Category Archives: UCC Filing Search

IncFile LLC Formation Review

orming a business entity is one of the first steps an entrepreneur will do when starting a business.  IncFile is one of many popular services that helps entrepreneurs form their LLC.  They claim to have served over 250,000 entrepreneurs with forming their business since 2004 and offer a free Limited Liability Company formation package (plus state fees).  How does IncFile stack up against other popular formation services like LegalZoom and ZenBusiness?

Overview of the Incfile LLC & corporation formation service

IncFile offers a number of services for business owners forming their LLC or corporation.  Some of the highlights include:
  • Verifying business name availability
  • Preparation and filing of the articles of organization (LLC) or articles of incorporation (corporation)
  • State filing is processed by the next business day (not available on Silver Package)
  • Free registered agent service for the first year
  • Lifetime alerts on report deadlines (not available on Silver Package)
  • Free business tax consultation
  • Lifetime customer support
  • Online access to incorporation documents (not available on Silver Package)
One of the unique benefits of IncFile’s versus the competition is their customer service. IncFile claims their phone and online support people are business formation specialists with at least 6 years of experience and not sales people.  They also offer phone support from 9am – 6pm CST which is a major benefit if you run into questions that quickly need answered by a real person. As with all formation service companies, the marketing copy all sounds good. Let’s dig deeper to see the details.

Incfile Pricing

Incfile offers three LLC business formation packages, ranging from free to $299 plus state fees.  Let’s break each package down below to see if you really need more than their free version.
Silver Package $0 – IncFile’s Silver Package is free, plus the state fee.  In the Silver Package you get a free business name search, filing of the articles of organization or incorporation is filed with the state, a registered agent is provided at no cost for one year, business tax consultation with a certified tax professional and lifetime company alerts, which is a great bargain. One concern is that usually when something is free, there is a reason.  IncFile recently made their Silver Package free and this question was on our minds too.  So, we asked management of IncFile why and their response was that they want to create a long-term relationship with small business owners.  Since most businesses get started by creating their entity, if IncFile provides a great first experience, IncFile expects business owners to trust them with the other services they provide.  That of course is up to the business owners but with IncFile’s high ratings and no-cost formation, it seems hard to go wrong here. While we like the free formation service, and what they offer is a great deal, there are some expensive upsells on the Silver Package such as registering an EIN (Employer Identification Number), filing IRS form 2553, creating a banking resolution (used to open a company bank account) and contract templates.  Other “review” sites may tell you the other two packages are a better value (to get a higher commission), but we can show you how to get a great bargain from the Silver Package and skip the pricey upsells. Another concern was that on the detailed pricing page, IncFile states that they strive to ensure that every order received is prepared and forwarded to the state within 1 business day.  The silver package doesn’t have a check mark for the 1-day processing, which contradicts that statement, so we reached out to their customer service team by email to get more information.   They responded saying that this may not stay permanent, but the Silver Package time is the same as the other two packages. If the no-cost Silver Package sounds right to you and you don’t want to pay for the upsells, here are is more information to finish the formation of your entity without spending extra.
  • Register an EIN
  • Prepare and file IRS form 2553
  • Create an Operating Agreement
  • Create a Banking Resolution
Gold Package – $149 The Gold Package offers all of the benefits of the Silver, but adds processing by the next day, EIN registration, Form 2553, an Operating Agreement, Banking Resolution and LLC binder.  The LLC binder is claimed to be a $99 value from IncFile, while one that is similar to their more expensive Platinum Package can be purchased at Amazon for only $50.  The binder is simply a convenient way to keep all of your entity documents together. Next day processing means IncFile sends the paperwork to the state by the next day.  The time for entity formation will depend on the states time to process. Platinum Package – $299 The Platinum Package includes all that the Gold Package has to offer, but also includes expedited state filing, business contract templates and a free domain and email for one year. If you need faster processing than the normal speed from the state, the expedited processing of the Platinum Package may be valuable as it will be completed within 2 business days in most cases.

IncFile Customer Reviews

One of things many people look at before making a purchase are the online reviews to see what actual customers had to say.  We took care of this for you and found a few reliable sources of IncFile reviews including:
  • Better Business Bureau – The IncFile BBB review shows they have been accredited since 2004.  BBB gave IncFile an A+ Rating with an average rating from 116 customers of 4.4 / 5 stars.
  • Shopper Approved – IncFile received a 4.8 out of 5 star satisfaction rating with 11,901 customer ratings.
While no company is perfect, it at least appears customers are generally happy with IncFile.

How much are IncFile’s registered agents after the first year?

