To set up an SoS CA GOV LLC, there are multiple steps that you must complete, including making sure your company name is available, submitting the proper paperwork, and paying the mandatory fees.

The initial step you should take when forming a limited liability company (LLC) in California is making sure that your desired company name is available for use. The best way to check name availability is searching the California Database.

While browsing businesses in the California Database, you will see one of four statuses listed next to a company's name:

  • Active
  • Canceled
  • Forfeited
  • Suspended

If you see an “Active” status, it means that the company is still operating in California. A “Canceled” status indicates that the business has canceled its LLC name. When a company has a “Suspended” status, it means that they have failed to meet their tax obligations, and the state has suspended the business's operations. LLC names listed as "Abandoned" will show as “Forfeited."

LLC names that are Suspended, Forfeited, or Canceled cannot be used. If none of these statuses are present, then the name you have chosen for your LLC is usable.

To make sure you are legally protected, be sure you are using a unique name for your company. Make sure you have selected the Limited Liability Company or Corporation search option before searching for your chosen LLC name.

You should do a search with both options to make sure you are getting the fullest results possible. Performing multiple searches should help you be certain that the name you have picked for your company is free to use.

When you're ready to start searching, you should enter the name you wish for your LLC in the provided search box. Don't worry about using proper capitalization or including abbreviations such as LLC. If your search doesn't return any results or displays a Record Not Found message, the name you have searched is available.

Search the same name again using the Corporation Name option. If this search also doesn't return any results, you can use your LLC name without worry.

While searching the California Database, keep in mind a few factors:

  • Make sure to pick an LLC name that is distinguishable and original.
  • Don't assume the Canceled, Forfeited, or Suspended statuses mean you can use your desired name.
  • Always use both the Limited Liability and Corporation Search options.
  • Perform several searches to make sure that the name you've chosen is distinguishable from other California business names.

You can mail a Name Availability Inquiry Letter to the California Secretary of State for a free check of the name you want to use for your LLC.

California LLCs and Corporations Statement of Information

Corporations and LLCs in California must submit an Annual Report, which is also referred to as a Statement of Information (SoI).

In the SoI, you must include a variety of information about your company:

  • Your company's current address.
  • The name of your CEO, registered agent, members, and managers/officers.
  • The business description.

LLCs must file their first Annual Report within ninety days of the company's registration date. The LLC will then be required to file reports every two years or whenever information about the company has changed. The form that you will use and fee that you will pay depends on the type of your Corporation. Credit unions, nonprofits, and general cooperative corporations will use form SI-100 and will need to pay a $20 filing fee.

Foreign corporations will pay a $25 filing fee and will use form SI-350. To submit a Corporate Disclosure Statement, you will need form SI-PT. A filing fee is not required for this form. Use Form SI-CID, a Statement by Common Interest Development Association, and pay a $15 filing fee.

In addition to filing a Statement of Information in the state where your company was first registered, you will also need to file a Sol for any registrations for your company other states do business as a foreign entity. SoIs are due annually, and you will need to pay the required fee every time you file.

Changes that require filing a new Statement of Information include:

  • Relocating your company.
  • Electing new corporate officers.
  • Adding or removing a director.
  • Appointing a new registered agent.
  • Making changes to the business in which the corporation engages.

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