California Secretary of State Business Filing Changes 2022

In April of 2022, the California Secretary of State made significant changes to their website. As an entrepreneur in The Golden State, these changes will affect the way you take care of your online business filings. 

There are three main changes business owners need to know about: California now uses a new system, called bizfile, and current business owners will be issued a PIN to access their existing accounts. Lastly, California no longer charges a fee for filing Articles of Organization (LLCs) or Articles of Incorporation (corporations).

Read on to learn more about these changes and what you need to do in order to prepare for your next business filings.

bizfile California

The first important change the Secretary of State has implemented is switching to a system called bizFile California. The new online portal is designed to help businesses file, search, and order business records.

According to the new portal, “Whether you are filing a financing statement pursuant to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), searching for a corporation (Corp), limited liability company (LLC), limited partnership (LP) filing or looking for an immigration consultant, this hub consolidates all your online filing and search needs.” The newly implemented system is designed to be user self-managed. 

Access the new California bizfile Formation Portal 

Existing Business Filers vs. First-Time Business Filers 

The biggest change the California Secretary of State has implemented is in how business owners access their online accounts. These implementations were put in place to enhance security and prevent fraudulent filings.

Prior Online Filers

Users who had previously made online filings still need to create an account on the new portal. Once that account has been created, your entity will show up under “My Business Records.” From there, you will be able to access prior records and file new documents.

First-Time Online Filers

Entrepreneurs who had previously filed documents via mail or in person will need a PIN to access their accounts. This PIN will be mailed to the last known business address on file. 

Please note that the letter containing the PIN will not be mailed to your Agent for Service of Process. The Secretary of State will mail this PIN the month prior to the due date of the next Statement of Information.

Once the PIN is received, simply log on to the portal and create your account. Once the account is established, the PIN will have no further use.

Other Important California Business Filing PIN Information

  • PIN Expiration: Your PIN expires after 90 days. A user can request another PIN, which will be mailed to the last address of record.
  • Approved Filings Documents: The California Secretary of State will begin sending emails to users when filed documents are approved. From there, they must login to access the documents.
  • Granting Portal Access: The new portal allows users to give other people access to their accounts or entities. Users  can also deny or revoke access. This will be particularly helpful for business owners who appoint another person or entity to manage their business filings and changes.. 
  • Basic vs. Full Access: There are two levels of user access: basic and full. The only difference between the two is full access users can grant access to other people.
  • Paper Filings: Paper filings are still accepted, but are prioritized below online filings. Mail them to the California Secretary of State at 1500 11th Street, Sacramento, California 95814.. 
  • In-Person Service: Counter service is still closed, and the Secretary of State has not set an open date, but they do provide drop-off services at both the Sacramento and Los Angeles offices.

No Formation Filing Fees

California has made it easier for entrepreneurs to form their businesses in the state. The California Secretary of State charges $0 in fees to file Articles of Organization, if you’re forming a limited liability company, or Articles of Incorporation, if you’re forming a corporation or non-profit organization.

We Can Help!

If you noticed the California Secretary website was down, and are now confused about the changes, we are here to help guide you through them. We can even help you form your new California business according to the new procedures implemented by the Secretary of State. Our business formation services have helped form more than 300,000 businesses.

FAQs

  1. Can I get my PIN online?

    Existing entities that have not filed online before will be issued their PIN via mail to the last known business address of record.

  2. Can I get my PIN by calling the Secretary of State?

    No. Since the Secretary of State cannot verify who is calling, PINs will not be issued by phone. You can request a new PIN online, which will be mailed to the business entity’s mailing address.

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