Benefits of a Certificate of Good Standing
Proves Good Standing with the State
Show you have met all requirements including paying state fees & filing your annual report.
Ensure You Can Do Business in the State
Often required to update the business permits & licenses needed to conduct business in your state.
Secure Financing and Easily Exit
A Certificate of Good Standing is often required as evidence to secure financing or sell your business.
What is a Certificate of Good Standing?
A Certificate of Good Standing is a legal document issued by the state in which the business was formed or where it currently operates. It serves as evidence that the business entity exists and that it’s authorized to conduct business in that state. It’s also evidence that the company complies with state law and has met all statutory requirements.
Certificates of Good Standing are sometimes called Certificates of Existence, Certificates of Status, or Certificates of Authorization, depending on the state. Annual renewals are required either at the same time as other business renewals or at the end of the calendar year. However, unlike business licenses, a Certificate of Good Standing is not required in order to conduct business.
What office usually issues Certificates of Good Standing?
In most states, the Secretary of State’s office issues Certificates of Good Standing, often through a division under the Secretary of State’s banner. In the states listed below, however, a different entity issues Certificates of Good Standing:
- Alaska: Community and Economic Development, Department of Commerce
- Arizona: Arizona Corporation Commission
- Delaware: Division of Corporations
- Hawaii: Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Business Registration Division
- Maryland: Department of Assessments and Taxation
- Massachusetts: Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Corporations Division
- Michigan: Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Corporations Division
- New Jersey: Department of the Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services
- Utah: Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Corporations and Commercial Code
- Virginia: State Corporation Commission
- Washington, D.C.: Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Corporations Division
- Wisconsin: Department of Financial Institutions
If your business needs a Certificate of Good Standing, ZenBusiness can keep you up to date. We handle your compliance obligations through our worry-free compliance services, no matter which state you’re in.
What does a Certificate of Good Standing confirm?
A Certificate of Good Standing confirms that your business entity has paid its franchise taxes and registration fees, is legally registered with the state, and all required documents have been filed. It also verifies that your business has filed and is up to date on all required annual reports, has not dissolved, has no outstanding taxes/fees due. Certificates typically include the date, the signature of the Secretary of State, and the state seal.
Why might a business need a Certificate of Good Standing?
You don’t have to request a Certificate of Good Standing on an annual basis. However, you’ll find one handy — or required — in a host of situations, including the following:
Registering to do business in another state
When you want to do business in a state other than the one you’re registered in, your business is considered a foreign entity. (In your own state, your business is a domestic entity.) Most states don’t allow a foreign entity to do business without a Certificate of Good Standing from the state in which it was formed.
Many lenders require a Certificate of Good Standing to approve financing.
Opening a business bank account
Banks may also require a Certificate of Good Standing to set up credit or debit card processing or to take out a business loan.
Buying business insurance
Insurance companies want to know that your business is in compliance before they issue any insurance policies.
Entering into a contract with the state
If you’re applying for a government contract, including a small business loan, expect to supply a Certificate of Good Standing.
Entering into a contract with investors or another business
Potential business partners or investors may ask for a Certificate of Good Standing. It’s a good idea for you to ask for a Certificate of Good Standing in exchange. Vendors may also ask to see your Certificate of Good Standing to give them reassurance that their bills will be paid.
Selling or transferring all or part of your business
Even if a potential buyer for your business doesn’t ask for a Certificate of Good Standing, having one ready is a good idea. It serves as evidence that you’re in compliance with all regulations.
Renewing licenses or permits
In some states, you need a Certificate of Good Standing to renew some business permits or licenses.
With a Certificate of Good Standing, you can avoid any awkwardness or delays in your business deals. Some companies request Certificates of Good Standing from the state on a regular basis just to have them on file.
What business entities can get a Certificate of Good Standing?
Certificates of Good Standing apply to business entities that are required to register with the state. These typically include corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs). In some states, limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships may also be able to request the certificates. They’re issued to business entities formed within the state as well as to those formed elsewhere but registered in the state.
However, sole proprietorships and general partnerships cannot request Certificates of Good Standing since they’re not required to register with the state.
How to Get a Certificate of Good Standing
To get a Certificate of Good Standing, start by checking informally to make sure your business complies with state regulations. Confirm as well that you’ve paid all required taxes. You do this through searching state websites. You must have the original name under which you registered your business to complete the search.
A faster, easier option lets you check your Certificate of Good Standing off your to-do list when you use the ZenBusiness worry-free compliance service. Our service helps keep you in compliance, and we can also help you reinstate your company’s good standing if needed.
Contact us today
Staying on top of compliance issues, including the need for Certificates of Good Standing, can be time-consuming. On top of that, the penalties for failing to satisfy compliance obligations, such as paying franchise taxes or filing annual reports, can be high.
Many small business owners find that their best choice is to work with a professional business services company that can provide worry-free compliance management. At ZenBusiness, we’re ready to get the Certificate of Good Standing that you need, as well as to help with all your compliance concerns. Contact us today so you can focus on growing your business.
Certificate of Good Standing FAQs
- How much does a Certificate of Good Standing cost?
Fees for a Certificate of Good Standing vary from state to state. Some states don’t charge anything for certificates. However, others charge as much as $50. Fees may also vary depending on how the request is made.
- How long will it take to get my Certificate of Good Standing?
Again, this varies from one state to the next. Some states generate certificates on a same-day basis for printing on your own computer. Others start the process immediately but take up to three weeks for processing.
- Can I expedite a Certificate of Good Standing request?
Many states are happy to expedite requests for Certificates of Good Standing. However, some of them add significant surcharges to speed up their processes.
- Is a Certificate of Good Standing required to stay compliant in my state?
Each state has separate compliance requirements. Most often, a state requires a Certificate of Good Standing or the equivalent for businesses that are registered in a different state. For example, if your business is registered in Arizona but does business in California, California requires a Certificate of Good Standing from Arizona. Some states ask entities for annual business filings of various sorts. Most ask businesses to keep their state taxes paid to stay in compliance.