A limited liability company (LLC) is a business entity that allows many owners. "Members" refer to the many owners of the LLC, who could be individuals, businesses, other LLCs, or international organizations. There is typically no limit to the number of members for LLCs, and the majority of states do not limit LLC ownership.
Some states demand that the members (owners) of a member-managed LLC list their name and address in the Articles of Organization. Other states might not require a member to be listed, but they might instead demand the name(s) of the organizer(s) or their authorized representative(s).
Resourceful Methods to Find The LLC Owner
1. Searching on the Secretary of State's Website
To find out what you need, here are links to the Secretary of State (SoS) websites for each state.
You can make public records request for access to the data on the state's official website.
The SoS office monitors business registrations, and many states require the bare minimum of information.
Upon filing status on the SoS website, look for an LLC's administrative dissolution, dormancy, merger, annual report, cancellation, conversion, or reinstatement. The LLC must have already submitted this paperwork to the SoS for this to be effective.
Checking the database of registered agents is another option to look up the LLC's owner. Find the registered agent's name in the LLC's formation documentation. But if the registered agent has since changed, this data might not be accurate.
2. DMV Searches
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website allows you to look up the LLC's owners when you have an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
You can perform a business search online for any registered vehicles to that LLC using the business name or address based on your state. You may contact the LLC over the phone and ask for a list of all their registered vehicles.
3. Finding by Brand Registry, Corporate Name, And Trademark
You can check if any other businesses are using the same business name by running a trading name and trademark search of the LLC's name and address.
This is because another entity may have the same LLC name without being part of the same company or group, in which case they need to be able to keep working under the same name.
If you know the owner's name but not their address, perform a reversed trade name or trademark search.
You may also check if the LLC was a member of a trade group for the industry. If this is the case, you could browse the online directory and get the details from search results.
4. Conducting a Personal Property tax database Search
Businesses must submit tax reports and pay yearly taxes on their property.
This open data is searchable online. For instance, the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) levies taxes on various business entities and collects them depending on the property address.
The location of the company's principal office in that state, and the registered agent for the LLC, can be found in a property tax database.
When looking up a company in Maryland, the SDAT only provides the address of the principal place of business; it does not include the phone number. Use that address in a web search for a phone number. Once you find the phone number, you can call the company and ask about the owner of the LLC.
5. Performing a Regulatory License Search
If you're looking for an LLC owner who works in a regulated sector like real estate, healthcare, hospitality, or banking, another search option is their regulatory license. You will get a list of every company in the state that has an operating license in that industry, which might allow you to focus your research.
6. Searching Financial Institutions and Fictitious Names
If the LLC you're interested in operates in the finance sector, note that states have financial regulators with searchable databases. Sometimes an LLC will use a fictional name distinct from the owners. In some states, the company owner must reserve a fictitious name with the Department of Assessments and Taxation. They must disclose the full legal name, address, and nature of the business. Identifying the LLC owner may be possible with the help of this information.
7. Personal Visit to a Government Office
Let's say your web search did not turn up any results, and you are aware of the location or state of the LLC. In that scenario, it might be more practical to go in person and file a record request form to a government office.
This method is beneficial if you're trying to find an LLC that is no longer in operation.
8. Getting in Touch With the Members of the LLC
As a final resort if you can't locate them by any of the methods mentioned above, get in touch with the LLC's members and ask who the owner is. Since the members might not want to provide you such information, this approach could take some time. Nevertheless, it's worth trying if you've exhausted all other options and need the owner's contact information.
An LLC owner may choose to remain anonymous in several states in the US. With that said, their name and address along with their registered agent are included in the public records in most states.
Unless you have workers or must submit excise tax reports, a sole proprietorship conducting business through an LLC does not need to have a separate EIN. Owners of single-member LLCs automatically use their own Social Security number or tax identification number to record the LLC revenues and losses on their tax returns. Due to the IRS's view that single-member LLC owners are not the LLC's employees, they don't need to have separate EINs. But you must get an EIN and file employment taxes if your single-member LLC employs other workers.
Financial or legal debt is known as liability. The term "limited liability" refers to limiting an owner's obligation.
An owner who invests a specific sum in a limited liability business structure like an LLC is only at risk for the sum of their investment. The owner is not personally liable for business's debts and commitments that are more than its assets.