In this blog we explain the answer to the most common question we encounter: "What's on the public record in Delaware?"
A Delaware LLC filed through a professional Registered Agent affords you the highest level of confidentiality. Only the company name and the name and address of the Registered Agent typically appear on the Certificate of Formation, along with the date of filing and the company file number.
Here is what Delaware LLC privacy offers: No information about the members or managers is required to be listed on the Certificate of Formation, and the Delaware Division of Corporations does not request, obtain or store any information regarding the LLC’s members and managers.
Your Delaware Registered Agent is required, however, to maintain a record of the contact person for the LLC, including the contact person's address. The contact person must be an actual person who is at least 18 years of age.
The contact person does not have to be a member or manager of the LLC and does not need to reside in the United States or be a United States citizen.
After the initial formation, a Franchise Tax of $300 for the prior year's Franchise Tax is required to be paid, on or before June 1 of each year. If the Franchise Tax is not paid on time, a $200 penalty is assessed on June 2, and interest is assessed immediately.
The state of Delaware records all Franchise Tax payments, including the date and amount of each payment. If you pay your Franchise Tax on the state's website, the state will then have a record of the transaction, including the credit card number used.
If we are your Registered Agent and you take advantage of our service to pay the Franchise Tax through our website, the state will not have your credit card number, since we pay many companies' Franchise Taxes in bulk payments via our direct deposit account with the state of Delaware. Again, in this case, neither your member nor your management data will appear on any Delaware public records.
For Delaware LLCs formed and maintained through Harvard Business Services, Inc., the state of Delaware's public record will, therefore, contain no information about your LLC's members and/or managers. Your Delaware LLC privacy level will be 100%.
Delaware Corporation Privacy
Corporations can also be filed in Delaware through a Registered Agent without listing shareholders, directors or officers on the public record.
However, after the initial filing, every Delaware corporation is required to file a Franchise Tax payment on or before March 1 of each year and, in doing so, must list the names and addresses of the company's directors and officers.
This information is required even if your Delaware Registered Agent pays your Franchise Taxes for you. Therefore, this information may be obtained by anyone requesting it from the Delaware Division of Corporations (for a $10 payment). Some states post this information on their websites, but Delaware does not.
When self-filing either type of entity directly with the Delaware Division of Corporations, individuals are required to list their name and address as the incorporator of the company on the formation documents.
These documents can be viewed on the Delaware public record from the first day the company is formed and will remain on the Delaware public record for the life of the company.
Privacy and confidentiality regarding the public record should not be mistaken for invisibility in the eyes of the authorities, should fraud occur and be discovered. The Delaware Attorney General's Office is diligent in punishing the fraudulent use of Delaware companies.
The necessity of possessing the ability to shield a company's ownership from public records plays a valid role in today's business world. Business is very competitive by nature, and the element of confidentiality can be crucial in many perfectly legitimate business transactions that would not happen without strict confidentiality.
MORE INFORMATION ON DELAWARE LLCs: