How to Find an LLC Owner: Everything You Need to Know
Wondering how to find an LLC owner? This can usually be accomplished with an online search.3 min read
2. Searching Through the Secretary of State Website
Updated June 26, 2020:
Wondering how to find an LLC owner? This can usually be accomplished with an online search. Because LLC filings are public information, checking the documents should provide the information you need.
Finding an LLC Owner
By law, a limited liability company must register in the state where it will conduct business. By doing so, the state has a record of who owns the LLC. So, start your search with the Secretary of State website. Using the search option with the business name should return the owner's name. When doing the business name search, note that LLCs can have fictitious names to cover the different branches of their businesses.
Another search option is the articles of organization that the LLC filed. The document usually lists the names of the owners and members. It is sometimes available on the site where the LLC was registered. This is usually the Secretary of State website.
Using the original state where the LLC was registered to find information is also an option. You will need to know the state where the company was initially registered since LLCs can operate in many markets.
If you do not know the original state but have information on the states where the LLC does business, check those state's websites. Most LLCs that are registered as a foreign corporation (out-of-state business) are required to register in each state where business is regularly operated.
If you do not have the original state or information on where the LLC does business, you can try different state names to see if the system displays the results you need. If you cannot find the owner's name online, you can file an information request with the state.
Each Secretary of State office maintains public records that include the ownership of every LLC register in the state. For example, in California, the Secretary of State office provides a registry of corporations that lists the names of the partners and the owner's name and address.
Searching Through the Secretary of State Website
Not all Secretary of State websites have their main page and tabs set up the same. Keep this in mind when searching different states for information. To begin a search for an LLC owner, do the following:
- Navigate to the tab labeled "Business." The tab may also say "Business Search," "Corporations," or "Business Finder." Clicking the tab may or may not open a search bar. If it does not, look for a search option such as clicking the word "Search," clicking a search icon, or clicking a search bar.
- Once the search box is visible, type in the full name of the LLC.
- If an advanced search is an option, the system may allow for searching by entity type. However, searching through all entity types will garner better results.
- You may find an LLC that has members associated with other LLCs. In this case, you would need to run a search on the members to find the names of individual owners.
- Once the search is initiated, the system should display several options. One of these will be the articles of organization. Open the link to find the LLC's name and address and the name of the owner or registered agent.
- Search results usually display a page with information such as whether the business is active or dissolved and its annual report filings.
- If the LLC is a foreign entity, navigate to the original state's website to continue searching for ownership information.
- Different states have various formats for providing information. Some provide only a minimum, such as the LLC name, address, and status, and publish a report of newly registered LLCs. Other states include all member names and addresses and the company's registered agent.
- Check for any organizational documents or amendments that may have viable ownership information.
- If the state you are accessing does not provide an online search option or does not provide the type of information you are looking for, you can file a public record request with the appropriate state agency.
- There may be a fee to view images or perform a search for some states. However, the information may also be available for free.
- Use the Secretary of State "Contact Us" for help with forms, filings, and fees.
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