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How to Find Business Records in Louisiana

Louisiana Business Records

In the State of Louisiana, the duty of maintaining important business documentation falls to the Louisiana Secretary of State. These documents include records of incorporation as well as documentation of tradenames. These documents are matters of public record and can be viewed by private citizens. Here are a few tips that will assist you in accessing these records.

What Records Are Maintained by the Louisiana Secretary of State?

When corporations are formed (or “incorporated”), those corporations are required to file documentation with the Secretary of State. These documents can be viewed by members of the public. Additionally, businesses often register their tradename, a name that is not the official name of the corporation, but under which the corporation does business.

Why Would a Business Not Have Documents On File?

First, it should be remembered that not all businesses incorporate, and therefore may not have a reason to file documents with the Secretary of State. In particular, individuals who own businesses often operate as a sole proprietorship. Since a sole proprietorship is not treated the same way as a corporation, it is not required to file the same kind of documentation when it is formed.

Additionally, businesses do not always incorporate in the same state where they maintain offices, the state where their directors and officers live, or even the same state where they usually do business. Instead, businesses often choose a state in which to incorporate by considering which state’s laws will be most advantageous to that business. For that reason, if a business has no filings to be found with the Louisiana Secretary of State, it should not immediately be assumed that the business is not incorporated. Instead, it may simply be that the business has elected to incorporate in another state entirely. When attempting to discern in which state a business has incorporated, the State of Delaware is often a good starting place, since Delaware is reputed to have laws quite advantageous to businesses.

How Can I Search for Records Maintained by the Louisiana Secretary of State?

The business records that are maintained by the Louisiana Secretary of State can be searched online. To do so, begin by visiting the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website, located at: www.sec.state.la.us/. Under the heading “Frequently Requested Pages” at the right, select “Corporations Database.” From this search page, you can search for a business entity by name, or by specific document number. The search results will be returned in list form, with ten results per page. Buttons at the bottom of the page will permit you to scroll backward and forward through the search results. Each business entity name will appear in blue and is a clickable link that you can click to view additional information about the business entity, such as organization ID number, type, status, annual report status, the date of the filing of the last report, the address, the registered agent, the directors and officers. Additionally, a link will appear to allow you to purchase a certificate of good standing, of you choose, for applicable business entities.

This same search is used in Louisiana to search for preliminary name availability prior to attempting to incorporate a business under the desired name. Searchers are encouraged by the Secretary of State to take into consideration the fact that there may be alternate spellings or names that are phonetically similar. Since there is the possibility of missing a similar name, searchers should either reserve the name with the Secretary of State’s office, or wait until the filing of the business entity documentation has been confirmed, prior to using the desired name on marketing and other materials.

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