New York Business Entity Search (Step-by-Step Guide)

Last updated: June 19th, 2024
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If you are planning to start a business in New York, be it a limited liability company, limited liability partnership, corporation, or any for-profit corporation, you’ll need to first conduct a name search on the Secretary of State’s website.

The New York Department of State database will give you an indication of whether or not the desired name is available for use or not. However, ultimately it’s up to the Department of State Division of Corporations to determine whether or not the selected name can be registered.

New York search tips

The following tips will ensure that you get the best results when conducting a New York business name search using the department’s handy search tool:

  • All letters are treated as uppercase in the search, so there’s no need to alternate between upper and lower case.
  • To get the best search results, it’s best to use a single keyword and if you are searching for a company name that contains multiple words, try entering just the first one or two words of the name.
  • You should not add or remove spaces in the business names and enter them exactly as they are registered.
  • When conducting the search on the Department of State website, you will need to select the entity type from a drop-down list which includes a corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, and limited liability partnership.

Business search by name

1
Refer to the New York Secretary of State’s website

In order to begin your LLC or corporation search, refer to the Department of State Corporation and Business Entity Search Database.

2
Refine your search

On the dos.ny.gov website, you’ll be presented with the following screen.

Once on this page, you have the option to search by:

  • Entity name
  • DOS ID
  • Assumed name ID
  • Assumed name

You can further filter your search by punching in the entity type, which includes:

  • All statuses
  • Active
  • Inactive
  • Suspended

Refine your search type even further by selecting from the ”Search Functionality” drop-down box and selecting either:

  • Begins with
  • Contains
  • Base word

Lastly, you’ll be asked to select the entity type from the entity list, which consists of:

  • Corporation
  • Limited liability company
  • Limited partnership
  • Limited liability partnership

Enter the relevant company name into the search bar and click on the “Search the Database” button.

In this example, we’ve used the entity name “One brick,” and we’ve also selected “All Statuses” on the entity type and selected all entity types.

3
Review the results

The information that will be returned includes the entity name, DOS ID number, status, entity type, date of first filing, and County.

4
Review detailed business information

Click on the relevant business entity name for further information about the business. Thereafter, you have the option to click on the “Return to Results Button” or the “Return to Search Button.”

New York business search results

When clicking on the business name for further details, the following information will be displayed:

  • Entity Name
  • Foreign legal name
  • Date of initial and DOS filing
  • Entity type
  • Effective date initial filing
  • Foreign formation date
  • County
  • Jurisdiction
  • DOS ID
  • Fictitious name
  • Entity status
  • Duration date
  • Reason for status
  • Inactive date
  • Next statement due date
  • Statement status
  • NFP category

If you’d like to view even more detailed information on the business entity, scroll down, and you’ll be able to view the following, if available:

  • Registered agent’s name and address
  • Chief executive officer’s name and address
  • Principal executive office address
  • Service of process name and address
  • Business’s primary location, name, and address
  • Stock information (if available)

Copies of documents and certificates

In the event that you would like to obtain certified copies of documents and certificates filed with the state, you may do so by submitting a written request to the New York Department of State.

The written request must contain the following information:

  • The address where the copies are to be mailed
  • The exact name of the corporation or other business entity
  • The documents requested
  • The DOS ID number or the formation date of the company
  • A statement as to whether the request is for routine processing or expedited processing
  • A statement as to whether the request is for plain copies or certified copies

Once you’ve completed the written request, go ahead and submit it via mail to the following address:

One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Ave
Albany
NY 12231

Business name availability

While the Department of State website lists the most up-to-date and current information about registered business entities, the system should not be used to determine the acceptability of an entity name. Ultimately, it is up to the state to determine whether or not the name is eligible for business registration.

Therefore, it is advisable to consider compiling and searching a list of possible business names so that you have a better chance of finding an available name without having to go back to the drawing board.

Additionally, ensuring that your desired name meets New York naming guidelines, will save you the disappointment of having your selected name declined.

Domain name availability

When considering business name options, it’s also a good idea to determine domain name availability. While it would be ideal for both the business name and domain name to match, it is not necessary.

However, if you’ve selected a business name that also happens to be available as a domain name, it would work in your favor. Business names are mainly used for legal purposes, branding, and identification; however, a domain name is a digital address for your website.

Therefore, a domain name helps people find your business online and ultimately establishes your company.

To find out if your selected organization name is available as a domain name, use a professional service such as namechk.com. This professional domain name checking service will help to filter your selected domain names and also offer suggestions for you to choose from.

Fictitious business name search

After deciding on a suitable name for your New York business, it’s also a good idea to consider registering a DBA in the state.

While it is not a requirement, it does offer benefits for various business structures, including general partnerships, sole proprietorships, and for-profit corporations. It is especially worth considering if you plan on doing business under a different name from your legal entity name.

You’ll need to register your fictitious name with the state as it makes the public aware of who owns the company. Therefore, when you file a fictitious name, also referred to as a DBA or assumed name, in the state, it puts your business’s name as well as your identity on public record.

To register your fictitious name with the state, you’ll need to file the Certificate of Assumed Name with the New York Department of State.

FAQs

How do I find out who owns a business in NYC?

To determine who owns a business in the state of New York, you’ll need to refer to the Department of State website and conduct a name search. The search results will display a few details, including the business owner’s name.

How do I find out if a business is active in NY?

To find out whether a business is active or not in the state, you’ll need to go to the Secretary of State’s website and conduct a name search. The information that is returned when conducting the search will include the status of the business, and this will tell you whether a business is active, inactive, suspended, etc.

How do I find out the contact information for a business in NYC?

You can find contact information as well as other information pertaining to the business in the state by conducting a name search on the Secretary of State’s website. Some of the business’s contact information, including phone numbers, will be displayed as it is a public record.

What are the requirements for a sole proprietorship in N.Y.?

When starting a sole proprietorship, you should decide on a name for your business, file a Fictitious Name Certificate with the office of the County Clerk, apply for the relevant permits, and business licenses, as well as apply for an Employer Identification Number.

How do I find out if a business is registered as a corporation in New York?

You can tell if a New York corporation is registered or not by referring to the corporation and business entity database on the New York Department of State’s website. By inserting the company’s name and clicking on the “Search the Database” button, it will reveal all registered corporations in the state.

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