After you've registered your limited liability company with the state and started doing business, you'll need to occasionally check on your company's status to make sure you remain in good standing and have completed all state-mandated tasks. This process usually begins with a quick check on your state's business search tool that will show the status along with other business registration details. You may also need to request a certificate of good standing through your state when performing tasks like applying for a loan or trying to register your business in a new location.
Basics of LLC Status
When you register your LLC with your state, you gain an array of responsibilities you must handle to keep your business in good standing. Often, this means you need to pay all fees and taxes on time and have certain corporate meetings. It also means you have to provide updates and reports that verify you've met all of your state's requirements.
Without being in good status, your business can end up with legal issues and high fines. You can also face difficulties when applying for financing or expanding and can even put your business's liability protection at risk.
Check the Status of a Corporation
To get a basic overview of the information on file for your company, you can do an LLC name search through your state. You can usually do this through the same website where you originally checked for LLC name availability. This often means your state's government website for the department of taxation or secretary of state.
Locate the site's business or corporation search tool that lets you search by business name. It may provide advanced options in case you have a name that is similar to another registered LLC. The results will show your business name and current status — such as whether you're active, dissolved or forfeited — and your standing with the state. You may have an option to click your business name to see a detailed record containing your principal office address, registered agent, business type and code, date of formation and filing history.
Request Certificate of Good Standing
When searching for your company through your state's LLC name search tool, the records page may have a button to go ahead and request a certificate of good standing through the website. If not, you can often find the option to get documents pertaining to an LLC through the same state department of taxation or secretary of state website. Often, this appears on a page related to business registration. Along with applications to register a new business, you'll often find links to purchase copies of your articles of organization and status certificate.
Depending on the state, you may be able to do an online request, or you may need to download a status certificate order form to mail or drop off at the government office. Typically, the application or form will ask for your contact details, business name, state filing number and entity type to locate the right business. Then, you'll select all the documents you need, state whether you want electronic or paper copies and add up the fees you'll need to pay.
If you're using an online system, you can usually pay the fees with a card and submit the order automatically. Mailing the form usually requires a money order or check, but the state office may accept a card if you drop it off.
Regain Good Standing for an LLC
If your LLC has lost its good standing for some reason, addressing the main cause — whether it be unpaid taxes or poor reporting practices — can help you get back on track. You'll likely need to file some forms with your state to explain the issues and your plans for fixing them. Your business may consider hiring a legal adviser to assist with the process and prevent the state from dissolving your LLC.
- California Secretary of State: Business Entities
- Office of the Illinois Secretary of State: Corporation/LLC Search/Certificate of Good Standing
- New York Department of State: How Do I Obtain a Certificate of Status?
- Gusto: What’s a Certificate of Good Standing? And How Do I Get One?
- Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation: Business Entity Search
- Washington Office of the Secretary of State: Business Search
- This search also lists the current status of any existing corporations of the same name. It will list the LLC as being active or canceled in many states. The name is most likely available if no results are returned, but an official name availability form and filing fee are required for verification.
- Consult your state's regulations on corporate names to ensure that your application for an LLC name is not denied. Some states prohibit names that are too closely related to existing company names.
Ashley Donohoe started writing professionally about business topics in 2010. Having eight years experience running all aspects of her small business, she is knowledgeable about the daily issues and decisions that business owners face. She also has earned a Master of Business Administration degree with a leadership and strategy concentration from Western Governors University. Some other places featuring her business writing include JobHero, LoveToKnow, PocketSense, Chron and Study.com.