You can query the availability of a New York limited liability company (LLC) name on the online database run by the Division of Corporations of the New York Department of State. The same searchable database has a list of active companies in the state. Explore the different types of searches you can do about LLCs in New York.

Looking up a Business Name in New York

The first step toward forming an LLC in New York state is obtaining a formal name. Since some names are already registered by other entities and others are prohibited, you need to find out if the name you want to file is available ahead of time. You can search online at the New York Department of State website. If the search confirms that your prospective LLC name is available, you can go ahead to reserve the name, and then file the Articles of Organization. Other steps in the formation of an LLC in New York are:

  • Appointing a registered agent for service process.
  • Filing the Articles of Organization.
  • Filing the Certificate of Publication.
  • Getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if the LLC has employees or more than one member.
  • Obtaining the necessary business permits and licenses.

New York law requires a company to use its legal name to conduct business. This is not always practical, necessitating some businesses to use tradenames or assumed names to conduct business. Such businesses file the tradename in a "Doing Business As," or DBA filing. For example, if a company whose official name is “Janet Foods LLC” desires to do business as “Janie's Ice Cream,” a DBA filing is required.

Using a DBA has the following benefits:

  • It enables the LLC to open a bank account and to transact using another name.
  • It enables the LLC to build a local brand name.

There are different requirements for the various entities to file a Doing Business As in New York state. Corporations, LLC, and Limited partnerships must file for a Doing Business As Certificate with the New York Department of State. There are limitations on the usage of certain words and phrases. The usage of words like “corporation” and “limited” is restricted and needs the approval of the secretary of state. The filing is done using a Certificate of Assumed Name form.

Looking Up the Standing of a Business in New York State

LLCs are regularly required to present a Certificate of Good Standing. Lenders normally require businesses to present a Certificate of Good Standing during loan negotiations. The New York Department of State requires foreign LLCs, who wish to register in New York, to present a current Certificate of Existence as one of the conditions for registration in New York.  In addition, LLCs that were formed in New York may also be required to file their certificate of Good Standing file in a different state. 

In New York, LLCs found to be not in good standing may face fines, have their members' liability protection withdrawn, and face dissolution. 

In New York state, to get a Certificate of Good Standing, also called the Certificate Under Seal or Certificate of Status, the LLC is required to send a completed application form by mail or fax, along with the filing fee of $25. It is worth noting that the business is better off having a Certificate of Good Standing ahead of time, rather than rushing to obtain in in the process of loan negotiation or other legal proceedings.

It is normally easy to keep up with the requirement of having the company in good standing if it is only registered in New York state. However, it is harder to comply if the LLC is registered in several states. If your LLC is registered in several states, you can use services that can file a Certificate of Good Standing on behalf of the LLC in all 50 states.

Although there is no direct way for a third party to look up a company's standing in New York, it is possible to know if a company is active by searching its name and date or registration in the Department of State's online database. 

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