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How can we find the owners of a corporation?

Hialeah, FL |

I was told that the names and addresses of the owners of a corporation and the articles of incorporation have to be on file with the Florida secretary of state. However, we can't find this information on sunbiz. How do we find out this information (owners and articles) when it's not on sunbiz? is it legal for a corporation to operate without filing this information with the Florida secretary of state?

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

They are supposed to be on file whether they are a Florida corporation or a foreign corporation. There are a number of search categories, so make sure to check them all. If they are not on there, then they may not actually be legally incorporated, or they may be incorporated somewhere else and not registered. You may need at this point to contact a business attorney to get more information. You don't say what you are trying to do with the information, so it is hard to give you much more guidance than this.

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ******

Posted

The shareholders ("Owners") of a privately-held corporation are not required to be listed or registered with the Florida Division of Corporations. The names of the officers and/or directors are often reflected in the Articles of Incorporation.

If you are a shareholder in the corporation, you have the right under Chapter 607, Fla Statutes, to inspect the corporate books and records which should include a listing of all owners. If you are not a shareholder, you do not have right to know the names of the shareholders in the absence of some contractual right given to you by the corporation or by Court Order if you have a legitimate basis for obtaining this information.

This reponse is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should always seek the advice of an attorney to thoroughly review all of the facts and details of your particular matter before undertaking any course of action in reliance upon such a generalized response.

Posted

Why do you want to know this? Mr. Sheffler is correct that in FL and every other state I'm familiar with, you can't get the names of shareholders or owners of registered corporations either from the Secretary of State where the records are officially filed or from any online database that uses that data.

If it's to sue them or because you have a claim against the Corporation, you can sue them by serving the Secretary of State or any agent designated by their corporate certificate on file with the Secretary of State. You can use the official sunbiz site you used to get information on how to do that or consult with an attorney in Florida.

Posted

I agree with the other response. I just wanted to add that if you cannot locate the owners, it's not that uncommon. You'll have to take depositions and go on a hunt.

It is important that you understand I am not your attorney and you are not my client. Legal advice requires knowledge pertinent facts. Thus, the free advice provided to you here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk because it is impossible to have all the facts available at this time. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in Florida and New York only so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

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