Louisiana Business Entity Search (Step-by-Step Guide)
If you’re thinking of starting a business in the state of Louisiana, you’ll need to begin with a business name search. The purpose of the search is to check whether another business is already using your desired business name or not.
Once you determine the availability of the name, you’ll know whether you can move ahead with the formation process or if you need to go back to the drawing board to come up with alternative names for your business.
The following step-by-step guide will show you how to conduct a Louisiana business entity search.
Louisiana search tips
When searching for a business in Louisiana, the following tips will help get the best results:
- The search box automatically defaults to upper case and does not respond to lowercase letters.
- It is recommended that you use as many words as possible to narrow down your search results.
- Additionally, use the full name of the business to get the most accurate results.
The Louisiana SOS website allows you to search for registered businesses via the following search types or search criteria:
- Charter Number
- Trade Registration Number
- Name Reservation Number
- Officer name
- Service of process or registered agent name
Business search by entity name
Refer to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Commercial Search page to begin searching for registered businesses in the state.
Enter the business entity name
The “Search by entity name” option and then enter the name of the business into the search bar.
Click on the Captcha box that says,” I’m not a robot.”
Then click on the “Search” button.
Review the results
If there are matching results, either exact matches or partial matches, you’ll be presented with a list of names.
The information that you’ll have access to is the entity name, type, city, and additional details.
You can scroll through the options until you come across the name you are looking up.
You’ll also notice that the “Active records” are displayed in bold.
Review additional business information
To access further business information, simply click on the button that says “Details.”
Thereafter, you’ll be taken to the business summary page containing more information on the entity, including the domicile address, mailing address, status, and registered agent information.
You also see an option to:
- Buy certificates and certified copies
- Subscribe to electronic notification
- Print detailed record
When you scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll see an option to go back to the search results or conduct a new search.
Additional search criteria
The Louisiana SOS Commercial Search page contains additional search options that allow you to search by charter number, trade registration number, name reservation number, officer name, and agent name.
The process is exactly the same when searching using the options mentioned above, and when matching results are displayed, you’ll be able to access detailed business information as you did with the business search by entity name.
Louisiana search results
The information you’ll find after clicking on the details button next to the company name includes:
- Domicile address
- Mailing address
- Registered agent’s details
- Officer’s information
- Information on file
Copies of documents and certificates
After conducting your Louisiana name search, you may want to obtain a copy of business documents. In order to do this, you’ll need to refer to the SOS.LA.gov website, the business filings department, and order documents and certificates.
One of the ways to obtain these copies of documents and certificates that are on file with the Secretary of State’s office is to make your request in writing via mail to the following address:
P.O. Box 94125
Alternatively, you may complete your request online on the Commercial Database, which serves as the state’s online services or business services portal.
Fax requests are also accepted when you supply a credit card number. When requesting documents by mail, you must send a money order or check along with your request. The check or money order must be made out to the Secretary of State.
Certified copies can also be obtained from the Secretary of State’s office, and these copies are a representation of true and correct copies that are on file with the office. Certified copies will cost you $15. If you need more than one document filed by the same entity or the complete file, then you’ll need to pay a $25 fee.
Additionally, the Department of State prepares certificates that represent information filed with the office, such as:
- Certificate of Good Standing for corporations and limited liability companies;
- Certificate of Existence for corporations, partnerships, trade names, and limited liability companies;
- Certificate of Registry for Partnerships; and
- Certificate of No Record for corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies.
The fee for certificates is $20.
Additionally, when it comes to printing out business details such as the status, date of incorporation, registration, organization, registered agent’s name and address, etc., you may print this from the Commercial Database.
It’s also important to note that the commercial division does offer customers the convenience of a walk-in service. Documents may be processed while you wait for a $50 priority expedite fee or within 24 hours for a $30 expedite fee. The expedited fees are in addition to the required filing fee.
If you plan on using the walk-in service, then refer to the following information:
The office is at 8585 Archives Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70809, and is located in the building behind the Louisiana State Archives.
Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Please try to arrive by 4:00 p.m. to give the employees enough time to complete the filing.
Business name availability
When conducting a Louisiana name search, you should understand that even if the search results do not return entries, there is a possibility that the name is in use. This is why you should not depend on name availability search as a guarantee that you’ll be able to register that specific name under your business.
Ultimately, it is the Department of State’s office that will determine whether or not you can register a name in the state. So until you file the process with the state, you should consider the possibility that the name could be in use by another entity.
