How to Find Business Records in Florida
Beginning your Search for Florida Business Records
Searching for Business Records in Florida
The Florida Secretary of State maintains business records for businesses
that are incorporated in the State of Florida, as well as information on
federal liens, judgment liens, fictitious names, and Uniform Commercial
Code information. Many of these documents are considered to be matters
of public record, such that any private individual may access and view
What Records Are Maintained by the Florida Secretary of State?
There are a number of corporate forms that are recognized in Florida
that a business may take, including corporations, limited partnerships,
limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships and general
partnerships. Once a business has been “incorporated,” or assumed one of
these forms, certain laws apply to it. For this reason, businesses are
required to file certain documentation with the Florida Secretary of
State when these corporate forms are created within the State of
Additionally, Florida keeps a registry of trademarks that are claimed by
Florida businesses. These records are kept by the Florida Secretary of
State. However, this registry should not be confused with the national
registry maintained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The Florida Secretary of State also maintains records of certain liens,
including federal liens, judgment liens, and Uniform Commercial Code, or
UCC, filings. UCC filings provide documentation of a security interest
that one party has in the collateral property of a debtor in exchange
for a loan.
Finally, businesses do not always operate under their official name, but
sometimes operate using a trade name or “fictitious name.” Filed
documents evidencing fictitious names are also maintained by the Florida
Secretary of State.
Why Would a Business Not Have Documents On File?
Sometimes businesses choose not to incorporate. This is particularly
common when individuals operate a business by themselves and are
considered a “sole proprietorship.” Since sole proprietorships are not
considered separate legal entities, it is not necessary for them to file
notification of their formation with the Secretary of State.
Additionally, sometimes businesses do not incorporate in the state where
the do business or maintain their principal offices. In the United
States, businesses are permitted to incorporate in other states if they
believe the laws of that state are advantageous to the business.
Therefore, if a business is located in Florida, it should not
necessarily be assumed that the business is not incorporated just
because there is no record on file with the Florida Secretary of State.
When searching the other states for documents of incorporation, the
State of Delaware is a good place to start, since Delaware is highly
favored as a state of incorporation and many businesses elect to
incorporate there to take advantage of Delaware’s business laws.
How Can I Search for Records Maintained by the Florida Secretary of
If you know that a business is incorporated in the State of Florida,
this documentation may be viewed online. The Florida Secretary of
State’s website may be found at: www.dos.state.fl.us.
From the website homepage, searchers may select “Corporations” to be
taken to the Division of Corporations page. From this page, select
“Corporate Information and Online Filing.” Then, on the left of the
page, click on the link marked “Online Searches and Document Images.”
To search for corporations and similar entities, or to look for a
trademark registered in Florida, from the Online Searches and Document
Images, select “Corporations, Trademarks, Limited Partnerships & Limited
Liability Companies.” This will take you to a page entitled
“Corporate/LP/LLC Inquiry.” You will be presented with a selection of
search methods, including searching by corporate name, the name of an
officer or registered agent, a trademark name, a trademark owner name,
an FEI number or a document number. After selecting one of these
methods, you may enter your search criteria and view the list of
results. After receiving your results, you may select one of the items
on the list to view additional information, including the name of the
entity, the address, the document number and FEI number, the date filed,
the status, the last document filed, the registered agent, information
about officers and directors, and the annual reports filed for that
corporation. You will also be presented with the option of clicking on
links to view the events or name history. Finally, at the bottom of the
report, a list of documents available for online viewing will be
presented. You can perform a similar search for limited liability and
general partnerships by first choosing that option from the Online
Searches and Document Images page.
To search for lien information excluding UCC filings, select that option
from the Online Searches and Document Images page, and then search by
debtor name or document number.
The Florida Secretary of State has delegated the maintenance of UCC
filings to a private organization. To search for UCC filings, go to the
website www.floridaucc.com. Once there, you will need to review the
terms and conditions of the website and click “I Accept” before you will
be permitted to perform a search. Then you will be taken to a page where
you can search the UCC forms by debtor information or by document
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