Thursday, March 31, 2011

Statement of Information Delays

Truth Rally recently received its very first collection letter—from the Secretary of State, no less. Blame it on budget cuts; not ours, but theirs. Here's what happened: Last October, we filed our Statement of Information (LLC-12R), along with a check for the $20 filing fee (because they do not permit LLCs to make online payments). Nearly four months later, in early February, we switched banks because Chase discontinued their free business checking accounts. I noticed at the time that we had one outstanding check. You guessed it!

I immediately contacted the Secretary of State's business entities department to inform them that they should not deposit that check, and that I would issue a new one. The woman with whom I spoke told me that they would simply send us a bill for the filing fee when they processed our form. I also sent them an email describing the situation, but never received a response. Several weeks later, we received the aforementioned collection letter, whose subject line reads "Dishonored Check." Somebody didn't pay attention. Luckily, they did not assess any penalties or interest charges, though they did require payment in the form of a certified check, cashier's check, or money order. Our new bank, Comerica, happily agreed to waive their normal cashier's check fee, so we ended up paying nothing extra.

As of today, the Secretary of State is processing Statements of Information received on December 6, 2010. Do the math: They are still nearly four months behind. This is the kind of inefficiency one expects only from a government agency. Don't worry, though, because they are working hard to slash those embarrassing processing times. It is not clear whether their "modernization" plans include full automation of the filing process; this would only require the addition of a Web payment system that any decent programmer could set up for them in a few hours. Given the incompetence of government, however, I'm not holding my breath.

Update: After eight weeks, I received a response to my email:

Due to filing backlogs we're currently experiencing, the processing of your statement/check for payment of filing fees was delayed in getting input into our system. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

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