FAQs - Personal Information in Public Filings

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Will my personal information be available to the public?

Yes. Please be aware that when you submit documents for filing with the Secretary of State you are making a public record. Accordingly, all of the information and the documents you provide for filing are available to the public for viewing and copying. Third-party websites and Internet search engines also access and use this information, including your name as well as any mailing and street addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses that you provide in public filings.

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Why does the Secretary of State make this information public?

The California Constitution and the California Public Records Act mandate that the Secretary of State provide public access to its records for viewing and copying.

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How can I see public filings with the Secretary of State?

Public filings with the Secretary of State are available for in person inspection by making a request at the public counters located at the Office of the Secretary of State, 1500 11th Street, Sacramento, California. Agency personnel are available at the public counters from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on State holidays. No appointment is required to inspect or copy public records at the public counters. However, depending on the nature of a request or the volume of customers, reasonable delays may occur in processing a request. More information is available through the Secretary of State's Guidelines for Access to Public Records.

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Will the information in my filings help provide contact information for someone interested in contacting me, my named representative(s) or my business?

Yes. The public uses the Secretary of State's records to identify the principals related to the particular type of filing to validate business and financial transactions, as well as for providing legal notices. Providing accurate information and keeping this information up to date is important in order to do business lawfully.

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How can I prevent my personal information from being placed on the Secretary of State's website?

Each person providing the information contained in public filings, as well as each person submitting the documents for filing with the Secretary of State, is responsible for ensuring that any confidential information is not included. Any information a person wishes to keep out of the public record should not be included in an initial filing or in any subsequent filing submitted to the Secretary of State, unless that information is required by statute to be provided. If a person is concerned with providing a residential street address, there are private companies that for a fee provide office space, street and mailing addresses, and other business services. However, the statutory minimum content requirements for filings with the Secretary of State must be met. Also, a P.O. Box number may be provided for a mailing address.

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Why is my business information now appearing on Internet search engines?

Filings and information in those filings with Secretary of State are public records. Individuals and private companies use this public information to create third-party access to these records. Please note that the Secretary of State is not responsible for how these entities present this publicly available information and cannot control these business practices. Public information in filings with the Secretary of State includes mailing and street addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers provided in the filings, as well as any changes or updates made to this information through subsequent filings out the life of the record.

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What personal information may be removed from the record?

Personal information that is not required by statute to be included in a filing, should not be included in the filing. Personal information that is required by statute to be included in filings, cannot be removed from those filings.

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How may I remove other personal information from the public records?

Prior to termination, corporations and limited liability companies that include unnecessary personal information in a Statement of Information can file a new complete Statement of Information, which will supersede the previous filing. By statute, the previous Statements of Information then can be purged from the Secretary of State's records. If a lien filing contains a social security number, a person may contact the Secretary of State to identify the exact location of the document and the Secretary of State will redact the number. However, other personal information contained in public filings must remain part of the public record, except personal information protected by a specific statute. The Secretary of State redacts driver’s licenses, social security numbers, credit card information, and banking information, when possible from public filings. This highly sensitive personal information only should be submitted in a public filing when specifically required by statute. Please note that detailed financial transaction information for any payments made by check or with a credit card, charge card or bank card is confidential as well as secure, and never is made part of any publicly available Secretary of State record.

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How can I change my business entity's mailing address or other addresses?

Corporations and limited liability companies update address information on the Secretary of State's records by filing a Statement of Information. For other types of filings, updated address information for filings with the Secretary of State can be submitted through a subsequent amendment or amended filing.

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