Amanda No Comments

Delaware Annual Report & Franchise Tax – Help! Part One

Last week when we discussed Annual Report Services (click here to read that blog), we mentioned most jurisdictions have annual filing Delaware Annual Report & Franchise Taxand/or tax requirements. Delaware is one of those jurisdictions that requires annual report filings and franchise tax payments. Depending on the entity type, both may be required or just one…but, we’ll get into those details later.  Since Delaware also happens to be the jurisdiction we seem to get the most questions about, we decided to tackle the subject in a series of blogs. Today we’ll start by answering just a few basic questions…

What is a Delaware Annual Report? This is a document filed annually with the State of Delaware Division of Corporations detailing pertinent company details. Information such as the Principal Place of Business, Officer and Director details, and stock information are included on the annual report. The stock information provided helps to determine the annual franchise tax due. Not all entities are required to file an annual report.

What is franchise tax? Franchise taxes are an annual fee paid to the State of Delaware Division of Corporations for your entity. For corporations, the franchise tax fee is based on authorized shares. For alternative entities, such as LLCs, the fee is a flat rate. Most entities are required to pay a franchise tax.

What entity types file an annual report and/or pay franchise taxes? When are they due?

Entity Type Annual Report Franchise Tax Due Date
Domestic Corporations Yes Yes March 1st
Exempt Domestic Corporations Yes No March 1st
Domestic Limited Liability Companies No Yes June 1st
Domestic Limited Partnerships No Yes June 1st
Foreign Corporations Yes Yes June 30th
Foreign Limited Liability Companies No Yes June 1st
Foreign Limited Partnerships No Yes June 1st
Delaware Statutory Trusts No No N/A
As mentioned above, these are just the basics. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to discuss Delaware annual reports and franchise taxes in more detail. Be sure to check back weekly or subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out! Of course, if you have a question in the meantime, feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to help you out!

Amanda No Comments

Tell Me More About Annual Report Services

Annual Report Services are one of the truly invaluable ancillary services we offer our registered agent clients.

Most jurisdictions have annual filing and/or tax requirements. In order to stay in good annual report servicesstanding and maintain any legal protections your entity may provide, it’s important these obligations are fulfilled.

Why are Annual Report Services so invaluable?

For reasons we mentioned above, it’s important for your entity to remain active and in good standing. Failure to do so may result in penalty fees, a loss of good standing, and could ultimately find your entity involuntarily dissolved or its authority revoked. While it is usually possible to recover from these situations, it can be a major headache and the costs can really add up. So, why chance it? Annual Report Services are often compared to insurance, as they help insure you don’t miss these crucial deadlines.

To assist with remaining compliant, we offer two options for Annual Report Services:

Option One – Annual Report Monitoring Service (ARMS)

Annual Report Monitoring Service is a reminder service for those do-it-yourselfers who just want a friendly reminder when obligations are due for their entities. With ARMS, we will remind you 60 days ahead of the due date and again 30 days prior. When you get the reminder, you can either fulfill the obligation on your own or tell us you’d like us to handle it for you.

Option Two – Annual Report Filing Service (ARFS)

Annual Report Filing Service is an automated service for those of you who don’t want to worry about it. Think of it as the “auto-pay” feature for your credit card or electric bill. With ARFS, we proactively gather the information we will need to complete any annual filing requirements. When the due date(s) roll around, we prepare and file any reports and/or make annual payments, as well as send you proof of compliance and upload it to your Snapshot account (as available).

If you have any additional questions about or need assistance signing up for one of our Annual Report Services, feel free to reach out to us. We’re here to help make your life easier!

Gennine No Comments

Delaware House Bill 175 Passed

Delaware House Bill 175, passed on July 2nd, alters various fees assessed by the Delaware Secretary of State.  The Bill Synopsis is as follows:

“This Act alters various fees assessed by the Delaware Secretary of State. The Act provides that most changes to the fees and taxes assessed will take effect on August 1, 2017; however increases to the maximum franchise tax and the late penalty for the filing of an annual franchise tax report shall take effect for the tax year beginning January 1, 2017, and the increase of the assumed par value multiplier for calculation of the corporate franchise tax and the authorized shares multiplier for corporations with greater than 10,000 authorized shares for calculation of the corporate franchise tax shall take effect for the tax year beginning on January 1, 2018.”

Click here to read Delaware House Bill 175 in detail.

