How easy is it for someone to find the identity of LLC members?
The answer depends a lot on how you setup your LLC. It most cases finding ownership information can be difficult because of the laws of the states. The law doesn’t require businesses to disclose a lot of information in order to conduct business as an LLC.
However, you still must register with the state – which means there’s a paper trail somewhere. If you’re looking for LLC information, the good news is that sometimes that information is readily available through public records. Keep reading and we’ll tell you how to look!
If you’re the owner of an LLC looking to maintain privacy, keep reading because we’ll tell you how to do that too!
What is an LLC?
A limited liability company (LLC) is a business structure in the United States whereby the owners are not personally liable for the company's debts or liabilities. Limited liability companies are hybrid entities that combine the characteristics of a corporation with those of a partnership or sole proprietorship.
How to Search for an LLC?
When searching for an LLC online, there are a few key factors that will make your search a lot easier. For example, knowing the LLCs actual name and address and the state in which it was formed. This information is often hard to obtain because owners of LLCs can use fictitious names and/or registered agents for contact information.
If you know the legal name of the LLC and the state of formation, you can visit the Secretary of State website to search for the business. If you’re unsure of the legal name of the business, start by searching with the information you have such as:
- The company name that you know the business as
- The individuals or members of the LLC (if known)
- EIN number - To find the EIN of a public company, go to the SEC's Electronic Data Gathering Analysis and Retrieval database, type the company name, and Search. If the business is a private company, this information is not as easy to obtain.
Using this information to conduct a search on the Business Search page may help you find the LLC you’re looking for. If not, try to perform a simple social media and Google search with this information. You’ll be amazed at what Google can find just based on a few keywords.
Reasons to Search for an LLC?
There are times when you need to know the owner of an LLC or you simply want to learn more about an LLC before doing business with them. Here are a few examples of reasons to search for an LLC:
- Want to file a lawsuit against an LLC
- Learn more about an LLC
- Find out ownership of an LLC
- Searching for Name availability for Your LLC
- Hiring an LLC to provide a service
- Find out in the LLC is a reputable company
- See the creditworthiness of the LLC
There are multiple reasons you may want to search for an LLC. Remember, that many LLC owners don’t want to be found and do not want their company information made public.
What Information is available for Search
If you search for an LLC correctly on the Secretary of State website, you should find information such as:
- If the LLC is active or inactive
- How it was formed
- The date of registration
- Information about the registered agent
If the LLC is registered as public, this is information that everyone can see. If the LLC is private, the information may be classified or hidden. Depending on the state, owners may also be kept anonymous.
How to Keep Your LLC information Private?
Privacy is a precious commodity. As an LLC owner, how can you keep your as private as possible?
Anonymous LLCs are a great alternative for more privacy. An Anonymous LLC is like a regular LLC with added benefits, the biggest being privacy. It’s defined as a limited liability company whose owners are not publicly identifiable by the state.
People often wonder whether they can form an Anonymous LLC in a state they don’t live in. The answer is yes. Companies have flexibility when choosing where to establish their dwelling. This means that although Texas is not a state that currently allows formation of Anonymous LLCs, owners can easily form an LLC in a state that allows them.
For example, New Mexico is the only state that does not disclose names to the government – making it the state that offers the most privacy for businesses.
How does the owner of the LLC remain anonymous?
An Anonymous LLC means the state does not maintain any records of ownership or management, and therefore has nothing to disclose. In New Mexico, only the Articles of Organization are submitted to the state, and the Articles require only two names: The organizer and the Registered Agent (i.e., a lawyer).
In order to avoid the common drawbacks of forming an Anonymous LLC, let a qualified business lawyer act on your behalf. This will ensure your ultimate goal of maintaining privacy and will save you from unnecessary stress.