Certificate of Good Standing – What is It? Should You Get One?
As a business owner, you may have heard the term, Certificate of Good Standing, but what is it, and what does it actually mean? A certificate of good standing does what the name suggests. It shows that your business is in good standing with the state, as unless you have a certificate to prove it, it will be hard to know whether this is the case or not.
If your company if properly registered with the state, then you’ll get a certificate of good standing in order to certify this. To put it simply, it shows that the company is doing things correctly, for example, that it is up to date with things such as registration fees and any other required document filings. If the state you are doing business in doesn’t provide a certificate of good standing, then it may also be called a certificate of status, or a certificate of existence, so look out for these instead.
What is Needed To Get a Certificate of Good Standing?
In order to obtain your certificate, you have to meet certain requirements such as:
How to Get a Certificate of Good Standing?
If you have a business with a structure that requires it to be registered with the state, then you are able to request the certificate from your state agency. As well as being registered with the state, your business also needs to be up to date with payments and other similar requirements. If you don’t have a certificate of good standing, it is not always obvious that you are running your business legally, which could then result in fees and penalties. Even if your business was formed in another state, but you are registered in the state as a foreign entity, you are still able to get a certificate of good standing.
If you have a business type that doesn’t need to be registered with the state, such as a sole proprietor or a partner, then you can’t get a certificate of good standing. It gets a little confusing, as some business entities are required to register in some states but not the other, but the state’s law will be the determining factor about whether registration is required or not.
|State||Certificate Name||State Agency||Fee|
|Alabama||Certificate of Compliance||Department of Revenue||$14|
|Alaska||Certificate of Compliance||Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development||$10|
|Arizona||Certificate of Good Standing||Arizona Corporation Commission||$10|
|Arkansas||Certificate of Good Standing||Arkansas Secretary of State||$25|
|California||Certificate of Status||Secretary of State||$5|
|Colorado||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||Free|
|Connecticut||Certificate of Legal Existence||Secretary of the State||$50|
|D.C.||Good Standing Certificate||Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs||$40 for nonprofits and $50 for profits|
|Delaware||Certificate of Good Standing||Division of Corporations||$10|
|Florida||Certificate of Status||Division of Corporations||$5 (LLCs) or $8.75 (corporations and limited partnerships)|
|Georgia||Certificate of Existence||Corporations Division||$10|
|Hawaii||Certificate of Good Standing||Business Registration Division; Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs||$7.50|
|Idaho||Certificate of Existence||Secretary of State||$11.50 (printed) $12 (official with signature)|
|Illinois||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$25|
|Indiana||Certificate of Existence||Secretary of State||$21|
|Iowa||Certificate of Standing||Secretary of State||$5|
|Kansas||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$10 (online request) or $15 (paper request)|
|Kentucky||Certificate of Existence||Secretary of State||$10|
|Louisiana||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$20|
|Maine||Certificate of Existence||Secretary of State||$30|
|Maryland||Certificate of Status||Department of Assessments and Taxation||$25 (online) or $40 (in person)|
|Massachusetts||Certificate of Good Standing||Department of Revenue||Free|
|Michigan||Certificate of Good Standing||Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs||$10|
|Minnesota||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$5 (mail and in-person) or $15 (online)|
|Mississippi||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$27|
|Missouri||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$10|
|Montana||Good Standing Certificate||Secretary of State||$5|
|Nebraska||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$10|
|Nevada||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$50|
|New Hampshire||Certificate of Good Standing||Corporation Division||$5|
|New Jersey||Standing Certificate||Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services||$25-$100|
|New Mexico||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$10 (nonprofit), $25 (LLC), and $50 (everyone else)|
|New York||Certificate of Status||Department of State||$25|
|North Carolina||Certificate of Existence||Secretary of State||$15 -$17|
|North Dakota||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$5|
|Ohio||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$5|
|Oklahoma||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$20|
|Oregon||Certificate of Existence||Secretary of State||$10|
|Pennsylvania||Certificate of Subsistence||Department of State||$40|
|Rhode Island||Letter of Good Standing||Division of Taxation||$50|
|South Carolina||Certificate of Existence||Secretary of State||$10|
|South Dakota||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$20|
|Tennessee||Certificate of Existence||Secretary of State||$20|
|Texas||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$15|
|Utah||Letter of Good Standing||State Tax Commission||Free|
|Vermont||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||$25|
|Virginia||Certificate of Good Standing||State Corporation Commission||$6|
|Washington||Certificate of Status||Secretary of State||$20|
|West Virginia||Certificate of Existence||Secretary of State||$10|
|Wisconsin||Certificate of Status||Department of Financial Institutions||$10|
|Wyoming||Certificate of Good Standing||Secretary of State||Free|
Why Should You Get One?
There are a few positives of having a certificate of good standing, but fundamentally it helps to establish your company as a legitimate venture, and it ensures that it is legally authorized to conduct business.
Even if you are not specifically required to get one, it is still worth getting one from your state. You might be asked to show yours when you open a business bank account or when you apply for a business loan if you are looking for investments, what to purchase small business insurance, or even if you want to registered to do business in another state. Here are a few of the most common reasons that you may need a certificate of good standing.
What If I Want a Certificate of Good Standing But Can’t Get One?
Depending on the type of business entity you have, it may not be possible to get a certificate of good standing, such as if you have a general partnership or a sole proprietorship. It is always possible to show different documents to show you are trustworthy, such as your tax returns or financial statements.
Do Certificates of Good Standing Last Forever?
Be aware that a certificate of good standing will not last forever, it does have an expiration date. When the expiration date is varies between states. Sometimes it is at the end of the year, when your business registration is due to be renewed or when the state’s law requires period filings, so this is something you are going to have to check.
How to Obtain Your Certificate?
Where you get your certificate depends on the state, but is always from the state agency where you registered your business. Some states will require a fee, and again, the amount will depend on which state it is you are requesting it from. For example, in Colorado it is completely free, whereas in DC it depends if you are a for-profits business, where the fee is $50, or a non-profits business, where the fee is reduced to $40. Some states, like Kansas, depend on whether the request was made online or on paper, while the price differs between LLCs and corporations and limited partnerships in Florida.