What Is a Certificate of Good Standing?

A Certificate of Good Standing, also known as “Certificate of Existence”, or “Certificate of Authorisation” is a document issued by the state that shows a business has paid taxes, filed required documents as well as your LLC or company has met its statutory requirements and is allowed to do business in that state, and otherwise complied with regulations in the business’ state of formation.

And you can have a certificate of good standing from your state’s business filing agency. It may be needed at the time of opening a business bank account, applying for a personal loan for business, or raising funds from investors and many corporations request a Certificate of Good Standing for their own records.

Suggested Blog – TD Bank Business Checking Accounts – What To Know For Your Business

A Certificate of Good Standing can be required and needed by state governments, should you be making use of foreign qualifications, or lenders while you are attempting to acquire financing, make transactions and obtaining and getting potential business companions or buyers in a foreign country.

Thus, no matter what state your business is located in, you will need to deal with a certain amount of regulation as a business owner. You will need to pay taxes at the federal and state level, file an annual report or other documents and comply with local zoning and permitting requirements to continue operating.

As long as you follow these types of business rules and regulations, your types of business entities will be in “good standing” with the state. When applying for a business loan, raising funds from investors, or applying for federal government contracts, you might have to prove your status by showing a certificate of good standing.

This certificate serves as proof that your entity is legitimately authorized to transact business in the state and can also greatly benefit your business goals down the line.

In this article, we are going to provide some insight on who can or are eligible in order to apply for a certificate of good standing, how to apply for one in each state and how to maintain your good standing.

Who Are Eligible To Apply for a Certificate of Good Standing?

Following are the types of business entities are registered with the state and can obtain a certificate of good standing:

  • Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLC)- limited liability corporation
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Limited Partnerships which is only recognized in some states

However, the following types of businesses do not need to register with the state, so the state cannot issue you a certificate of good standing

Since different states have different laws about which types of businesses need registration, Therefore, it is advised to consult with your state’s business filing agency if you are in doubt.

If you are asked to show “good standing” as a sole proprietor or as a partner in a general partnership, you might be able to show historical tax returns or bank account statements. However, you will not be able to show a certificate of good standing.

What Time You Are Required To Show A Certificate Of Good Standing?

You may have a need to keep your Certificate of Good Standing current to be able to renew particular licenses or permits and a Certificate of Good Standing can be necessary proof when there is a time of promoting your business. Also, if you are trying to register to do business in more states, these states might ask for a copy of your Certificate of Good Standing.

Certificates of Good Standing generally include the name of the entity, a brief clause stating that entity is allowed to do business in the jurisdiction and is relying on the jurisdiction where it was obtained and it may also be on particular ornamental paper or have an ornamental embossed seal of some form on it to prove its authenticity.

Following are the conditions and situation where you can be asked to show a certificate of good standing:

  • When opening a business bank account
  • When applying for small business insurance
  • When applying for a small business loan
  • When raising money from investors
  • When recruiting business partners
  • When trying to form a contract with a new supplier or another company
  • At the time of applying for a government contract or government-backed business loan (e.g. an SBA loan)
  • Registering to do business in a state other than your state of formation

It is pretty common to be asked for proof of good standing in these situations. And it is better to get the certificate ahead of time, as opposed to scrambling at the last minute to update your status with a state agency in the middle of loan or investor negotiations.

Some certificates of good standing expire after a specific date, so what is valid for one use might not be for another. Furthermore, banks, investors and others might request a certificate of good standing that has been dated within a specific time frame, no older than 60 days for example. How long certificates of good standing remain good for depends on the state and the purpose for which you need it.

Suggested Blog – How To Easily Find and Pick A Business Attorney In 5 Steps

Why Maintaining Good Standing Is Important

Even if you do not need to show good standing for a specific transaction, a certificate of good standing can help you expand. This is because a certificate of good standing is often required when registering to do business in other states. Many states will not allow a company to transact business within its boundaries if the company does not have good standing in the state where it was formed initially.

Furthermore, some states require that the certificate be dated within a short period of time, as little as 90 days, before filing to do business in that state. Some states will charge a fine if your business does not comply with their rules and regulations, which is an obvious no-brainer or difficult at all for maintaining good standing. Also, ensure your business is in good standing in order to preserve the limited liability that filing for business status provides.