A registered agent is provided at no cost for the first year when filing with IncFile.  Provided you live in the state you are filing in, you can act as your LLC’s registered agent at no cost.  The cost to renew the IncFile registered agent is $119 annually.  Registered agent services tend to normally cost between $100-$150 per year, which makes IncFile’s renewal fairly priced.  Many people like using a registered agent service for privacy reasons since most states publish the names and addresses of the LLC’s owners.  In many states, using a registered agent service will hide the owner’s name and address.

IncFile Turnaround Times

IncFile promotes next day processing.  This isn’t the actual time the LLC will be processed.  Next day processing means the amount of time it takes IncFile to finalize documents and send them to the state.   If you opt for the Gold or Platinum Package the formation paperwork gets shipped to the state in 1 business day.  Expedited filing (additional cost or included with the Platinum Package) refers to the time to get the paperwork filed with the state.  All states provide expedited processing to rush the paperwork for an additional fee.  Depending on the state, this expedited processing usually means the LLC is filed in 1-2 business days (on top of the IncFile processing).

Why use IncFile to form your LLC or corporation?

There’s a lot to like about IncFile including the free entity formation that will take care of what most people need, with the positive feedback from so many customers. There are a few upsells, that while not any more expensive than the other formation companies, may not be necessary for your LLC or can be done in a matter of minutes by most people themselves at no cost. Even with the free filing, IncFile doesn’t hold up the paperwork for 30 days like the basic LegalZoom package. It’s super simple to set up an LLC using the IncFile website too and we like that IncFile is confident enough to provide their entity formation package at no cost in an effort to be a long-term member of your business.

Do I have to use IncFile to form my LLC or corporation?

No!  You can file an LLC or corporation without using an entity formation service or legal services of an attorney.  While you can do it yourself, some states are more difficult than others and is why having a formation service is beneficial since they do this work every day.  Plus, with the free IncFile Silver Package, why stress over doing it yourself? Check out Incfile to learn more!

LegalZoom LLC Formation Review

LegalZoom is the biggest and one of the best known online legal services companies.  Starting in 1999, they claim to have served a staggering 3.6 million customers and launched over 1 million LLCs.  LegalZoom offers entity formation, trademarks, patents and contracts in addition to all the personal legal services they offer.  Even though they are the biggest, how does LegalZoom fare against entity formation companies like IncFile and ZenBusiness that offer no-cost formation services?

Overview of LegalZoom LLC Formation Services

When forming an LLC with LegalZoom, you get:

  • Verification of business name availability
  • Preparation and filing of the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State 
  • Financial Account Authorization Letter, also known as a Banking Resolution, which allows the members to open a bank account on behalf of the LLC
  • Lifetime customer support is available 7 days per week (Gold Express Package)
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

Even though LegalZoom has served a lot of people, the big question on our minds is whether they affordable and do they do a good job?  Let’s look a bit closer.   

Pricing

LegalZoom offers a wide array of services for businesses, but in this review, we will look specifically at their LLC formation services.  Pricing to start an LLC with LegalZoom varies with three packages priced between $79 and $349 plus state LLC fees. 

Economy Package – $79 – The Economy Package pricing of $79 (plus state fees) offers almost everything the more expensive Standard and Express Gold Packages offer.  What’s missing is a deluxe organizer, official certificates and seal, priority processing and shipping and lifetime customer support.  The organizer, certificates and seal are not required for an LLC, but are helpful in organizing the LLC formation documents.  The Economy Package is $250 less than the Standard Package and provided you don’t need the fast processing, you can purchase the organizer, certificates and seal from for around $50.

According to customer support, it takes 30 days for LegalZoom to process the Economy Package.  We’re not sure why it takes that long for them to submit the paperwork (other than to push you into one of the more expensive packages) to the Secretary of State, but compared to most other formation services, 30 days is a really long time to wait.  Don’t forget, this is in addition to the time for the state to process the paperwork which can take on average an additional 3-4 weeks.

Standard Package – $329 – The next pricing bracket, which is a big jump in cost from the Economy Package, is the Standard Package which costs $329 plus state filing fees.  You get all the features of the Economy Package plus the deluxe organizer, official certificates and seal and VIP processing.  VIP processing for the Standard Package is 15 days for LegalZoom to send the paperwork to the state.

Express Gold Package – $349 – The last package includes faster VIP processing (7-10 days), rush processing with the Secretary of State, express shipping of the filed documents and lifetime customer support.

There is a large gap in pricing between the Economy and other packages. Unless you have to get your LLC formed quickly, you can save a considerable amount of money with the Economy Package.

