CORPORATE RECORDS INSPECTION, Part 1: California Secretary of State

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Recordkeeping is a job the government does very well. Lost your birth certificate? You can order a copy from the California Department of Public Health. Lost your old tax returns? You can order copies from the IRS or the Franchise Tax Board. When you lose your California corporate records, the first government body to contact is the California Secretary of State.

The California Secretary of State processes many corporate filings including the articles of incorporation, statements of information, mergers and dissolutions. All of these filings are public records and most can be searched online. Documents and information not available online can be ordered from the Secretary of State by sending in a “Business Entities Records Order Form” available on the Secretary of State website.

Whether your corporation is a for-profit or nonprofit entity, it is easy to check the status of your corporation and to bring it up to date with the California Secretary of State’s office. When you have a few moments to sit down at your computer, pull up the Secretary of State website at www.ss.ca.gov, and follow these step-by-step instructions.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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