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April 2nd Deadline – DC Biennial Reports and Trade Name Renewals!

ReportsEvery two years, entities doing business in the District of Columbia (DC) are required to file biennial reports to maintain its authority to do business.   During the report filing period, you may update your principal office address, make changes to the governors of the entity (officers, directors, managers and/or members), and change your registered agent.

Additionally, if you have a trade name that will expire this year, you must renew your trade name by April 2nd to avoid cancellation.

ReportsIf the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) does not receive your report or renewal by April 2nd, a $100 penalty will be assessed, in addition to filing fees.  After August 31st, the trade name will be cancelled and the entity will be revoked.

Don’t risk your good standing with DCRA!  Let Incserv assist with filing your report and renewing your trade name!   You can click on the link to our website to place your order https://incserv.com/franchise-taxannual-report-order-form/?v=317b9cf9fc4d.

If you have any questions or would like additional information about our compliance services, simply e-mail us at DCorders@incserv.com or call us at 202.386.7575 or 877.531.1131.  We will be happy to assist!

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DC Biennial Reports & Trade Name Renewals Due by April 2nd!

Biennial Report, DCIn order to maintain its authority to do business in the District of Columbia (DC), registered entities are required to file a biennial report the year after registering with the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and every two years thereafter. 

The biennial report filing period allows for updating officers, directors, managers and/or members.   Additionally, you may now elect to change your registered agent at this time!  Incorporating Services, Ltd. would be honored to represent you in DC and all 50 states!

Also, if your trade name is expiring this year, you must renew your trade name by April 2nd or risk having the registration cancelled after August 31st.  This is consistent with the biennial report filing requirement.  Don’t lose your registrations! Blank forms may be found on the DCRA website at https://dcra.dc.gov/node/514502. Let Incserv help you to stay in compliance!

As always, if you have any questions about biennial reports or need assistance with filing, we are more than happy to help. Simply e-mail us at dcorders@incserv.com or call us at 202.386.7575 or 877.531.1131.

Deirdre Davis-Washington, Assistant Vice President

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Legalization Blog Series – Part 3

DC,, legalizationPart 3 of our Legalization Blog Series discusses embassies and consulates, the differences between the two, its functions and how to navigate through its processes to have your documents legalized for use outside of the United States.

Embassy vs. Consulate

Embassies are typically located within the capital city of a country.   Foreign Embassies within the United States are located in Washington, DC.  For most U.S. documents to be used in other countries, as long as the documents have been authenticated by the U.S. Department of State, the Embassy in Washington DC will legalize it for use in the destination country.   There are some exceptions:  Egypt, Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are examples of countries that will require use of a consulate office within the jurisdiction of the document’s origin for legalization, after receiving the U.S. Department of State’s authentication.

Consulate offices are smaller versions of Embassies and are designed to assist with local matters involving its citizens and business abroad.  Consulates are generally located in major cities like Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Houston and Miami.  These offices have officials that are able to review documents which have originated within their local jurisdictions, providing the necessary stamps, seals, and signatures for legalization.  If a country has a local consulate office, in some cases, the document can go direct from the Secretary of State to the Consulate office, avoiding federal authentication.  https://www.embassypages.com/ is a great resource for determining which countries have local consulates and where.

Getting Your Documents Processed!

It is important to remember, each Embassy will have its own chain of requirements for legalization processing.   Some will require full copies of documents, special forms and applications to accompany the documents, various acceptable payment methods, etc.  The People’s Republic of China’s (China) Authentication Form is one most people are familiar with in doing business with China.   Also known as the “G1” form, the form must be completed in all caps, bold print, and must be signed by the applicant, as well as the agent that will be presenting the document to the Embassy for legalization on the applicant’s behalf.  Additionally, the Embassy will require a copy of the applicant’s and agent’s passport and/or driver’s license.  This form has been changed a few times over the years.  For the most recent form, visit the Embassy’s website at: http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/visas/fd/.

Keeping up with these steps may seem a little overwhelming, but we are certainly here to assist where you need us!  With our daily experiences in working with the embassies, an Incserv representative can make sure your documents in need of legalization are processed accurately and quickly!  In the final part of the series, we’ll provide tips on avoiding rejection and getting your documents processed to ensure your deadlines are met!

