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The HBS Blog offers insight on Delaware corporations and LLCs as well as information about entrepreneurship, start-ups and general business topics.

The State of Corporate Compliance in 2014
By Rick Bell Monday, March 10, 2014

More than 40,000 new laws and regulations became effective on January 1, 2014.

Get ready to surround yourself with experts. As a successful American entrepreneur, you’re going to need them. You’re going to need HR experts, healthcare regulation experts, tax experts, compensation experts, and the list is going to get longer, not shorter, in the years to come. If you don’t have these experts in place to guide you into strict compliance, you could get into a heap of trouble. Without even knowing what you did wrong, you could be fined by the government for non-compliance and sued by a disgruntled employee – or a group of them - for discrimination.

Get ready for regulators to surround you. If you’re a very successful American entrepreneur, you’re going to have HR regulators, healthcare regulators, tax regulators, and compensation regulators frequenting your office and, if you’re not in compliance, you’ll be subject to some hefty fines, a world of legal fees, and possible jail time. You know who the regulators are already. They are sometimes referred to as the Three Letter Agencies. Quickly identify the real names of the following federal agencies: IRS, DOJ, DOL, PSC, EPA, FCC, FAA, FED, FTC, FDA, and SEC - and these are only the federal regulators. Your state government has its own regulatory agencies as well.

Let me ask you this: "How many of the 40,000 new regulations are you familiar with?" You see, that's the scary part.

Big companies like Paychex see your future already. You think of Paychex as a payroll service, and they earned their excellent reputation managing the payroll process for companies. Payroll is where many entrepreneurs who try to comply on their own get caught up in a stormy sea of debt and liability, and end up crashing and burning. I believe Paychex has done a great service in enabling literally thousands of entrepreneurs to reach their full potential in business by keeping their payroll 100% compliant. In my dozen years of using them, they have been 100% prompt and secure.

Now, they have transformed their services from that one simple task to providing you with experts in the field of compliance with HR laws.

Small local companies who want to help you with compliance are also cropping up everywhere across the country.  Smart guys and gals who used to be health insurance underwriters and sell health insurance have been reborn as compliance experts. They can’t make money selling health insurance anymore, so they will be making money helping you understand your health insurance compliance obligations.

Let’s say you fire someone who doesn’t want to work and doesn’t fit into your organization, but you do it wrong and you lose your temper in front of other employees. They used to go home and find another job. Not anymore. One call and he’s the poster child for why you don’t deserve to own a company…on the Internet.

Let’s say you forget to distribute your company’s policy manual to your new employee or, even worse, you don’t have a company policy manual. You never needed one before. Good luck answering to the discrimination police when they call you in for an interview. It won’t be a friendly chat.

In short, wake up! Call in the experts that are going to be on your side now, while you’ve got time to learn the new language they are speaking. Hire them to help you. Have them conduct an audit on your company’s HR compliance. Consider the changes they recommend.

Regulation is necessary, we can all agree on that. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but it can become a big problem if you don’t have the expertise on board to keep your company compliant.

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Pay Your Delaware Corporation Franchise Tax Now
By Michael Bell Thursday, February 27, 2014

Have a Delaware corporation? Haven't paid your annual franchise tax? You have to act now. If your payment does not reach the Delaware payment center before Sunday, March 2, your company will be assessed a late penalty of $125.00 and an interest payment of $3.01. That's $128.01 you can save by paying your tax on time.

Luckily, you have a little more time, but not much. Call us at 1-800-345-2677 or go online to Harvard’s Delaware franchise tax payment center and take care of this today. The process is easy and will only take a few minutes.

If you call us to pay your Delaware franchise tax on or before 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, we’ll guarantee that your tax will be paid on-time, or we’ll pay your penalty for you. Our Web site will be accepting payments until 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 1.

Need more information about Delaware franchise taxes? Please visit our Delaware franchise tax informational page. If you still have questions, our expert staff is available to help.

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Avoid a Delaware Franchise Tax Late Penalty
By Rick Bell Tuesday, February 25, 2014

If you have a Delaware corporation and haven’t yet paid your Franchise Tax, you have to react now in order to avoid receiving a Delaware Franchise Tax late penalty. If your payment doesn’t reach the Delaware payment center before Sunday, March 2, your company will be assessed a penalty of $125 and an interest payment of $3.01.

There’s still time. Call us at 1-800-345-2677 or go online to Harvard’s Delaware franchise tax payment center and take care of this today with zero hassle.

If you call us to pay your Delaware Franchise Tax on or before 2 PM on Friday, Feb. 28, we’ll guarantee your tax will be paid on time, or we’ll pay your penalty for you. Prefer to do it online? Our website will be accepting payments until 8 PM on Saturday, March 1. But don’t wait! Call today or go online.