Upsells

In addition to the package fees, there are several upsells will try and sell you on.  Some of these may not be necessary for your LLC, so let’s look at each of them and see what is necessary.

Registered Agent $159 – Every corporation and LLC will need to name a registered agent.  This is simply a person or company that is the single point of contact for the LLC, should important tax or legal correspondence be sent to the company.  The registered agent must have a physical presence in the state, be over the age of 18 and generally available during normal working hours. Provided the owner lives in the state, they can be the registered agent for the LLC 

LegalZoom charges $159 annually for a registered agent which is higher than the average cost of $100-$150.   

Operating Agreement – $99 – An operating agreement isn’t a required document in most states, but is highly recommended, especially for multi-member LLCs.  The operating agreement is official documentation for how the LLC operates. 

Operating Agreement plus EIN – $159 – This upsell adds the registration of an EIN to your LLC for an additional $60.  An EIN is short for Employer Identification Number which is like a Social Security Number for a business.  Even though their sales page says the EIN is mandatory for opening a business bank account, if your LLC is only owned by one person and there are no employees, the owner’s Social Security Number can be used, though there’s no harm in getting one. An EIN is free and takes only a few minutes to fill out directly with the Internal Revenue Service.

Operating Agreement, EIN and Licenses – $199 – In addition to the operating agreement and EIN, LegalZoom offers a service where they research all the licenses and permits your business will need.  The license and permit research may be the most valuable upsell, but you can find other services such as offering the same thing for only $99.

Tax and Legal Guidance – $39.99 per month – Another upsell is unlimited 30-minute consultations with attorneys and tax professionals, in addition to a library of legal documents.  You do get a 10-day free trial, which can be a really good deal if you just have a few questions and then cancel the service before the free trial is over.

Compliance Services – $280 per year – The last upsell from LegalZoom is pretty pricey for what it does.  LegalZoom will file your annual report and other formalities such as updating corporate minutes which your LLC won’t need anyway.  Filing the annual report is quick and easy for most owners to do themselves.

Reputation

LegalZoom is probably the best-known online legal services company, but how well does this name recognition translate into customer satisfaction?  We found three different credible review sites with a sufficient number of customer responses.  Even though LegalZoom has helped a lot of businesses, it seems there may be some issues with their quality.

  • The Better Business Bureau, shows LegalZoom has been accredited since 2001.  They have an A+ Rating but a terrible 1 star average rating from 178 customer reviews.
    Trustpilot rated them as Poor with a TrustScore of 1.9 / 5.
  • ConsumerAffairs was a little better as there were 432 ratings in the last year, scoring LegalZoom with 3 / 5 stars.

Why choose LegalZoom?

LegalZoom handles many legal aspects from entity formation to wills to patents and trademarks, contracts, legal advice and much more.  LegalZoom is more expensive than many of the entity formation companies, however their list of services is much more broad than most providers, making LegalZoom a better choice for businesses needing services beyond entity formation.

LegalZoom’s biggest asset is the length of time they have been in business and the fact they have helped over 1 million businesses. However, after looking at the online reviews, there are a lot of questions whether they can be trusted to take care of your business’s legal needs.

Another major downside to using LegalZoom is the very lengthy amount of time to send the formation paperwork to the state.  The 30-day processing of the Economy Package may be the longest of all the providers and is really unacceptable since they are holding the documents internally. Below is the estimated formation time from the LegalZoom website:

If you are only really interested in forming your LLC or corporation, a service like IncFile or ZenBusiness may be a better option because of their lower prices (free in some cases), faster processing and better online reputations.

Do I have to use LegalZoom to form my LLC?

No!  You can file an LLC or corporation without using an entity formation service or attorney.  You can learn more with our guides to forming an LLC for free in every state.  While you can do it yourself, some states are more difficult than others and is why having a formation service like LegalZoom is beneficial since they do this work every day. 

Learn more about LegalZooom’s formation services

ZenBusiness LLC Formation Review

ZenBusiness is a Public Benefit Corporation that provides low-cost entity formation services. They are a newer company, founded on simplifying the process of forming an LLC by using technology and automation along with a team to provide personal guidance. They are also unique in the company formation space by having a charitable focus where they help women and minority-owned businesses.

claims to make it easy to start your business, but how do they stack up against more established formation companies like IncFile and LegalZoom?

