An Overview of a Business Search in Mississippi

A Mississippi Secretary of State business search provides valuable information for anyone who wants to form a new business or is looking for detailed information about existing companies. Mississippi has an official database of businesses registered in the state, which includes contact information for anyone seeking to facilitate partnerships.

Along with the Business Services Division, the Secretary of State office also maintains the following: 

  • Elections Division
  • Administrative Services Division
  • Government Records Section

The State Business Services Division is the office responsible for compiling information on all businesses registered in the state, and it works to keep entries very detailed and current. Users can search the database using a variety of search criteria. Some criteria is very specific, while others are vague. They're even able to search using obscure information, such as the incorporating agent.

One of the most common reasons a person may conduct a business entity search is to check the availability of a business name they'd like to use. You'll be able to conduct an online search to see if the name you'd like to use is available. If it is available, you can reserve it. 

You're required to register your business with the state if you're planning to operate a company in Mississippi or if you're expanding an existing company into Mississippi. You'll have to file certain documents with the state to legally register your business. Depending on your business structure, you'll file one of the following: 

  • Certificate of Limited Partnership
  • Certificate of Formation
  • Articles of Incorporation 

In addition to checking the availability of a desired business name, you can also use the search function to get detailed information about a company, including its filing history.

By filing an LLC with the state, you have the advantage of limited liability for your company's debts and obligations. An LLC combines positive aspects of corporations and partnerships. It's more flexible and less formal than your usual corporation, but it offers advantages and protection that are very similar.

Advantages of an LLC

The following are advantages that LLCs offer their owners:

  • Limited liability: Owners enjoy the liability protection of a corporation because an LLC is considered to be a separate entity, similar to a corporation. Members will not be personally liable for company debts unless they signed a personal guarantee.
  • No minutes: In corporations, one of the requirements is to keep formal minutes, hold meetings, and record resolutions. An LLC is easier to operate because it doesn't require keeping minutes or resolutions.
  • Flexible profit distribution: LLCs can choose varying forms of distribution of profits. In a partnership, the split is 50-50, but LLCs offer more flexibility.
  • Flow-through taxation: A company's profits, losses, and expenses flow through the business to members. You don't have to pay double taxes — an individual tax plus a corporate tax.

How to Get a Business Name Registered in Mississippi

When you find out that your desired business name is available to use, you can reserve your business name. Visit the Secretary of State website and download a Reservation of Name form. To fill out the form, you'll have to include the following information: 

  • Your business type
  • The name you want to reserve
  • Your name and address

If you're registering a corporation name, an officer at the corporation is required to sign the form. You'll pay a fee of $25 to reserve a name, and it's good for 120 days.

Different business structures require specific filing documents. They are as follows: 

If you operate a sole proprietorship, you're not required to register a business. You might still want to file a "doing business as" (DBA) registration. This allows you to operate under a fictitious name. This will register and protect your DBA name.

A business search can give interested parties valuable information about a company. You can also find out if a name you'd like to use for your business is available. It's as simple as visiting the Secretary of State and entering your desired search criteria.

If you need help with a Secretary of State business search in Mississippi or another state, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.