When you form a Limited Liability Company (LLC), certain documentation is required. For example, the Articles of Organization, a legal document that must be filed with the state if you want to conduct business as an LLC.
When legal documents like these are filed, your business information is made public on the Secretary of State’s website.
So, how easy is it for someone to find the identity of your LLC and its members?
It depends on how you set up your LLC. There are state laws that provide a certain level of protection because many laws don’t require businesses to disclose information in order to conduct business as an LLC.
If you’re not the business owner, and you’re looking for LLC information, you can find a lot of the information you need through public records. If you’re the owner of an LLC looking to maintain privacy, there are ways to do that!
If you want to search for an LLC, you can often do so through a taxable entity search with the state in which you are searching. However, there are a few details you may need before getting started:
You will also need the real name of the LLC, not a fictitious business name – also known as a “DBA” (doing business as).
Finding an LLCs owner(s) can often be found by searching the secretary of state website in which the LLC was formed. Because all LLCs are required to register with the state, records are usually obtainable on the secretary of state’s website.
Whether you want to know who owns an LLC, want to do business with a certain company, or simply want to know more about a company, there are several reasons to search for an LLC.
When you follow the proper steps when searching for an LLC on the Secretary of State website, you’ll typically find information such as:
If the LLC is registered as public, this is information that everyone can view. If the LLC is private or anonymous, the information may be hidden or classified.
If you wish to keep your LLC information as private as possible, forming an Anonymous LLC may be the best bet for your situation. Anonymous LLCs are limited liability companies that keep the owner's name and information private and not publicly identifiable by the state. Many states do not allow formation of Anonymous LLCs; this must be done through a third-part service (like a registered agent) who can help keep personal information private.
All businesses have flexibility when choosing which state to establish their LLC. If the state you operate in does not allow Anonymous LLCs, you can choose formation in another state in which it is permitted.
An Anonymous LLC means the state does not maintain any records of ownership or management. In states that allow formation of Anonymous LLCs, only the Articles of Organization are submitted to the state with the names of the owner and the registered agent.
To ensure privacy and avoid the common problems when forming an LLC, let a qualified business lawyer act on your behalf.