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In this article, we will focus on publicly available company information about companies registered in California.
As noted in our previous article, the United States does not have a national business registry. To find information about a business, you must search the appropriate database in the state where the business is registered. A state’s “Secretary of State” is the government official who oversees business registration in that state. This office maintains a free database where you can search for information about a company.
California Business Entity Search
In California, you can search for business entity information through the website operated by the California Secretary of State. This free search is available at: https://businesssearch.sos.ca.gov . Through this website, you can search for information on corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships. Note that information on partnerships, associations, limited liability companies and other types of business entities is not available through this search tool. To obtain information about these companies, you must submit a formal request, available at https://bpd.cdn.sos.ca.gov/pdf/be-records-requests.pdf.
When searching for business entity information, you can search by entity name or number. The entity number is a unique identifier assigned to the registered entity.
What does the California registry show?
- Full legal name of the company
- Entity number
- Registration date
- Entity type (e.g. LLC, corporation, limited partnership)
- Jurisdiction (State, foreign country or other place where the entity is incorporated)
- Name and address of registered agent (company or individual who will receive process service for the entity)
- Status (active/dissolved/suspended/cancelled)
What are the different types of businesses in California?
The main types of businesses in California adopt one of the following structures:
- Limited Liability Company
- Partnership limit
- Global partnership
- Limited Liability Company
- Individual business
Statement of information / Certificate of status / Certificate of filing of all documents
California Business Search allows users to obtain uncertified PDF copies of certain business documents, including company information statements, free of charge. A disclosure statement on file lists the company’s officers, directors, and business type (eg, social media company). This statement also contains the information found during the company search (e.g. full company name, address, agent, jurisdiction, etc.).
As noted above, business entity search results indicate the status of the business (e.g. active/good standing, suspended, dissolved, canceled). You can submit an electronic request for an official certificate of quality to the Secretary of State. The fee is $5 and the request can be made on the following website:
You can also obtain a certified list of all business entity documents that are registered with the Secretary of State. This is called a Certificate of Filing of All Documents. There is a $5 fee per document listed. The application form is available at: https://bpd.cdn.sos.ca.gov/pdf/be-records-requests.pdf.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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