Overview of ZenBusiness LLC Formation Services

When forming an LLC with ZenBusiness, you get:

  • Preparation and filing of LLC documents
  • Business name search
  • Phone and email support
  • Registered agent
  • Operating Agreement
  • CPA Assessment
  • Banking Resolution
  • Employer Identification Number

Depending on the package selected, some of the services are available at an extra charge. Let’s look at each of the packages in more depth to help make it easier to choose the best one for you.

ZenBusiness Pricing

Even though the listed prices for the three packages range from $49 – $299, plus state fees, we will show you how to get your LLC formed at no cost, plus state fees of course.

Starter Package – $49 – The Starter Package includes the preparation and filing of the LLC paperwork, checking the availability of the LLC name, registered agent for the first year, operating agreement and CPA assessment. There will be a few things most LLCs will still need to complete when selecting this package; however, you can register for an EIN at no cost with the IRS.

While the Starter Package will be the slowest of the three packages to form, ZenBusiness doesn’t artificially hold the paperwork for 30 days like LegalZoom’s least expensive package. Times to form will vary depending on demand and the state the LLC is being formed in, but they estimate 2-3 weeks to form.

After the first year at $49, the pricing goes to $119 if you opt to keep the registered agent service. Provided you live in the state of formation, you aren’t required to pay for a registered agent service, however $119 annually is in line with the average registered agent costs of $100 – $150.

Pro Package – $179 – The middle package is the Pro Package and you get all the services in the Starter Package plus faster processing, banking resolution, EIN and their “Worry Free Guarantee”. The “Worry Free Guarantee” is a service where ZenBusiness handles the annual report filing and up to two changes to your filing documents each year. You will also pay the state’s fee for the annual report but for as simple as it is to file this report (it normally takes just a couple of minutes to fill out in most states), it is a pretty expensive upsell ($119 if purchased separately).

Remember, this plan is $179 annually and the annual cost comes with the registered agent and the annual report filing.

Premium Package – $299 – The most expensive package from ZenBusiness is the Premium Package. In addition to the Pro Package, this package comes with the fastest processing (estimated at 2-4 business days), business webpage, domain name, domain privacy and business email address.

The business webpage is just a one-page site with basic information about your business. For the additional annual cost of $120 between the Pro and Premium Package, you get a one-page website domain name and business email address. For $120 a year, you are better off getting a dedicated website for your business.

Unless you really need the faster processing the Starter or Pro Package are probably better options than the Premium.

How to get a free LLC filing from ZenBusiness

We said earlier there was a way to get a free (plus state fees) LLC filing from ZenBusiness. Provided all you want is the LLC formation, click on the “Continue for Free” link under the pricing table. The free filing (plus state fees) includes all the services of the Starter Package without the registered agent. The owner(s) can be the registered agent of the LLC, provided they live in the same state of the LLC formation. There also are no annual costs with this package, making it the best package for most people.

After filing there are a few additional requirements to finish off the registration of your LLC. Learn more about them below:

  • Employer Identification Number – Required for multi-member LLCs or if there are employees
  • Operating Agreement – Only a requirement in a few states, but especially important regardless of the state for multi-member LLCs
  • Registered Agent – The owner can act as the registered agent at no cost. Learn more about the requirements to be a registered agent

Reputation

ZenBusiness is still a very young company, but their website is super easy to use to get an LLC formed quickly. Even though they are pretty new, we were able to find two independent sources that provided positive customer feedback.

The Better Business Bureau, shows ZenBusiness has been accredited since 2019. They have an A- Rating with a 5 star rating, but from only 4 customers
Trustpilot rated them as Excellent with 1,297 reviews and a TrustScore of 4.8 / 5

Why choose ZenBusiness?

ZenBusiness appears to be a pretty solid choice in the formation of an LLC. They do offer some additional services such as a registered agent and Worry Free Guarantee. The registered agent is fairly priced, however the Worry Free Guarantee doesn’t appear to provide much value other than filling out the annual report, which is pretty easy for most to do. That said, this service can take one more thing off of your plate and ensures your LLC stays in compliance with the state.

ZenBusiness offers a straight-forward formation service and they are the only formation service that we have reviewed that has a published charitable mission named the “Pay-it-Forward” project. This mission supports lower-income woman and minority-owned businesses and is a nice way to give back.

Some other advantages of the free version of ZenBusiness is that the free version is filed faster than Legalzoom’s lowest package and comes with lifetime access to formation documents which IncFile doesn’t provide.

The free filing is the best value of all the packages because you get the services of the Starter Package minus the registered agent. Your LLC will be filed with the state by using ZenBusiness’s easy to use website and there is customer support to answer any questions – at no cost! The additional services that are only included in the higher-priced packages like the EIN and operating agreement, are covered in our site and can be done by most people at no cost.

