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How do you find your articles of incorporation?

Vanessa Kruze Kruze Consulting

Vanessa Kruze

CEO and Founder of Kruze Consulting

Table of contents

Articles of incorporation are one of those pesky files that a startup needs when it opens a bank account, for VC-due diligence, etc. But if you’ve forgotten where you’ve filed them, the good news is that you can search in the state where you incorporated, on the State’s secretary of state website (or whatever the equivalent department is called in that particular state).

Note that some states have slightly different terminology for these documents. In some states, it’s called the articles of incorporation, or a certificate of incorporation, or articles of organization or even a “certificate of formation.” Basically, is the legal document that declares when the corporation was formed.

Articles of Incorporation - Delaware

Most VC-backed startups are Delaware C-Corps, meaning that they’ve incorporated in Delaware. (Read about why VC’s strongly prefer Delaware C-Corps).

Unsurprisingly, the state of Delaware has a pretty great search feature on their Division of Corporations website. Just click here to visit Delaware’s Division of Corporations’ website and search for your company’s name. And if you are incorporated in Delaware, might as well check out our Delaware C-Corp tax calendar here and our Delaware Franchise Tax Calculator as well.

How to find your articles of incorporation

Simple steps to find your articles of incorporation

  1. Know which state your business is incorporated in - if you don’t know for sure, start with Delaware

  2. Visit that state’s Secretary of State or equivalent department - use our list of links below to find the one for your particular state; states make public articles of incorporation!

  3. Use the search box to search for your company’s name - most states do NOT require the exact legal name, but our experience does show that getting the spelling right, in particular for the first several characters, is important in many states

  4. If you find it, pay, or not - some states require you to pay a nominal fee to access the articles of incorporation, but in others it’s free

  5. Repeat - if you don’t get the results you expect, modify the name / spelling and search again; some states also allow for additional search fields like addresses, owner names, etc.

  6. Try another state - and if you can’t get search results on your first state, consider searching other states that you might have used instead

  7. Email your registered agent - if you fail to find your company’s articles of incorporation by directly searching states, try reaching out to your Registered Agent’s help line


Secretary of State Registered agent

List of state websites where you can get your articles of incorporation

While the vast, vast majority of our clients are Delaware C-Corps, we think it would be helpful to provide links to where you can search all states (and DC!) for articles of incorporation.

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

Washington, D.C.

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

READY TO CONNECT FOR A FREE CONSULTATION?

We are the experts at helping seed/VC-backed Delaware C-Corps with their accounting and finances!


Talk with a real accountant, not a generic salesperson!

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Scott Orn
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