How to Find Business Records in Delaware
Delaware Business Records
In the State of Delaware, business records are maintained by the
Delaware Secretary of State. Many of these records are considered to be
matters of public record, meaning that private citizens may access and
view these records, even if they have no ownership interest in the
company in question.
What Records Are Maintained by the Delaware Secretary of State?
A business that incorporates in Delaware may take several recognized
forms, the most well-known of which is the corporation. Corporations are
considered to be separate legal entities from their founders and
officers, essentially meaning that corporations are treated as if they
are a separate person. For this reason, it is necessary for special
documentation to be filed when a corporation is formed, to be considered
incorporated under the law. These documents are filed with the Secretary
Additionally, the Delaware Secretary of State maintains Uniform
Commercial Code, or UCC, filings. These filings provide documentation of
a security interest that a secured party has in a debtor’s collateral in
exchange for a loan. In Delaware, it is necessary to use a special
Authorized Searcher to obtain this information.
Why Would a Business Not Have Documents On File?
Not all businesses choose to incorporate. Sometimes individuals or
groups do business under a trade name without ever incorporating. If a
document does not incorporate, it will not be treated like a separate
legal entity, and therefore documentation of its formation may not be
filed with the Secretary of State.
It is also possible that a business operating in the State of Delaware
may have been incorporated in another state. Sometimes, businesses
decide to incorporate in another state outside of the state where they
keep their main office and primarily do business. They may take this
step because they decide that the laws of another state are more
advantageous for their business. Therefore, if the Delaware Secretary of
State has no documentation of the incorporation of a business, that does
not necessarily mean that the business has not incorporated; it simply
may have incorporated elsewhere. Luckily, though, the State of Delaware
is often considered to be one of the most advantageous states for
incorporating, so many businesses choose to incorporate there even
though they are not required to do so.
How Can I Search for Records Maintained by the Delaware Secretary of
Business records in the possession of the Delaware Secretary of State
may be viewed either online or in person. If you wish to search for
business records in person, the location of the Delaware Secretary of
State is: Division of Corporations, John G. Townsend Building, 401
Federal Street, Dover, Delaware 19901.
If you wish to search for business records online, begin by visiting the
Delaware Secretary of State’s website, located at www.state.de.us/sos/.
At the left of the home page, under the heading “Information,” select
“Corporate Forms and Fees.” Then, under the heading “Services,” select
“General Information.” This will take you to a page where you can search
for entities by business name or file number. After you have entered
your search information, you will receive a list of matching results
that will include both active corporations and inactive corporations.
From this list, you may click on the name of the business entity whose
information you wish to view. This will take you to a page where you can
view additional information about the business, including the name of
the corporation, the file number, the date the corporation was formed,
the name of the registered agent, address, phone number and residency.
This information is provided for free; obtaining additional information
will require the payment of a fee. Additionally, if you wish to obtain
either a certificate of status of a corporation or a certified copy of a
filed document, you may do so through a Delaware online agent. On the
business search page there is a clickable link to do so.
As of December 1, 2001, Delaware no longer permits private citizens to
perform searches on their own of UCC documents. Instead, Delaware has
compiled a list of authorized searchers to perform UCC searchers for
individuals. These authorized searchers have been certified by the State
of Delaware in order to provide optimum search results. To obtain
information about authorized searchers, from the home page select “UCC
Forms and Fees,” then click on “UCC Searches.” This will display a page
explaining that UCC searches must be performed by authorized searchers,
and includes a clickable link to view a list of authorized searchers.
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