Helpful Filing Tips and Troubleshooting Information

Online systems availability
Tips for filing a Periodic Report
Attach a file to an online transaction
Saving documents as PDFs or text files
Searching the business database
Delayed effective dates
Viewing PDF files
Prepaid accounts
Browser issues
Time out or page not found error

Online Systems Availability

During routine maintenance, our online filing and searching systems are unavailable.  Maintenance is usually scheduled between 2:00 AM and 3:30 AM, MT.  If you have started an online filing or a search before 2:00 AM, you will need to complete it (payment submitted and accepted) before maintenance begins or your task will be interrupted.

We also have scheduled service interruptions at the end of each year. These interruptions are announced in the Business & Licensing news.


Tips for Filing a Periodic Report

Finding an entity's status:
  • On the Business home page, click on "Search business database".
  • Type in either the business name or the ID number and click on "Search".
    If you typed in an ID number, you will go directly to the Summary page. 
    If you typed in the name, you will see a list of search results. Find the record that you are looking for and click on the ID number.
  • On the Summary page, the current status for the entity can be found below the address.


Finding the filing fee:

  • Go to the Fee schedule and review the business filing fees.  There is a link to the fee schedule in the menu on the left side of the page, under "Information Resources".
  • If your report is due soon and the entity is in "Good Standing" status, then your fee will be the Periodic Report fee listed.
  • If your report is overdue and the entity is in "Noncompliant" status, then the late fee will apply.
  • If your entity is in a "Delinquent" status, the Periodic Report is no longer available for filing.  You can bring the entity back into good standing by filing a Statement Curing Delinquency.


To file a Periodic Report:

  • On the Summary page for your entity, click on "File a Form".
  • Click on "File Periodic Report". If a Periodic Report is due, it will be the first option on the list.


Periodic Reports can be filed up to two months before the due date. For example, an entity with a due date of December 31 can file the report as early as October 1.

The last day of the month is always a busy filing day; we recommend that you file early to avoid the traffic.

For more help with Periodic Reports, see the filing instructions.


Attach a File to an Online Transaction

Some forms, such as a Statement of Trademark Registration, require an attachment.  In other cases, you can select an option that will allow you to add an attachment (if needed). 

For example, you might see a statement that says, "This document contains additional information as required by law."  Choose "Yes" to tell our system that you want to add an attachment. 

Continue filling out the form, then follow the steps below.

  • When you have finished filling out the form, click on "Submit".
  • Next, you will see the Manage Attachments page.
  • Click on "Browse" next to the Location section.  A window will open.  Use this window to find the file that you want to attach.  You can only upload one file at a time (up to 5).
    Once you have found the file that you want to attach, click on the file name.  Next, click on "Open".  This will insert the file that you chose into the Location field.
  • Next to Description, type in a description of the file that you attached.  For example, "List of member names" or "Picture of trademark".
  • Click on "Add Attachment".
  • You should now see your attachment listed on the page.  
  • To add another attachment, click on "Browse" again and repeat those steps.
  • To delete an attachment, mark the box next to it (under "Delete") and click on "Delete Attachments".
  • When you have finished adding attachments, click on "Continue".
  • The Transaction Preview page will show you a preview copy of the form and any attachments.
  • If you attached the wrong file or need to add files, click on "Return to Form" to go back.
  • If the Transaction Preview page is showing the correct attachments and the form is correct, click on "Accept" to proceed to the payment page.
The maximum file size for attachments is 4MB.

For best results, attachments should be letter size (8.5" x 11") and in portrait orientation (not landscape). 

You can attach text (.txt) or PDF files.  For trademarks, you can also attach .jpg images.

Don't attach files in rich text format (.rtf).

Do not use special characters or punctuation in file names.

Our software does not currently handle documents signed using electronic signature technology.


Saving Documents as Text Files or PDFs

If you have WordPerfect 9 or newer, you can save a file as a PDF using the "Publish to PDF" feature.

