What is a Certificate of Good Standing?

A certificate of good standing verifies that a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation was legally formed and has been properly maintained.

In our Certificate of Good Standing guide, we will discuss the requirements for good standing and exactly how to get a certificate of good standing in your state.

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How Do I Get a Certificate of Good Standing?

You can obtain your certificate of good standing — sometimes known as a certificate of status, a certificate of existence, or a certificate of compliance — by requesting it from your state’s business division.

There are two main steps for getting your certificate of good standing:

  1. Keep your business compliant
  2. Order your certificate of good standing.

What is a certificate of good standing? A certificate of good standing is a state document that verifies your business was legally formed and has been properly maintained.

Step 1: Make Sure Your Business Is Compliant

To qualify for a certificate of good standing, your business must stay up-to-date with your state’s compliance requirements:

Licenses & Permits

To operate your business in your state, you must follow federal, state, and local licensing guidelines. This can include regulations like health permits and building permits.

You can find out more about your state’s licensing requirements with our state-specific guides.

State Taxes

Depending on your business activity, you will have to register for different forms of state tax. This can include sales tax, withholding tax, or Unemployment Insurance (UI) tax.

Some states also levy an annual tax that allows businesses to continue activity in their state. This tax, sometimes known as a franchise tax or business privilege tax, can be either a flat rate or a calculated percentage of business revenue.

Check out our guide to state business taxes to learn more.

Periodic Reports

Most states require LLCs and corporations to file a periodic report. This report can summarize your business’s finances, or it can be a simple update of your business’s basic information.

This report is commonly filed annually, but some states have biennial or decennial filings instead.

To see your state’s requirements, visit our state annual report guides.

Step 2: Order Your Certificate of Good Standing

Once your business remains compliant with the state, you can request a certificate of good standing from your state’s filing department — usually the Secretary of State or Department of State.

Filing options depend on the state, as do the filing costs. Most states do not charge more than $50 for a certificate of good standing.

Check out our state guides to learn more about ordering a certificate in your state.

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Do I Need a Certificate of Good Standing?

While you don’t necessarily need a certificate of good standing to run your business, there are several instances where you may need to get one. These include:

Certificate of Good Standing FAQ

What is a certificate of good standing?

A certificate of good standing is a legal document that confirms that your business is compliant with state regulations.

Certificates of good standing are sometimes also known as certificates of status, certificates of existence, or certificates of compliance.

How do I get a certificate of good standing?

You can get a certificate of good standing by remaining compliant with your state’s regulations and ordering a certificate through your state government.

Certificates of good standing are often regulated through a state’s Secretary of State or Department of State office.

How much does a certificate of good standing cost?

The cost to order a certificate of good standing varies by state but often does not cost more than $50.

How soon do you need a certificate of good standing?

Because many banks and insurance companies will want a business’s certificate of good standing in order to do business, we recommend getting one as soon as possible.

How long is the certificate of good standing valid for?

A certificate of good standing’s expiration date varies by state but often takes anywhere from 30 to 90 days to expire.

Some states do not have a set expiration date. However, requesters — such as banks, creditors, and foreign business states — often have their own guidelines for a certificate's validity.

What does a certificate of good standing mean?

Obtaining a certificate of good standing means that your state recognizes your business as both active and compliant.

When do you need a certificate of good standing?

Businesses often need a certificate of good standing in order to do business outside of their home state, obtain business loans, open business bank accounts, or purchase business insurance.

Who is required to get a certificate of good standing?

Businesses are not legally required to obtain a certificate of good standing. However, your business may choose to get one if you decide to do business outside of your home state or get a business bank account.

Where do I find a certificate of good standing?

After ordering your certificate of good standing, the state will send you your certificate, usually either via email or by mail. Delivery options vary by state.

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