Although you can request a copy of articles of incorporation from an individual corporation, Florida maintains copies of the documents in its public records collections. An individual or group who wants to form and register a corporation in Florida files the articles of incorporation with the Division of Corporations, an office of Florida’s Department of State. Florida provides access to copies of the documents on its website, and assists with requests.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Florida requires businesses to file articles of incorporation with the state’s Division of Corporations. The document are available for public viewing online.
Are You a Corporation?
The Florida incorporation definition includes the following provisions:
- Must bee an independent legal entity separate from the people who own, control and manage it
- Does not dissolve when its owners or shareholders die
- Can enter into contracts, transact business and pay taxes
- Provides for limited liability for its owners
Qualifying companies must file articles of incorporation with the Florida Secretary of State.
Online Corporation Search
Conduct a Florida Secretary of State business search by starting with the The “Document Searches” page on Florida’s Division of Corporations website. You'll find links to different search engines so you can easily locate the documents you need.
Search for the corporation. For instance, you can search by corporation name, registered agent name, officer name, document number or employer identification number.
Gather as much information as you can find before performing a search, especially if you are unsure of the exact corporation name. Because the search generates multiple items, knowing the address can help to identify the correct articles is incorporation copy.
* Click on the link for the search type you want to use and enter the requested information in the search window to generate a list of exact and similar items. In addition to corporation names, the search lists generated include limited liability companies, limited partnerships and trademarks.
Locating the Document Online
The information included in the search results varies with the search type:
- A search by corporation name generates a list of names with document numbers and business status, such as active and inactive.
- A search by registered agent or officer generates a list that includes entity names and numbers.
- A trademark search list includes document number and status.
Click on a link in the list generated and scroll to the bottom of the record to view the available documents. If documents are listed, look for the articles of incorporation and click the link to open to document to view, save and print.
Contact the Division
If you are unable to locate a copy of the articles of incorporation online, contact the Florida Division of Corporations for assistance.
- Call 850-245-6052 for questions about for-profit and nonprofit articles of incorporation.
- Send a written request to Department of State, Division of Corporations, Corporate Filings, P.O. Box 6327, Tallahassee, FL 32314.
You also may send an email requesting information and assistance locating articles of incorporation. Note that if you send an email request, your email address becomes public record under Florida law and can be released as part of a request for public records.
Public Records and Articles of Incorporation
The articles of incorporation document describes the legal structure of the business and provides for its governance, such as a board of directors. Florida law, which requires a corporation to operate within the parameters of its organizing document, makes the articles of incorporation publicly available to protect consumers and to provide for regulation of corporations in the state.
Corporations are required to report certain changes, such as the registered agent authorized to accept official notices on behalf of the corporation. Corporations also must vote on amendments to the articles of incorporation and file articles of amendment with the Division of Corporations.
- Florida Department of State: Division of Corporations
- Florida Department of State: Division of Corporations: Organizing Documents for a Limited Liability Company
- Digital Media Law Project: Forming a Corporation in Florida
- Florida Department of State: Division of Corporations: Types of Business Entities/Structures
- Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. "Articles of Incorporation." Accessed Sept. 25, 2020.
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Restated Certificate of Incorporation of the Company." Accessed Sept. 25, 2020.
- Iowa Secretary of State. "Business Entity Forms and Fees." Accessed Oct. 5, 2020.
- Arkansas Secretary of State. "Forms / Fees / Records Requests." Accessed Oct. 5, 2020.
- State of Michigan. "Entrepreneur’s Guide," Page 26. Accessed Oct. 5, 2020.
- Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. "Corporations Division Filing Fees." Accessed Oct. 5, 2020.
Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.