IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE NEW UPCOMING ONLINE BUSINESS SERVICE PORTAL
I HEARD THAT THE DIVISION OF CORPORATIONS IS MAKING SOME KIND OF CHANGE THAT WILL AFFECT MY ANNUAL REPORT?
We are moving our entire database to a brand new online system between February and June of 2013. This will result in a different look and feel when you go to our website and search for businesses, file annual reports, or conduct your usual business with us.
We are doing our best to get you up to speed on the changes so that your business with us is as productive as possible. You will receive information from us by mail, on our website, and through online tutorials over the next few months. Do not disregard any mail you receive from us.
Why is the Secretary of State updating its IT system?
a. Obsolescence: The existing system is over 20 years old and based on a platform that is no longer supported by the vendors (i.e. M.S. DOS).
b. Safety of Public Records: The existing system is subject to frequent critical failures and is an unreliable depository for critical data.
c. Business ID Theft: The new system will allow our client’s to better protect themselves against unknown changes to their record through the use of a centralized inbox, instant email notifications, text messaging notifications, and a free Iphone app.
d. Good Government: As part of our promise to be more transparent, the new system will allow us to audit and meet performance goals that ensure your tax dollars are being used as efficiently as possible. This type of accountability and activity reporting is not possible in the existing system.
I RECEIVED A POSTCARD NOTICE IN THE MAIL, IS THIS JUNK MAIL? No. This is our effort to keep you informed about major changes to how you do business with our office.
I RECEIVED MORE THAN ONE OF THESE, IS THERE A MISTAKE? No. You may be listed as BOTH the Owner AND act as your own REGISTERED AGENT, in which case you will receive one notice as Registered Agent and another as business owner. You may also receive more that one notice if you are a high volume user, like an accountant, and our database has slight variations in the spelling of your name or mailing address.
WHEN WILL I SEE THE NEW PORTAL UP AND RUNNING? On February 4th, 2013, online annual report functionality, requests for Certificates of Good Standing, and general search functionality will go live. Please follow the instructions in the annual / biennial report notice you will receive from us;
December Annual Report Filers - LLC, Corporations: Can start filing on February 7th > Deadline extended to April 30th
All Non-Profits: Can start filing on February 15th > Deadline extended to April 30th
January Annual Filers - LLC, Corporations: Can start filing on February 15th > Deadline extended to April 30th
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE NEW ONLINE BUSINESS SERVICE PORTAL?
Why should I care? Every business in Vermont must be registered with the Vermont Secretary of State, Division of Corporations. For the past 30 years this relationship has been based on slow, inefficient, paper processing and mailings. Modern issues like business identity theft, environmentally friendly business practices, security, and a fast paced business environment have changed the public’s expectation for this Division.
The new Online Business Services Portal is intended to meet a renewed expectation of efficiency, security, and environmental awareness in your public servants.
But how does this effect me? Depends on who you are. There are improvements for every level of the user chain.
High Volume User: If you are a high volume user of our services the changes will be dramatic. Most Division functions will be available online and in real time by January, 2014. The search functionality will be improved, response times will be drastically reduced, and the data will be more secure and consistent than ever before.
Small Business Owner: If you are a small business owner who only files a few times a year for your annual report, trade name renewal, or other service, you will appreciate the ability to check your receipts, update your records, file your annual report quickly and online. Added security features also mean that you will be informed of any changes to your record the moment they happen via text message or email. No more waiting, no more paper mail, no more lost notices.
WONDERING ABOUT THE POST CARD NOTICE YOU RECEIVED FROM US?
This is our way of letting you know that changes are coming in the way you interact with us. In the past, you or your Registered Agent would download paper forms from our website and mail them in with a check. This process was slow, inefficient, and would subject you and your record to potential business identity theft, lost forms, unreliable confirmations, and delays.
Moving forward you will be provided with a USER-ID and PASSWORD, or LOGIN, to access your record and fill out the same forms online, and in real time, for your business. You will receive an email confirmation of your transaction, a digital receipt of payment, and you can come back and check on your receipts, or any changes, to your record 24 hours a day.
1. I received a postcard notice about changes coming to the Division of Corporations Online Business Service Portal. Now What?
No Further Action is needed on your part. Over the next few weeks you will receive your assigned LOGIN information (i.e. USER-ID and PASSWORD) from us. Keep it safe until you receive further instructions on when to use it.
2. What kind of Logins are you sending out? We are sending out two different LOGINS (i.e. USER-ID and PASSWORD)
ENTITY LOGIN: Assigned to your business as an “Entity”. Will be mailed to the principal office address on record with us. This Login should be kept safe with your other business records.
