How to Find the Already-Filed Articles of Organization for a Current LLC

By Larissa Bodniowycz, J.D.

How to Find the Already-Filed Articles of Organization for a Current LLC

By Larissa Bodniowycz, J.D.

A limited liability company (LLC) files a document called articles of organization with the state where the LLC forms. The articles of organization contain basic information about the LLC, such as its address, its owners (called members), and who manages it. The LLC officially forms when the state agency that regulates businesses approves the articles of organization.

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You may want or need want to locate the articles of organization for an LLC already in existence. Maybe you misplaced the articles for an LLC you own or maybe you are looking for more information about another LLC. The process for obtaining a copy of the articles of organization for an LLC is straightforward and it continues to get easier as states put more business-related information online.

1. Identify the LLC's name and state.

To obtain the articles of organization for an LLC, you'll need to know the LLC's name and the state where it formed. If you are seeking articles for an LLC that you own, you should already have this information. If you are seeking articles for another LLC, you may need to do a little investigating.

If a business operates in multiple states, it is not always clear in which of those states it formed. Some businesses operate under assumed or "doing business as" (DBA) names that are not the same as the names of the underlying LLCs. For example, an LLC that operates an apartment complex may register with the state as "15th Street Housing, LLC" but operate and advertise under the name "Palm Tree Apartments." In that scenario, "Palm Tree Apartments" is a DBA.

The easiest way to find the official company name and state of formation is to ask an LLC member. If you'd prefer not to ask, you'll have to get a little more creative, using what you do know about the LLC as pointers to the information you need. For example, if you have a contract with the LLC, the contract likely includes the full name of the LLC and its state of formation. You might also find the LLC's full name and location of formation on its website. If it's not in any of the usual places you might expect it, try checking the footer.

2. Go to the appropriate state business authority's website.

Once you know the LLC's name and its state of formation, the next step is to go to the website of the state agency that regulates businesses, often the Secretary of State, for the state where the entity formed. Find this website by searching the appropriate state agency name and the name of the state.

The state business authority's website should provide information on or instructions for obtaining filings for business entities. The articles of organization are one of the filings. In most cases, you start by searching for the entity by name using the state's online search tool. When you locate what you're looking for, you will typically be provided some basic information about the LLC and an identification number of some type. Print or make note of this information.

3. Submit your request for the articles.

Now that you've located the LLC's listing on the state business authority's website, follow the instructions on the website for requesting the articles of organization. The process varies by state. Some states, such as California, allow you to request the articles with a click of the button, which pulls them up in PDF form instantly and for free. Other states may require you to submit a form or fee and may not provide instant access. In these cases, you need to supply that basic information you located and the identification number.

If the process for requesting the articles is not clear on the website or if you have any other questions, you can contact the business entity department of the state business authority. You can find the contact information for the department on the agency's website.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.