One of our clients recently contacted us regarding the legitimacy of a document they received in the mail (see image below). The document was sent by a company calling itself United Certificate Services with an address in Tallahassee, FL. While the document looks official, it is being sent by a company that is in no way related to the Florida Secretary of State or any government agency for that matter. The notice is titled “2014 Certificate of Status Request Form” and appears to be targeting newly registered businesses in the State of Florida. The notice implies that business owners need to complete one final step and remit a payment of $47 to attain a copy of their Florida Certificate of Good Status.

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations has the following disclaimer on its website regarding Certificates of Status:
CONSUMER ALERT: Once an entity is properly formed, incorporated, organized, or registered on the records of this office, it is not required to purchase or receive a certificate of status to be considered a valid business entity or registration. Please disregard any notices or solicitations you may receive to the contrary. These notices are NOT from the Dept. of State, Division of Corporations, or any other state or federal agency.

If you’re ever suspicious of any documentation that you receive, don’t hesitate to call the appropriate state office (if you know who it is) or our offices at 800.533.7272, as we’re here to help!

Certificate of Status Request Form

In mid-March, the West Virginia House of Delegates and the State Senate unanimously agreed to pass Senate Bill 316, also known as the “Boots to Business” bill. The purpose of the bill is to support those who have served our country by waiving registration fees and the first four annual report fees for any new business started by a veteran—a potential savings of up to $200. The Secretary of State’s office will absorb the cost of waiving the fees, meaning taxpayers won’t have to shell out any additional money. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed the bill into law on April 1, meaning registration fee waivers will begin for veteran businesses on July 1, 2015. For more information on the bill, visit the West Virginia Secretary of State website here.

All business entities incorporated, qualified or registered to do business in Maryland as of January 1, 2015 are required to file an annual personal property return with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) by April 15. This return is required for all corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), limited liability partnerships (LLPs), limited partnerships (LPs), real estate investment trusts (REITs) and business trusts–even if the business owns no property in Maryland or has not conducted any business activity during the year.

The SDAT does send blank forms to the principal office of record; however, the department holds that even if you do not receive the blank form you are still responsible for obtaining and filing one on time. Blank forms as well as 2-month filing extension forms (also due by April 15) can be found online here.

The Mississippi Secretary of State wants customers to know that the Business Services website is experiencing delays due to the excessively high volume of filers attempting to file annual reports online. The office is currently installing additional technology to help reduce the delay users are experiencing; however, they are asking that customers be patient during the implementation period. Corporation and LLCs have until April 15, 2015 to file their annual report, and the filings must be done online. Failure to file may result in the administrative dissolution of the corporation or LLC. If you need any assistance filing your annual report in Mississippi, please contact us at 888.272.3725.

The annual registration renewal period for corporate entities registered in the state of Georgia is January 1, 2015 through 11:59p.m. on Wednesday, April 1, 2015. In order to keep your entity in “good standing” in the state of Georgia, you must file annual registrations and pay the renewal fee by the deadline. Registration fees are as follows: $50 for profit corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), limited partnerships (LPs), and RICO/Alien corporations; $30 for nonprofit corporations; and $25 for foreign limited liability partnerships (LLPs).

Failing to file by the deadline will result in a $25 late fee, as well as running the risk of being administratively dissolved, which can be disastrous. Your entity can lose its ability to appear in court, be fined several hundreds of dollars, be subject to additional fees for requalification, existing contracts may be void, and you could lose your entity’s name among other things. There are several common mistakes to lookout for when filing your annual registrations. We’ve listed the most common ones below to help you avoid errors.

  • Wrong form submitted
  • Incorrect fee amount submitted
  • Registered agent lists an out of state or P.O. Box address
  • The information provided on the application is incomplete
  • There is no signature or an improper signature

That being said, we know how difficult it can be to keep track of annual reports, lists, or statements and complete accurate and timely filings. If you’d rather avoid the headaches involved in maintaining compliance, consider our Managed Annual Report Services (MARS) to ensure timely and correct filings, with little effort on your part.

Our compliance specialists will track each of your entities for you, in each state, as well as their required report filings throughout the year. We’ll preform an audit of each entity upon enrollment to ensure good standing. Then, our experts will compile and prepare the required forms, request signatures when necessary, submit documents for your review, advance annual report fees on your behalf, and file and track all reports – ensuring that they are filed correctly and timely.

Let us take it all off your desk so that you can focus on your day-to-day business. Give us a call at 888.272.3725 or email us at RAinfo@myparacorp.com to learn more.

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The latest issue of our newsletter, the Alert, is out now! This issue is packed with up-to-date state changes, Parasec announcements, and interviews with experienced professionals. Read it all online here.

If you’re interested in being added to our mailing list, email parasec@parasec.com with the following information:

– First & Last Name
– Email Address
– Firm Name
– Firm Mailing Address

Please include the phrase “Parasec Newsletter” in the subject line. We look forward to hearing from you!

As previously stated in our annual newsletter, the Alert, the Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder County Clerk’s Office now requires all original, refile, and new Fictitious Business Name Statements to be accompanied by a notarized Affidavit of Identity form, effective January 1, 2015.

The 2015 form has just been updated to include a signature field on the actual Affidavit of Identity form, rather than just the Fictitious Business Name Statement. It is important to note that if Parasec is filing the documents on your behalf, an Agent Authorization form will also be needed, in addition to the Fictitious Business Name Statement and Affidavit of Identity form.

To access the new form, go here.

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