How do you check if a business is registered in Minnesota?


Do you need help conducting a Minnesota SOS business search? Our in-depth guide helps you throughout the business creation process step-by-step:

Conducting a Minnesota Secretary of State (SOS) business search is relatively straightforward once you comprehend the essential steps. Using the SOS website, one can validate the existence of a corporation, seek information about a specific LLC, or enquire about the filing history of a business entity. Hence, a thorough understanding of how to conduct a business search is crucial.

Understanding the Business Filings Online Page:

Your journey begins at the Business Filings Online page. Here, you’ll find the tools necessary to perform your Search by business name or file number.

By Business Name:

To execute a business name search, you’ll need to input the business name into the search box and then click “Search.”

By File Number:

If you prefer to search by file number, click “File Number” above the search box. After entering the file number, select “Search” to proceed.

Deciphering the Search Results:

Post-search, the Business Name will appear under Search Results, positioned beneath the search box. To further explore a business’s specifics, click “Details” on the right side of the screen.

Filing History and Document Orders:

Upon clicking “Details,” you’ll be directed to the Business Record Details page. The “Filing History” section here presents the filing date and information. You can order copies to view a specific business filing document. Search the check box next to the desired file at the bottom of the page, and click “order copies.”

What If You Can’t Find the Business Name?

If you can’t find the business name you’re looking for, there’s no need to worry. There are several strategies to refine your Search.

Partial Name Search:

A full name is only sometimes necessary. Just a portion of the name will suffice for the Search. If the full name doesn’t yield the desired results, try using just a segment of the business name.

Thorough Search:

To further enhance your Search, options are below the search box.

  • Search Scope: The “Search Scope” option influences your Search results. If you select “Begins With, “only business names that start with the entered words will appear. If you select “Contains,” any business name that includes the entered words will appear.
  • Filing Status: The “Filing Status” Allows you to narrow your search results based on the current Status of the businesses. You can select “Active” or “Inactive” to display enterprises with their respective statuses.
  • Include Prior Names: Finally, the “Include Prior Names” option lets you decide whether to include previous names of businesses in your Search. “Exclude” will yield only the most current business name on record. On the other hand, choosing “Include” will include all business names, be it a prior or existing business name.

How to Register Your Business in Minnesota:

Most businesses must register in Minnesota with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. With the right approach, this process is simple.

Step 1: Determine Your Business Structure

Before starting the registration process, deciding on your business structure is crucial. The design you select, be it a Corporation, LLC, Sole Proprietorship, or another type, will influence several aspects of your business operations, including liability, taxation, and management.

Step 2: Create an Online Account

The next step is to open an online account with the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office. This is your gateway to commence the registration process. For guidance on account creation, refer to their online resources.

Step 3: Select Your Business Structure Online

After creating your account, visit the Business Filings Online page. This page provides an array of business structures. Click on the system that fits your business model best to proceed with the registration.

Step 4: Verify Your Business Name

One of the vital steps in business registration is selecting and verifying your business name. On the designated page, type your chosen name into the search box. For guidance on name availability and restrictions, consult the Name Availability Guidelines.

For instance, certain words are restricted from use in business names. The terms “Bank” or “Trust” are disallowed unless used in contexts not referencing a financial institution. Additionally, a name containing the word “Insurance” must also incorporate the modifiers “Agency,” “Broker,” “Brokerage,” “Services,” or similar modifiers. This provision is to show that the business is not an underwriting firm. They point to the Minnesota Department of Commerce instead.

Step 5: Enter the Required Information

Following the name verification, you must fill in the necessary information for your business. Be aware that some filings require uploading a PDF document or drafting your document if a form is unavailable. It’s important to note that the file size should be less than 2 megabytes, and the file name should contain no punctuation, spaces, or special characters.

Step 6: Review Your Filing

You can review your filing at the end of the process. Ensure all the details are correct before clicking the “Submit” button. You will receive an Order Number linked to your filing. Record this number before proceeding to payment.

Step 7: Make a Payment

After submitting your filing, you will be redirected to the US Bank page, where you can process your payment. You can either register for an e-service account with US Bank for future transactions or make a one-time payment by clicking “pay without registering.”

