What is an LLC?
A limited liability company (LLC) is a business structure in the United States whereby the owners are not personally liable for the company's debts or liabilities. Limited liability companies are hybrid entities that combine the characteristics of a corporation with those of a partnership or sole proprietorship.
How to search for an LLC or other business in New York?
In New York, you can easily search for an LLC. Through Department of State website you can search for various businesses including nonprofit corporations, limited partnerships (LPs), LLCs, and other miscellaneous businesses. This information is available here through their Corporation and Business Entity Database. The database includes assumed name filings for corporations, LLCs, and LPs.
It is important to note that the Department provides a disclaimer that they cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the data provided. If a question arises about the information you obtain through the database, you can call the New York Department of State, Division of Corporations at 512-473-2492. They are open weekdays 8:45 AM - 4:30 PM eastern time.
Why would you perform a business search?
This business search is a way to contact a business or find out other information you need. You may also desire to search for a company to confirm your information about the business. You can even look up your business to see what is available to the public. It's also a great way to determine whether your desired business name while filing for one is already taken and, therefore, unavailable. Some other reasons for performing a business search are listed below.
- Want to file a lawsuit against an LLC. You can contact the agent to notify the company.
- Learn more about an LLC, including any of the information listed below.
- Find out ownership of an LLC
- Searching for Name availability for Your LLC. Confirming whether your desired LLC name is already taken can help prevent rejection and additional filings for your LLC.
- Perform administrative tasks for your company.
- Confirm whether your LLC is formed officially with the secretary of state
How to perform a search?
In New York, you can find the database here: https://apps.dos.ny.gov/publicInquiry/.
You can search for a business using the entity's name, Department of State (DOS) ID, assumed name, and assumed name ID.
You can define the search criteria in several ways.
This is where you enter the name of the business entity you are searching for.
Through this option you can select whether to search only active businesses or include inactive ones.
One of three search types needs to be selected. You can choose from begins with, contains, or partial.
- "Begins with" requires the exact beginning of the entire entity name to be entered into the search engine. It would be best to type the name exactly, including commas and other punctuation marks. For instance, if the company name is Quickspace, Inc. you must include the comma.
- There is more flexibility with this search option as you do not have to include punctuation marks exactly as listed in the business entity's name. The order of the words does not matter; you only need to have at least one of the words in the business name.
- This is similar to the contains search but you don't have to write out the entire last word. For instance, using the example above, you may write "Quicksp" rather than the whole word "Quickspace."
- Begins With
- You can specify what type of entity the business you are searching is. This includes the options: corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, and limited liability partnership.
What information is available through the search?
Information that is available through the New York business search includes the following:
- Full legal name of the company
- Whether the company is active or inactive
- The registered agent and their address
- The jurisdiction that the entity was formed in
- The entity type
- The initial filing date
- The principal and mailing addresses of the business
- The managers or members listed in the filing
- Filing/ Merger history
How to Keep Your LLC Information Private?
New York is not one of the states that allows anonymous LLC filing. That is, you cannot withhold member or manager information. Section 206 further prevents anonymous LLCs from forming. This regulation requires that LLCs that within 120 days after the effective date of the Articles of Organization, the LLC must publish in two newspapers a copy of the Articles or a notice relating to the establishment of the LLC. Therefore members of an LLC are public information and can be seen through a business search performed on the Department of State website.
If you search and find out your information is listed, and would like to find a way to keep certain information private, it is recommended you consult a business law firm for assistance. It can be especially difficult in New York to withhold information.
How to get ahold of documents?
Copies of any documents including, but not limited to, the certificates of incorporation, articles of organization, and certificates of amendment filed with the Department of State can be obtained by submitting a request. This can be done online, through mail, in person, or by fax. Click here to access the online request form. For the written requests, you will need to provide the following information:
- Exact name of business entity
- DOS ID number or exact date of formation
- You can contact the call center at (518)-473-2492 beforehand to make sure that the documents have been received before you submit your request.
Statement specifying whether the request is for either regular
or certified copies
- The fees for a plain copy of the document is $5. It is $10 for the certified copy.
Statement about whether the request is for routine or expedited
- It will cost $25 per document if you want it processed within 24 hours, $75 within the same day, and $150 if you want the document within 2 hours.
- Mailing address where you want the copies to be sent
Make sure to include the fee and the above list of information. Send the documents or go in person to the following address:New York State Department of State, Division of Corporations, State Records and Uniform Commercial Code
99 Washington Avenue, 6th Floor
Albany, NY 12231
Fees for written requests sent by fax must be paid using this link beforehand. You need to submit your authorization form showing you have paid the fee. Send all the information for the request and the fee authorization form to (518)-473-1654.