REGISTERED AGENT LOGIN: Assigned to the registered agent on record with us for your business. In many cases this is your lawyer, accountant or other person who handles routine filings on your behalf. They most likely have many clients they do this for, and we will be issuing them a single REGISTERED AGENT LOGIN so that they can access all of the records for which they are listed as a Registered Agent. In some cases the business acts as their own Registered Agent.
3. Hey wait, I am a small business owner and I am both the owner and act as my own Registered Agent, will I get two logins? Yes. You will receive two logins. You will receive both the ENTITY LOGIN, for your business, and a REGISTERED AGENT LOGIN for you as a registered agent. Keep them together. When instructed to do so, you can use either one to make your required filings.
3.a Hey, I am a Registered Agent and received more than one Registered Agent LOGIN. There is a small chance that as a Registered Agent, you may receive more than one LOGIN by accident. Why? Because you may have filed with us in the past using a slightly different spelling of your name/address and during our data conversion process were unable to establish that you were the same person (the record used an old address or other information did not match). e.g. John Smith, John S. Smith with different addresses, (your old address and your new address). Even if they were the same person, would receive 2 different Registered Agent Logins. You can use either one you wish.
3.b. Hey, I am a Registered Agent and I want to clean up the different spellings you have for my firm? In the summer of 2013, we will give you an opportunity to "clean up" and clarify your record with us. Please be patient until you receive a notice from us.
3c. Hey, I am a Registered Agent, do I forward my Registered Agent Login to my clients? NO. Do NOT forward your Registered Agent Login to your client's they will receive their own.
4. When will I be asked to use this login? Your first opportunity to use the LOGIN will be your annual report notice, which will be mailed to your Registered Agent, as usual. This Login should also be used whenever you wish to check the status of your filing, look over past transactions, lookup a receipt, make changes to your record, change your registered agent, or any other online transaction related to your record. NO ACTION IS NEEDED BY YOU AT THIS TIME until you are specially asked to use your LOGIN by us in a future correspondence.
5. I am a business owner, when do I get my ENTITY LOGIN? You will be getting your entity login information in the mail directly from our office, a few weeks BEFORE your annual report notice is mailed out. So it really depends on when your annual report is due. In other words it depends on when your Fiscal Year End is. Don't worry, no action is needed by you at this time, you will receive your LOGIN and annual report notice in the mail when the appropriate time comes with full instructions.
6. I am a Registered Agent, when do I get my REGISTERED AGENT LOGIN? You will be getting a single REGISTERED AGENT LOGIN in the mail from us when your FIRST annual report is due. You can then use the same Registered Agent login for all future annual report notices for any of your clients, on subsequent months moving forward.
7. What if I don’t know when my FYE is, should I call you? No. Don’t worry, our system is automated and we will notify you by mail, when your annual report is due and provide you with your login information when the time comes. No Action is needed by you at this time.
8. What if I lose the login letter or never received it? If you receive your annual report notice from us AND still have not received your LOGIN (i.e. letter with your USER-ID and PASSWORD), don’t worry, we can issue you a new login letter by calling our office. But call ONLY if you have received your annual report notice AND still have not received your LOGIN letter.
9. Hey, I am a busy person and I let my Registered Agent (lawyer, accountant or other) handle my filings with your office, do I pass along the ENTITY Login you mail me. NO. Do not share your ENTITY LOGIN with anyone. This is your businesses login and should be retained along with your other business records in a safe place. If your registered agent handles these things for you… don’t worry…. we have you covered, and they will receive their own LOGIN and instructions.
10. If I get both an Entity Login and a Registered Agent Login because I am listed as both the owner and the registered agent for my business, which login should I use? You can use either one you wish.
11. If I am both the Registered Agent and the Owner, why am I receiving two logins? Cant you just send me one Login? No, every Vermont business has two responsible parties, the registered agent listed in your record by you, and the entity itself as represented by its officers and directors. Many businesses want the flexibility to change registered agents as needed, so it is vital to allow your entity to go in and make changes without having to rely on your registered agent.
12. I have my Registered Agent (lawyer, accountant, other) handle these things for me, why am I getting an Entity Login in the first place? Because, the “Entity” itself and its business owner, or responsible party, needs to have its own login just in case you need to enter the system and make changes in the case where your registered agent is unable, or has withdrawn, to protect yourself from business identity theft, to correct a mistaken filing by your registered agent, or if you change registered agents. You may never use your ENTITY LOGIN if your Registered Agent does everything on your behalf. Nevertheless, just keep it in a safe place.
13. What if I lose my login? There is a password and login recovery button on the login screen. Or email the Division of Corporations at email@example.com with the subject line "LOGIN" and your entity information.
14. What if I lose my password? There is a password and login recovery button on the login screen. Or email the Division of Corporations at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "LOGIN" and your entity information.