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How To Get A Certificate Of Good Standing In Your State – Forbes Advisor

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Small business owners know all too well the many hoops that must be jumped through in order to stay compliant. From tax regulations to permit requirements, every state has its own set of rules about how to run a corporation or limited liability company (LLC). At some point, owners may be asked to provide a certificate of good standing, especially if they are interested in pursuing a loan or potential investor. This certificate shows that the entity is in compliance with all state requirements. Obtaining a copy runs the gamut from a simple, free online form to a pricier, expedited mail-in option. It all depends on the state the business resides in. Here’s how to get a certificate of good standing in your state.

 

What Is a Certificate of Good Standing?

A Certificate of Good Standing, Letter of Good Standing, Certificate of Status and Certificate of Legal Existence are all names of documents that have the same meaning. They show that an entity is in compliance, or “good standing,” with the state it does business in.

A certificate of good standing verifies that a corporation or LLC was formed legally, has been properly maintained and is still active. It should not be confused with a certificate of tax status or tax compliance, which shows that an entity is up to date on all its state tax filings and payments.

Who Is Eligible for a Letter of Good Standing?

In most states, registered business entities such as corporations, partnerships, LLCs and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) are eligible to request a certificate of good standing. Before requesting a certificate, businesses should be up to date on their annual reports and fees and registered agent designation.

Businesses that operate as a sole proprietorship or general partnership are unincorporated. Because they’re not registered with the state, they can’t get a certificate of good standing.

When Do Owners Need a Certificate of Good Standing?

For the purposes of daily business, owners do not need to worry about having a letter of good standing on hand. But there will likely come a time during the life of an entity when it will be necessary to procure a certificate. Common reasons you might need a certificate of good standing include::

  • Opening a business bank account
  • Applying for business loans
  • Soliciting funds from potential investors
  • Registering to do business in a different state
  • Contracting with another company
  • Transferring or selling a business

How To Get a Certificate of Good Standing in Your State

Each state, plus Washington, D.C., has its own rules and processes regarding how business owners obtain a letter of good standing. Wading through the websites and portals can be frustrating and time-consuming, so it may be worthwhile to hire a company to take care of the legwork. Both LegalZoom and Zenbusiness offer a certificate of good standing services for a nominal fee under their compliance management systems.

If you’re ready to tackle the process on your own, we have a breakdown of how to obtain a letter of good standing in every state.

Alabama

You can obtain a certificate of existence from the Alabama Secretary of State online or via mail. The fee is $28 for online requests and $25 for mail requests. .

Alaska

To request a certificate of compliance in Alaska, follow the instructions on the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing website. You’ll pay a $10 filing fee, and the certificate will then be available online to print immediately.

 

Arizona

Arizona charges a $10 fee to obtain a certificate of good standing. You can mail the form in, or send on the A.C.C. eCorp website. Normal processing takes up to two weeks, or you can opt to pay an additional $35 to have the certificate expedited.

Arkansas

The Arkansas Secretary of State website has directions for obtaining a certificate of good standing… The cost of a certificate of good standing is $25, and you will be able to download a copy immediately.

California

To request a certificate of status in California, you will need to submit a records order form to the Secretary of State and pay a $5 fee. In-person requests are typically completed within one business day, while mail-in requests may take several days.

Colorado

Colorado does not charge a fee to obtain a certificate of good standing. The Secretary of State’s website has instructions for searching for a business entity and obtaining a certificate of good standing online. The certificate will be available immediately to save or print.

Connecticut

In Connecticut, users can create a CT.gov account and then apply online for a “Certificate of Legal Existence.” The fee is $50, or $100 if you need it expedited, and the certificate is valid for 90 days.

Delaware

The Delaware Division of Corporations allows users to submit document requests electronically, or by mail with a Certification Request memo. Fees are $50 for a short-form certificate of status, or $175 for a long-form certificate of good standing. Certificates are sent by first class mail.