Step 8: Confirmation and Filing Receipt

Once the payment is complete, you will receive a confirmation page and a payment confirmation number. Ensure you record this number. You will receive an email from the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State confirming your filing and a payment confirmation email from US Bank. A link from the Office’s email will take you to their website to download a copy of your filing. Note that all filings are kept in your Transaction History for 90 days.

How to Order Copies of Filings & Certificates-

Understanding ordering copies of filings and certificates online can significantly simplify your business administration tasks. The following sections will provide a clear step-by-step breakdown of how you can do this effectively, offering insight into the Business Filings Online portal, business registration search, the tools available, and the process of ordering copies and certificates.

Searching for Business Registration:

To initiate your order, start at the Business Filings Online page. You can access the “Search Business Filings” section here. You can use the business name or the file number for your Search. Remember to select the “File Number” option before typing the number in if you’re using the file number.

Remember that punctuation in the business name is optional during the Search. You may notice additional tools below the search box as you prepare to execute the Search.

Additional Tools for Search:

There are two primary tools to aid your Search: ‘Search Scope’ and ‘Filing Status.’

If you opt for “Begins With” under the Search Scope, your Search will return business registrations that commence with the words you entered. On the contrary, selecting “Contains” will return all business registrations that contain your entered words.

Filing Status, too, gives you a couple of options. Choosing “Active” will locate only active business registrations, whereas choosing “Inactive” will reveal all inactive business registrations.

There’s another setting named ‘Include Prior Names.’ If you choose “Exclude,” the Search will find any business registration that matches the exact name you enter. If you select “Include,” the Search will locate any business registrations previously registered under the name you entered.

Ordering Copies:

Once you have found your desired business registration, clicking “Details” will take you to the Business Record Details. Clicking on the box “Order Copies” at the top of the page will direct you to the “Filing History.” You’ll find the filings listed separately. Identify which filing(s) you want to order and check the box next to the document.

It’s time to select between a Certified Copy and a Non-Certified Copy. A Certified Copy will include an additional page with a certification stamp affirming that the document(s) are accurate and complete copies as filed for record in the Office.

Lastly, you must input the email address where you want the copies delivered. It may take 7 to 10 days for some documents to be dispatched.

Ordering a Certificate of Good Standing:

A Certificate of Good Standing is a testament to the fact that a business entity is filed and currently active to conduct business in the state of issuance. To order this online, follow steps 1-4, as mentioned above.

To proceed, click the Order Certificate button from the Business Record Details screen. You’ll need to provide an email address for delivery, like ordering copies. After the payment, the certificate is typically emailed within 10-15 minutes.

Completing the Order:

After placing the order, write the Order Number on the Order Confirmation page. It will be helpful if there are any issues with your order. Proceed to make the payment on the US Bank page. Setting up an e-service account with US Bank is optional, which stores your credit card information for future transactions. You can also choose to “Pay without Registering” for a one-time payment. The payment process accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express.

Once payment is made, expect two emails. One will be a payment confirmation from US Bank, and the other a notification when the order has been processed. Click on the link within the email to download a copy of the certificate. This link is valid for 90 days, and the certificate will be in PDF format.

Ordering by Mail:

If online ordering isn’t for you, you can always go the traditional way and order by mail. Send a written request or use the Corporate Copy/Certificate Form with the appropriate fee to the following address:

Minnesota Secretary of State First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite N. 201, Saint Paul, MN 55101 (Staffed 8:00 – 4:00, Monday – Friday, excluding holidays)

How to Check Business Name Availability in Minnesota-

Setting up a business involves several critical steps, among which checking the availability of a business name holds significant importance. It might appear simple, but the process encompasses specific intricate details one must understand.

Creating an Online Account:

Before checking for name availability, you need an Online Account on the Minnesota Secretary of State website. If you do not have one, you can create it here. In case you are already registered, sign in to your account.

Navigating to the Business Services Page:

Once logged in, proceed to the Business Filings Online page. You will find a list titled “File a New Business or Non-profit.” Click on the business structure your venture will be registered as. A detailed classification of Minnesota businesses can be found here.

