How to Check If a Business Is a Corporation

by George Lawrence J.D.; Updated September 26, 2017

Corporations are legal entities that have the same rights and responsibilities as individuals. They must pay taxes on income and they can enter into contracts, sue or be sued. Corporations act through a board of directors. Each corporation must have a board of directors. If you are checking to see if a business is a corporation, look for a few tell-tale signs. A basic records check might be necessary.

Step 1

Look at the business’ name. States require corporate names to contain an identifier at the end of the name such as “Corp.” or “Incorporated.” If you notice one of these identifiers, chances are the business is a corporation.

Step 2

Ask the owner or the manager whether the business operates through a board of directors or if the business was formed when a document called the “articles of incorporation” was filed with the state. These indicators show that the business is a corporation.

Step 3

Look up the business in your state’s corporations registry. Most states keep a list of all corporations organized in that state. Contact your state’s business division or visit their website. Provide your state’s business division with the name of the business and you will be able to find out whether it is a corporation and when it was formed.

About the Author

Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.