One of the things you need to keep in mind about the pricing for the three packages is that they come with annual fees as there are additional services included. Some of the annual extras may not be needed for your business, so be sure to use one of the less expensive services or cancel if they are not necessary.

Do I have to use ZenBusiness to form my LLC?

No! You can file an LLC without using an entity formation service or attorney. You can learn more with our guides to forming an LLC for free in every state. While you can do it yourself, using the free LLC formation option from ZenBusiness ensures you have the proper guidance and the LLC is filed correctly.

Learn more about ZenBusiness

How to Form an LLC in Arizona

Arizona LLC Costs

  • Articles of Organization – $50 state filing fee or $85 expedited fee
  • Name Reservation Fee – $10
  • Publication costs – Varies by county, but typically $100-$120 
  • Annual reporting requirement – None

What is an LLC?

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure that limits the personal liability of the members (owners) by separating the personal assets of the members from the business. This way if the business is sued, the members are protected personally.  The members are also not responsible for the business debts of the LLC, unless they sign a personal guarantee when taking out a loan for the business. The LLC structure is a popular choice for small businesses because of personal asset protection. 

The LLC formation process in Arizona is a multi-step process by filing the Articles of Organization with the Arizona Corporate Commission. The steps to forming an LLC in Arizona are listed below.

Steps to Forming an LLC

The LLC is created by filing the Arizona LLC Articles of Organization with the Arizona Corporation Commission. The state filing fee with normal processing is $50 filing, while processing can be expedited for an additional $35 state fee. Normal processing is typically 15 business days. 

The articles must include:

  • Name of the LLC
  • Business address
  • Duration of the LLC
  • Name of the LLC’s mangers or members
  • The contact information of the LLC’s statutory agent
  • Signature of the LLC organizer

The articles can be filed online, which is easist and fastest to process.  Note that all faxed and mailed Articles of Organization will need to be submitted with a cover sheet.

There are several popular, low-cost entity formation services such as IncFile, ZenBusiness and LegalZoom that help make sure your filing is right.  

 Step 1: Choosing an LLC name

Selecting a name for your Arizona LLC is an important decision, as every LLC that registers with the state needs to have a unique name.  Available names may be reserved for up to 120 days by filing an Application to Reserve Limited Liability Company Name and paying a $10 name reservation application fee with the Arizona Corporation Commission.  

One of the primary reasons LLC registrations get returned is because of a conflicting entity name. Before starting do a search for available Arizona LLC names with the Arizona Secretary of State to make sure your name hasn’t already been taken. 

In addition to having a unique business name, there are some naming restrictions to be aware of:

The name must use one of the entity designators at the end of the name:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • L.L.C.
  • L.C.
  • LLC
  • LC.

Since you are forming a Limited Liability Company, you aren’t allowed to use the following designators: 

  • association,
  • corporation
  • incorporated
  • non-profit
  • or any related abbreviation 

You are not allowed to use any words that may imply your business is a government agency.

Last, unless your business is licensed by the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions or Arizona Commerce Authority, you are not allowed to use the following words:

  • Bank;
  • Banker;
  • Banking;
  • Banc;
  • Banco;
  • Banque;
  • Credit Union;
  • Deposit;
  • Savings Association;
  • Building Association;
  • Savings and Loan Association;
  • Building and Loan Association;
  • Savings Bank;
  • Thrift;
  • Trust;
  • Trust Company.

One tip when deciding on a name for your business is to verify a domain name is available as an exact match name can be hard to come by.  

Also, if you decide to use your LLC as an umbrella and operate multiple businesses or brands underneath it, you will need to also register for a DBA (Doing Business As) 

Step 2: Appointing a Statutory Agent

Every Arizona LLC must appoint and maintain a statutory agent, commonly referred to as a registered agent in other states per Arizona law.  A statutory agent is an individual or commercial statutory agent service that agrees to accept legal papers, also known as “service of process,” on behalf of the LLC. Since a business entity can have several owners, the agent is required as a single point of contact is necessary should these important documents need to reach the entity. 

The statutory agent can be an LLC member, a friend or family member, attorney, etc who has a physical presence in the state of Arizona.  To quality they have a physical street address in the state of Arizona (P.O. Boxes are not allowed), generally be available during normal business hours, and must accept the appointment in writing.  

One of the downsides to personally being a statutory agent is that their home address is now public information and will be published in the newspaper and on the state’s online entity database.  This can be avoided by hiring a commercial service to act as the agent. 

Step 3: Selecting the Management Structure

The next step of filing the Articles of Organization is to elect whether your Arizona LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed.  

