Obtaining a District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing (CGS) is an important step to take for many businesses in the District of Columbia. But what exactly is a District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing? And how do you get one for your small business?
Check out our guide below to learn more about how to get a District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing and why you might need one for your District of Columbia business.
What is a District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing?
According to the District of Columbia Business Center, a Certificate of Good Standing verifies that a business entity meets the regulatory requirements of the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) Corporations Division.
A District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing is a type of legal document regulated by the DCRA’s Corporations Division and issued by the mayor. A valid District of Columbia CGS serves as evidence that a particular business entity is in existence, or is authorized to conduct business in the District of Columbia, and that the company is in compliance with D.C. law.
Staying in compliance with local laws and regulations is crucial for all new and growing businesses. But with so many other things on your plate as a small business owner, it can be difficult to keep up with every important date, deadline, and requirement. Fortunately, ZenBusiness is here to help.
With the ZenBusiness Worry Free Compliance service, you can rest easy knowing that you will receive alerts and notifications for the important compliance events and deadlines for your business. Let us help you keep your business in good standing so that you can focus on what you do best — running your business.
What does a Certificate of Good Standing confirm?
A CGS confirms a number of important items. Specifically, a District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing verifies:
- The name of the entity being used in the District
- That the entity, if a registered foreign entity, is registered to conduct business in the District
- That the entity’s public organic record has been filed and has taken effect
- The date upon which the public organic record became effective
- The period of the entity’s duration
- That all fees and penalties owed to the District for entity filings have been paid
- That the entity’s most recent biennial report has been delivered for filing
- That the entity hasn’t been dissolved and no dissolution proceeding is pending
In short, a CGS is conclusive evidence that the entity is properly registered to do business in the District of Columbia and meets the regulatory requirements of the DCRA’s Corporations Division.
Why might a business need a District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing?
Not all business entities need a District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing. However, there are a number of circumstances where obtaining one may still be important for your business:
- Expanding your business outside of the District of Columbia
- Securing funding from a lender or investor
- Opening a business bank account
- Buying business insurance
- Competing for a government contract
- Selling or transferring part of all of the business
- Renewing certain licenses and permits for your business
Even though a CGS may not be mandatory, it’s still a good idea to stay compliant with D.C. regulations and have a Certificate of Good Standing available for situations in which you might need to provide one.
What District of Columbia entities can obtain a CGS?
Only business entities registered with the District of Columbia can obtain a D.C. Certificate of Good Standing. For example, corporations — both business and nonprofit — and limited liability companies (LLCs) must register with the District to properly conduct business. Thus, these entities may apply for a District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing.
Other District registered entities that may apply for a District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing include:
- Limited partnerships,
- Limited liability partnerships,
- General cooperative associations, and
- Limited cooperative associations.
Unregistered business entities, such as sole proprietorships and general partnerships, on the other hand, aren’t able to apply for a District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing.
How to get a District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing
To obtain your District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing, there are a few steps you will need to take.
1. Check that your business is in compliance
First and foremost, it’s important to keep your business in compliance with all filing and formation requirements. This includes being up to date with all tax requirements and timely filing your periodic biennial reports.
ZenBusiness’s Worry Free Compliance service can help you stay up to date with your filings and deadlines and so you can avoid falling out of good standing with the District of Columbia.
2. Go to the District of Columbia’s business website to request a Certificate of Good Standing
Next, head over to the District of Columbia CorpOnline portal to sign in and request a Certificate of Good Standing. The entire process, from application to payment, can be accomplished online.
Alternatively, the District of Columbia also allows business entities to request a CGS by mail or in person by completing the Application for Certificate of Good Standing form and submitting it along with the requisite fee.
3. Make sure your Certificate of Good Standing will be valid for its intended use
Many businesses must obtain a Certificate of Good Standing in response to a request from a third party who wants to make sure that the business is in compliance with local regulations. Therefore, it’s important to verify that the CGS in your possession will be valid for its intended use.
For example, the District of Columbia does not impose any specific expiration date on issued Certificates of Good Standing. However, entities requesting a CGS from your business, such as banks and insurance providers, might require you to submit a Certificate of Good Standing that has been issued within a certain number of days.
Additionally, these requesting entities may have other requirements. It’s important to check the specific requirements with each entity requesting a CGS to verify that it meets the validity requirements before sending it off.
4. Send a copy of your CGS to the requesting party
Once you have verified that your District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing meets all the requirements of the requesting party, you’re ready to send it off. Now you can move forward with next steps on whatever your business is looking to accomplish, whether that be pursuing a government contract or seeking valuable funding from a potential lender.
Let ZenBusiness help you put your mind at ease
Running a business is hard work, and keeping up with compliance deadlines can add even more work to your plate. Let ZenBusiness take some of that stress off your shoulders.
With ZenBusiness, you can put your mind at ease knowing that we will be there to help you stay on top of your compliance and D.C. biennial filings to keep your business in good standing. Check out our variety of services, and choose the option that best fits your needs. Our Certificate of Good Standing service will even help you secure your CGS and spare you the red tape described above.
District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing FAQs
How much does a District of Columbia CGS cost?
The cost of a District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing depends on the type of business entity that is making the request. Also, these fees are subject to change, so check with the DCRA website for the most up-to-date information.
How long will it take to get my Certificate of Good Standing?
If requesting your Certificate of Good Standing by mail, you can expect to receive a response within 10 business days of mailing in your form. However, turnaround time is generally quicker when filing online or in person.
Can I expedite a CGS request?
Yes, you may expedite your application for a Certificate of Good Standing. You can request expedited 3-day service or same-day service for an additional fee
Is a CGS required to stay compliant in the District of Columbia?
As discussed above, a District of Columbia Certificate of Good Standing isn’t required to stay compliant in the District of Columbia. Nevertheless, it’s strongly advised to have yours available to provide to third parties who may request it and to put others on notice that your business is in fact compliant.