How to Search for Incorporated Companies

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Corporations, limited liability companies (LLC) and nonprofit organizations are all forms of incorporated business entities. Accordingly, they are required to register their names with the state. All states maintain a business name database that is accessible for use when searching for an incorporated company.

Decide on your search parameters. A business can be searched using a variety of parameters including its name or identification number. An incorporated entity may use a variety of names including the official name it registered at formation or a "doing business as" name it adopted after several years of doing business. Most incorporated entities also have a business number and/or employee identification number (EIN). These can all be used as a basis for your search.

Access the business name database in the state where the company/organization resides or does business. Generally, the Secretary of State is the responsible state organization that maintains the database. If its does not maintain the database, it will have information on which state agency does. All business name databases have online accessibility.

Conduct your search. Most databases follow the same search procedures. Enter your search information according to the parameters you chose in step 1. Follow any other applicable instructions required by the particular database and submit your query. Generally, results are listed in descending order from the closest match/answer to your question.

Filter your search. Depending on the type of incorporated entity you are searching for, use the database's filtering command to refine your search. For example, if you typed in "WordPress," to search for WordPress Foundation, you may be able to eliminate WordPress' for-profit businesses by using the "nonprofit organization" filter command.


About the Author

Marcello Viridis has been "working in writing" for the past six years. Since publishing his first article in 2004, he has written on a range topics from working and living overseas for the Wall Street Journal's Black Collegian website to legal essays for the Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties. Viridis has a B.A. from Pomona College and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School.

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