Certificate of Good Standing: How to Check If Your Business in Good Standing
You’ve implemented a ton of ideas for your business that are starting to pay off, or maybe you have a checklist of items to put into action. Either way, your good ideas are only as good as your right to do business in your home state.
Although your ideas might be beautiful, you will need to be compliant with your state’s rules and regulations in order to conduct business lawfully. Are you in good standing?
Not being in good standing with your state could impact you in more ways than one. If your corporation is not paying taxes, a bank is not going to lend you money, said Carl Brown, state and executive director of the District of Columbia Small Business Development Center (SBDC). It affects everything, he said.
What is a business “in good standing?”
A business in good standing means the business is up-to-date with taxes and fees in its state and is considered to be a legitimate business. A Certificate of Good Standing, also known as a Certificate of Existence or Certificate of Status, is the official document used to inform interested parties on the status of a business. The Certificate of Good Standing is signed by the Secretary of State. The document is usually good anywhere from 30 days to six months, depending on why the certificate is needed.
Why is this important?
A Certificate of Good Standing will be necessary if you want to grow your business. For example, it’s necessary if you want to operate a business in another state, apply for a small business loan, purchase or sell real estate, or open a business checking account. Let’s take a look at some specific scenarios.
If you want relocate your business to another state, the other state will want to make sure that you are current with tax payments and fees in your home state.
Not being in good standing also can impact being able to secure government contracts through such platforms as SAM (System for Award Management), which connects vendors with contractors.
“Say you don’t pay your taxes, right? We look in SAM. And in SAM, there will be a note in your file that you are not in good standing due to tax liability. So we cannot do business with you,” Brown said.
Secondly, loan applications may require a Certificate of Good Standing as part of the application. Take the application for the Small Business Administration 7(a) Guaranteed Loan, for example. A current copy of the Certificate of Good Standing is noted as one of the required documents for the lender to secure from the borrower.
Third, a bank may also request this document in order to open a business account. For example, corporations that open an account with Chase Bank are required to show an official copy of the Certificate of Good Standing, “filed with the appropriate state agency, including State Filing Stamp.”
How to get your Certificate of Good Standing
The process for requesting a Certificate of Existence will vary a bit with each state. Here’s how to secure a Certificate of Good Standing in each state.
Complete an online application to obtain a Certificate of Existence. The certificate fee is $25 (plus fees) through Alabama.gov. The Certificate will be printable via Adobe Reader. The Certificate is not available through mail request. Search the business entity search options to learn the status of your business.
Request a Certificate of Good Standing online or via mail with a copy request form. The fee is $10 for both online and mailed requests. Search the status of a business via the corporate database.
A Certificate of Good Standing can be ordered in person, online or by mail. A small fee of $10 applies, or you can pay an additional $35 for expedited processing. You can perform a search for corporations through the Arizona Corporation Commission or search for an entity through the website for the Arizona Secretary of State.
You can secure a Certificate of Good Standing online and perform a search for a business entity using the search portal on the website for the Arkansas Secretary of State. If you are in “good standing,” you can purchase a Certificate of Good Standing for $25, which can be downloaded within 48 hours after purchase.
Perform a business search through the website for the California Secretary of State. The search results will not show the business’s standing, but will list whether a business is of “active” status or not. A Certificate of Status can be requested by drop off ($15), mail ($5) or fax ($5) with the Business Entities Records-Order Form.
Run a business database search on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website to learn the status of your business’s standing and also get copies of certified documents.
Connecticut refers to the document as a “Certificate of Legal Existence.” You can register through its online filing system (or log in if you already have an account) to obtain the proper form. Perform an online business inquiry search to learn the standing of a business.
To check the standing of a business in Delaware, run a general information name search through the Department of State: Division of Corporations. You can request the status of a business entity online for an additional $10; however, it will not provide a certified Good Standing Certificate. To receive an official Certificate of Good Standing, make the request in writing or via fax with its Certification Memo, where you can find fax and mail-in information.
Visit the official State of Florida website to request a copy of the Certificate of Status online or by mail. Check the status of a business entity through the Florida Division of Corporations. The fee starts at $5, depending on the entity type.
Perform a business search through the Georgia Corporations Division, where you can see if a business is active. Visit the Georgia Corporations Division to file an annual registration or request a Certificate of Existence, which is generated through this portal for $10.
