional loans and technical assistance for developing affordable housing, healthy food outlets, community facilities, and community businesses that serve under-served populations and neighborhoods.

Eligible uses of financing may include:

  • Acquisition
  • Pre-development
  • Infrastructure
  • Construction
  • Permanent financing costs

State/Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits
There are a number of tax incentives to assist in rehabilitating historic properties. The program allows for both income-producing buildings (commercial and residential), as well as owner-occupied homes. These incentives are coordinated through the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and typically, require a pre-approval process before beginning any construction.

Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit for Owner Occupied Property
Provides a state income tax deduction of 25% of repairs/renovation costs for homeowner-occupied buildings, over a 5-year period. Requires a minimum expenditure of $15,000 within 36 months.

Tax Rehabilitation Credits for Income-Producing Properties
Provides 20% Federal Income Tax Credit/10% State Income Tax Credit on rehabilitation expenditures of at least $5,000 during a 24-month period that are greater than the adjusted basis of the building.

Retail Facilities Revitalization Credits
South Carolina offers tax incentives for renovating, rehabilitating and redeveloping large retail facilities that remain 80% nonoperational as a retail site for at least a year.
The program offers two options:

  • A state income tax credit equal to 10% of expenses for a period of 8 years
  • A property tax credit equal to 25% of expenses for each local taxing entity consenting to the credit, up to 75% of the real property taxes due for up to 8 years.

Property tax credits require public hearing, consent from affected local taxing entities, and approval by resolution from the Town and county where the site is located. Income tax credits may be combined with historic rehabilitation tax credits, making this a strong incentive for qualifying properties.

Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
By offering tailored resources and innovative programs that invest federal dollars alongside private sector capital, the CDFI Fund serves mission-driven financial institutions that take a market-based approach to supporting economically disadvantaged communities.

New Market Tax Credits
The NMTC Program incentivizes community development and economic growth through the use of tax credits that attract private investment to distressed communities.

Opportunity Zones
Opportunity Zones are a new community development program established by Congress as a part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, they are designed to encourage long-term private investments in low-income communities. This program provides a federal tax incentive for taxpayers who reinvest unrealized capital gains into “Opportunity Funds,” which are specialized vehicles dedicated to investing in low-income areas called “Opportunity Zones.”

The zones themselves are to be comprised of low-income community census tracts and designated by governors in every state. South Carolina designated 25 percent of qualifying census tracts as an Opportunity Zone. Qualifying Zones are based on the 2011-2015 American Community Survey.

Berkeley Count has 2 Opportunity Zones:

Low Income Housing Tax Credits
The South Carolina State Housing Finance & Development Authority, through a competitive application process, provides tax incentive to owners developing affordable multifamily rental housing within qualified census tracts. Owners of and investors in qualifying developments can use the credit as a dollar-for-dollar reduction of federal income tax liability.

Conservation Easements
Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements used to protect significant historic, archaeological, environmental or cultural resources. If certain criteria are met, an owner who donates an easement may be eligible for tax benefits.

South Carolina Economic Development Incentives
The State of South Carolina offers various statutory and discretionary incentives to targeted industries to reduce the property tax liability of a potential investor, and/or offset the infrastructure related expenditures of that potential investor. Eligibility varies, and is typically tied to new capital investment and job creation. Under state law, counties are vested with the authority to grant these incentives, and therefore, provide oversight in the negotiation of incentive packages on behalf of the qualifying company, the County, and the State Department of Commerce.

Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund (BCRLF)
The BCRLF is a state program that provides loans of up to $900,000 at 2% below prime for the cleanup of brownfield sites. It is administered by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) through a federal grant from Environmental Protection Agency. For more information, contact SCDHEC at (803) 896-4069.

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