If your business is not in good standing, in some states that can lead you to the loss of liability protection for you and your co-owners conducting business outside of compliance, or even the administrative dissolution of the business altogether.

Suggested Blog – How To Buy A Business? What To Know Before You Take The Plunge

There can be many hurdles arisen from losing good standing. And you won’t be able to access to state courts or even leave your company open to a higher chance of business identity theft. Identity thieves scroll through business entity search engines and take note of which companies lack good standing. And considering that no one is paying attention, they often try to hack such companies’ websites or engage in other fraud.

How to Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing From Your State

Business entity laws vary among states and “Certificate of Good Standing” can be called “Certificate of Existence”, “Certificate of Status”, or other names in various states. It is important to remain updated on what is required in your state.

The document will include a signature from your state’s secretary of state and their certification that your business is in compliance and up to date with all legal requirements for starting a small business.

Online legal service sites such as LegalZoom and IncFile are able to file for a certificate of good standing on your behalf in all 50 states for various fees ranging from $50 to $100 plus state fees. If you are not in good standing, some of these sites will even help you address any problems and reclaim your good standing, a process called reinstatement.

Note that you do not necessarily have to be incorporated in a particular state to request a certificate of good standing there. “Foreign” businesses also request proof of good standing from there they operate, as long as they are registered in that state as a foreign business entity.

Most states have business entity search engines on their websites to informally check the status of your standing. To do this, you will have to remember the name of your entity when it was registered with the state. If you are having trouble, try searching for only part of the business name or use a keyword search.

Blog You May Like – Types of Business Entities – Their Pros and Cons and How To Choose One in 2019

Most states expect you to send a request for an official certificate of good standing by regular postal mail. The fee for requesting a certificate of good standing varies by state but usually ranges from $10 to $25.

See our state-by-state breakdown below to see how you can ensure you’re in good standing in your business’s home state.

ALABAMA

This Southern state provides “certificates of compliance” easily through the Alabama Secretary of State website. Simply click on the link to “ get a certificate of compliance” and follow directions from there. Your status will then be updated online whether you are in compliance or not, you will have to call the provided phone number if not.

ALASKA

The northernmost state has a nifty online database of compliant businesses, you can search for your business status here. If you have never filed for a certificate of good standing in Alaska before, you can do so online. Businesses in Alaska are needed and required to file biennial reports.  Every two years, businesses must make note of changes to the officials on record and keep records updated.

ARIZONA

Corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) may obtain a certificate of good standing from the Arizona Corporate Commission website or by submitting a Records Request Form by mail or in person.

Suggested Blog – LLC vs Corporation – Key Differences and How To Choose One For Your Small Business

ARKANSAS

The state’s website has a website and portal to search and look for your business and find links for purchasing and printing a certificate of good standing if your business qualifies.

CALIFORNIA

“Certificates, copies and status reports can be obtained by submitting a request to the California Secretary of State’s Sacramento office either in person (drop off) or by mail”, according to the California Secretary of State website.

COLORADO

Look for your business on the Colorado Secretary of State website. This will show the status of your standing and also lead to a link where you can request certified copies of documents and even set up a secure business filing with the SOS.

CONNECTICUT

Good standing mentioned in the Nutmeg State is called a “certificate of legal existence” and can be obtained online. Note that the state of Connecticut requires annual reporting by the end of your business’ anniversary month each year.

DELAWARE

You can check the status of your Delaware entity online, but if you need an official certificate, you will have to submit your request in writing using their Certificate Request Cover Memo.

FLORIDA

You are in good standing in the Sunshine State if you have a “certificate of status.” Sunbiz.org, an official State of Florida website, provides instructions for ordering a certificate of status online or by mail. You can search for your status on the website here.

GEORGIA

Georgia’s “certificates of existence” can be checked on the website with an easy-to-follow portal: Search Business -> Review -> Payment -> Status.

HAWAII

The Aloha State needs annual business filings to remain and continue in good standing. You can search for your status or print a certificate from their website.

IDAHO

Idaho provides online certificates of existence generated in your web browser or official certificates delivered by mail through their website and portal. Check and analyze your business’s standing through their Business Entity Search engine.