Businesses can search for their business standing and request a Certificate of Good Standing after performing a search through Hawaii’s online portal. The cost is $7.50.
Run a business entity search through the Idaho Secretary of State’s website to see if your business is in good standing. If it is, you can purchase a browser-generated Certificate of Existence online for $11.50 that you can print from home, or, if you prefer, you can have one mailed to you with an original signature from the Secretary of State for $12. Visit Idaho’s Business Entities — Certificate of Existence page for further details on alternative means for requests (mail, fax, telephone or walk-in).
Perform a search through the Department of Business Services database to search for the status of your business (by entity). Eligible businesses are given the option to purchase a Certification of Good Standing for $25 for normal processing (not including a payment processing fee).
Run an entity search through the INBiz portal to learn the status of a business in the state of Indiana. You can request a Certificate of Existence through the Information Requests page, which requires business owners to sign up and register for an account.
Search for business entities through the Secretary of State’s website. Eligible businesses can print a Certificate of Standing starting at $5. Each certificate has a special Certificate ID to validate its authenticity.
Run a business entity search to look up the standing of your business. A “Good Standing” status will be noted as “Active and Good Standing.” You will have the option to print a Certificate of Good Standing for $10, or receive a paper copy for $15.
Search for a business through the FastTrack Business Organization Search on the Kentucky Secretary of State’s website, which notes whether the business is active and in good standing. Certificates of Existence are available for domestic and foreign entities online through the individual business entity’s page or by mail or fax for $10.
Louisiana offers a simple-to-use search portal where you can search by entity name. charter number, Trade Registration Number, name reservation number, officer name or agent name. Once your search results are shown, active records will be in bold. After navigating to your particular business, at the top of the page is a link to “Buy Certificates and Certified Copies.” A Certificate of Existence is $20.
Run a corporate name search through the Maine Department of the Secretary of State website. Businesses with Good Standing are eligible to secure a copy of a Certificate of Existence. The cost is $10 for nonprofit corporations and $30 for business corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships and limited liability companies.
Search for your business’s name through the Maryland Business Express Portal to view your current standing. Businesses can order a Certificate of Status once they have found their business name. The cost is $20 for the certificate and $20 is charged for expedited certificates.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers a Certificate of Good Standing-Tax Compliance through the MassTax Connect Platform, by phone or email. More details are available after creating an account or logging in (if you already have an account). There is no fee to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing-Tax Compliance.
Requests for a Certificate of Good Standing should be made by contacting the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs by phone (517-241-6470) or mail. You can request copies, certificates and general information. You can search for the status of your business through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
Depending on the type of business, Minnesota offers a Certificate of Existence or a Certificate of Good Standing. In-person and mail-in orders are $5, while online orders are $15. You can perform a business entity search by searching business filings online. Additional information and directions can be found here.
Mississippi requires business owners to register for an account and then log in to search their business’s status and request certified copies of Certificates of Good Standing and/or other documents.
Check the status of your business by performing an entity search through the Missouri Secretary of State’s website. A business owner will need to create an account or login to the Missouri Online Business Filing System to order a certificate.
Perform a business entity search through the Montana Secretary of State’s website, which shows the status of whether a business is active or inactive. You can request a certificate online for $5. Annual reports are due by April 15.
Business owners can get a Certificate Good Standing through their individual business page after performing a corporate and business search of the company. The fee is $6.50 if printing online or $10 if requesting standard mail delivery from the office of the Secretary of State within two to three days.
Run a business entity search through the Nevada Secretary of State business search portal. You can request a Certificate of Good Standing in four ways:
- Online (Registration required)
- By mail: Secretary of State Barbara K. Cegavske, 202 North Carson Street, Carson City, NV 89701-4201
- By email: [email protected]
- By fax: 775-684-5645 (expedited only)
Business owners can order a Certificate of Good Standing by mail, online or in person. Online (plus a $2 fee) and in-person requests are $5 with a $25 in-person expedited fee. You can check the status of a business entity and place online orders through the search prompts with the New Hampshire Department of State website.
Although performing a business name search for the State of New Jersey gives no indication of status, a business can still request a Standing Certificate from the Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services for $25, $50 or $100, depending on the type of certificate.
