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Whether you’re researching the availability of a business name or checking the status of a business entity the Missouri Secretary of State website has the information you are looking for.
The Secretary of State Business Entity Database provides information on sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations and LLCs registered in Missouri.
There is no fee to search the database.
What information can be looked up?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Business Name
- Entity type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Domesticity – Will either be domestic or foreign. A domestic entity is one that initially formed and operates in the state. A foreign entity is one that initially formed in another state and wants to physically do business in the state.
- Registered Agent’s information – A Registered Agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business. This is often one of the owners and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent or IncFile so their home address isn’t listed.
- Status – Active means the entity is in good standing and all reports and filing fees are up to date. Other statuses that may indicate a business name is available include “Admin Dissolved”, “Voluntarily Dissolved”, or “Forfeited”.
Principal Address – This could be the physical address of the business or it could be an address where business records are stored. Date the entity was filed with the Secretary of State
- The Articles of Organization are also available to view.
How to do a Missouri Business Name Search
Visit the Missouri Secretary of State website.
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Search for a Business Entity” field. In this example, we will look up “Lawn & Order” and click the “Search” button.
Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Lawn & Order”. To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Missouri, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.
To find more information about each of the registered business names, click on the link for the business name you are interested in to get a detailed report. In this example, we will look up “Lawn & Order, L.L.C.”.
While the name “Lawn & Order” may not be available, we can look at the example of the available name, “Cowboy Cleaners”. Searching for this name, brings a result that says “No records to display”. While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in Missouri. Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
How do I form an LLC?
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form an Missouri LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.
While not required in Missouri, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, may be a document worth considering especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
After forming the LLC, Missouri business licenses and permits may still be necessary.