business and corporation records

California Secretary of State - Corporation Records

Companies doing business in California must file incorporation papers with the California Secretary of State's Office. The filings include both for-profit companies and nonprofit entities.

The filings list information such as the address of the company and its officers, directors and incorporators (the people who originally set up the company).

Index

The Secretary of State's Office in Sacramento keeps an alphabetical list on a computer terminal of all the incorporated businesses in the state. This sometimes is referred to as the corporation "status'' index.

The corporations index will list:

  • the corporation's address
  • the date it was incorporated
  • its chief executive officer and that person's address
  • its registered agent (which usually is the company's attorney or legal representative) and the agent's address
  • the status of a company, such as "in good standing,'' "suspended'' or "dissolved.''

The status refers to whether the company has paid annual fees to keep its corporation filing current. It is in good standing if it has paid the fees, suspended if it has not paid them or dissolved if it is dormant or defunct.

Annual Corporate Reports

At the Secretary of State's office in Sacramento you can find more detailed information on the companies listed in the index.

The corporation index has a file number for obtaining the latest annual corporate report filed by a company.

This annual report includes:

  • the names of the principal officers besides the chief executive officer, such as the treasurer or chief financial officer and the corporate secretary, as well as their addresses.
  • the names of each member of the company's board of directors and their addresses
  • a brief, general description of the company's business.

This more detailed information is available on computer terminals at the Secretary of State's Office.

The Secretary of State charges a fee for looking at some of these detailed filings.

Articles of Incorporation

At the Secretary of State's office in Sacramento you can find additional information on the company when it was originally incorporated.

The corporation index has an incorporation number for obtaining the original articles of incorporation the company submitted when it first started doing business in California.

Those articles of incorporation include:

  • the names of the original incorporators/board of directors who set up the company
  • the original agent of the company
  • amendments to the original articles of incorporation, which are filed when the company changes its name or reorganizes its board of directors.

This information in the articles of incorporation is available on computer terminals or microfiche at the Secretary of State's Office.

The Secretary of State charges a fee for looking at some of these detailed filings.