If you have Word 2007 or newer, you can "Save as" a PDF. 

Saving a document as a text-only file will cause all of the formatting in your document to be lost. Text-only format does not support the word-wrap feature that is available in Word documents. which means that text can appear as a continuous string across the screen.  This can cause problems if you need to print an attachment.  Saving the document using "Save as type: Text only with line breaks (*.txt)", should help with this problem if the option is available.  You can also use the "Enter" key to force line breaks in a text document.

To save a .doc or .docx file as a text (.txt) file:

  • Open your document in Word or wordpad.
  • Click on "File" (in Word) or on the wordpad button (the selection to the left of the "Home" tab in newer versions).
  • Click on "Save As".
  • Next to "Save as type:", choose Text only with line breaks (*.txt) or Plain text from the drop-down.
  • Click on "Save".


Searching the Business Database
(This does not apply to "Name availability" searches.)

  • Search by the ID number when you can.  These searches are faster and will give you better results.
  • If you have trouble finding a business name, don't enter the full name.   Try searching for one or two key words.
  • Don't use punctuation.
  • If the entity name begins with initials, group the initials into one word.  For example, to find "A.C.E. Computers, Inc.", try searching for "ACE Computers".
  • Don't use Boolean logic.

If your search gives you a list of possible matches, click on an ID number to choose one.

Search results are listed in alphabetical order.

Our records will show "A", "An" or "The" at the beginning of the name.  "An Original Company, LLC" would be found under "A", not under "O".

If your search has more than 20 possible matches, the results list will be split onto multiple pages.  Click on a page number or "Next 20>" at the top to see more results.


Delayed Effective Dates

Delayed effective dates allow you to file certain forms up to 90 days before they become effective. 

For example, if you need your corporation's date of formation to be January 1, you can submit the Articles of Incorporation up to 90 days before January 1st.  In the delayed effective date field on the form, you would type in the date that the document should become effective (such as 01/01/2012).

You can't backdate a form.


Viewing PDF Files

If you are having problems viewing PDFs on our site, follow these steps.

  • Download and install Adobe® Reader®.  You can also find links to document readers on our downloads page.
  • Open the Adobe Reader application from the start menu.
  • Right click on the document number on our site.
  • Click on "Save Target As…".
  • Select "Desktop" in the Save in box.
  • Open the file from your desktop.

If you are using Nitro PDF Professional or Nuance (ScanSoft) PDF software, you may be unable to file online with us.  You also might have problems when you try to view documents on our site.


Prepaid Accounts

If you do a lot of business with our office, setting up a prepaid account may be a convenient payment option for you.  If you only file once a year, or very seldom, a prepaid account will probably not be helpful to you. 

A minimum initial deposit is required to open a prepaid account.

If you have a prepaid account, you can submit forms online and pay the filing fees using your prepaid account.

For more information, see the prepaid account application (PDF)

Access your prepaid account


Browser Issues

  • Always file one form at a time.  Don't try to file multiple forms at the same time by opening a second browser window or tab.  This can cause any forms that you file to be submitted as blank documents.  

    Review every form on the Transaction Preview page to make certain that it is complete and correct. If you file a form and the fields are blank, please contact our office.


Time out or page not found error

If you encounter an error when filing, refresh the page or do a hard refresh (ctrl + F5). Next, you may need to clear your browser cache. The following instructions will walk you through the troubleshooting process.

Clearing your web browser's cache, cookies, and history can delete unexpected settings on the computer that you may not be aware of.

If you’re on a work computer, please adhere to any company policies that prohibit this activity.


In Chrome, press Ctrl-Shift-Delete, then select “Cached images and files” and “Clear data”.

Internet Explorer:

In Internet Explorer, press Ctrl-Shift-Delete, then select “Temporary Internet files and website files” and “Delete”.


In Firefox, press Ctrl-Shift-Delete, select “Details”. Select the box for “Cache, and then select “Clear now”.

You may need to close your browser and try again. Make sure that you’re accessing our site from