FAQs

FAQs Generally Applicable to all Business Entities

For information regarding federal taxes, contact the Internal Revenue Service or see www.irs.gov.

For information regarding North Dakota state taxes, contact North Dakota’s Tax Commissioner’s Office or see www.nd.gov/tax.

The Secretary of State’s business database resides on the website Business Record Search.  You can review all of the business names that are in some manner reserved with the Secretary of State.

However, the final determination for availability is made when a document is actually filed. Therefore, a business is advised to avoid investment or commitments in a business name until after a name registration is confirmed with the Secretary of State.

No. The registrant bears responsibility for any infringement on a federal registration. The Secretary of State may file a trade name registration, corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability partnership or the reservation of the name of any of these as long as the proposed name is not the same as or deceptively similar to:

  • Any trade name,
  • Domestic or foreign corporation name,
  • Domestic or foreign limited liability company name,
  • Domestic or foreign limited partnership name,
  • Domestic or foreign limited liability partnership name,
  • Domestic or foreign limited liability limited partnership name, or
  • A name the right to which is in any manner reserved or registered with the Secretary of State unless the registration is accompanied by written consent to use of name of the holder of the similar name, or if a franchise, a written consent from the franchiser.

Yes, if the domain name is not the same as or deceptively similar to any business name already in some manner registered with the Secretary of State. Therefore, ownership of a domain name is not a guarantee that the domain name can be the business name.

The Secretary of State’s business database is accessible through the Business Record Search. All active entities or business registrations, and those that have been dissolved, withdrawn, merged out of existence, or revoked within the past twelve months are included in that database. Access to the database is free of charge. Entity or registration status can be obtained from the database.

Entity status can also be obtained by:

  • Calling 701-328-4284 or 800-352-0867 (Ext. 328-4284)
  • Faxing a request to 701-328-2992 addressed to the Business Division
  • Email to sosbir@nd.gov
  • Mail addressed to: Business Division
    Secretary of State
    600 E. Boulevard Ave. Dept. 108
    Bismarck ND 58505-0500

Whenever a written verification of status is required from the Secretary of State, a fee of $5 is required. If status must be certified, the certificate of fact fee is also required. See Fees for the appropriate certification fee.

The Secretary of State provides certificates of good standing on corporations and limited liability companies. Certificates of fact are issued for verifications of filings of limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, limited liability limited partnerships, and any other facts of record. A certificate is not yet available from the Secretary of State’s website, but can be obtained upon request with payment by check, money order, credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express), or pre-authorized credit. The request can be made by:

  • Calling 701-328-4284 or 800-352-0867 (Ext. 328-4284)
  • Fax at 701-328-2992 addressed to the Business Division
  • Email to sosbir@nd.gov
  • Mail addressed to: Business Division
    Secretary of State
    600 E. Boulevard Ave. Dept. 108
    Bismarck ND 58505-0500

Since the officers of a corporation are not contained in the Secretary of State’s database, this information requires a fee of $5. A check payable to the Secretary of State, cash, money order, or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express) payment is acceptable. You can obtain the information by:

  • Calling 701-328-4284 or 800-352-0867 (Ext. 328-4284)
  • Faxing a request to 701-328-2992 addressed to the Business Division
  • Email to sosbir@nd.gov
  • Mailing a request addressed to: Business Division
    Secretary of State
    600 E. Boulevard Ave. Dept. 108
    Bismarck ND 58505-0500

Due to the continued high volume of new business filings, when received by this office, business registration documents may take up to four weeks to be reviewed and processed.

Many business documents may be filed electronically with the Secretary of State by a method or medium of communication acceptable by the Secretary of State. Electronic filing is being initiated with fax filings (701-328-2992) with credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express) payment authorization. Documents relative to the following entities can be faxed:

  • Trade name,
  • Partnership fictitious name certificate,
  • Domestic and foreign limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, limited liability limited partnerships,
  • Domestic and foreign limited liability companies, and
  • Domestic and foreign corporations.

Documents that cannot be accepted in any electronic format include those documents related to:

  • Any service of process documents on the Secretary of State,
  • Trademark and
  • Domestic and foreign cooperative associations.

The Secretary of State’s office does not authorize individuals to perform marriage ceremonies.  The office only accepts registrations from churches and other businesses that have a business registration requirement with the Secretary of State’s office.

Yes, if the cost, value, or price per job exceeds the sum of $4,000, you must secure a contractor’s license.  For more information on licenses for contractors, visit the Contractors section of this website.