Submit a request form through the New Mexico Secretary of State Corporations and Business Services page to order a Certificate of Status/Good Standing/Existence/ Non-Existence. The cost for certificates starts at $10, depending on the business entity. Requests via fax and telephone are not accepted. You can also perform a business search to learn the status of a business.
A Certificate of Status document can’t be ordered online, by email or telephone. The request has to be mailed or faxed and should include a statement requesting the document, the exact name of the business, the DOS (Department of State) ID number (or date of formation), if processing is standard or expedited, and the mailing address for sending the document. The Certificate is $25. You can check your business standing through its business entity database.
Run a business entity search through the business search portal for the North Carolina Secretary of State’s website to learn a company’s status. You can order certified documents by creating an account on the Secretary of State’s website.
You can perform a business records search through the North Dakota State Government website. Certificates of Good Standing are currently unavailable through the website for the North Dakota Secretary of State. Requests by limited liability companies and corporations can be made by phone, fax, email or mail. Details from its FAQ page can be found under “How do I obtain a certificate of good standing or a certificate of fact.”
Ohio has an automated online search portal where you can get a copy of a Certificate of Good Standing. The service requires the business owner to know their business charter number, which can be found via a business search.
Run a business entities search to find the status of your company. Search results will show either an “Active” or “Inactive” status. You can order documents from your company’s individual business page and select “Order Documents,” which requires an account to log in.
Certificates of Status/Existence are processed within three business days and can be completed by mailing or faxing in a Certified Request Form. The Certificate fee is $10. You can perform a business name search through the Secretary of State’s website.
Called a “Certificate of Subsistence” in Pennsylvania, this document of good standing can be ordered by contacting the Pennsylvania Department of State during office hours (717-787-1057). Run a business entity search through the Department of State website.
Businesses can perform a search through the corporate database. You can order a Certificate of Good Standing from the individual business page by completing the request form. Online certificates are $7 for nonprofits and $22 for other business entities. Mail, in-person and phone requests are $5 for nonprofits and $20 for other entities.
Called a “Certificate of Existence” in South Carolina, you can request one by first performing a business name search. You can request documents online through the South Carolina Secretary of State’s website.
A Certificate of Good Standing and Existence can only be filed electronically. A business entity will need a Business ID, which can be found through South Dakota’s Certificate of Good Standing page. The fee is $20.
Request a Certificate of Existence through the Secretary of State’s business services page. Order online or make a request by mail. The fee is $20 for both with a possible processing fee for online orders. A Secretary of State Control Number is required to submit the request, which can be found here.
A “certificate of account status,” can be requested online, by phone, fax, email or mail. You can check the status of your business using the Taxable Entity Search Portal. You must complete Form 05-359 in order to receive an official certificate.
Eligible businesses can request a Certificate of Existence through their individual business pages after running a search with the business search tool. You can also submit a form for non-online requests. The fee is $12.
Request a Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Status through the online services portal on the Vermont Secretary of State’s website. Business owners will need to register or login to obtain an official certificate and to file annual reports. The fee is $25.
Obtain a Certificate of Existence online through a SCC eFile Search (State Corporation Commission). To perform a business search, scroll down to the appropriate search tool, “Certificate of Good Standing/Certificate of Fact.” You can search by business name or SCC ID. Once you’ve located the right business, you can order a Certificate of Existence/Fact. Business owners can also mail a request to the State Corporation Commission for a fee of $6.
Visit the corporations page on the Washington Secretary of State’s website to create an account through the Corporations and Charities Filing System button. Once the account is created, business owners can request a Certificate of Existence for $20, with an additional $50 charge for expedited requests. You can perform a business entity search here.
The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs issues a Certificate of Good Standing online or in person. For an online request, create an account through the CorpOnline website. It no longer accepts requests by mail.
Perform a business entity search and request a Certificate of Existence through the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website by visiting your individual business page. A fee of $10 will be applied.
A Certificate of Status for businesses operating in Wisconsin is available online, by mail or fax, and all requests can be made through the Certificates and Certified Copy Fees page. The fee is $10 with an expedited fee of $25.
Search for your business entity through the Wyoming Secretary of State’s website where you can learn the status of the business and locate your Filing ID, which is needed to generate a Certificate of Good Standing.