Member-managed refers to the members being active in the day to day management and operations of the business. This is a very common choice for LLCs. 

Manager-managed is when the members take a more passive role in the operations and hire a manager to run the entity. The members still have full control of the business, but do not personally make daily decisions. 

The statutory agent must accept and file the Statutory Agent Acceptance form  

Step 4: LLC Publication

Within sixty days after the Articles of Organization have been approved, a legal ad will need to be publishing in an approved newspaper that has general circulation in the county of the known place of business where the LLC is located for three consecutive weeks. The Arizona Corporation Commission has a list of approved newspapers on their website. 

LLCs located in Maricopa or Pima counties do not have to publish as their publishing requirement is accepted through the listing on the state’s online database. 

The notice will include: 

  • LLC’s name
  • Statutory Agent’s name and physical address
  • LLC address for it’s principal place of business
  • Whether the LLC is member-managed or manager-managed
  • Names and addresses of the LLC managers and members

Upon approval of the Articles of Organization, a letter will be sent to the LLC’s statutory agent with details of the publication requirements to help with remembering. The proof of publication affidavit) isn’t required to be filed with the state, but it is necessary because if you are asked to show proof and don’t have it, the LLC may be dissolved.

Step 5: Prepare an Operating Agreement

This step is optional but highly recommended for multi-member LLCs. An LLC operating agreement, a legal document detailing the ownership structure and operating procedures of an LLC.

While this document may not be required by the state, most banks will require one if there are multiple members before opening a business bank account. 

By having this document written, it will help reduce conflicts. The operating agreement isn’t filed with the state, but each member should be given a copy that is signed by all the members. 

The operating agreement will typically have information such as: 

  • Business name of the LLC
  • Purpose of the LLC
  • Date of formation
  • Names and addresses of the members
  • Capital contributions of the members
  • Ownership percentages
  • Voting rights
  • How profits and losses will be distributed
  • Indemnification of the members
  • Management structure – member-managed or manger-managed
  • an explanation of capital contributions, simply states, how much an individual member is depositing into an LLC bank account
  • How the LLC will be taxed
  • Procedures for removing a member or adding a member
  • Procedures for dissolving the LLC

Step 6: Apply for a FEIN

The FEIN or Federal Employer Identification Number (sometimes referred to as an EIN Number or Federal Tax ID Number) is a unique number given to a business entity. An LLC will apply for this number in all cases except where it is owned by a single member (single-member LLC) and there are no employees.  In this case, the LLC will be treated as a sole proprietorship for federal tax purposes and will use the owner’s social security number.  

​Apply for an EIN through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at no cost. 

​Step 7: Register for the Transaction Privilege Tax

If you are selling a product or taxable service, Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) License from the Arizona Department of Revenue. The TPT is similar to sales tax but is instead a tax on vendors in Arizona.

​Step 8: Register for Business Licenses

​The LLC, in addition to any business operating in Arizona, will need to check for any required business licenses before operating.  

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Sunbiz Phone Numbers & Emails | Florida Secretary of State

To get answers to specific filing questions, contact the appropriate office with the Sunbiz (Florida Department of State)

CORPORATIONS
Florida Profit & Non-Profit – Articles of Incorporation850.245.6052NewFilingsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
Corporation Amendments, Dissolutions, Withdrawals, Mergers & Registered Agent Changes850.245.6050AmendmentsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
Corporation Annual Reports & Reinstatements850.245.6059FICARReinstCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
Foreign Corporation Qualification850.245.6051RegistrationsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY (LLC)
Florida LLC – Articles of Organization850.245.6052NewFilingsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
LLC Amendments & Registered Agent Changes850.245.6050AmendmentsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
LLC Annual Reports & Reinstatements850.245.6059FICARReinstCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
LLC Mergers850.245.6050AmendmentsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
Foreign LLC Qualification850.245.6051RegistrationsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
PARTNERSHIPS
Limited Partnership Filings, Limited Liability Limited Partnership Filings850.245.6051RegistrationsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
Annual Reports & Reinstatements, General, Limited Liability Partnership Filings850.245.6059FICARReinstCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
LP & LLLP Registered Agent Changes850.245.6051RegistrationsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
FICTITIOUS NAMES
Registrations & Renewals850.245.6059FICARReinstCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
TRADEMARKS & SERVICE MARKS
General Information850.245.6051RegistrationsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
LIENS
Federal Tax & Judgment Liens850.245.6011RegistrationsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
OTHER SERVICES
Certification & Copy Requests850.245.6053ApostillesCertsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
Internet Support Section850.245.6939corphelp@dos.myflorida.com
Notary Public850.245.6975NotariesCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
Service of Process850.245.6953ApostillesCertsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
Cable Franchises850.245.6010AmendmentsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com
Apostilles850.245.6053ApostillesCertsCorpHelp@DOS.MyFlorida.com

How to do a UCC Search

Learn what a UCC Statement is and how to search state databases to look up business debts. 

