We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are State Corporation Departments?

By Daphne Mallory
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

State corporation departments are referred to as "Department of Corporations," "Corporations Division," or "Division of Corporations," depending on the state they are in. The Secretary of State oversees the department, which is the legal custodian for all corporations and other business entities formed in and registered with the state. If the public needs access to corporate records, state corporation departments have the authority and the ability to deliver sealed certificates and copies of corporation filings that the department requires and maintains.

The primary duty and responsibility of state corporation departments is to license business activities in the state and to maintain records. All forms of businesses are licensed by the departments, including not-for-profit corporations and foreign corporations doing business in the state. A secondary duty of some state corporation departments is to regulate financial transactions, such as the exchange of securities. Businesses that sell certain financial products and services are also regulated, including financial planners and securities brokers. Some states do not have any regulatory powers, but are solely responsible for maintaining records.

Trademark and service mark registrations at the state level are filed and approved by state corporation departments. Business owners can protect their brand by registering their trademark with the state. In a trademark infringement lawsuit, this will be a key piece of evidence to prove who owns the trademark. A business owner can also register a fictitious business name with the department.

Some states allow businesses to designate the Secretary of State as the agent to receive a service of process. If someone files a lawsuit against the business, they can serve the complaint on the corporations department. The department in turn will send a copy of the complaint to the business' last known address.

Many state corporation departments allow the public to search the records of businesses and business names on websites they maintain. Start up businesses can check the website to see whether their business name is used by another business in the state. Businesses can also pay for and file annual reports and filings required by state law according to the type of business. Corporations can forfeit their "good standing" in a state if they don't fulfill their annual filing requirements. Some departments allow a business owner to pay any corporation tax owed.

State corporation departments often provide valuable resources and information on their websites, which can be helpful when planning a business. The name search function is often available online, but clerks can also search the availability of a business name for a fee.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.