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In the US, when a company files for incorporation, the registration process is done through the Secretary of State in the state where the business operates. The information on the corporation is also part of the public records that are maintained by the Secretary of State. Therefore, a company’s incorporation date can be easily determined by contacting the Secretary of State or accessing the records online on its website.
If you are the company owner, you can also determine the incorporation date from the registered copy of the Articles of Incorporation. When you file the paperwork with the Secretary of State, the state date stamps the Articles of Incorporation and returns the document to the registered owner. The incorporation date can be pulled from this document. If you are not the owner, but personally or professionally have contact with the business owner, you can request this information from the owner or one of the company representatives.
To find a company’s incorporation date from the Secretary of State, another option is to call the state office, which is typically located in the capital city of the state. The number can be obtained from the office's website or phone book. Be prepared to provide the name of the company. If businesses have similar names, also have an address or owner information to verify the correct company. The representative can then provide the incorporation date for the company.
You can also go straight to the Secretary of State website. Look for an option that allows searches for records for businesses in the state. One of the search options is typically the name of the business. Again, having some additional information available to verify that you are pulling the date of incorporation for the correct business is wise. Some Secretary of State websites list the information on the screen. Other websites allow access scanned document online, such as the Articles of Incorporation. Either way, you can pull the incorporation date for the company from any Secretary of State website that has its business records online.
No matter how the information is accessed, the incorporation date is clearly marked. On a website, Articles of Incorporation or other documents, it reads “Date of Incorporation” or “Incorporation Date.” In other words, once you get a hold of the paperwork you need, resource or representative in the Secretary of State Office, it is easy to identify the date on which the company incorporated.
My company lists our date of incorporation, and the state where we were incorporated, on our company website. The entire public should have access to this information, which is why we have it in plain sight.
When I first started working for my company, we were not incorporated. Back then, it was still very small and our company president was just trying to get his business off the ground. When we noticed that another company was doing business under the same name as us, the president suddenly realized the importance of being incorporated.
Thankfully, the incorporation lawyers we worked with told us that the other company was not incorporated as well. We were able to secure our incorporation
, and wrote a letter to the other company asking them to change their name or face legal consequences.
Having full rights to your company's name and logo is one of the most important advantages to being an incorporated business. To your customers, your name is everything. You do not want to compromise the rights to your name by not being incorporated.
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