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Is the Government Moving to Technology?

There is no denying that government entities such as state and local regulatory agencies are becoming more technologically savvy, embracing new technology to streamline processes. This means that in many places, business owners can take care of compliance requirements without having to wait in line at a government office or file paperwork in person.

For example, in April, Tennessee’s governor signed a law authorizing the Tennessee Secretary of State to accept electronic transmission of LLC documents such as articles of organization. The law allows the Secretary of State to permit businesses to submit such documents “in electronic form to the extent practicable.” This change is significant because, before that time, a person wishing to form an LLC would need to go in person to the Secretary of State’s office or send the paperwork through the mail. Arizona made a similar move in 2015, noting then that new technology would make filing procedures a bit easier now that they were online for 50,000 businesses that formed as LLCs that year.

These are just two of many examples of corporate legal filings becoming easier as more and more governmental entities allow online filings.

Some states still require certain aspects of business filings to be completed on paper. For instance, New Jersey allows most entities doing business in New Jersey to form a business entity online with the Department of Revenue. However, any out-of-state (foreign) business using a “doing business as” (“DBA”) name cannot file online and must still file formation documents in paper form.

Ohio uses a web-based filing system that allows business entities to establish an account, submit original filings, and submit subsequent filings. A 157-page user guide for this system is available for business entities who are new to Ohio’s online system. Ohio’s online portal also allows a user to view previous filings. Being able to view past filings improves transparency and reduces the frequency of recordkeeping mistakes by both the state and businesses.

California offers many online services through its “bizfile” portal on the Secretary of State’s website. The state advertises it as a “hub” for anyone, whether filing a financing statement, searching for a business entity such as an LLC or limited partnership, or filing or looking for an immigration consultant. Most filing documents may be submitted electronically with a credit card payment. PDF copies of many types of imaged business entity documents are available for free on the Secretary of State’s business search page.

For more information on business filing practices in states across the US, contact us today.

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