Limited liability companies exist in the United States to protect the personal liability of business owners. LLCs provide a platform where business owners are not personally liable for the company's debts or liabilities. There are many benefits to LLCs, and some of these include electing taxation, privacy, protecting personal assets, and avoiding the double taxation that corporations suffer from.
Most of the information put out by an LLC is public. This means that you can perform an LLC search in order to find out information regarding that business, the legal name, as well as where the business is located and registered. This can help you to contact the business, or find out other important information.
There are a few reasons why you might want to perform an LLC search. You might want to look up your own LLC to see if it is officially formed. Another reason would be to see if a name you hope to form is already taken.
How to Search for an LLC?
Searching for an LLC is similar to searching for corporations because LLCs are required to register in every state where they do business. This means that you should look for specific details when searching for an LLC.
- Address of registered agent
- The legal status of the company
This can be easily found by searching online. The first thing you will need is the real name of the LLC. The reason this is more tricky than you might think is that many LLCs use a fictitious business name. This is known as a “DBA”, (which stands for doing business as).
You will also need to find out which state the LLC was actually formed in. This is important because many LLCs are doing business in various states, and the name is usually unique to where it was formed in. The next step is to visit the Secretary of State website (for that specific state) to perform a business search.
What Information Can You Find When You Perform the LLC Search?
Head to the Secretary of State's business search page. In cases where you cannot find any free information, you may need to pay a fee to access these documents. Information that you will find includes:
- LLC's status and origin.
- Information about how the LLC was formed
- The date when the LLC was registered
- Full information about the registered agent of the LLC
Reasons to Search for an LLC
- Want to file a lawsuit against an LLC
- Learn more about an LLC
- Find out ownership of an LLC
- Searching for Name availability for Your LLC
- Look up an existing business entity to check its status with the state
- Find out if your own LLC has been officially formed in your state
- Perform important administrative tasks for your business
What Information is Available to Search
When searching for an LLC you should be able to find a variety of information. This includes:
- The Official Name: The official name of an LLC is the legal name. This is always used on government forms and business paperwork. Most states require LLCs to include “LLC” or “Limited Liability Company” in their official name.
- Certificates of Good Standing: The Certificate of Good Standing indicates that the LLC has filed all reports, and paid all fees required. These are all sent into, and paid to the Secretary of State's office. This certificate is proof that an entity exists, and that they are legally allowed to act as a business in the state it is formed in.
- LLC Status: There are two options for an LLC status, it can be either active or inactive. It has to do with being in standing and has nothing to do with falling behind on fees and paperwork.
- Address of registered agent: The registered agent of an LLC is an essential figure. It can be a person, a business, or a member of the LLC itself. This agent must have an address in the state of formation and be able to collect legal documents and mail on behalf of the LLC.
How to Keep Your LLC Information Private?
Anonymous LLCs are a great alternative for more privacy. This can be done easily if following a few specific steps. There are only a few states that allow you to have an anonymous LLC, these are Delaware, Wyoming, and New Mexico.
Although an anonymous LLC is the same as any other LLC, there are advantages. Not only does it allow you to keep the ownership of your LLC private, but it can protect the members as well. This is important when it comes to public figures or controversial businesses.
After forming an anonymous LLC, the only information that will be available as public knowledge will then be the registered agent and registered address.
Ready to Search for an LLC?
For whatever reason you are performing an LLC search, we can help. Business attorneys know the process of forming and searching for LLCs. We have access to databases with the information you need and can make the process easy. Speak with a professional today to get started in forming or searching for an existing LLC!