Businesses are generally required to maintain some records with the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office in order to enjoy the legal benefits of being a corporation or for an out-of-state company to lawfully conduct business in Minnesota. Sole proprietors also commonly file assumed names or “doing business as” information with the Secretary of State’s office. Secured creditors also file various secured interest documents, which may provide information regarding any liens or other secured interests in a debtors’ property. As is true for all public record information, business-filing records are only as accurate and up to date as what was provided to the government. That being said, a great deal of identification, location and ownership information may be obtained from the Secretary of State’s records.
Access to Business Registration Information
The Minnesota Secretary of State’s office is located at:
Minnesota Secretary of State
180 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155
And may be contacted by the following means for business registration information:
Phone: (651) 296-2803, Toll Free: 1-877-551-6767 Office Hours: 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
A simple phone call or visit to their website will obtain information about a registered business. Information available includes proper entity name, registered addresses for service of process (if provided), persons registered to accept service of process (if provided), business location, type of entity, good standing status, year of formation, filing numbers, etc. All of this information may provide valuable information in locating debtors and their assets. It is also helpful for properly effecting post judgment remedies.
Access to Secured Transaction (UCC) and Tax Lien Records
UCC filings and tax lien filings may provide a wealth of information about particular debtors’ location and assets. Those records are maintained by the Secretary of State’s office and are accessible in person, by mail or on the Internet. All manners of access have a minimal processing fee associated with the documents’ retrieval, photocopying and mailing.
The Minnesota Central Filing System is a combination of the Secretary of State’s office and 80 individual county satellite offices. Certified searches and inquiry searches (UCC-11 requests form available at http://www.sos.state.mn.us/uccd/ucc11.pdf) can be requested from any county filing office or the Secretary of State’s office. The results provided are inclusive of all county offices.
In order to do a fully comprehensive search, it is recommended creditors’ counsel does not only rely on what is provided by the State. A much better practice is for creditors’ or their representatives to conduct their own search of the State’s records. The main point is to run differing name variations searches on the same company. Of course, this may be done by driving to the Secretary of State’s office, or via its website for a yearly access fee.