California Advises Some Filings are 4+ Months Behind


Budget woes continue to plague the California Secretary of State’s office (just try to get a live person on the phone). One area that has been hit, hard, is document processing time.

You can check California’s document processing schedule here: http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/be/processing-times.htm. And, while incorporations and amendments aren’t too bad (at least if you use in-person filing), take a look at how far off Statements of Information are. Whether filed in person or by mail, the Secretary of State is currently processing statements filed in JUNE.

So, what can you do? Well, first off, make sure that you keep a copy of everything you send to the Secretary of State. You may need to show a banker or someone else that your corporate records are up to date, and at least having a copy of your document with the date you submitted it, is better than nothing.

Second, make sure you send documents into the state with some kind of tracking. I like to use Priority Mail, because the post office has a simple web application that lets me print of labels from anywhere. But you could also go the Certified Mail, return receipt route, or even pay for a UPS or FedEx courier.

Having tracking means that you can show when your documents were received by the state. And, with a 4+ month processing delay, you may need that proof. Otherwise, if paperwork is lost, buried or destroyed, you can’t prove when you sent it in. Your tracking information can be the only thing that saves you from penalties and interest for late filing.

But truthfully, there are lots of other states besides California who are overwhelmed with paperwork. I tend to send out everything to a government agency with tracking.

Where the IRS is concerned, I send it all Certified Mail, with Return Receipt, simply because that’s one of their official receipt methods. The IRS won’t be bound by Priority Mail Delivery Confirmation – they want Certified Mail, Express Mail, or a courier service with delivery signature confirmation only. And the IRS is far, far behind with things, too. I’ve learned the very hard way to always document my correspondence with them.

There are many variables when you’re structuring a business. That’s why it’s hard to go through a quick-service website. Unless you talk to someone who’s got some knowledge and experience on both the tax and the legal side, it’s hard to know what you don’t know. And that can leave you vulnerable.

Got questions? Contact us! We’re here for you.

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