Last updated: December 12, 2022

If you are considering forming an LLC or want to find out about other corporations, limited liability companies, or limited partnerships, you should know how to look up the respective information, such as the entity name.

Many different entity name databases will provide this information for free, but it can be difficult to find out how to do that.

This blog post will guide you through how to look up corporations, limited liability companies, or other business names in these various entity name databases and how they differ.

Secretary of State Search for Business Names

Documents from secretary of state about business names

Regardless of the state, all corporations, limited liability companies, and other business entities have to be registered with Secretary of State databases.

The Secretary of State is basically an office that handles companies, corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, and other businesses which have to be registered with the state.

The Secretary of State's office usually offers online business name search services for their business entity registrant database, so you can look up an LLC entity name and perform an availability search quite easily by entering its entity name in their search bar.

Secretary of State Search for Business Names is one service provided by the Secretary of State where users can enter a company's full or partial business name into the Secretary's website to see if it exists as a limited liability company within that jurisdiction.

This allows people who want to do business under an assumed alias because they are hiding from debt collectors, private investigators looking for individuals, and other reasons related to avoiding prosecution or fraudulent transactions (such as using another person's credit card).

No matter their type, all business entities are required to register with the Secretary of State, which is the reason for this availability search service.

The Secretary of State provides an online database that the company's name or identification number can search to determine what type of business entity it is and, in some cases, where/how they are registered within a particular state.

If you're looking for entity name accuracy, consider contacting the state's Department of Corporations or the Secretary of State's office directly.

Many states provide information on their website about how to request this type of information online.

If so, it is best to use these types of requests since accessing entity name public records is free, whereas requests sent through a third-party costs money with no guarantee that accuracy will increase.

You can also check if any trade groups in your area represent companies working in similar fields as yours.

How to Look Up an LLC - Custom State Guides

Credit Bureaus

Credit bureaus and business data companies provide records of businesses that are registered with the state.

This includes corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), or limited partnerships.

These entity name records include specific information about a business, such as its address, contact person, and company number, among other things.

Credit bureaus and business data companies can be found online or through local entity name listings.

To find these records, first, one needs to understand what type of entity name they wish to research: corporations, limited liability companies, or limited partnerships depending on their need for accurate records.

Once this decision is made, it becomes possible to look up entity name records efficiently using either credit bureau or business data company websites where searches can be done by any combination of the following criteria: entity name, SSN/EIN/FEI number, and location, which all come together to provide standardization across multiple searches.

One way to find information about an organization's status is through private business name data companies or services.

These organizations may be able to tell what type of company they have found based on its EIN number, which can lead them closer to finding public records concerning this entity's name for people who want more detailed information.

These companies are likely to charge this service, though.

Search Engines

Using a laptop to search

The most simple solution for a business entity search is to check the search results.

Search engines will often give you results on corporations, limited liability companies, or limited partnerships and their websites.

If you are searching on Google, it is more likely that the search engine spits out search results on an official government page of some sort.

However, there are still other ways to look up information about corporations, limited liability companies, or limited partnerships online.

Once you find the entity name online, you can browse through their web page and find the information you are looking for.

Social Media

To find the exact entity name and other important information of corporations, limited liability companies, or other business types, a person can make use of social media channels.

It's more effective than looking up different entity name websites, as a large number of them may provide outdated information.

Business Associations

Community groups and trade associations are business entity associations.

A business entity association may help you look up corporations, limited liability companies, or limited partnerships by providing accuracy and saving time.

You can also check if any trade groups in your area represent corporations, limited liability companies, or limited partnerships working in similar fields as yours.


How Do I Know if my LLC is Active?

All business name entities, including LLCs and limited partnerships, must file annual reports with the state in order to maintain their active status.

The online entity name databases of states vary; some will also indicate whether an entity name is delinquent or expired, which means that it has not filed its report and might be inactive.

If your business was formed within the last year, you should check back at least until this time period has passed before concluding that the entity name is no longer active.

How Do I Check to See if an LLC Name is Available?

Searching for an entity name is best done if you conduct a business entity search within your state, look into trademark records found through search results, and look on the internet for business entities with the same or similar names.

Are LLC Owners Public Record?

Some states require LLC members to be listed on the Articles of Organization to be public record. In other states, the name on the Articles of Organization is only of the person who files the legal documents for a business entity name.

That can be anyone, from a registered agent to an attorney.

How Do You Find Out Who the Partners Are in an LLC?

To discover the partners and organizing members of an LLC entity name, look up the LLC Certificate of Organization (Articles of Organization) with the Secretary of State in the state in which the business was established.

Looking Up an LLC: Conclusion

Starting a new LLC requires having a firm name. If you need more information about an LLC or want to know the status of an entity name, use these sources to look up an LLC.

Make sure your search is thorough because some states only have limited information available on their websites. It applies to both LLCs and limited partnerships.

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