When performed right, the Minnesota Business Entity Search will return all publicly available information related to a business in the state. As with most states, the database is maintained by the Secretary of State.
There are several uses of entity search. The general public can use it to see publicly available documents. Existing businesses can use it to file some documents, check their filings, and to request documents like a Certificate of Good Standing.
Another useful aspect is in checking the availability of a name when setting up a new business. For example, Minnesota LLC names must be unique and distinguishable upon record. Using the state business entity search, it is possible to check the viability of a chosen name before proceeding with registration or reservation.
Accessing And Using MN Secretary Of State Business Search
The business entity search is also called MN Secretary Of State Business Search. This is largely due to the fact that for most states, it is the Secretary of State that maintains the entity database and makes it available to the general public. It’s worth noting that this is a generic term and doesn’t hold true for all states, though it’s true for most.
Anyways, the MN Business Entity Search is accessible online through its website. The search can be accomplished using two criteria:
- Search by business name
- Search by file number
Business Entity Search Using Its Name
Searching for a business entity using its name is the most intuitive option available. It’s also the best option when you’re checking for name availability. There are several ways for users to refine their search:
- Search Scope
- Begins With: This option begins its search by matching the entered term with the beginning of entities in the database. It’s useful because we may not always know the exact name of an entity. Once it gets the beginning match, the search uses a wildcard to show all entities that satisfy this condition. Using an entity’s full name and designator makes this an exact search.
- Contains: This option looks for the search term anywhere in the name of existing business entities. The order is not important, as long as the search term shows up in an entity’s name.
- Filing Status: This limits the result display to entities that are active or inactive. As such, the search function has two options.
- Include Prior Name: Businesses can file amendments to their name or change it. This option allows users to search through the previous names used by any business entity. Users may choose to include/exclude previous names of a business entity. As such, two options are available.
MN Corporations Search Using File Number
The file number is a unique number provided to every business by the state. When you use this, it will always be an exact search. The result of this search will be a business entity represented by the specific file number.
Understanding Business Entity Search Results
After you use the above criteria to streamline your search, you’ll be taken to a page with relevant search results (if any). This page will show the business name, business status, business type, and name type. Clicking on the “Details” link will take you to more information on the specific business.
The details page includes greater information about the chosen entity. Amongst these are the filing history, Minnesota registered agent name and address, managers, filing dates, principal office, etc. Users may also use this page to order selected copies or documents, like a Certificate of Good Standing.
How To Reserve A Business Name In Minnesota
Hit upon a great name for your business but not ready to formally start it yet? That’s where you should consider name reservation. Attractive and unique names can be difficult to come by. Yet, names are the introduction of a business to the wider world and it makes all the sense to strive for a better name.
Thankfully, Minnesota makes things slightly easier. You can reserve a name for your business without having to start operations. This gives you enough time to work out any necessities you intend to, without having any fear of possibly losing the name.
Is It Mandatory To Reserve A Name In Minnesota?
No, the state doesn’t require name reservation. As already mentioned, it’s a good idea to reserve a name if you find something truly interesting. On the other hand, if you’re not worried about name availability, it might be a better option to skip spending resources on name reservation.
How Long Does A Name Reservation Last And What Does It Cost?
Minnesota is very generous when it comes to name reservations. Once the secretary of state accepts your request, the name will be reserved for 12 months. If that’s not enough, you can choose to file a renewal and extend the reservation for another year. Minnesota doesn’t place restrictions on the number of times a reservation can be renewed.
The cost of filing the form online or in person is $55. This is considered expedited filing and is processed quickly. Requests sent via postal mail carry a filing fee of $35 and will be processed relatively slowly.
Filing A Request For Name Reservation In Minnesota
Filing a request for name reservation can be done online, via postal mail, or by in person drop-off.
The online filing is available on the Online Business Services page. This is the same page/website used for Minnesota Business Entity Search. A section at the bottom of the page has an option for “Name Reservation”.
Selecting this option will take you to the online services page. Users are required to create a (free) account before proceeding further. The associated $55 payment for filing can be completed online.
If you prefer to file a paper form, it is available here. This form is available for submission via postal mail and walk-in. Once you’ve filled the form, you can mail it with the associated filing fee. The check for the $35 filing fee should be made in favor of the MN Secretary of State. The address is:
Minnesota Secretary of State – Business Services
Retirement Systems of Minnesota Building
60 Empire Drive, Suite 100
St Paul, MN 55103
Mailed forms require a $35 filing fee and can take 5-7 business days to process. Forms delivered via walk-in will require a fee of $55 and are processed relatively faster.
Before filing for a name reservation, remember to do a Minnesota Business Entity Search to ensure name availability. It’s also good to read the state statutes and guidelines on naming. Doing these will definitely help your chances of a successful name reservation filing.