Shades of Color LLC is a privately held limited liability company based in the United States. As a limited liability company (LLC), ownership of Shades of Color LLC may be held by one or more individuals, entities, or members. LLCs provide benefits like limited personal liability protection and pass-through taxation that make them a popular choice for certain business structures. While specifics of ownership are not public record, there are a few ways to get an idea about who owns an LLC like Shades of Color.
Check State Records
One of the first places to look for ownership information is in state records where the LLC was formed. Most states require LLCs to file public formation documents called articles of organization. These articles don’t list owners or members but they often name a registered agent which could provide clues. Any changes of registered agent on record could indicate a potential ownership change as well.
Many states also require annual or biennial reports to stay active or remain in good standing. Looking at any recent reports for changes can help identify current LLC members. Some annual reports may explicitly list managing members or others involved in the business. Not all states make annual reports public though, and member/manager data is not always included.
Search the LLC Operating Agreement
An LLC’s operating agreement is essentially an ownership and governance contract among LLC members. This document would definitively list equity percentages owned by each member. However, operating agreements are not typically public information.
Members of an LLC may record an operating agreement in county records if they choose to. And banks or lenders may also file a copy of the agreement to attach to secured interests in loans given to the LLC. So it is possible but unlikely to gain access to an LLC’s operating agreement.
Obtain Information from the Company
The most direct method of finding ownership details for a private LLC is to request it from the company directly. Many businesses will provide verifiable information about owners or members to establish credibility and transparency.
If you are looking for LLC ownership details for business or compliance purposes, the company may be willing to disclose in order to proceed with a transaction or relationship. Official requests from authorities may also legally compel LLCs to provide ownership information in certain situations.
Search Sources Outside the Company
There are also a few other potential sources of information about LLC owners from outside the company itself:
- Websites and social media of the LLC may mention members
- Trade publications or industry directories could list LLC stakeholders
- Court documents like lawsuits and tax cases name involved parties
- Patent and trademark filings identify applicants and assignees
News articles reporting on the company, interviews with representatives, and other media sources could also reveal details about key personnel and backers. Investigating connections between an LLC and known associated companies or individuals may uncover affiliations as well.
Search by Member/Manager Name
If you happen to find a specific name connected to an LLC through any of the above methods, you can try searching other sources directly for that individual. Public records searches can turn up addresses, employment details, political donations, and associations providing more clues about the LLC stake.
You may also be able to find other businesses affiliated with the name that could have financial ties back to the original LLC. Biographical databases like LexisNexis provide personal and professional background details that may include other ventures.
Obtain a Dun & Bradstreet Report
Business credit reporting agency Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) collects in-depth profiles on hundreds of millions of companies globally. D&B reports include fields listing principal owners which would name LLC members.
Anyone can purchase a one-time D&B report on a company, but they are not inexpensive. Prices may range from $120-$600+ depending on report type, so this represents more of an investment in identifying LLC ownership rather than a casual inquiry.
Search Financing Documents
Documents related to an LLC’s business financing activities could also shed light on ownership. For example:
- Loan applications submitted to lenders
- UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) financing statements
- Security agreements with creditors/investors
- Loan guarantees and promissory notes
These types of financial records allow lenders to verify details about the LLC borrower. They could name managing members or require owner guarantees as a condition of receiving financing. Accessing these documents would likely require consent from one of the involved parties though.
Check Related Court Cases
Disputes involving an LLC like lawsuits, divorce proceedings, and probate matters may end up requiring disclosure of ownership details. Names of LLC members could appear:
- On court documents filed in the case
- In hearing or trial transcripts
- Within final judgments and settlement agreements
Some publicly accessible court records can be researched online through search services like LexisNexis CourtLink which aggregates cases across multiple states and jurisdictions.
Search Tax Lien Filings
The IRS can file tax liens against businesses that owe back taxes. An IRS tax lien publicly names the taxpayer business responsible for the debt. In the case of LLCs, the business owners/members may also be identified.
