Certificate of Good Standing – What is It? Should You Get One?

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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:

  • The business cannot be suspended or revoked by the state.
  • The business has to be law abiding, as does the business owner, and compliant with all of the state’s laws.
  • The company must be up to date with tax filings and other business obligations.
  • All reports have been submitted on time, and any fees paid, whether these are annual or biannual.
  • Finally, your business must be registered in one of the 50 states.

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.

StateCertificate NameState AgencyFee
AlabamaCertificate of ComplianceDepartment of Revenue$14
AlaskaCertificate of ComplianceDepartment of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development$10
ArizonaCertificate of Good StandingArizona Corporation Commission$10
ArkansasCertificate of Good StandingArkansas Secretary of State$25
CaliforniaCertificate of StatusSecretary of State$5
ColoradoCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of StateFree
ConnecticutCertificate of Legal ExistenceSecretary of the State$50
D.C.Good Standing CertificateDepartment of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs$40 for nonprofits and $50 for profits
DelawareCertificate of Good StandingDivision of Corporations$10
FloridaCertificate of StatusDivision of Corporations$5 (LLCs) or $8.75 (corporations and limited partnerships)
GeorgiaCertificate of ExistenceCorporations Division$10
HawaiiCertificate of Good StandingBusiness Registration Division; Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs$7.50
IdahoCertificate of ExistenceSecretary of State$11.50 (printed) $12 (official with signature)
IllinoisCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$25
IndianaCertificate of ExistenceSecretary of State$21
IowaCertificate of StandingSecretary of State$5
KansasCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$10 (online request) or $15 (paper request)
KentuckyCertificate of ExistenceSecretary of State$10
LouisianaCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$20
MaineCertificate of ExistenceSecretary of State$30
MarylandCertificate of StatusDepartment of Assessments and Taxation$25 (online) or $40 (in person)
MassachusettsCertificate of Good StandingDepartment of RevenueFree
MichiganCertificate of Good StandingDepartment of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs$10
MinnesotaCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$5 (mail and in-person) or $15 (online)
MississippiCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$27
MissouriCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$10
MontanaGood Standing CertificateSecretary of State$5
NebraskaCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$10
NevadaCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$50
New HampshireCertificate of Good StandingCorporation Division$5
New JerseyStanding CertificateDivision of Revenue and Enterprise Services$25-$100
New MexicoCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$10 (nonprofit), $25 (LLC), and $50 (everyone else)
New YorkCertificate of StatusDepartment of State$25
North CarolinaCertificate of ExistenceSecretary of State$15 -$17
North DakotaCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$5
OhioCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$5
OklahomaCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$20
OregonCertificate of ExistenceSecretary of State$10
PennsylvaniaCertificate of SubsistenceDepartment of State$40
Rhode IslandLetter of Good StandingDivision of Taxation$50
South CarolinaCertificate of ExistenceSecretary of State$10
South DakotaCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$20
TennesseeCertificate of ExistenceSecretary of State$20
TexasCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$15
UtahLetter of Good StandingState Tax CommissionFree
VermontCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of State$25
VirginiaCertificate of Good StandingState Corporation Commission$6
WashingtonCertificate of StatusSecretary of State$20
West VirginiaCertificate of ExistenceSecretary of State$10
WisconsinCertificate of StatusDepartment of Financial Institutions$10
WyomingCertificate of Good StandingSecretary of StateFree

Why Should You Get One?

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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.

  • Register your business as a foreign entity. One of the most likely reasons you’ll need a certificate of good standing is if you want to register your business as a foreign entity in another state. It is likely that the other state that you want to register in will ask to see a certificate of good standing from the state in which the business was originally formed.
  • Opening a business bank account. If you are planning on opening a business bank account, some banks will require you to have a Certificate of Good Standing in order to qualify.
  • Financing or Loan. If you are in need of financing or a loan, then most institutions will require you to provide a this to show that your business is still currently running.
  • Planning on selling your business. You will definitely need a certificate if you are planning on selling your business, as it is one of the many documents that a potential buyer is going to want to see. It would help to prove that the business is not subject to any form of disciplinary censure or suspension.
  • Business license renewal. Many states will require one when it comes to business license renewal, as it shows that the state has paid all the fees it needs to, as well as statutory filing requirements.
  • Partnership. The document may be required if you want to get a credit line from a supplier, or from any type of partnership.

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.

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Ian Broderick is an avid author and owner of LLCGuys.com. He's been involved with the LLC formation field for over 4 years. On top of that, he has worked in several well-known LLC formation service providers. Now he decided to share his knowledge and advice with everybody. Since there are a lot of questions and concerns surrounding this field - his aim is to make LLCGuys a top-notch information provider in regards to LLC creation, service reviews and etc..

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