Starting a tax-exempt nonprofit in the state of South Carolina is a straightforward process. You can find all the forms online. All you need is the belief that what you are doing serves the needs of the people and the charisma to pull it off--the paperwork is the easy part.
Make sure the nonprofit you want to start will do something no other organization is already doing.
File an Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. The cost of this transaction is $25 plus an additional $25 if you are a political organization. You will need to send an original of the form plus a copy when filing as well as a SASE. (See the Resources section for an Articles of Incorporation Form.) When the form is filled out, send it to the following address: South Carolina Secretary of State's Office Attn: Corporate Filings P.O. Box 11350 Columbia, SC 29211
Apply for 501(c)(3) with the IRS after you have established yourself as nonprofit with the state of South Carolina. The filing fee is $850--unless your revenue is going to be less than $10,000 a year, in which case it'll only be $400. You will need to send Form 1023, which is the Application for Recognition of Exemption, to the following address:
Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 12192 Covington, KY 41012-0192
Apply for South Carolina Income Tax Exemption after receiving an affirmative letter of determination from the IRS in regards to 501(c)(3) status. Doing this costs nothing, and it makes your organization exempt from income taxes. Send a copy of your 501(c)(3) form from the IRS, along with a letter asking to be exempt, to the following address: Department of Revenue Corporation Return Columbia, SC 29214-0100
Apply for South Carolina Sales and Use Tax Exemption (it's free). You will need to receive your letter of determination from the IRS in regards to 501(c)(3) status. You must submit a copy of your 501(c)(3) status--Form ST-387, Bylaws--and your most recent income statement and balance sheet to the following address: SC Department of Revenue License and Registration Columbia, SC 29214-0140
Register with the South Carolina Secretary of State if you intend to solicit funds in South Carolina. The fee for this is $50. You will need to submit a form claiming that your organization is a charitable organization along with the 501(c)(3) status form from the IRS, and a listing of your board members along with their addresses to: Office of the Secretary of State Public Charities Division 1205 Pendleton St. Suite 525 Columbia, SC 29201