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Harvard Business Services: First with a Digital Seal
By Rick Bell Monday, February 24, 2014

Everything’s going digital, we all know that. But did you ever think that the lead-cast, fold-up, bulky, and ugly corporate seal would be replaced by a digital seal someday? Well, Harvard Business Services, in another of a series of innovative industry upgrades has done it, and you can get one FREE if you’re a client of ours.

As of Feb. 1, all new Delaware corporations and LLCs filed by Harvard have included a digital seal.  The impression of the digital seal looks just like the old seal-it has the name of your company in a circular pattern around the seal. With the digital version, though, you can easily add your seal to letterhead, official company documents, and more!

Harvard is the first company formation service to offer the digital seal. To be able to produce a digital seal for our clients, we hired a Swiss development firm to come up with a seal creation app that pulls your company name from our database and creates a digital seal on the fly. An additional layer of security is provided, since we don't send out the app. Instead, we create the seal with the app in our system and send you a link to it. The link expires in 30 days and then is automatically deleted. If you need a new seal after your link has expired, simply call our office and we will send your authorized contact person another link free of charge.

The digital seal is only one of many innovations that Harvard Business Services has brought to the company formations industry. A leader in the formation and maintenance of Delaware companies, we are dedicated to improving your experience when you form a new company

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Franchise Tax Mistakes People Make When Filing With Us
By Rick Bell Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Franchise Tax season is a busy time at Harvard Business Services, Inc. While processing filings, we've noticed a few consistent Franchise Tax mistakes that continually pop up. Take notes on the mistakes other customers have made and make sure you don't do the same.

Franchise Tax Errors

Franchise Tax Mistake # 1: Not filling out the form

We're not kidding--some people send it back blank. Some people write "Same as last year" across it. The state of Delaware does not accept this; you must fill out the form and answer every question. We wouldn’t ask any optional questions.

Franchise Tax Mistake # 2: Not listing your address

A physical address, not a P.O. box or the address of your Registered Agent, must be listed on the annual report.

Franchise Tax Mistake # 3: Not listing your Director information

All directors must be listed on the annual report, along with their addresses. The company may opt to list the Directors' personal addresses or business addresses.

Mistake # 4: Not checking the box for officer title

Only one officer (if the company has officers) is required to be listed. It is important that we are sure of the position of this officer.

Franchise Tax Mistake # 5: Not signing where indicated
Harvard Business Services, Inc. cannot accept an unsigned form due to official regulations beyond our control.

Franchise Tax Mistake # 6: Making the check out to the state of Delaware

When paying your Franchise Tax through Harvard Business Services, Inc., you are paying for the Franchise Tax, as the state requires, and you are also paying Harvard Business Services, Inc. a service fee. You also have the option of paying your annual Registered Agent Fee along with the Franchise Tax. If you make the check out directly to the state, we cannot pay your tax electronically and we will return your check within three business days by regular mail.

When filing online with Harvard Business Services, Inc., you can’t make a mistake--we are here to make sure of that.

Our user-friendly form allows us to obtain every piece of information we need to know in order to submit your tax filing to the state of Delaware. In fact, with payment by credit card or PayPal, we can absolutely guarantee that your Delaware Franchise Tax will be paid before the tax deadline, and absolutely no Franchise Tax errors will occur. Our guarantee means that if you’re charged a late penalty by the state of Delaware for any reason, Harvard Business Services, Inc. will pay it for you, at our expense. (The late fee for a corporation is $125 and for an LLC is $200 per year, but you will  never pay a late fee if you depend on Harvard Business Services, Inc. to pay your Franchise Tax for you.)

When filing with Harvard Business Services, Inc. on the phone:

At Harvard Business Services, Inc., our first priority is to make every client a happy client. We survive because of our clients, but we thrive because of our happy clients. This is why we encourage our clients to call us anytime with questions or comments.

We do not have call centers or answering services. When you call us, one of 25 dedicated, individual Harvard team members, all working in the same office in Lewes, Delaware and all with experience of the various aspects of Delaware company formation and maintenance, will answer your call.

When paying for your Delaware Fanchise Tax over the phone, you don’t need to know your Delaware file number or anything else except the name of the company and your credit card number. We make it easy for you, because we already have all your address information in our database from your formation. We’ll confirm your address and ask if you have any address changes to make.

We can accept your payment over the phone. However, we will still require a completed annual report before the taxes can be submitted to the state of Delaware. This form will need to be emailed, faxed or mailed to us. Feel free to call Harvard Business Services, Inc. at 1-800-345-2677 with any questions about avoiding these and other common Franchise Tax mistakes.

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