ILLINOIS

The search for good standing status in the state of Illinois asks you to define your business between Corporate and LLC, Corporate, or LLC. To obtain a certificate, you will need your business’ state of Illinois Authentication Number.

INDIANA

In.gov online services for corporations site has many link errors. Also, you can obtain a certificate of good standing through a third-party website such as MyUSACorporation.com.

IOWA

In LOWA “Certificates of Good Standing” can be obtained and achieved with the help of this website, where they will provide an entity database and links to print your certificate if you’re eligible.

KANSAS

Perform a Kansas business entity search here. You can also make a request for the certificate of good standing online through the portal or by the Secretary of State’s phone or mail service.

KENTUCKY

If you have not heard about the Kentucky Business One Stop Portal, you can check your standing status by searching for your organization. Make sure you file an annual report with the state to preserve your good standing.

LOUISIANA

Check your Good Standing status in Louisiana on their website. Once you locate and store your business in the database, click on “Details” to view the full status of your business. This portal will also be offering links for purchasing official certificates.

MAINE

Verify your business’s status online by visiting their portal. Annual reports are needed for businesses in Maine and can be filed online. The deadline to file is June 1.

MARYLAND

This will lead you to the Maryland Business Express site, where you can search your business status as well as file for official certificates.

MASSACHUSETTS

Make sure you are in good standing through MassTaxConnect, where the Commonwealth requires you to submit an annual certificate of entity tax status.

MICHIGAN

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs handles business compliance for the state of Michigan. Search their entity database here. To receive an official certificate, you will need to contact the department by mail.

MINNESOTA

Go the state’s Business Filings Online portal in order to search your status and order a certificate.

MISSISSIPPI

You will need to register with the Mississippi Corporations Registered Filer LogIn first. From there, you can search for your business entity and obtain the proper documentation.

MISSOURI

Visit the website link to Missouri’s Business Entity Search to check your status. To order a certificate, you will have to register through the Corporations Online Portal.

MONTANA

Annual reports are required in the Treasure State and are due every April. And once you have that in order, use the Montana Business Search to check your standing. Follow the name of your business to get a link to request a certificate under “Request Entity Information”.

NEBRASKA

Nebraska’s online Business Services include a Corporation and Business Search where you can also be linked to obtain certificates.

NEVADA

Nevada’s Business Portal is known as SilverFlume, where you can search for your business. You will have to register with the site to request any documents.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

You are required to register with the New Hampshire Corporate Division online to search for your business and obtain documents. The Granite State has a requirement of annual reporting as well to maintain compliance.

NEW JERSEY

You can conduct research for your entity’s status or certificates through the State of New Jersey Business Records Service. It will cost you $6.25 for just a status report. Note that Jersey requires annual filing.

NEW MEXICO

You can search for your business on their website. A status of “Active” does not necessarily mean you are inactive good standing. Click on your business name to get the full report. Remember that New Mexico requires annual reporting. You can make a request for an official certificate online or by mail.

NEW YORK

Good standing in New York state is called a “certificate of status.” You can search for a business database on the NYS website, but it will not tell you if you are in good standing. You will need to telephone the New York secretary of state’s office in Albany, where they will be able to relay your status over the phone.

You can reach them at (518) 473-1654, the average wait time on a weekday is about  5 minutes. It is helpful to have your DOS ID number handy, but they can also search by name. To get an official certificate of good standing, you will have to request one by fax or mail.

NORTH CAROLINA

Look for your good standing status by searching for your business on the Secretary of State website. And you will know that you are in good standing if your status is “Current-Active.” here will also be a link provided to file your annual report there if required.

NORTH DAKOTA 

You can search for your entity’s standing status through the North Dakota Business Records Search. If it does not say you are “active & good standing” in the database, it is likely you will need to file an annual report, for which they provide a link.

Certificates can be obtained by making request with payment of $5 (check, money order, or credit card) through various outlets

  • Telephoning the Secretary of State 701-328-4284 or 800-352-0867 (Ext. 328-4284)
  • Fax at 701-328-2992 addressed to the Business Division
  • E-mail: sosbir@nd.gov
  • Mail addressed to Business Division
  • Secretary of State
  • 600 E. Boulevard Ave. Dept. 108
  • Bismarck ND 58505-0500

Suggested Blog – The 5 Best Business Debit Cards For Small Business Owners

OHIO

The Buckeye State has a Business Filing Portal where you search for your business to get the charter/registration number you will need to check your status on the state’s online automated service for obtaining certificates of good standing.

