How to Find Business Records in Montana
Searching for Business Records in Montana
In Montana, the duty of maintaining crucial business documents falls to
the Montana Secretary of State. Here are a few tips to access some of
these records over the internet.
What Records Are Maintained by the Montana Secretary of State?
When businesses incorporate, or become a corporation, they are required
to file documentation of the incorporation with the Secretary of State.
Certain other business entity types, such as limited liability companies
and limited liability partnerships, also file documents when they are
formed that are maintained by the Secretary of State. So long as these
entities remain active, they file periodic reports to maintain their
active status. Certain searches of Montana business records online are
free and do not require searchers to become registered users. Certain
other searches can only be performed by registered users.
Additionally, the Montana Secretary of State maintains UCC, or Uniform
Commercial Code, filings. These filings document security interests that
secured parties have in property belonging to debtors. In Montana, this
information is maintained by the Secretary of State and can be accessed
online, although it is necessary to become a registered user in order to
perform a search.
Why Would a Business Not Have Documents On File?
The Montana Secretary of State keeps records or businesses that are
registered. However, it should be remembered that not all businesses
elect to register. If a business has not incorporated or had reason to
file other documentation, the Secretary of State may have no
documentation on file.
Additionally, it is possible that a business in Montana may have elected
to incorporate in a state other than Montana. Often, businesses in one
state elect to incorporate in another state in order to take advantage
of the second state’s laws. When this is the case, the Montana Secretary
of State may have no record of a business’s incorporation because those
documents were filed in a different state.
How Can I Search for Records Maintained by the Montana Secretary of
The Montana Secretary of State maintains records that can be viewed
online. Certain records require registration and the payment of a fee;
other records can be viewed for free.
To search for business records online, begin by going to the Montana
Secretary of State’s website, which may be found at http://sos.mt.gov/.
Then select the option “Online Services” at the top of the page. This
will take you to a page where you can select the method in which you
wish to search for records. The options with “RR” after them are the
search options requiring registration prior to a search. The other
search options do not require registration.
To search for registered businesses in the State of Montana, select the
option marked “Registered Montana Businesses.” This will take you to a
page including a search window where you can input the name of the
business for which you wish to search. Then select “Submit Query.”
Search results will be returned in list form, including all of the
registered businesses matching the search terms. The list will include
each business name, type, city, state and status. The names appear in
blue and are clickable links. Clicking on the names will allow you to
access more information about each entity, including the business name,
ID number, status, status reason, filing date, expiration date, business
type, counties and purpose code. Additionally, a button will appear that
will permit you to order a Certificate of Fact for that business, for a
The Montana Secretary of State’s website warns that this search should
not be relied upon for purposes of determining name availability, based
upon the fact that it may take ten days for a name registration to
appear in an online search, and not all registrations are approved.
Therefore, business owners should not rely upon the selected business
name until it has been approved by the Secretary of State.
To search for a registered agent of a business, from the Online Services
page there is also an option marked “Registered agent of a business.”
However, at the time of the writing of this article, that link will
mistakenly take searchers to the registered business search page as
One must become a registered user in order to conduct any searches for
UCC filings. However, if you elect to become a registered user in order
to access these records online, the links to begin this search are
located on the Online Services page, under the heading “UCC.”
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