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What is a Certificate of Good Standing?

What is a Certificate of Good Standing?

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What is a Certificate of Good Standing?

A Certificate of Good Standing is a document issued by the state agency that handles business entity registration (commonly the Secretary of State or Department of State).  This document is used to show the official existence of a registered entity (Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Limited Partnership (LP), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) and Not-for-Profit Corporation) and that it’s legally registered and authorized to operate in the business’s home state.  Most states use the term Certificate of Good Standing, but other states may Letter of Good Standing, Certificate of Authorization, Certificate of Status, Certificate of Existence, or Certificate of Compliance, but all are referring to the same thing.

Why do you need a Certificate of Good Standing?

This certificate is occasionally needed for the verification of a company. The most common reasons include: Registering as a foreign entity in order to operate in other states Opening a business bank account or merchant account Applying for a business loan Signing up with vendors and suppliers to purchase inventory Registering or renewing a business license.

Requirements

Certificates of Good Standing are only available to business entities that are registered with the Secretary of State’s office.  A Sole Proprietorship or Partnership is not able to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing.  To prove their existence, a Doing Business As registration (DBA) is typically requested. In addition to being a registered business entity, the Annual Report filing must be up-to-date and all state fees and franchise taxes paid. 

Cost of a Certificate of Good Standing

The cost of a Certificate of Good Standing varies by state and sometimes by the requesting entity.  While a few states don’t charge for a certificate, the fee is usually between $10 and $50. Depending on the requestor, a screenshot or printout from the Secretary of State’s website may be sufficient. 

How long is a Certificate of Good Standing valid?

In most states, there isn’t usually an expiration date on a Good Standing Certificate. The length of time a certificate is valid varies by the requestor but is generally accepted within 30-90 days of purchase.

How can a company lose its status of Good Standing?

A company’s good standing status is typically lost by not filing its annual report on time, timely paying of taxes, or maintaining a registered agent.

How long does it take to get a Certificate of Good Standing?

In most states, a copy of the certificate can be made off of the Secretary of State’s website; however, in some instances, a paid certified copy will be required. 

The certified copy is available in some states to download immediately, while it may take up to two weeks to be sent by mail in other states.

How to request a Certificate of Good Standing

Click on your state below for information on how to get a Certificate of Good Standing

What is a Certificate of Good Standing?

What is a Certificate of Good Standing?

Greg Bouhl

Greg Bouhl

Welcome! My name is Greg Bouhl, and I am a serial entrepreneur, educator, business advisor, and investor.

StartingYourBusiness.com is here because of the many clients I worked with who made decisions based on inaccurate and outdated information.

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2 Responses

  1. Just wanted to ask if a “Certificate of Good Standing” is a required document in order to file for opening up a business bank account. I have found a lot of opportunist companies sending mail about different documentation and wanting “x” amount of money and i just want to know what the absolute necessary documents, representation, etc to have in things done right legally.

    1. Hi Stephen

      Unfortunately, there are a lot of these types of businesses…

      If it’s a new business, they won’t ask for one, and instead will need the Articles of Organization.

      Some banks will ask for one, but many will also be fine if you give them a screenshot from the Secretary of State database showing you are in good standing. The state list on the bottom of this page (https://startingyourbusiness.com/is-your-name-available-how-to-do-a-free-llc-name-search/) shows how to do a name search if you’re not sure how to do that. If you do need one, don’t pay these companies as you can order directly from the state.

      In some cases too, especially for a multi-owner LLC, they will need a resolution signed by the members.

      Hope this helps!

      Greg

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