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© 2009-2017 Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law

What is a Stock Assignment Separate from Certificate?

Image of a Stock Assignment Separate from Certificate

I recently introduced a client to the document called a Stock Assignment Separate from Certificate. While well-known to business lawyers, this document is not known to most business owners.

The client was implementing employee and management stock plans. To provide stock for the plans, the corporation was going to repurchase shares from the founders.

The CFO asked whether and how the founders should complete and sign the assignment provision on the back of their share certificates.

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What is an Inc. and Why Should I Want One?

Logo for Inc

Frequently, an international prospect or client will tell me that he wants to create an Inc. to run his business in the in the United States. This post explains what an “Inc.” is and where the term comes from.

History and Other Countries

For centuries, in the interest of fostering economic activity, governments have recognized certain types of businesses as separate legal entities. Investors’ liability is limited to the amount invested (“limited personal liability”). Investors’ other assets, beyond the amount invested, may not be taken to satisfy the business’s debts or other obligations.

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Directors’ Inspection Rights Include (Almost) Anything in California

Picture of a fox hunt, symbolizing corporate directors' inspection rights

I have written about shareholders’ rights to inspect corporate financial records and shareholder lists. This post discusses directors’ inspection rights, which are far greater.

California Corporations Code Section 1602 states:

Every director shall have the absolute right at any reasonable time to inspect and copy all books, records and documents of every kind and to inspect the physical properties of the corporation of which such person is a director and also of its subsidiary corporations, domestic or foreign. Such inspection by a director may be made in person or by agent or attorney and the right of inspection includes the right to copy and make extracts. This section applies to a director of any foreign corporation having its principal executive office in this state or customarily holding meetings of its board in this state. (more…)

Who Gets to See the Shareholder List?

Photo of page from ship's log book representing this post's discussion of the right to inspect a corporation's shareholder list

The founder of a closely-held corporate client, knowing that some employees soon would be shareholders, recently asked whether those employee-shareholders would have the right to find out how many shares he owns. Here is the information I provided concerning who gets to see the shareholder list.

Because the client is a California corporation, Corporations Code Section 1600(a) governs who gets to see the shareholder list. That Section states, in relevant part (emphasis added):

A shareholder or shareholders holding at least 5 percent in the aggregate of the outstanding voting shares of a corporation…shall have an absolute right to…inspect and copy the record of shareholders’ names and addresses and shareholdings during usual business hours upon five business days’ prior written demand upon the corporation….

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The Definition of Director May Depend on the Context

California Secretary of State logo

While working with one of my international clients several months ago, I re-learned a lesson that I already knew: The meaning of a word (in this case, the definition of Director) may depend on the context.

The client is located in Vietnam and wanted to open a branch office in the Bay Area. It would be “doing business” in California, so it needed to qualify as a foreign corporation.

I duly prepared a Statement and Designation by Foreign Corporation and had it signed by the client’s most senior officer. That officer’s title, translated as “Director,” was entered onto the form.

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Incorporation is for Corporations, not for LLCs

Quora logo

This post, which discusses legal terminology, is adapted from a Quora answer that I provided almost two years ago. Q. Why do you “incorporate” corporations but “form” LLCs? Why the differing terminology?

A. Corporations have existed for much longer than LLCs. “Incorporation” was? chosen as the single word that denotes “forming a corporation”. The obvious tie? between the words “corporation” and “incorporation” is why “incorporation”? applies only to corporations and is easily understood.

Many years later, LLCs – more fully, limited liability companies – come along.? Right away, we see this three-word phrase is awkward to work with. I? suppose that one could have made up a related term to designate? formation, such as “inlimit” or “inLLC”, but, to say the least, those do? not roll off the tongue. Maybe someone will devise such a term; for? now, we must be satisfied with “forming” LLCs.

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Which is Best – “Inc.”, “Corp.” or Something Else?

Logo for Quora, the source for a question about Inc. and Corp.

This post is based on and expands upon an answer I provided on Quora. Q. Which company suffix to choose: “Inc.”, “Corp.”, etc? What are the criteria?

Many states – notably including Delaware (General Corporation Law Section 102(a)(1)) but, under most circumstances, excluding California – require that the name of a corporation include a word or abbreviation designating corporate status. Those that are used commonly include Corporation (Corp.), Incorporated (Inc.) and Limited (Ltd.).

The choice is totally a matter of style. This is more a marketing issue than a legal issue.

In my experience, “Inc.” is most popular – typically without a preceding comma, nowadays, for a cleaner look. Indeed, most of my foreign clients say “an Inc.” when they mean “a corporation”!

Related post: What is an Inc. and Why Should I Want One?

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law  +1 510 547-0545  dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

What is a Board of Directors?

Quora logo

This post is based on a Quora question that I answered: Q. What is the board of directors? What are the functions of the board of directors? What is the function of each member of the board?

A. The board of directors, which is subject to shareholder election and removal, generally is responsible for managing the corporation’s business and affairs.

Specific responsibilities typically undertaken by a board (particularly in a mature company) include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following: (more…)

Avoid Paying California $800 per Year … for 15 Days

Logo of Franchise Tax Board, which charges the California $800 annual tax

The California $800 per year minimum franchise tax applies to both corporations and limited liability companies. Many people do not realize, however, that the tax can be avoided – at least, for a short time.

As explained in Franchise Tax Board Publications 1060 (for corporations) and 3556 (for LLCs), there is a “15-day rule” or “15-day exception” stating that the minimum franchise tax need not be paid for an initial tax year if:

  • The corporation or LLC was formed (Articles filed with the Secretary of State) during the last 15 days of the entity’s tax year, and
  • The entity conducted no business during that period.

So, if an entity has a tax year ending December 31 (as most do), then it can be formed on December 17 or later, and it will not have to pay the California $800 minimum franchise tax until the following year.

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law  +1 510 547-0545  dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

How Can I Enter a Non-US Address on the Statement of Information Form?

Avvo logo

This post is adapted from an Avvo question that I answered. The questioner was having trouble figuring out how to enter foreign addresses in the Statement of Information form that California corporations file with the Secretary of State each year.

Q. I need to file Form SI-200 for a California corporation. The officers are foreign persons living outside of the US, but the form does not have a field for country. How can I solve this Problem?

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