How to Locate Articles of Incorporation

By Terry Masters

A corporation files articles of incorporation with a state business registrar to set up the company and obtain permission to conduct business in the state. The articles contain basic information, including the corporation's legal name and the contact information for an agent located in the state who can accept official mail and court summonses on behalf of the corporation. The articles of incorporation are maintained as public documents so anyone can find out who is responsible for corporate business activity. Every state makes the articles for all state-registered corporations available to the public upon request.

A corporation files articles of incorporation with a state business registrar to set up the company and obtain permission to conduct business in the state. The articles contain basic information, including the corporation's legal name and the contact information for an agent located in the state who can accept official mail and court summonses on behalf of the corporation. The articles of incorporation are maintained as public documents so anyone can find out who is responsible for corporate business activity. Every state makes the articles for all state-registered corporations available to the public upon request.

Step 1

Identify a state where the corporation that you are researching transacts business. You can use the corporation's website or letterhead to identify the principal state where the corporation is headquartered, or you can pick any address associated with the business or its products. A corporation must maintain its home registration in the state where it originally filed its articles of incorporation and a registration in each state where it transacts a significant amount of business.

Ready to incorporate your business? Get Started Now

Step 2

Go to the website of the corporation registrar for the state you have identified. In most states, corporate registrations are handled by the secretary of state's office. Follow the links to the business section of the website. This section will typically provide information on how to start a corporation.

Step 3

Locate the business entity database. All states maintain a searchable database that is accessible from the website and contains information on all businesses registered in the state. Search the database by business name to locate the registration information for the corporation. If you have identified the corporation's home state, the record will indicate the date the company incorporated in the state. If you have identified a state where the corporation is simply authorized to do business, the record will indicate which state incorporated the company. Go to the website of the state of incorporation to continue your search.

Step 4

Download a copy of the corporation's articles of incorporation from the business entity database of the state of incorporation. Most states allow you to download a corporation's articles from the database for free. Some states will charge a fee to download the document. A small number of states have not scanned documents into their database. If the document is not available for download, you can always call the corporations division of the secretary of state's office and request a copy of a corporation's articles.

Ready to incorporate your business? Get Started Now
How to Find a Corporation's Public Records

References

Resources

Related articles

How to Incorporate in the State of Oklahoma

To incorporate a business in the state of Oklahoma, you must fill out the Certificate of Incorporation, often referred to as the Articles of Incorporation in other states, and file it with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. Businesses that can be incorporated in Oklahoma include profit corporations, not-for-profit corporations and professional corporations. There are certain pieces of information that must be included in the certificate of incorporation. This information includes the name of the corporation, duration of the corporation, which is assumed perpetual unless otherwise stated, purpose of the corporation, corporate address, amount of authorized capital, name and address of registered agent, and name and address of incorporator, who is person filling out the form.

How to Incorporate a Business in North Carolina

Incorporating a business in North Carolina is done by filling out the Articles of Incorporation and filing the document with the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State. The Articles of Incorporation must contain certain information, including the corporation's name and address, the registered agent's name and address, and the names and addresses of the incorporators. Additional provisions may be added, such as the names of the initial directors or the initial purpose for which the corporation is being organized, provided they comply with § 55A-2-02 of the North Carolina General Statutes.

How to Set Up an LLC in Wyoming

A limited liability company, or LLC, is formed under state law, according to the provisions of a state's Limited Liability Company Act. In Wyoming, the secretary of state's office handles the registration and maintenance of businesses and grants the authority to operate in the state. To set up a new LLC, a business owner files articles of organization with the secretary's business division. This filing serves as the LLC's basic business license. Any additional required licenses or permits must be obtained separately.

LLCs, Corporations, Patents, Attorney Help

Related articles

How to Obtain a Copy of a Certificate of Incorporation

Certificates of incorporation are filed with the state where a corporation maintains its residency. These documents are ...

How to Distinguish a Publicly Traded Partnership From a Public Corporation

The law in the United States protects the public by requiring all businesses to fully and correctly identify themselves ...

How to Look Up an LLC

A limited liability company, or LLC, is formed under the laws of a state by filing articles of organization with a ...

How to Identify Officers in an LLC

A limited liability company, or LLC, does not have officers in the same way as a corporation. A corporation's officers ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED