Pennsylvania Business Entity Search is managed by the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations. This bureau is part of the office of the Secretary of State (Pennsylvania Department of State).
The business entity search tool is often called the PA Corporation Search. But, it provides information on most business entities in the state. So apart from corporations, you can find information on other business entities, for example, your Pennsylvania LLC.
Apart from getting information on specific business entities, the search is very useful in deciding on a name for your LLC in PA. The state requires that every business entity name be unique and distinguishable upon record. So, you can go through the business entity search to see if your desired name holds up to the requirements.
Accessing Pennsylvania Business Entity Search
PA Business Names Search Online
PA Business Names search offers several options to refine your search. This allows you greater flexibility in deciding the factors and options that will affect your search. The database includes information on the following business entities:
- Limited Liability Companies
- Limited Companies
- Limited Partnerships
- Limited Liability Partnerships
Once you’re on the page, you can search by using the business entity name or business entity ID. The ID, or identification is usually given by the state once the Certificate of Organization for an LLC is accepted.
While the ID makes it possible to do a quick and exact search, it isn’t as easily available unless you’re considering your own business. In a general sense, we know businesses by their names, not their business entity IDs. So, it’s very likely you’ll carry your search using the business name.
Refining Online Pennsylvania LLC Lookup And Entity Search
It’s possible to further refine the business name search using specific parameters. These parameters are located right next to the search bar (input box) where you’ll enter the name or ID of the business. The available options are:
- Starting With: List business entities that have a name starting with the search term entered. This includes entities that are an exact match to the search term input, or have additional characters/words in their names beyond the search input.
- All Words: In this case, the search results will have all the words listed in the search input. The order of the words in the results isn’t important.
- Any Words: If the search input has multiple words, the results will show entities that have any of the words input into search.
- Exact Match: The search input and result will be an exact match for a business entity name. This is best used when you know the exact name of the entity you’re searching for.
- Soundex: This is an interesting technology that uses an algorithm to find results that would phonetically sound similar to the search input.
- Name Availability: Gives a good idea if the search term entered is available for use by a new business entity. This can be very helpful when you’re setting up a new company or LLC.
Information Available Through Online Search
Once you’ve completed the online search and see relevant results, the following information relevant to the business entity can be accessed.
- Business entity type (corporation, LLC, etc.)
- Entity name
- Entity Number
- Status of the business entity (active, good standing, inactive, etc.)
- Creation date and Effective date
- Information on entity officers
You can also request copies of the documents filed, like the good standing certificate, Articles of Incorporation (for corporations), or Certificate of Organization (for LLCs). These copies are available for a fee.
Pennsylvania Business Record Searches Via Phone (Verbal)
While online searches are very convenient, they may not be the best available option for many people. In these cases, you can make use of alternative options to access Pennsylvania secretary of state business search.
Verbal information regarding business entities can be accessed on phone by calling (717) 787-1057. The telephone lines are active between 8:00 am to 4:45 pm on normal working days.
By default, verbal record queries only consider active business entities. You will have to specify if you want to change the default parameters. Additionally, the queries are limited to entity number, the exact entity name, filing date, the effective date, if any.
Apart from record search, this method can also be used to get information on an existing filing.
Receiving Pennsylvania Business Entity Records (Search) Via Mail
You can request information like the printouts of record searches of a business entity. For this, you’ll have to provide the name and address of the entity to be searched. The results will include a complete filing history of the specific entity.
This method carries a fee of $15 per entity searched. To receive the records, you’ll have to send a letter requesting the information (and the filing fee) to:
Department of State,
Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations,
PO Box 8722,
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722
How To Reserve A Business Name In Pennsylvania
The name of your business is its identification. It has a remarkable effect on how consumers and your target demographic perceive the business and its marketing. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a name that encourages a positive reaction from the consumers.
However, good names aren’t so easy to come by. If you have a name in mind that’s available and worth the effort, it makes sense to reserve it for your business.
Is It Mandatory To Reserve A Business Name?
No. Pennsylvania doesn’t require you to reserve a business name. This step is entirely optional. However, it makes sense to reserve a business name if you have one in mind that’s useful and unique. Some names may be in high demand, so it is useful to grab a good name as soon as you can.
Reserving a name gives you time to work on setting up your business. The reservation period could also be used for cleaning any administrative, business, or logistical issues. But, in case the name itself isn’t much of a problem for you, it could be a good idea to skip the name reservation.
What Does A Name Reservation Cost And How Long Does It Last?
The filing fee for name reservation in Pennsylvania is $70. Once a name reservation request is accepted, the state will reserve the name for 120 days. Renewals aren’t allowed. But, you may file for reservation again (including the filing fee) once the 120 days are up.
It’s worth noting that once the name reservation period is over, the name becomes available for anyone interested in reserving/registering it. This means you, or anyone else, can file for the reservation of the name once the 120 days are over.
Name reservation is subject to name availability. Doing a Pennsylvania Business Entity Search or PA Corporation Search will give you a good idea if the name is available. When in receipt of the request, the state will check for name availability and its suitability to acceptance criteria.
If the desired name meets the state’s requirements, it will be reserved. You should look at the state’s naming guidelines and requirements here.
Reserving A Business Name In Pennsylvania
The best way to go about filing a business entity name reservation in Pennsylvania is by using the online system. Online filing through PENN File is quick and easy. You will need to create a (free) account to access this system. Once logged in, simply look for the relevant form and file it. The fee can be paid online.
Another method is to file it via mail. You’ll need the form for Name Reservation/Transfer of Reservation (Form DSCB:15-208). This form is available on the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website under the Registration Forms section. The associated filing fee can be paid by check made in favor of Department of State.
Once completed, the form and the associated filing fee should be mailed to:
Pennsylvania Department of State
Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
P.O. Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722
The fee for this form is non-refundable. Additionally, PA only allows a single entry in the name reservation field. It’s a good idea to check the Pennsylvania Business Entity Search page thoroughly to maximize your chances of success for acceptance of this form.