The UCC or Uniform Commercial Code refers to laws that govern the sale of certain commercial transactions when a lender is involved.

A UCC filing (sometimes referred to as a UCC-1, UCC lien or financing statement) is a notice filed by a creditor when they make a loan to a borrower to purchase business assets.   This filing provides the creditor with the security that if the debtor defaults on the debt, the creditor can foreclose on the asset. 

The UCC filing is made with the Secretary of State.  Each state has laws on the rules and regulations over secured transactions, the UCC is used across the United States to ensure reporting consistency and safety for lenders.  These rules provide lenders the knowledge of whether an asset that is being pledged is available to use as collateral.

UCC liens can be filed on just about any asset.  Some of the more common assets include: real estate, vehicles, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable and more. A UCC lien does not generally impact the day-to-day operations of a business, but may make it more difficult in getting additional funding, depending on the type of UCC filed.

Why is a UCC Filed?

A Uniform Commercial Code filing on business assets serves as a notice to any potential creditors of assets that are pledged.  This provides security to a lender as that borrower can’t pledge those assets for another loan. A large part of the loan making process is the lender is able to take the asset back should the borrower not be able to pay on the debt.  This collateral is then able to be sold to recoup a portion of the debt.  A UCC-1 establishes the lender as a secured party, so even if the borrower goes bankrupt, the lender is paid before unsecured creditors. 

Even though every state has commercial transaction laws, lenders often provide business financing across state lines and it’s not practical for a lender to search each state’s records when making a loan.  The UCC gives a lender assurance that their collateral is protected.  

A UCC also keeps the borrower from selling the asset and keeping all the proceeds.  Any remaining debt would be paid to the secured party first. The only way to remove the lien is by paying off the debt.

Types of UCC Liens

There are two ways UCC are commonly used. 

UCC Lien on Specific Collateral

A lender can write a UCC-1 against a particular asset. This is common when a loan is being requested for a specific purpose, like a piece of equipment, real estate or inventory.

UCC Blanket Lien

A UCC-1 blanket lien, sometimes referred to as a general lien, is a lien placed on all business assets.  Blanket liens are commonly used for commercial and SBA loans and while this type of lien makes it easy for the bank to collateralize a loan, it can cause issues for a business because they lose the ability to pledge assets for additional funding later on or to sell equipment.  The lien holder has to file and release assets which may be a challenge for some borrowers to get them to do.

When do UCC Filings Expire?

A UCC-1 filing automatically expires within five years of filing unless the creditor extends it. 

Once the debtor pays off the lien, the creditor should file a UCC-3 to remove the lien from the asset.

How is a UCC-1 Statement Filed?

A creditor will file a UCC-1 statement with the Secretary of State in the state where the business is located.  The financing statement will include:

  • The borrower’s name and address
  • The lender’s name and address
  • A description of the asset being secured

Since UCC liens are filed with the Secretary of State, these records are made public so they are available for anyone to look up.  Most states allow for the search to look these filing up online without a fee, however some states restrict the amount of information provided. 

UCC liens will typically show up on a business credit report.

Search for UCC Liens by State

Every state is different in how one would search the UCC database.  Click on a state below to see how to do a UCC lien search in each state. 

AlabamaLouisiana Oklahoma 
AlaskaMaine Oregon 
ArizonaMaryland Pennsylvania
ArkansasMassachusetts Puerto Rico
CaliforniaMichigan Rhode Island 
ColoradoMinnesota South Carolina 
ConnecticutMississippi South Dakota 
DelawareMissouri Tennessee 
District of ColumbiaMontanaTexas 
FloridaNebraska Utah 
GeorgiaNevada Vermont 
HawaiiNew Hampshire Virginia 
IdahoNew Jersey Virgin Islands
IllinoisNew Mexico Washington 
IndianaNew York West Virginia 
IowaNorth Carolina Wisconsin 
KansasNorth Dakota Wyoming
KentuckyOhio 

How to Search UCC Filings in Alabama

An Alabama UCC (Uniform Commercial Code), also known as a UCC-1 Financing Statement, is a lien filed by a creditor to protect their interest when making a loan.  This lien exists until the debt is paid for and can be placed on any personal property such as vehicles, equipment and more. The UCC does not apply for real estate transactions.  UCC filings protect lenders should the borrower stop paying on the debt or declare bankruptcy.  The UCC provides documentation for the lender and allows the ability to foreclose or force the sale of the property to pay back the debt.