Florida

Certificates of status in Florida can be ordered online or by mail. The website offers a searchable database, and fees are $5 for LLCs and $8.75 for corporations.

Georgia

The Georgia Corporations Division offers “certificates of existence” through its website. Search for a business, and pay $10 for normal processing or $60 for two-day processing.

Hawaii

Say aloha to a certificate of good standing through the Hawaii.gov website. Requests can be made online or by mail, and cost $7.50.

Idaho

The Idaho Secretary of State has an online portal for requesting certificates of good standing. There is a $10 fee and requests take seven to ten business days to process.

Illinois

The state of Illinois provides a searchable Corporation/LLC database for obtaining certificates of good standing. After paying the $25 fee, certificates are available to print immediately.

Indiana

Indiana has created a portal called INBiz, where users can create a login to obtain a Certificate of Existence. Ordering one costs $30 by mail or $26 online, providing immediate access.

Iowa

The Iowa Secretary of State offers “Certificates of Standing” through their website. Certificates cost $5, can be printed right away, and each comes with a unique Certificate ID to verify validity.

Kansas

Kansas has a business entity database, where users can search by name, ID or keyword. Certificates of good standing are available to print online and cost $10, or requests made by phone or mail cost $15.

Kentucky

To obtain a certificate of existence in Kentucky, users can apply online at the Secretary of State’s website, or apply via mail or fax. The fee for any option is a flat $10, with an additional $5 charge if you request a return fax.

Louisiana

Copies of certificates on file in the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office may be obtained by written request, or online through their commercial database. The fee for a certificate of good standing or a certificate of existence is $20.

Maine

The Interactive Corporate Services of Maine offers keyword or charter number searches on their website. Certificates of legal existence cost $30 for both long- and short-form options.

Maryland

The Maryland Business Express site allows users to search for and order certificates of status. A certificate copy costs $20, plus credit card or eCheck processing fees.

Massachusetts

You can obtain a certificate of good standing from the Massachusetts Secretary of State online. The fee is $12 for corporations and $25 for LLCs.

Michigan

You can request a certificate of good standing from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs either online, by mail, by phone or in person. The fee is $12.50 for in-person requests and $10 for all other methods.

Minnesota

The Minnesota Secretary of State has an online business filings page for ordering certificates of good standing. Certificates cost $5 for mail or in-person orders, and $15 for online orders.

Mississippi

To obtain a certificate of good standing in Mississippi, you will first need to create an account on the Secretary of State’s website. From there, you can order the document and pay the $25 fee.

Missouri

You can request a Missouri certificate of good standing from the Secretary of State, either online, by mail, by email, by phone or in person. The filing cost is $10, and online orders provide immediate access to the certificate.

Montana

As long as your business remains compliant, you can request a Montana certificate of existence from the Secretary of State. Online orders are $5 and processed immediately for quick access.

Nebraska

The Nebraska Secretary of State offers an online search and filing center to look up a business and request a certificate of good standing. Online certificates are $6.50, while mailed copies cost $10.

Nevada

Users wanting an electronic copy of their certificate of existence will need to create a login with the Nevada SilverFlume business portal. There are options for mail, email and fax requests, and non-expedited certificates cost $50.

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Secretary of State runs a QuickStart database for searching and obtaining documents. Ordering a certificate of good standing runs $5 for in-person or mail orders, and $7 for online transactions.

New Jersey

New Jersey provides access to standing certificates through its Department of the Treasury. Corporate and limited partnership certificates cost $25. Fees for LLCs and LLPs are either $50 or $100, depending on whether you choose short-form or long certificates.

New Mexico

In New Mexico, corporations are eligible to receive a certificate of good standing, while LLCs may request certificates of good standing and status. Both are available through the Secretary of State’s website, and the fees are $25 for LLCs, $50 for profit corporations and $10 for nonprofit corporations.

New York

Certificates of status in New York may only be obtained by mail, fax or in person with the Department of State; there is no online option. It’s a flat $25 for standard processing, with an additional $25 expedited fee if you need it within 24 hours.

