We’ve created a full guide to North Carolina business entity search for all future business owners who want to form a new company in North Carolina. For this search, we’ll use the North Carolina Secretary of State (SoS) website. You can perform a search by company name or identification number, registered agents or company officials, as well as by assumed business name. We’ll explain each of these search methods, step by step.
It’s important that you perform a business entity search before the registration of your business entity name since it must be unique and cannot be used by another active company in North Carolina. Also, you should check if there are any other companies with similar names that you don't want to be associated with.
Let's jump into it and show you how to perform the North Carolina business entity search!
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Search by Company
First, visit the North Carolina Secretary of State (SoS) website. This is where we’ll conduct our search. We’ll start with the search by company.
When you open the SoS search page, a search by company will be selected automatically. From the drop-down menu below, you can select whether you want to search for companies whose names start with selected words, contains any or all selected words, and is an exact match. You can also search companies by SoS ID (Secretary of State Identification Number). Enter the words to search for, and click Search.
You’ll get a list with all records that match your search criteria (if you’ve been searching by SoS ID, there’ll be either none or one result). The list will show the entity name, identification number, date of formation, status, and type. You'll also see several icons you can use for different actions, such as ordering a document online, printing a pre-populated annual report form, adding the entity to your email notification list, or viewing document filings. You'll need to sign in to use some of these services.
If you want to get additional information for an entity, click on its name. Now you’ll be able to see more information, including the office and/or mailing address, company officials, name of the registered agent, annual report due date, etc.
Search by Registered Agents
The second search method we can use to perform business entity search in North Carolina is by registered agents.
From the first drop-down menu, select Registered Agents as your search criteria. A new search box will appear below. You can use it to select the search type (organization or individual). Just like before, you can select whether you want to search for names that start with selected words, contain any or all of the words, or the name that is the exact match. Enter the name to the search box below and click Search. If you’ve selected Individual as the search type, you’ll be able to enter the first, middle, or last name of the person you’re looking for.
You’ll get a list with all the names, as well as the total number of representations.
Click on any of the names for more details. You’ll see a list of all the entities represented by this registered agent, as well as the key information for each of the entities. From this page, you can add all listed entities to your email notification list.
Search by Company Officials
You can also search companies by their officials. This method is similar to the previous one.
Change the search criteria to Company Officials, select whether you’re looking for an organization or an individual and if the name starts with the selected words, contains any or all of them, or is an exact match.
Just like when we were searching for companies by registered agents, you’ll get a list of company officials and the total number of their representations.
Click on any of the names, and you’ll see their representations, as well as their role in each of the business entities.
Search by Assumed Business Names
The last method we can use to search business entities in North Carolina is by assumed business name.
Select Assumed Business Name from the drop-down menu and wait for the search boxes to change.
Enter the assumed name, owner, or SOSID according to the instructions below the search box. Below you can select the start and end dates, to only include assumed names which have filed a document during the selected time frame. To include all businesses, just leave these boxes blank. Select counties to search (if you don’t select anything, all counties will be searched). Click Search.
You’ll get a list with names and identification numbers.
To get more information, click on any of the names. Now you’ll see the date when the information was entered into the SoS statewide database of assumed business name information, as well as the county where it was filed in, the owner’s name, and the Assumed Business Names Certificate available in PDF.
North Carolina Business Entity Search Recap
If you’ve followed all of the steps, you’ve likely figured out exactly how to perform North Carolina business entity search and check if your chosen business entity name is available for you to use when registering a new company in the state of North Carolina.
You can form a new company yourself, or you can use a professional LLC formation service, such as ZenBusiness, to do all the hard work for you.