If you have any questions or need assistance with annual reports or franchise taxes, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Gennine No Comments

Succeeding at Biz: 4 Easy Rules That Will Keep Your Delaware Corporation Alive.

Incorporating Services, Ltd. (Incserv) is very fortunate to repost a wonderful article originally published online at Daily-Journal.com, The Kankakee Valley, Illinois. The author is Mr. Cliff Ennico of The Law Offices of Clifford R. Ennico located at 2490 Black Rock Turnpike, # 354 Fairfield, Connecticut 06825.

The article can be read below in its entirety.

Some friends and I started a high-tech business a couple of years ago and formed a Delaware corporation to run the business. We live and work in another state but were told that Delaware was the place to be for tech startups (it might have been one of your columns, actually).

We formed the corporation online to save money, and it seemed like everything was OK.

A couple of weeks ago, we signed a letter of intent with an angel investor who wants to put $3 million into our company. Needless to say, we were very excited.

But when the investor’s lawyer looked into our company, he made some horrifying discoveries. It seems Delaware killed off our corporation two years ago because we didn’t pay a “franchise tax,” whatever that is. Because our corporation was no longer active, somebody else grabbed our name in Delaware and is now trying to register it as a trademark. If that person succeeds in doing that, we will have to hand over our website domain name even though we’ve spent a fortune building a website around it.

The lawyer also told us that because we never registered in the state where we are actually doing business, we owe tons of money in penalties even though we’ve paid taxes here every year. Now the investor is not so excited about doing business with us. While we are embarrassed as hell, shouldn’t someone have told us we had to do this stuff?

While it could be true that I once wrote a column about the benefits of tech startups incorporating in Delaware, let’s be clear: I never, ever advised someone to form a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) online, and this is one of the reasons. While the online services can get you up and running quickly and cheaply, they don’t help you with the things you need to do on an ongoing basis to keep your corporation or LLC alive. This email is a perfect example of what can happen when you don’t stay on top of things compliance wise.

Having wagged my finger at this reader, I have to say I’m sympathetic to her plight. When you are building a fast-growing tech company, you are working 24/7 365 days per year, living on Red Bull, ramen noodles and three hours of sleep per week. Nobody is thinking about legal compliance. Yet failing to keep on top of things can kill your startup, as this reader’s email attests.

Here are four easy rules that will help keep your corporation or LLC on life support.

Rule No. 1: Hire a lawyer and an accountant, and listen to them! It is impossible to run a tech startup in the United States without a good lawyer and a good accountant. You need both, especially if you are too busy to deal with government paperwork. Whenever your lawyer or accountant tells you something needs to be done, do it immediately! They are not just trying to run up a bill. They are trying to save your butt.

Rule No. 2: Watch your mailbox and inbox. I am certain that the state of Delaware or the corporation’s registered agent sent this reader both emails and snail-mail reminders telling her when annual reports, franchise tax reports and other compliance paperwork were due. She probably threw them away thinking they were junk mail or spam.

This point is so important that I need to scream: WHEN YOU HAVE A CORPORATION OR LLC AND YOU GET MAIL FROM A STATE OR GOVERNMENT AGENCY ADDRESSED TO THE COMPANY, IT IS NEVER, EVER TO BE TREATED AS JUNK MAIL! If you are too busy to deal with it, you should forward the email, or scan and email the paper correspondence to your lawyer and accountant IMMEDIATELY. Let them tell you whether it’s important or not. If they say it’s important, follow Rule No. 1.

Rule No. 3: Pay your registered agent. If you are incorporated in Delaware or a state other than where you are actually located, your online service hired a registered agent in that state to act as your local presence. That company will send you a bill each year for its services. Pay it promptly. If it doesn’t get paid, it will withdraw as your registered agent, and the state will dissolve your corporation or LLC.

Rule No. 4: Register in your home state. Forming a Delaware corporation does not allow you to operate legally in your home state. For that, you need to register as a foreign corporation with your state’s secretary of state and pay taxes to the state tax authority. You have to do both. Failing to register with the secretary of state can lead to heavy penalties and bar you from your state courts if you ever have to sue someone.

Yes, doing these things costs money. But it’s money well-spent. Find the money, and get them done.

Cliff Ennico (crennico@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist, author and former host of the PBS television series “Money Hunt.” This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state.

Special thanks to Mr. Ennico for his insight on properly forming and maintaining your corporate entity. Incserv is here to help, contact us for more information.