Thanks for reading!

Deirdre Davis-Washington, Assistant Vice President

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The Federal Government Is Open For Business! But What If It Hadn’t?

DC Flag, federal Government How the Government Shutdown Affects the Legal Services Industry.

Hours before the deadline Friday, January 19th, it appeared Congress would not reach an agreement to avoid a shutdown of the Federal government.  Clients had begun to inquire whether or not their requests for Federal services would be processed, such as legalizations, authentications, USPTO …. And even embassies!  Fortunately, Congress came to an agreement quickly after only one business day, but this situation could emerge again – so what would happen in the case of a Federal Government shutdown?

U.S. Department of State

Generally, most government agencies with which we work most frequently generate their own revenues, which allows these agencies to operate (some, temporarily), in the event of a shutdown.  For example, business can be conducted with the U.S. Department of State because, as with the shutdown of 2013, the authentications office would be able to process visa applications and other consular services using revenues generated from fees it charges for these services.  Embassies would typically be unaffected, as they are governed by the laws of their own country.

Other Federal Agencies

Like the Department of State, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) remains open, funding its operations using the fees it collects; however, in the past this has only been for a few weeks. The Office of Comptroller of Currency (OCC), as per its website, is “funded through assessments on supervised institutions and not Congressional appropriations, OCC operations are not affected by a government shutdown from a lapse in budget authority.”  This means we are able to request certificates of corporate existence and other certified documents for national banks and savings banks.  The Surface Transportation Board, an independent agency, where railcar liens are recorded and searched, was one of the agencies affected and could not operate.

District of Columbia

If you didn’t know, DC does not have autonomy over its own budget!  In the past, the District of Columbia would have been affected by the shutdown.  However, thanks to legislation sponsored by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton passed in 2017, DC was not affected by the shutdown.    With the new legislation, DC government agencies including the Department of Consumer of Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), Recorder of Deeds, and the Department of Notary and Authentications, will now be business as usual during a Federal shutdown!

For more information on our federal agency services, you may click on the following link: https://incserv.com/federal-agency-embassy-services/federal-services/?v=7516fd43adaa . If you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to reach out to one our experienced staff members.  We are happy to assist!

Deirdre Davis-Washington, Assistant Vice President

 

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Closed Columbus Day – October 9th

Reminder…

All District of Columbia and Federal Government Offices will be closed on Monday, October 9th in observance of Columbus Day.  Our Washington, DC office will be open during regular business hours and will be able to provide nationwide assistance and limited services in the District.

The following District services will be available: UCC searches with copy retrieval, lien and court searches, corporate status searches and name availability.

The following District services will not be available: corporate filings, document retrievals, business license services, UCC filings, apostilles and notary certifications.

Most Foreign Embassies will be closed. However, for those Embassies that are open we will be able to provide service.

District offices will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, October 10th.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact our Washington, DC office at 202.386.7575, 877.531.1131 or dcorders@incserv.com.
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UCC Article 9 – Indexing of Secured Party Names with Titles in Washington, DC

When filing UCCs in Washington, DC, we’ve experienced a few challenges with the incorrect indexing of names, etc.  We are not alone in this struggle, as the District of Columbia has often been referred to as “the worst indexing system in the country.”  While we’re pretty sure the folks at the DC Recorder of Deeds (ROD) didn’t intend for this to be the case, we’ve become accustomed to it and double check to ensure proper indexing of UCCs we file. Recently we ran into an issue we were sure was an error, which prompted us to do some digging, and we learned something new.

After filing a UCC1 financing statement with the DC ROD, our client requested a post-filing UCC search (search to reflect) to confirm both the indexing of the debtor and secured party names. The UCC1 listed the Secured Party as “ABC123, NA, as Agent” on the filing.  The client intended to have the entire name of the secured party indexed in the ROD’s records.  However, when searched, we found it was not indexed as submitted.  We questioned what happened to the “as Agent” language in the secured party name.  The DC ROD stated “as Agent” is considered a title, per their general indexing guidelines (not made available to the public).  As a result, they can and had excluded the words in the indexing of the name.