Selecting the Business Structure:

The type of business structure you select might require you to answer specific questions related to non-profit Status and professional Status. Be prepared to provide this information if necessary.

Searching for Business Name:

The next step involves verifying the availability of your proposed business name. Type your desired name into the search box and select the entity designation from the drop-down menu (if applicable). Be vigilant while doing this; a slight mistake can cause unwanted complications.

Choosing the Correct Business Name Format:

Selecting the end of your business name from the drop-down menu rather than typing it in is essential. If you ignore this, the system will automatically append the default ending based on your business structure.

For example, if you’re registering “Hot Dogs, Inc.” and manually type “Inc.” at the end rather than choosing it from the drop-down menu, the system will append “Co.” at the end, resulting in “Hot Dogs, Inc. Co.”

Understanding Naming Rules:

Several rules govern what words can be included in specific business names. For instance, if you have an entity designation in the name of an Assumed Name, at least one of the name holders must possess an equivalent entity designation. However, “Company,” “Co,” or “Companies” can be used by themselves and not as part of a longer entity designation.

You can only use ‘Cooperative,’ ‘Coop,’ or their variations if your business is a registered cooperative or operates on a cooperative model by providing net profit rebates to members.

Checking Name Availability:

After entering the business name, hit Search. The system will notify you if the name is available. If not, the system will provide each conflicting business’s name and file number.

How to Renew or Amend Your Business Filing-

In Minnesota’s business management context, an essential task on the annual agenda is ensuring that your business filings are up-to-date and accurate. Neglecting to file these yearly renewals may lead to your entity being “statutorily dissolved” and no longer recognized as existing within the state.

Understanding Statutory Dissolution:

The entity may face statutory dissolution if a business in Minnesota fails to file an annual renewal. This term denotes the state’s cessation of recognizing a particular company as legally existent. Nevertheless, should a business entity find itself in such a predicament, there is a recourse for reinstatement. This would require filing a renewal for the current year and paying an associated fee.

Making Amendments to Business Filings:

Changes in business operations and structure are inevitable. These changes must be reflected in the business filings. Depending on the nature of these amendments, they can be made per the rules and guidelines of the governing statute. To familiarize yourself with these statutes, visit The Office of the Revisor of Statutes webpage.

It is beneficial to note that many amendment filings can be done online. All filings, however, are accepted via mail or at the customer counter. For online filings, we detail the procedure below.

Step 1: Account Creation and Login

Creating an online account the first step is on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website. Once the account is set up, you need to log in to gain access to your business details.

Step 2: Business Search

In this step, you are required to search for your business. This can be accomplished by inputting your business name or file number in the search bar.

Step 3: Accessing Business Details

From the search results, identify your business and click “Details” to proceed to the Business Record Details page.

Step 4: File Amendment or Renewal

Locate the “File Amendment/Renewal” button on the Business Record Details page. Options for amendment or renewal.

Step 5: Selecting the Appropriate Option

From the list, select the appropriate amendment or renewal option.

Step 6: Completing Information and Uploading Form

In this step, you are required to complete all the necessary information and upload the amendment form. It’s essential to ensure all the details are correct and accurate.

Step 7: Review and Submit

Once you’ve completed the previous steps, review your filing thoroughly. If everything is in order, click “Submit” and record the Order Number provided.

Step 8: Payment

You will be directed to the US Bank page for payment. After making the payment, make sure to record the confirmation number.

Step 9: Confirmation of Filing

After submitting and making the payment, you will receive an email confirmation when the filing is processed. Download a copy of the filing from the link provided in the email. It is recommended to keep a record of this for future reference. Additionally, the website allows access to filed documents for 90 days in the Transaction History.

Final Thought:

In summary, the Minnesota SOS Business Search is a valuable tool, providing essential information to those who understand how to navigate it effectively. The strategies mentioned help you adapt to any roadblocks during your Search. Being flexible with your search criteria and understanding how to use the available search tools effectively are vital skills when conducting a Minnesota SOS business search.

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