OKLAHOMA

Good standing status can be searched and viewed on the Oklahoma Secretary of State website by searching for your entity name. From there, you can pay the $20 fee to obtain an official certificate.

OREGON

Also, you can search for your business status and annual report filing due dates through Oregon’s Find a Business portal. To obtain a certificate, you will need to complete and mail or fax this form.

PENNSYLVANIA

As long as you are listed as “active” in Pennsylvania’s business database, you are in good standing. And in order to get and obtain an official certificate, call the Department of State’s office at 717-787-1057.

RHODE ISLAND

Businesses can be searched through the Rhode Island Corporate Database, if your business is not listed as “inactive” in your search, then certainly, you are in good standing. After finding your business in the database, click on the link to “Request of a Certificate” if needed.

SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina’s Business Entities Online has a portal to check your status. Just click “Search Existing Entities” and the database will demonstrate your status right away. And you can also make a request certificates and documents easily online.

SOUTH DAKOTA

South Dakota requires final reports which you can file easily online. Their Business Services portal allows searching for your standing status online as well as request certificates.

TENNESSEE

You can search your business records, including good standing status, through Tennessee’s Business Services Online. There you would easily make a request a “certificate of existence” or file an annual report.

TEXAS

TEXAS  basically Known as “certificates of account status” in the Lonestar State, statuses can be searched through the Comptroller’s online portal here. You will need to complete a Form 05-359 to obtain an official certificate.

UTAH

The Utah Business Name Search will inform you of your business’ status. If you are in Good Standing, Active, or Delinquent status, you can request a “certificate of existence” or “certificate of good standing” by clicking on the business name in the search portal or by mailing or faxing the form.

The following information will be required too, just take a look at them below:-

  • Name of business
  • Whether you have a requirement of the short-form certificate or the long-form certificate
  • You will need the name and business of the person or business requesting the information
  • Complete address where copies are to be sent
  • Daytime telephone number

VERMONT

You can look through for your business’s status through the Vermont Corporations Division online. If you are still unsure of your status, call the secretary of state’s office at 802-828-2386, where they can check for you. To obtain an official certificate, you need to register a log-in with the secretary’s website, where you can also file necessary annual or biannual reports.

VIRGINIA

Virginia’s SCC eFile can be used to search for entities. Scroll down to the “certificate of good standing/certificate of fact” and search for your business name or by using your SCC ID. This will certainly pull up your standing and provide links to submit annual fees and reports.

WASHINGTON

Search for your business through the Washington State Corporations Search portal. And you need your Unified Business Identifier (or UBI—a nine-digit number) in order to obtain a certificate, which will be listed under the Corporations Search.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Create and build up a profile on D.C.’s CorpOnline to access services such as entity searches and certificate requests. From there, click on “Business Filings Search” to check on your status.

WEST VIRGINIA

West Virginia has Business Entity Search where you can check the active status and filing history, the state does require annual reports. After clicking into your business name, there is a link to purchase a “certificate of existence”.

WISCONSIN

Searching and finding Corporate Records through the state of Wisconsin will take to your business status with the state. Click here to order various certificates of status.

WYOMING

To check your business’ status, search for your business entity and click on your business’ name to get your standing, the duration of that standing and your Wyoming state-issued filing ID. Annual reports are required for some businesses in Wyoming, which you can file online. You can generate and produce a certificate of good standing with your filing ID online.

Certificate of Good Standing

A certificate of good standing can be essential when you are trying to grow your business. It is a good idea to have this document ready to go before you apply for a business loan, open a bank account, or compete for a government contract.

Blog You May Like – 12 Best Banks For Starting Up Small Business In 2019

If you are thinking of expanding your business nationwide and registering outside of your home state, that is another situation where it is helpful to have a certificate of good standing.

Fortunately, getting a certificate of good standing is usually pretty easy and inexpensive. Visit your business filing agency to get started of the certificate of good standing.

Related post

Leave A Comment