California may be behind many other states when it comes to accessing corporate documents and filings online. However, with the California Secretary of State's updated website, Statement of Information copies are made available immediately through an online search, with a PDF copy available at no cost. Continued updates to online systems will make it easier for businesses to file their documents and obtain corporate filing information.
Prior to the recent updates, if an individual wanted a copy of Statement of Information forms for a corporation or LLC, they would have to submit the request by mail. This required printing out a formal request form, mailing the form to the Secretary of State, and waiting for a response in the mail. Additionally, the individual requesting the information would have to pay a copy fee for the documentation.
According to the Secretary of State's website, “the new and improved California Business Search tool provides access to more than 5.3 million records related to corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships along with nearly 5 million downloadable PDF images of Statements of Information.”
A simple tool allows you to search the business database for corporations, limited partnerships, and LLCs by name or entity number. When selecting an active business entity, the page detail shows when the Statement of Information is due and provides PDF links for complete and “no-change” Statements of Information. A simple click opens up a PDF copy of the Statement of Information for anyone to view or print.
Free online searches are limited to business information and publicly traded disclosure information. Any requests for physical certificates, copies of business entity documents, or status reports still need to be made through filling out a Business Entities Records order form. Processing times for records requests can take weeks, with discrepancies between requests submitted by mail and those made in person.
In addition to viewing Statements of Information online, SI E-File allows most corporations to submit their Statements of Information online. Upon confirmation of payment, if an email address is provided at the time of submission, the filer can also receive a free PDF copy of the Statement of Information. Unfortunately, limited liability companies and common interest developments must still submit their documents on paper, by mail or dropped off in person.
The new system will come as a relief for many companies who have generally moved beyond standard mail and paper document requests. However, the Secretary of State's website still has a long way to go to make paperless searches and requests easier for businesses. Even basic links to free searches are broken or outdated. Continued updates to online search and filing systems will allow California business owners to better manage their business filing requirements.
Butterfield Schechter LLP is San Diego County's largest firm focusing its law practice on employee benefit legal services and business counseling. Our firm can help your business stay up-to-date on the latest regulations and filing requirements. Contact our office today with any questions on how we can help you and your business succeed.