A Certificate of Good Standing is a legal document that shows your business entity complies with the laws of your state. A Certificate of Good Standing also serves as notice to all that your company exists. It’s an important document, and you need to know how to get one easily.
You can apply for a Certificate of Good Standing in Montana from the Secretary of State’s Office. While some states refer to a Certificate of Good Standing as a Status Certificate, Certificate of Authorization, or a Certificate of Status, Montana refers to the document as a Certificate of Existence. Montana also uses the term Certificate of Fact with respect to entities such as limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and limited liability companies (LLCs).
A lot goes into keeping your small business in compliance with Montana state law, as you probably already know. But did you know that ZenBusiness can help you stay in compliance with Montana law? Our Worry Free Compliance service helps keep your business entity up and running. We help you keep track of all your filing deadlines and compliance needs, so you can run your business more efficiently. Check out our Worry Free Compliance pricing to learn more about the services we offer and which one best fits your Montana business.
What does a Certificate of Good Standing mean?
In Montana, a Certificate of Good Standing is a legal document that confirms your business is legally registered in the state and complies with state law. So what does that mean exactly?
Business entities in Montana have to meet certain requirements to stay state compliant. The requirements under Montana law are:
- The business entity is duly organized under the laws of Montana;
- The business has not been dissolved, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and no involuntary dissolution petition is pending;
- All taxes, fees, and penalties have been paid; and
- The most recent annual report is on file with the Montana Secretary of State’s Office.
The Montana Secretary of State’s Office will issue a Certificate of Good Standing or its equivalent if your business meets these requirements.
A foreign business entity, meaning a business established under the laws of a jurisdiction other than Montana, can get a Certificate of Registration in Montana as well. A Certificate of Registration is a document that confirms a foreign business entity is in good standing in Montana. The Montana Secretary of State will issue a Certificate of Registration if the foreign business entity meets the requirements as if it were a domestic business entity.
What information does a Montana Certificate of Good Standing include?
The Certificate of Good Standing in Montana contains vital information about the legal existence of your business entity. Montana’s Certificate of Good Standing includes:
- The business entity’s official name as it appears on the Secretary of State’s business index;
- A statement indicating that the business entity is duly formed under Montana law, along with the date formed and the date of termination if not perpetual;
- A statement indicating that all of the business’s taxes, fees, and penalties, if any, are paid in full; and
- The seal of the State of Montana along with the certification by the Secretary of State that the document is official.
This information is also contained in a Certificate of Registration for a foreign business entity. Montana law indicates that the Certificate of Good Standing issued by the Secretary of State conclusively proves all of the facts contained in the document itself.
Why might you need a Certificate of Good Standing for your business in Montana?
You don’t need a current Certificate of Good Standing to keep operating your business in Montana. You will need to request one in numerous circumstances small business owners commonly encounter, however. You will need a current Certificate of Good Standing in Montana when you:
- Register your business in another state;
- Apply for funding with a bank or an investor;
- Open bank accounts for your business;
- Purchase insurance for your business;
- Engage in contract negotiations with another business entity or with a government agency;
- Sell or transfer your business; and
- Obtain or renew permits required to run your business.
There could be other situations when you need a Certificate of Good Standing, but these are the most common.
Which Montana business entities can obtain a Certificate of Good Standing?
Only business entities registered with the Montana Secretary of State’s Office can obtain a Certificate of Good Standing. Montana corporations and Montana limited liability companies are two of the business entities that can request a Certificate of Good Standing from the Montana Secretary of State.
Other organizations such as limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, benefit corporations, and non-profit corporations must register with the Secretary of State. Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are not required to register with the Secretary of State. As a result, those two entities can’t obtain a Certificate of Good Standing in Montana.
How to Get a Montana Certificate of Good Standing
The first step toward obtaining a Certificate of Good Standing in Montana is to be certain your business complies with state law. Check to see if all your taxes, fees, and penalties are paid in full. Also, you need to be certain that you filed your annual report on time.
Not only can failing to comply with these requirements affect your ability to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing from Montana, but you also might not be able to conduct business at all.
You need to stay on top of your compliance requirements, and ZenBusiness can help you do just that. ZenBusiness’s Worry Free Compliance service is a partner you can trust to help you meet all your compliance needs. With the ZenBusiness Worry Free Compliance service, we will notify you of filing dates well in advance so you don’t miss them. We will also file up to two amendments for you each year if you have to change your business name or add new owners to your business entity.
Critically, ZenBusiness will help you get back in good standing if your business isn’t in compliance with state law by developing a plan of action for you to get your business back on track.
When you’re ready to get a Certificate of Good Standing, all you need to do is contact the Montana Secretary of State’s Office. You need to sign on to the Secretary of State’s business portal to begin the transaction. Simply complete the form online and submit the required fee. The online transaction is instantaneous and easy to conduct. You can also print the form and mail it in to the Secretary of State with the required fee if you prefer a paper transaction. Be aware that mailing the form will require longer processing times. If you would like help with your Certificate of Good Standing, ZenBusiness offers a service to handle the process for you.
Review your Certificate of Good Standing closely when you receive it. You need to check that it’s valid for its intended use. If it isn’t, it’s important to contact the Secretary of State’s Office immediately to correct the problem. Once you have confirmed that your Certificate of Good Standing meets your needs, you can deliver it to the requesting party.
ZenBusiness takes the stress out of compliance
You work hard at running a successful business. You might try to take on all of the responsibilities alone. Why? ZenBusiness is a partner you can rely on to make complying with state law easy so you can devote your energy to tackling the day-to-day needs of your business. Contact us today to learn more about how we take some of the responsibilities of running your business off your shoulders.
Montana Certificate of Good Standing FAQs
How much does a Montana Certificate of Good Standing cost?
Review the fee schedule on the Montana Secretary of State’s website for current fees as well as charges for expedited services.
How long will it take to get my Montana Certificate of Good Standing?
As explained above, you could get your Certificate of Good Standing in one hour. You might have to wait a week or longer if you decide to mail your application.
Can I expedite a Montana CGS request?
Yes. You can pay an additional fee to get your Certificate of Good Standing in one hour or in 24 hours.
Is a CGS required to stay compliant in Montana?
You’re not required to have a Certificate of Good Standing to run your business in Montana. However, you may need to request one when applying for a loan or financing, getting the proper permits, or selling your business.