North Carolina

The North Carolina Secretary of State provides a searchable database for requesting a certificate of existence. Online certificates are $10 and available to access immediately. You can also order a certificate by phone for $15.

North Dakota

Certificates are not available from the North Dakota Secretary of State’s website yet, but can be requested via email, mail, phone or fax. The filing cost is $20, no matter which method you use to order a certificate of good standing.

Ohio

Ohio offers a streamlined way to obtain your certificate of good standing through their online business portal. After accepting the legal terms, a certificate can be requested and then downloaded or printed. A standard copy is $5 and a long-form version costs $25.

Oklahoma

Search by business name on the Oklahoma Secretary of State website, then order a certificate of good standing for a $20 fee. Online filings receive their certificates within one business day, while requests via mail or fax will take up to four business days.

Oregon

The state of Oregon offers a business portal for obtaining certificates of existence. You’ll need to complete a certificate request form, and mail or fax it in along with the $10 processing fee. Requests are processed within three business days.

Pennsylvania

You can order a certificate of subsistence through the Pennsylvania Department of State either online or by mail. Both methods of request cost $40, with online processing taking less than two hours and mail-in processing taking seven to ten business days.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island offers a searchable corporate database for requesting a certificate of good standing, as well as options for in person, by mail and over the phone. Online order fees are $22, and $20 for all other filings.

South Carolina

A certificate of existence can be ordered through South Carolina’s business portal for $10, and you will be able to access it right away.

South Dakota

The South Dakota Secretary of State allows for both online and mail-in certificate of good standing requests. There is a $20 filing fee for online requests and $35 for paper filings, with expedited processing adding on another $50.

Tennessee

Certificates of existence in Tennessee can be obtained either online or by mail, with an order fee of $20.

Texas

Texas refers to their issued certificates as “certificates of fact – status,” and users may order them online, as well as by mail, email or phone. Fees are $15, with online requests available within a few hours and other methods taking one to two business days to process.

Utah

The state of Utah fulfills requests for certificates of existence online, by fax and in person. through their Commerce Division of Corporations and Commercial Code. These certificates cost $12, and paper requests take three to ten business days to process..

Vermont

The Vermont Secretary of State offers an online business service center for generating certificates of good standing. You’ll pay a $25 filing fee and have access to the certificate within a few hours.

Virginia

Virginia provides certificates of good standing for corporations, and certificates of fact of existence for LLCs. Both options cost $6 and are available for instant download via their Clerk’s Information System.

Washington

The Washington Secretary of State’s Corporations Division has an online filing system for requesting certificates of existence. The cost for ordering a certificate is $20, with an additional $50 fee for any expedited copies.

Washington, D.C.

Users will need to have a profile with CorpOnline in order to access entity searches and certificate requests. You can also request a certificate in person. The fee for obtaining a certificate of good standing in Washington, D.C. is $50.

West Virginia

Certificates of existence in West Virginia can be obtained online, or by phone, mail, fax or in person. The filing cost is $10, and online orders are available to print immediately.

Wisconsin

Certificates of status in Wisconsin are available through the Department of Financial Institutions. Requests may be made online or by mail, and the filing cost is $10.

Wyoming

Wyoming’s Secretary of State offers free certificates of good standing through its website. Certificates are available for immediate download at no charge.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are certificates of good standing required to operate a business?

A certificate of good standing is not required to operate a business. But a letter of good standing may be required for taking certain actions, such as selling your business or applying for a loan.

How long are certificates of good standing valid?

Again, this is dependent on the state where the business is located, but most letters of good standing are valid for 60–90 days. Check with your state to confirm how long your certificate is valid.

Is it important to maintain a good standing?

Maintaining good standing is incredibly important to a business, even if you won’t need a certificate anytime soon. Remaining in compliance helps preserve your limited liability and ensures you won’t be fined by the state.




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