1. About Certificates of Good Standing
2. Getting Your Certificate of Good Standing
3. Why You Should Maintain Good Standing
4. Checking Your Good Standing

A Washington DC Certificate of Good Standing shows that your company is legally allowed to do business in the District of Columbia. Certificates of Good Standing have a variety of purposes, and you will need to meet several requirements to maintain your standing.

About Certificates of Good Standing

With a Certificate of Good Standing, you will have physical proof that your business is in good standing in the state where it was formed. Essentially, good standing means that you have complied with your state's rules for your type of business, which can include paying fees and taxes and filing required reports.

You can use your Certificate of Good Standing for several business-related tasks, including applying for foreign qualification in a different state. Foreign qualification means you will have permission to do business in a state other than the state where your business originally formed. Generally, foreign qualification will only receive approval after you have presented a Certificate of Good Standing. If you plan to expand your business into another state, you should first obtain a Certificate of Good Standing.

Getting Your Certificate of Good Standing

In Washington, D.C., you can either request your Certificate of Good Standing by mail, or you can obtain this document in person. When requesting your Certificate by mail, processing should occur within 10 business days. If you request your Certificate in person, you can ask for expedited service so that you can receive this document on the same day. Businesses in the District of Columbia that are in good standing can request a Certificate from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Once you have your Certificate, you should be able to register your business as a foreign entity in other states.

Your filing fee when requesting a Certificate of Good Standing will depend on your business entity type:

  • Corporations and Professional Corporations: $50 fee.
  • Limited Liability Companies, Limited Liability Partnerships, and Limited Partnerships: $50 fee.
  • Nonprofit Corporations: $40 fee

Why You Should Maintain Good Standing

The primary reason to maintain your business's good standing is that it will make it easier for you to secure lending. Typically, lenders will ask that you prove your good standing before they will give you a loan. Already having your Certificate of Good Standing will make this process much easier and quicker.

Maintaining your good standing also makes it easier to expand your business into other states. Most states will ask that you demonstrate your good standing before you can register as a foreign entity and start transacting business. Some states also require that your certificate be recent in order to register your business. In these states, your certificate should be no more than 90 days old.

If your business is in good standing, you can avoid having to pay a variety of penalties and fees. Failing to comply with state regulations often results in heavy fines, so maintaining your good standing by complying with these regulations can save you money. Finally, if you are running an LLC or corporation, maintaining good standing can preserve limited liability protections for your company owners.

Checking Your Good Standing

Every state has its own laws for business entities. For example, in some states, you will need to file an annual report for your company, and in other states, you must file reports more regularly. Depending on the state in which you formed your company, the Certificate of Good Standing may instead be called a Certificate of Existence. Although the names are different, these documents serve the exact same purpose.

The method to check your good standing will depend on your home state. Typically, your state will provide a search engine where you can search for business entities and check their status. If your business is in good standing, this status should be accessible by using one of these search engines.

If you want to use a business entity search engine to check your business's good standing, you will need to remember the official name of your company, meaning the name you listed on the formation documents filed with your state. Searching for a name other than your business's registered name will not reveal your good standing or lack thereof. In Washington, D.C., you can use the CorpOnline service to search for your business's status and to request your certificate.

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