Long Processing Times at CA Secretary of State

by Matthew Burgess on June 30, 2010

Just a heads up. If you’re hoping to get a new corporation started quickly, plan on waiting at least a month, unless you are ready to pay substantial expediting fees.

Due to budget cutbacks, the Secretary of State has closed or consolidated a number of functions and several regional offices. They’ve been forced to close offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Fresno, meaning more documents are filed in the remaining Sacramento and Los Angeles offices.

They’ve also eliminated paid overtime for staff members and the use of temporary staffing to help with the workload especially during heavy filing periods.

So what does this mean for you, the entrepreneur filing your business documents?

Some perspective: in February of this year, we were seeing Articles of Incorporation, counter-filed in Sacramento, being processed in 5-8 business days. The turnaround time in May and June has averaged 28-30 business days. With holidays and weekends, plan for at least a month before your Articles are approved, you can obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) and open your business bank account.

Good news: in recent weeks, the LLC filings (Articles of Organization) have been processing faster, due to a light load on the LLC processing division. LLCs are being formed closer to 2 weeks.

Certificates of Dissolution for corporations and limited liability companies has been longer, but not as long as Articles: 12-15 days.  For Amandments to Articles of Incorporation or Organization (usually for a corporation or LLC name changed), these are also longer than they were last year, but shorted than Articles, also at about two week.

So…don’t wait. Get on it, and get that business of yours rolling. And best of luck building that dream!

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  • http://www.matthewburgess.com/ Matthew Burgess

    As a benchmark data point, counter-filed Articles of Incorporation filed in Sacramento on May 20, 2010 were returned yesterday, July 6. That's 31 business days.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevinrbreen Kevin R Breen

    Right now, they’re taking over 2 months. http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/be/processing-times.htm

  • Anonymous

    yes indeed, Kevin. Thanks for the comment. Yes, they have had cutbacks in the department. We just received documents filed on Dec 26.

  • http://dshan.me/ Derek

    Bit of a random question but any idea what point your name shows up in their web search at http://kepler.sos.ca.gov/ ? We hand filed a corporate registration in LA on the 12th, and the processing times say they’re processing apps received on the 14th today (http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/be/processing-times.htm) – it’s unclear as to what that actually means though. We’re looking for some proof that we’ve registered (for a lease).

  • Anonymous

    Hi Derek. Great question. So, you are right to be looking at the “processing times” page on their site. That will give you a pretty good sense how much more time you should expect. Its not perfect, because they don’t always update it right away, but its close.

    So what it means is that they probably processed your docs 2 business days ago. Roughly. As an example, if they received an unusually high number of docs on the 13th, they may have taken 2 or 3 or 4 business days to process all the June 13th docs. Make sense? Regardless, it looks like they’re past your date. And so you might just get them in the mail very soon.

    That said, if you filed it in LA, the processing times might be a little different than what is shown on the site (for docs filed in Sacramento), sorry to say. You may be flying blind here, and there’s really nothing you can do but wait. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear.

    Also, once they process your Articles, and your entity is formed, you may very well get the endorsed docs back before it shows up in their searchable database. Again, the entry into the database is an inexact thing, since they are manually keyed in by employees at Sec. of State, and they have had budget cuts.

  • https://goo.gl/sRuz4Y

    Some perspective: in February of this year, we were seeing Articles of Incorporation, counter-filed in Sacramento, being processed in 5-8 business days.

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