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Where can you go to find out company information in the California?

In this article, we’ll focus on what company information is available to the public regarding companies registered in California.

As noted in our previous article, the United States does not have a national registry of companies.  To find information on a company, you must search the appropriate database of the state where the company is registered.  A state’s “Secretary of State” is the government official who oversees business registration in that state. That office maintains a free database where you can search for information on a company.

California Business Entity Search

In California, you can search for information on a business entity through the website maintained by California’s 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 general partnerships, associations, limited liability partnerships, and other types of business entities is not available through this search tool. To obtain information on those businesses, you need to submit a formal request, available at https://bpd.cdn.sos.ca.gov/pdf/be-records-requests.pdf.

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When looking for a business entity’s information, you can search by entity name or entity number. The entity number is a unique identifier that is assigned to the registered entity.

What does California registry display?

  • Full legal name of the company
  • Entity number
  • Registration date
  • Address
  • Mailing address
  • Entity type (e.g., LLC, corporation, limited partnership)
  • Jurisdiction (state, foreign country, or other place where the entity is formed)
  • Name and address of the registered agent (business or individual who will receive service of process for the entity)
  • Status (active/dissolved/suspended/cancelled)

What different types of companies are there in California?

The main types of companies in California take one of the following structures:

  • Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Partnership
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Liability Partnership
  • Sole Proprietorship

Statement of Information / Certificate of Status / Certificate of Filing of All Documents

The California business search allows users to obtain free uncertified PDF copies of some business documents, including a company’s statements of information of record. A statement of information of record lists the company’s officers, directors, and business type (e.g. social media company). This statement also contains the information found through the business search (e.g. full business name, address, agent, jurisdiction, etc.).

As noted above, the business entity search results indicate the company’s status (e.g. active/good standing, suspended, dissolved, cancelled).  You can submit an electronic request for an official Certificate of Standing from the Secretary of State. The fee is USD 5 and the request can be made at the following website:  https://bebizfile.sos.ca.gov/CertofStatus

You can also obtain a certified list of all the business entity’s documents that are on record at the Secretary of State. This is known as a Certificate of Filing of All Documents. There is a fee of USD 5 per document listed. The request form is available at: https://bpd.cdn.sos.ca.gov/pdf/be-records-requests.pdf.

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