We questioned the legality of this indexing rule and informally reached out to Norman Powell, of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP to ask his opinion on the matter. Norman Powell is considered the “go-to guy” for UCC matters, having authored various articles and presented many educational seminars on the topic of secured transactions. Mr. Powell agreed there was a bit of ambiguity in “capturing information as rendered in a filing and as prescribed by the rules consistent with Article 9.”  He further went on to say unlike names of debtors, secured party names are not subject to the strict “search logic test” made applicable by 9-506.   The secured party’s agency capacity is “purely optional and would not affect the effectiveness of the financing statement.”

So, in this case of the missing “as Agent”, we’ve learned this was not another “indexing error”, but rather the DC ROD truly was not required to include the title in the name of the secured party when indexing the name.

For questions about or assistance with filing or searching UCCs in Washington, DC, feel free to reach out to us.

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Why Guatemala?

Recently, we’ve seen an increase in document legalization requests for Guatemala which sparked our curiosity.  Additionally, in just a few months, on September 18, 2017, Guatemala will become a member of the Hague Apostille Convention. Interested by the uptick and new Hague membership, we did some research to find out “Why Guatemala?”

During our exploration we came across this article on Virgin’s website: The world’s best start-up hubs: Guatemala City, Guatemala.  To our surprise, Guatemala is a hub for Telecom companies!  Strategically located between two oceans, with ports on each ocean, and an EST time zone, Guatemala is well positioned for importing, exporting, and outsourcing.  Furthermore, Guatemala has an amazing resource in its population of hardworking and talented people.  All of these factors combine to make Guatemala an appealing destination for business start-ups.

So, what does Hague Convention membership mean?  Beginning on September 18, 2017, Guatemala will no longer require consular or embassy legalization for documents destined for use in Guatemala.  Instead, an apostille from the appropriate Secretary of State or U.S. Department of State, for federal documents, will be accepted.  Interested in seeing a list of all countries member of or party to the Hague Convention?  Click here.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact our Washington, DC office at 202.386.7575, 877.531.1131 or dcorders@incserv.com.

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Emancipation Day – April 17th

Just a Reminder…

All District of Columbia government offices are closed today Monday, April 17th in observance of Emancipation Day.  Although our Washington, DC office will be open during regular business hours, DC specific services are limited.

The following District services will be available: UCC searches with copy retrieval, corporate status searches and name availability.

The following District services will not be available: corporate filings, document retrievals, business license services, UCC filings, apostilles and notary certifications.

Federal Agency and Foreign Embassy services are not affected by this closing.

District offices will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, April 18th.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact our Washington, DC office at 202.386.7575, 877.531.1131 or dcorders@incserv.com.

 

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Washington DC Closings for Inauguration Day 2017

The Office of Authentications at the United States Department of State in Washington DC will be closed on Thursday, January 19, 2017, as well as, Friday, January 20, 2017 respectively due to the inauguration.

Normal business hours will resume on Monday, January 23, 2017.

In addition, the Federal government in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and the District of Columbia government offices will be closed on Friday, January 20th for Inauguration Day.

Please let your Client Services Representative know, if you have an upcoming project that may be affected by these closings. They will advise you of processing options, if available, to avoid delays.

Our Washington, DC office will be staffed both of these days and will be available at dcorders@incserv.com.

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DC Gov’t Offices Closed October 10th

All District of Columbia and Federal Government Offices will be closed on Monday, October 10th in observance of Columbus Day. Our Washington, DC office will be open during regular business hours and will be able to provide nationwide assistance and limited services in the District.

The following District services will be available: UCC searches with copy retrieval, lien and court searches, corporate status searches and name availability.

The following District services will not be available: corporate filings, document retrievals, business license services, UCC filings, apostilles and notary certifications.

Most Foreign Embassies will be closed. However, for those Embassies that are open we will be able to provide service.

District offices will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, October 11th.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact our Washington, DC office at 202.386.7575, 877.531.1131 or dcorders@incserv.com.