In California, the Business Entities Section of the Business Programs Office within the Secretary of State’s office processes filings, maintains records and provides information to the public relating to business entities (corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, general partnerships, limited liability partnerships and other business filings). The Business Programs Office is the place to go for people that want to do business in California and it is the largest part of the Secretary of State's office. According to the Employment Development Department there were 1,315,510 in California in the 3rd Quarter of 2012. I was unable to get a current count from the Business Programs Office.
If you would like to contact the Business Entities section you can try to phone them at (916) 657–5448. However, there is a message on their answering machine that indicates that due to budget shortages wait times could be very long. As a matter of fact, there is no way to exit the system to actually speak with someone. In order to get through I had to call the Secretary of State main number and then choose an option that would actually get me to a ring tone. After about 10 minutes a friendly person answered the phone and transferred me to the correct person in the Business Entities section. It might take a bit of doing to get through to them. Unfortunately, they didn't have any answers for me. They are open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm excluding state holidays. The office is located at 1500 11th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
Searching records on California Services site is rather straight forward. You can search entities, find out where they are located, who the principals are, their registered agent, and if they are in good standing or not. Articles of Organization and Article of Incorporation and other documentation are not stored at the Secretary of State's office. You will need to contact the entity if you would like a copy of those documents.
You can run a search by Entity Name or Entity Number. The search interface is not very robust. You can find search logic help at http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/be/cbs-search-tips.htm
Click here to search for Corporation Entity Records in California.
Find out more about the Business Programs Office in the state of California.
This is what you can expect the results of your search to look like.
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