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Does my business have to register to do business in California?

Lots of people who do business in California started their companies right here and continue to do business primarily in California. However, there are also thousands of businesses, small and large, that do business transactions and projects in California even though they are registered or were formed in other states or countries. These national and international companies also have registration and filing requirements before doing business in California.

Just like corporations, LLCs and other businesses formed in California, foreign business entities are subject to very similar registration requirements with the Secretary of State. In fact, the website for the Secretary of State provides a brief "how-to" guide, but also cautions foreign and interstate corporations that they should strongly consider seeking the assistance of qualified California legal counsel prior to submitting these documents.

When it comes to the behemoth California government, things need to be done a certain way. Documents must be filled out a specific way, and failure to meet requirements on a single document may be the difference between getting approval and facing a lengthy rejection and reapplication process.

In addition to having to fill out complicated paperwork, knowing when and where to file is also an important part of the process. Some types of businesses must also file additional documents with other California government agencies, and failure to get the proper clearance can result in major fines, tax penalties and other negative consequences. Much like business formation, registration of an out-of-state business can be an essential step that can make or break a business in the long run.

California has a strong and competitive commercial environment, but with so many projects available and progress being made in Southern California, it's no wonder that others want to get in on the action. Before they do, though, they may want to be sure they have the proper authorization to do so.

Source: California Secretary of State "FAQ" accessed May 11, 2015

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