Delaware Business Entity Search (Step-by-Step Guide)
If you’re thinking of forming a new company in Delaware, the first thing you’ll need to do is conduct a business name search on the Delaware.gov website.
The point of the name search is to ensure that an existing business is not using the desired name. There are a number of ways that you can conduct a name search on the Division of Corporations website.
Delaware business search tips
When conducting your name search, ensure that you keep the following tips in mind:
- When entering the name of the business into the search bar, you should note that the search is not case-sensitive, and all letters are treated as upper case.
- Making use of a single keyword in a name broadens your search.
- Do not add or remove spaces.
- Some company names will be grouped together, and any unusual or unique punctuation marks used will not display in the search results.
- When searching for an LLC using the business’s file number, you only need to enter the digits and nothing else.
- Likewise, when searching for a corporation by file number, the letter C is irrelevant and should not be added.
Business search by name
Visit the Department of State’s search page
You’ll need to start by visiting the search page, typing in the name you want to look up, and then clicking on the search button.
If there are no results, you’ll see a message that says “No Records Found“.
Review the results
If the business is registered, it will display in the search results.
By clicking on the business name, you’ll view specific details about the business, including whether it is active or inactive, letting you know whether or not the name is available for use.
Review business information
By clicking on each company name, you’ll have access to all of the information listed by the state. However, if you require more detailed information pertaining to a specific company, this will come at a cost.
When it comes to determining the status of the business, it will cost you $10, and if you’d like to know the filing history, current franchise tax assessment, and more about a specific business in Delaware, it will cost you $20.
Determine name availability
If the business is registered, it will display in the search results. At this point, you’ll know whether or not the desired name is available.
Business search by file number
Refer to the Department of State search page
If you have a file number for an existing Delaware business, you can go back to the search page and enter the number, then click Search.
Review the results
When searching for a specific file number, the result will display if a match is found. You’ll view all the available information about the business by clicking on the company name.
Determine name availability
The name is most likely available for use if you don’t find any search results.
Business search results
After searching the Delaware business Registry, and if matches are found, the following information will be made available:
- Entity name: The legal or registered name of the business
- Entity file number: The file number is the unique seven-digit number issued by the state of Delaware and is used to identify business entities in the state’s database.
- Business formation date: The business’s date of incorporation
- Name of registered agent: The nominated agent for service of process, also referred to as a registered agent.
- Address and contact details of the registered agent: The phone number and address of the registered agent are public records and may be accessed by any individual. For this reason, many businesses choose to use an agent service instead.
The above-mentioned information is available for free during the business name search. However, if you’re looking for additional information pertaining to any business in the state, it will be made available to you for a fee.
What you should note is that the search results will display both active and inactive organizations on the state’s database. However, this is no indication of the current status of the business.
Additionally, the information is provided in real-time and displays up-to-date information on the database as of the date of the search. If you’d like to find out the status of the organization, you’ll need to contact the Division of Corporations Department.
Copies of documents and certificates
As mentioned earlier, the business entity name search displays general information pertaining to a company, corporation, LLC, or any business for that matter.
Suppose you would like to learn more about the business entity type or current status. In that case, you’ll need to contact the Department of State: Division of Corporations and request detailed information.
As per the state department’s website, you’ve got two options when it comes to online status. The first option is a $10 fee for a company’s current status. The next option requires a $20 fee and provides the current status with history and tax information.
It’s also important to note that requesting an online status of a business in the state will not generate an official Certificate of Good Standing. Instead, the $10 fee status option displays a screen with the current status of the requested business, which can be printed off your PC. Alternatively, you may choose to email the status result.
If you are requesting the $20 fee status option, it will not return actual images of the recorded documents. Instead, the application will display a page listing the status, franchise tax assessment, the last five filings, tax due you as well as total authorized shares (if relevant).
You should also note that the names and addresses of all officers and directors are not available through this application. If you want to order a copy of the annual report, you need to contact the Division of Corporations.
In the event that you require an official Certificate of Good Standing for any business entity, you may submit a request to the Division of Corporations using the state’s document upload service.
Business name availability
If the Delaware LLC or corporation search brings up no results, then it means that the name is most likely still available for use. However, even when the name of the business is available, the final determination at the time of filing is made by the Division of Corporations. Ultimately, they will ensure that the name you picked isn’t too similar to other existing businesses in the state.
You should also note that in most cases, sole proprietorships and partnerships do not register their business with the Delaware secretary of state, and therefore their business names may not come up on the Delaware Business Registry.
Consequently, it also does not stop sole proprietorships and partnerships from making use of your corporation or LLC name. Therefore, it is recommended that you consider getting a trademark to protect your company name.
If your new business name appears to be available, but you’re still not ready to create your Delaware business, you can have the name reserved for a period of 110 days by paying a $75 fee to the Delaware Division of Corporations. This fee is non-refundable and cannot be applied to Delaware company registration fees.
Also, keep in mind that you will need the name reservation receipt to incorporate your business with this name, so ensure that that is kept safely on hand.
Domain name availability
When deciding on the Delaware business name, it’s essential that you consider whether or not it’s going to make a good web domain name. It’s equally important to choose a Delaware business name that potential customers will be able to easily remember and search.
One of the best ways to check if your business name is available as a web domain name is to use a web domain tool like namechk.com. It’s an excellent service that filters available domain names and also gives you suggestions for alternative domain names.
Fictitious business name search
If you have intentions of conducting business under any other name aside from the business name you’re planning on registering, it’s a good idea to register a Delaware DBA.
A DBA is short for the (doing business as) name and is also referred to as a fictitious business name. The registration of a DBA name in Delaware is completed through the Delaware state courts.
In order to conduct business under your fictitious name, you’ll need to file a Fictitious Name Certificate on the Division of Revenue’s One-stop Business Registration and Licensing Website.
Before filing a Delaware DBA, it’s important to conduct a fictitious name search on the Delaware Courts Judicial Branch website by using their search tool.
How do I look up an LLC in Delaware?
If you’d like to look up an LLC in the state of Delaware, you can conduct an LLC name search on the Delaware Division of Corporation’s website.
Is Delaware LLC information public?
The public does have access to a Delaware business’s Certificate of Incorporation. All they need to do is contact the state and pay the required fee. However, the public can only have access to the specific information supplied on the Certificate of Incorporation.
How do I find Delaware registered agent information?
When conducting a name search on the Delaware Division of Corporation’s website, the search results will return basic information that includes the name and contact details of the company’s registered agent.
What is the Delaware LLC Tax?
All limited liability companies in the state of Delaware are required to pay an annual tax of $300.
How do I find out if a company is incorporated in Delaware and the state they are incorporated in?
You can find the necessary information regarding whether a company is incorporated in Delaware or not on the Secretary of State’s website. The information also displays the specific territory the corporation is registered in.
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