Michigan Business Entity Search (Step-by-Step Guide)

Last updated: June 19th, 2024
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Before forming a new business in Michigan, you’ll need to conduct a name search on the state’s government website or www.michigan.gov.

You’ll need to search for the desired name to make sure it is available before registering the name with the state.

You can search for company names by using the name, ID number, and filing number of the existing business.

Michigan search tips

When conducting a Michigan business name search, you should keep the following advice in mind to ensure that you find the information you need quickly and easily:

  • Remember that the search is not case-sensitive, and all letters are treated as uppercase in the search bar.
  • Also, do not add spaces to the names that do not have them, nor should you remove spaces in the names that already contain them.
  • One of the best ways to broaden your search is by making use of a single keyword. For example, if an organization’s name has multiple words, try searching one or two words at the most to get the most out of the search results.
  • Some of the company names will be grouped together, and those that contain unique punctuation marks will be displayed without unusual punctuation.
  • When searching a Michigan corporation, enter the letter C before the digits.
  • When searching for a limited liability company or Michigan LLC, using an entity number, only type in the digits and nothing else.

Business search by entity name

The most common way to perform a business search is by entity name. This method is helpful in searching for several types of businesses, including nonprofits, LLCs, and partnerships.

1
Refer to the Division of Corporations website

Start by accessing the corporation search page. After that, type the relevant organization name into the search bar. 

2
Select the search type and enter the business name

The search type drop-down box will present you with four options as follows: begins with, exact match, keyword, Soundex.

The Soundex search option allows you to search records that contain alternate spellings of the business name. Once you’ve chosen the search type, click on the search button.

If there are no records to display, you’ll see a message that says, “no records found; try a new search using different criteria.”

3
Review the results

If there are matching records, then the search results will display all entities that match your search type.

The information that will display includes the name, type, ID number, and address of the entity.

If you require further information on the business, simply click on the business’s name.

4
Review the business information

By clicking on the entity name, it will allow you to see all the details of the business, including:

  • Filings for the entity that you searched
  • The officers and directors of the corporation
  • Entity type
  • Registered office mailing address
  • The name and address of the resident agent and more

Business search by individual’s name

The next way to perform a business search is to search using the name of an individual.

1
Refer to the Michigan Secretary of State’s website

Select the “search by an individual name” option on the Corporations Division website. Thereafter, enter the first name, last name, or both the first and last name of the individual into the search box.

2
Select your search type and enter the individual’s name

Select the required search type from the drop-down list on the right and click on the Search button below.

3
Review the results

Here you will see all the records that match the selected search type and the name you entered in the search bar.

Along with the name, you will be able to see:

  • The position the person holds in the entity
  • The individual’s address
  • Both new and old Identification numbers, etc.

4
View detailed information

To view additional information about the entity, just click on the organization’s name.

Business search by identification number

The third way to perform the search is by Identification number.

1
Refer to the Department of State’s website

Click on the search bar or drop-down menu on the Corporations Division website and enter the relevant Identification number. Click Search.

2
Enter the ID number

Since we are performing a search by Identification number, there will be just one search result. If the ID number you have searched for belongs to an entity, you will be taken to the entity summary page immediately.

Business search by file number

The last method to perform the name search is by using the file number.

1
Go to the Corporation’s Division website

Just like when you search by ID number, you should enter the file number into the search bar on the Corporations Division website, and click search. 

If the file number you have searched for belongs to an entity, there will be only one result.

2
Review the business information

Now you can view the PDF, or you can tick the box next to the file number you searched for and click on the Order filings button below.

Michigan search results

Using all these methods and steps would allow you to find pieces of information about the business, which include:

  • ID number (old and new)
  • Entity type
  • Date of incorporation in the state
  • The name and address (no p.o. box addresses) of the resident agent
  • The registered agent’s details and office mailing address
  • The officers and directors of the corporation
  • Filings for this business entity
  • Comments or notes associated with this business entity

Through the search, you will be able to confirm whether the corporation or LLC name is available to use or not. Annual report information will only be available if the business has made the filings.

Copies of documents and certificates

Suppose you’d like to obtain certified copies of specific business documents, including a Certificate of Good Standing for any business entity in the state. In that case, you’ll need to contact the department of licensing. There may or may not be a filing fee involved, but you can confirm this with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory affairs.

Business name availability

If you have a list of names that you’re considering registering a new business under, you can try each one. This will give you a better chance of finding an available business name without going back to the drawing board.

However, if you’d still like to consider other options, then you should consider using a business name generator to spark your creativity. If you’ve confirmed that the name is available, but you’re not ready to register it right now, then feel free to opt for a name reservation with the Secretary of State Corporation’s Division.

Ultimately, the name availability search will help determine whether you can or cannot register your business under that name.

If, at any point and time, you want to change your business name after incorporation, you’ll need to file the Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation again.

Domain name availability

Another important aspect to consider when setting up your new business is considering domain name availability. This is because while it is equally important to have a good business name, it’s also crucially important to have a good web domain name in the age of the Internet.

It can make a huge difference in how easily your potential customers remember your business name and also your web domain, irrespective of whether you have a large or small business.

Once you’ve determined that your business name is indeed available, it’s time to do a domain name check by using a competent domain name checker like namechk.com

This is an excellent website that helps to filter domain names and also offers suggestions that could be a good fit for your business. It also gives you all of the options for the various extensions available for your potential web domain name.

Fictitious business name search

You should also consider registering a fictitious business name, also referred to as a (doing business as) name, assumed name, or DBA, which is an abbreviation for (doing business as). This is only if you’re thinking of doing business under any other name aside from your legal entity name. 

The first step in determining whether or not you can register a DBA is checking whether the DBA name is available. You can search for a DBA name by visiting the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.

FAQs

How do you check if a business is registered in Michigan?

You can find out if a business is registered or not by doing a business name search on the c website.

How do I look up an EIN number in Michigan?

You can look up a company or business’s EIN by using the same database that you would use for searching a company’s name. If you’d like to look up your own EIN number and you don’t have it on hand, you can always reach out to the IRS and ask for it.

How do I find the name of the owner of a business?

You may find information on any business entity or corporation in the state of Michigan, including the name of the owner of the business, by performing a simple name search on the Secretary of State’s website.

How can I find out the status of a business?

If you’d like to find out the status of any business entity that’s registered in the state of Michigan, there’s an easy way to do it. Simply reach out to LARA or the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website and request a certified or uncertified copy of the business’s Certificate of Good Standing.

What is the difference between a sole proprietorship and a partnership in Michigan?

The difference between a sole proprietorship and a general or limited partnership in Michigan is that a general partnership is more or less like a sole proprietorship but consists of multiple owners conducting business together. Also, no formal filing is required for general partnerships, and unlimited liability is enjoyed by partners, as is the case with sole proprietorships.

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