UCC filings are public record and in Alabama, the Secretary of State has an online UCC database.  This database includes both the state UCC and Federal Tax Lien index.  Since some UCC images contain personal information such as social security numbers, federal identification numbers and bank account numbers, images of the UCC documents are only available by completing a UCC-11 information request.

The ability to do an Alabama UCC search is important because provides creditors proof of any liens borrowers have on existing collateral and to ensure there aren’t multiple loans on one asset.

How does the UCC filing process work?

Once approved for secured financing, a creditor files a UCC-1 Financing Statement with the Alabama Secretary of State which creates a lien against the collateral.

The Alabama UCC Financing Statement contains:

  • The borrower’s name and address
  • The lender’s name and address
  • Information about the collateral.

All UCC filings in Alabama will go through the Secretary of State’s office except for collateral that is collateral pertaining to real estate such as crops, timber, gas, minerals, etc.  These filings are done through the Probate Office in the county where the collateral is located.

UCC filings are active in Alabama for 5 years from the date of filing in most cases.  Filings are renewable for long-term debts and filings can be amended to update lender’s position of the secured collateral.

How much does an Alabama UCC search cost?

A UCC-1 Financing Statement request is free if only doing a simple search by name, filing number or date.  If images of the statement are needed an advanced search will need to be done.  Costs start at $15 per filing.

How to search for a UCC filing in Alabama

  1. Visit – https://sos.alabama.gov/government-records/ucc-recordsAlabama Secretary of State UCC Search
  2. On this screen we can search by the debtor’s name, filing number or date of filing.  In this example, we will search by the debtor’s name.AL UCC Search by name
  3. We will search by the last name of search.  To narrow down the results, you can also search by first and last name or the business name.AL Financing Statement Search
  4. These are the results for the name of search for the name of smith in the Alabama Secretary of State’s UCC filing database.AL SOS UCC Search Results

How To Search UCC Filings in Illinois

An Illinois UCC (Uniform Commercial Code), also known as a UCC-1 Financing Statement, is a lien filed by a creditor to protect their interest when making a loan.  This lien exists until the debt is paid for and can be placed on any personal property such as vehicles, equipment and more. A UCC filing does not apply for real estate.  UCC filings protect lenders should the borrower stop paying on the debt or declare bankruptcy.  The UCC provides documentation for the lender and allows the ability to foreclose or force the sale of the property to pay back the debt.

UCC filings are public record and in Illinois, the Secretary of State has an online UCC database.  This database includes both the state UCC and Federal Tax Lien index.  Since some UCC images contain personal information such as social security numbers, federal identification numbers and bank account numbers, images of the UCC documents are only available by completing a UCC-11 information request.

The ability to do a UCC search is important because if multiple creditors have a lien on the same property and the debtor fail to pay, those creditors would be looking at a loss as the collateral would likely not have enough value to satisfy the debts.

How does the UCC filing process work?

Once approved for secured financing, a creditor files a UCC-1 Financing Statement with the Illinois Secretary of State which creates a lien against the collateral.

The Illinois UCC Financing Statement contains:

  • The borrower’s name and address
  • The lender’s name and address
  • Information about the collateral.

All UCC filings in Illinois will go through the Secretary of State’s office except for collateral that is timber to be cut or extracted minerals.  These filings are done through the county recorder’s office in the county where the collateral is located.

UCC filings are active in Illinois for 5 years from the date of filing in most cases.  Filings are renewable for long-term debts and filings can be amended to update lender’s position of the secured collateral.

How much does an Illinois UCC search cost?

A UCC-1 Financing Statement search is free if a simple search is done.  If you want an image of the statement, the cost is $20.

How to search for a UCC filing in Illinois

  1. Visit- http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/business_services/uniform_commercial_code/home.html
  2. Click on UCC/Federal Tax Lien Database Search
    Illinois UCC Search How To
  3. Click on UCC Search, then select by the way you want to search either by the debtor’s personal name, business name, a keyword or file number.Illinois Search UCC Financial Statement
  4. In this example, we will search by the debtor’s last name.  Here we used Smith as the last name.  The last name is required but to narrow the search, you can enter their first or middle name.IL UCC search by last name
  5. These are a sample of the results from the last name of Smith in the Illinois Secretary of State’s UCC database.

Illinois Secretary of State UCC Search