Additionally, when it comes to naming a Louisiana corporation or limited liability company, you must keep the naming rules in mind.
If you’ve found the ideal business name and it’s available for business registration, but you’re not quite ready to initiate the process, you’re welcome to apply for a name reservation.
Name reservation is highly recommended if you’d like to protect the desired name of your entity while you are preparing to file formation documents with the state. Depending on the type of entity, reservations may be eligible for renewal in the event that you need more time.
Louisiana business names may be reserved for approximately 120 days by filing an Application for Reservation and paying a $25 filing fee to the Secretary of State.
Additionally, when registering a service mark or trademark, then it must be reserved under a class number. These numbers are listed on the back of the reservation application, and the fee is $25 per class.
You should also note that when it comes to names of revoked corporations and limited liability companies, these are not available for a period of three years from the date of revocation.
Domain name availability
Once you’ve decided on the perfect name for your new business, it’s time to start thinking about a domain name too. Domain names are often overlooked as most people think they’re not as important as your legal entity name.
However, the reality is that domain names are just as important as legal entity names. This is because, ultimately, it’s a platform for you to create your online presence and establish a business brand.
This is why you need to invest time and effort in coming up with a domain name that will help establish what your business does and stands for.
You also need to understand that there are literally billions of websites online, so finding the ideal domain name is challenging. So your creativity is required, especially if you’ve determined that your preferred domain name is already taken.
- When deciding on the ideal domain name, keep the following in mind:
- Check whether the domain name has already been trademarked
- Consider a domain name that will be in use over a long time
- Use a domain name that reflects your company’s brand
- Avoid the use of hyphens and numbers
- Ensure that the name is easy to pronounce and type
- Always opt for shorter domain names as opposed to longer, more complicated ones
- Try to make use of popular extensions such as .net,.org,.com, etc.
The best way to approach this step process is to use a professional domain checking something namechk.com. Namechk is a web application that allows you to check if a specific name is available. As it stands, Namechk has approximately 90 different social network sites.
Ultimately, this site helps you by taking a preferred domain name and checking its availability as either a domain name or username on dozens of social channels.
Some of the most popular social networks that it checks against include:
In the event that the name is not available, the channel turns to a dim color, and if it is available, the channel turns green.
Fictitious business name search
If you plan on conducting business under any other name aside from your legal entity name, then a Louisiana DBA will come in handy. A DBA is often referred to as a “doing business as,” fictitious, or assumed name in many states; however, it’s more commonly referred to as a trade name in Louisiana.
In Louisiana, you must already be using a trade name before you can register it. If you haven’t already started using a DBA, then you can reserve a DBA before registering it. Reserving a DBA may be done online by filing the Application for Reservation of Trade Name online. You need to pay a $25 fee, and the name will be reserved for approximately 120 days.
- When completing the Name Reservation Application Form, ensure that you include the following information :
- Section 8: Date trade name first used in Louisiana
- Section 7: Date trade name first used
- Section 5: Type of business
- Section 2: Applicant’s state of incorporation (if applicable)
Send the completed form to the following address:
PO Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
What is the difference between for-profit corporations and nonprofits?
For-profit and nonprofit companies have various differences in terms of purpose. For-profit organizations are always formed to generate profit. On the other hand, nonprofit organizations do not prioritize profits and are dedicated to promoting a social cause or the greater good of the community.
What does it mean when a business is in good standing?
A business is in good standing when they have paid the relevant state taxes and fees, filed the necessary reports, and has generally conducted business by the book. Therefore, businesses that have complied with the relevant laws are entitled to a Certificate of Good Standing, which proves as evidence that the entity is law-abiding and authorized to transact business in the state.
What are limited liability partnerships?
A limited liability partnership is a type of general partnership. Each partner has unlimited personal liability for the debts of the partnership. However, they will not be liable for the dishonest or illegal damages caused by other partners and only the state-dependent contractual debts.
How does a federal tax lien arise?
A federal tax lien presents itself when you fail to pay taxes after the government makes a demand for payment. Therefore, a tax lien is basically a legal claim against the assets of a business or natural person who fails to pay what is owed to the government. In this case, assets may be seized in the form of a person’s personal property, etc.
Why should I start a limited liability company?
Starting a limited liability company comes with various advantages, such as limited liability, management flexibility, and federal pass-through taxation on profits. Limited liability owners are also not required to pay unemployment insurance taxes on their own salaries.
Start a Limited Liability Company Online Today
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