Tax liens can be searched on the IRS website or third-party real estate data services. However, finding owner details will depend on how specific the IRS chose to be in a particular lien filing.
Publicly identifying the ownership behind an LLC like Shades of Color requires piecing together information from a variety of sources. While formation records and annual reports provide some clues, an LLC’s members and percentages owned are not automatically public information in many cases.
Discovering more details often involves searching public records for mentions of associated names plus seeking out adjacent legal and financial documents that may cite ownership. Even then, certain LLCs and their members can remain relatively unknown without voluntary disclosure or a formal inquiry.
|State business records
|Registered agent, annual reports
|LLC operating agreement
|Member names and ownership %
|Company website, media mentions
|Possible member names
|Dun & Bradstreet report
|Principal owners listed
|Members disclosed in proceedings
|IRS tax liens
|Taxpayer business and members
Putting the Pieces Together
Identifying LLC ownership requires persistence and creativity in piecing together disparate clues from various sources. It often takes a combination of investigating public records, pressuring the company, researching associated entities/individuals, and consulting data reporting firms. Even then, LLCs can still shield member names.
Publicly accessible options to start with are state business registrations, media mentions, legal cases involving the LLC, and tax lien filings against the entity. Compiling multiple data points raises chances of discovering at least one or more owner/member names. Those can then be further researched to potentially uncover additional ties back to the LLC.
LLC ownership details are not centrally located or necessarily public. Successfully determining who owns an LLC like Shades of Color requires expanding the search to wrap around the LLC itself. Examining the surrounding network of affiliations both business and personal can unlock more insights on the individuals behind an LLC.
Owning Complex Business Structures
LLCs themselves can have complex ownership structures obscuring the identity of those in control:
- Nesting – An LLC can own another subsidiary LLC with its own members
- Holding companies – A parent entity LLC owns part or all of one or more other LLCs
- Foreign owners – Overseas individuals or companies hold membership stake
Even large companies like celebrity brands or real estate investment firms leverage nested LLCs. This deepens the need to research layers below and beyond just the one LLC entity.
LLCs can also be owned by trusts, other partnerships, or shell companies further masking ownership on paper. It takes time untangling the web of entities to eventually connect back to underlying human owners.
Tracking Down Hidden Owners
Those trying to obscure LLC ownership still leave trails that can be uncovered by tracing business and transaction records:
- Corporate filing histories of nested entities
- Linked addresses and representatives on registrations
- Loans, licensing, and mergers connecting enterprises
- Shared vendors, employees, facilities across LLCs
Forensic accounting can follow money flows between bank accounts to identify common control. Familial relationships of managers can uncover hidden member ties.
Even distant weak point associations like social media connections can become solid leads when pieced together. Persistence pays off when untangling complex LLC ownership.
Motivations for Anonymity
There are a variety of reasons LLC owners may want to keep member names private:
- Avoid personal legal liability
- Prevent competitors learning about business activities
- Avoid publicity and attention
- Obscure transactions or assets from authorities
In legitimate cases, LLC anonymity provides liability protection and dissociation of personal and enterprise affairs. But unfortunately it can also be exploited to enhance illegal tax avoidance, fraud, money laundering and other crimes.
How States Are Increasing Transparency
In response to misuse of LLC secrecy, some states are enacting reforms to increase ownership transparency:
- Collecting and updating beneficial ownership information
- Making annual reports detail managing members
- Allowing public access to operating agreements
- Cross-referencing LLCs with identified business owners
However most states still permit LLCs to be registered without naming any members. And few states mandate public disclosure of LLC membership details.
Some federal lawmakers continue pushing for a national database of company beneficial owners modeled on reforms in the UK and EU. But progress remains slow in the face of ongoing lobbying and debate over costs versus benefits.
Identifying who owns an LLC requires piecing together fragments from business filings, legal disputes, news reports, and public records. Despite limitations, enough clues can shed light on those hiding behind the protections LLCs offer. Persistence and creativity are key when ownership details are actively obscured.