The Delaware Secretary of State

delaware secretary of stateYou know that the federal government has a Secretary of State, but did you know that every state in the union has its own Department of State?
In Delaware, the Secretary of State is the office responsible for overseeing the Delaware Division of Corporations. Delaware is a small state, but the business of  Delaware Incorporations and LLCs is big. The Secretary of State has the important job of overseeing the department that manages all things related to Delaware’s claim to fame—Delaware incorporation and LLC formation.

Who Is the Delaware Secretary of State?

The Delaware Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing various administrative and regulatory functions within the state. The Delaware Secretary of State's responsibilities include managing business registrations, maintaining state records, and handling corporate filings.

What does the Delaware Secretary of State do?

The Delaware Secretary of State, who leads the Delaware Department of State, is appointed by the state’s Governor and is typically one of the Governor’s top advisors. The office of the secretary and the department he or she leads is located in Delaware’s capital, Dover.
To quote the state of Delaware’s website, “the Secretary of State oversees an extremely diverse department with responsibilities in virtually every aspect of state government: economic development, finance, transportation, housing, education, culture and quality-of-life issues.” 
The Department of State’s Mission is to:
  • Promote Delaware’s economy and generate state revenue;
  • Manage and facilitate citizen access to governmental, educational and recreational information;
  • Preserve and promote Delaware history, art and culture;
  • Assist and provide direct services to Delaware veterans and their families;
  • Promote equal opportunity and protection for all persons;
  • Provide regulatory, licensing, investigative and consumer services to protect the public’s health, safety and economic welfare; and
  • Administer the State’s public and merit employment relations laws and government ethics laws.

Delaware Division of Corporations

Because the state of Delaware relies heavily on business formations and related services as a source of revenue, an important aspect of the Delaware SOS role involves oversight and promotion of the state’s business-friendly corporate law structure, tax advantages and other benefits. To better serve this purpose, the Department of State oversees the Delaware Division of Corporations, which is specifically tasked with facilitating Delaware incorporation and LLC formation, business name reservations and various other needs of new and existing businesses.
Harvard Business Services, Inc., a Delaware Registered Agent, works directly with the Secretary of State and Division of Corporations to make business filings, annual Franchise Tax payments and other common transactions extremely efficient. 
Some of the types of transactions we frequently conduct in this way include:
The DE Division of Corporations operates on much longer hours than its counterparts in other states. Requests are processed until midnight Monday through Thursday and until 10:30pm on Friday. In addition, private companies offering business formation services, such as Harvard, are able to transmit such requests electronically, reducing the turnaround time an individual may experience by attempting to file paperwork directly with the state.

What information does the Delaware Secretary of State keep on Corporations and LLCs?

Delaware is known for providing privacy to companies formed in the state. However, there is an important difference between Corporations and LLCs in terms of what the SOS keeps on public record.
While both types of business can be created through a Delaware Registered Agent without a disclosure of individual names of officers, directors, or shareholders, Corporations are required to file an annual report each year that does include the names of each of those parties. LLCs, on the other hand, pay only a flat Franchise Tax as their annual report without any other required information. 

What else does the Delaware Secretary of State oversee?

In addition to the responsibilities described above, the Delaware SOS also oversees a number of other services and agencies, such as Public Archives, Historical & Cultural Affairs and Veterans Affairs.
One way in which the Delaware Secretary of State differs from the role in other states is that it does not oversee elections in the state. This responsibility is assigned to the Delaware Department of Elections, a separate entity under the state government.
Here is a partial list of divisions under the Secretary of State:
  • Archives
  • Arts
  • Banking
  • Corporations
  • Heritage Commission
  • Historical & Cultural Affairs
  • Human Relations Commission
  • Libraries
  • Merit Employee Relations Board
  • Notaries
  • Pardons
  • Professional Regulation
  • Public Advocate
  • Public Employment Relations Board
  • Public Service Commission
  • Small Business
  • Veterans Affairs

If you are planning to form a business in Delaware, our team at Harvard Business Services, Inc. can help streamline the process. We work directly with the office of the DE Secretary of State and the Division of Corporations for the formation process and annual filings. Form your business on our website and appoint Harvard Business Services, Inc. as your Delaware registered agent today.


*Disclaimer*: Harvard Business Services, Inc. is neither a law firm nor an accounting firm and, even in cases where the author is an attorney, or a tax professional, nothing in this article constitutes legal or tax advice. This article provides general commentary on, and analysis of, the subject addressed. We strongly advise that you consult an attorney or tax professional to receive legal or tax guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. Any action taken or not taken based on this article is at your own risk. If an article cites or provides a link to third-party sources or websites, Harvard Business Services, Inc. is not responsible for and makes no representations regarding such source’s content or accuracy. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Harvard Business Services, Inc.

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There are 3 comments left for The Delaware Secretary of State

Laurie Ann Duncan said: Tuesday, August 31, 2021

I wanted to make sure that my DE Franchise fee for Anchor Atlantic LLC has been paid and up to date. If not. I need to know what needs to be done. Thank you. Laurie Duncan

HBS Staff replied: Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Hi Laurie,

Our filings team will be happy to assist you!  Please contact them to review your account. You can reach them at 302-645-7400 option 2, or you can call toll free 1-800-345-2677.  

Richard Connolly said: Friday, April 3, 2020

I would like to obtain a list of officially registered agents to act on my behalf setting up a UK registered Limited Company .

HBS Staff replied: Monday, April 6, 2020

If you're looking for information on Registered Agents here in Delaware, we encourage you to review this page: For Registered Agents in the UK, we unfortunately cannot assist.

jim-bob golden said: Saturday, May 4, 2019

I'm interested in name and contact info for the ?Assistant to the Secretary of State

HBS Staff replied: Monday, May 6, 2019

A list of Delaware's Secretary of State officials can be found here: You can also find contact information for the secretary's office on that site.

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