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Corporate Matters: Delaware Law Allows L.L.C. Divisions

Corporate Matters: Delaware Law Allows L.L.C. Divisions

Delaware recently amended its company law to enable a limited liability company (“L.L.C.”) to be divided into two or more newly-formed L.L.C.’s, with the original company either continuing or terminating its existence.  The amendment provides L.L.C. members with significant flexibility in separating from each other so that assets, liabilities, rights, and duties of the company can be allocated among the resulting companies.  Simon Prisk explains the change in company law.

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In the Matter of GKK 2 Herald LLC – Effects of the Step Transaction Doctrine

In the Matter of GKK 2 Herald LLC – Effects of the Step Transaction Doctrine

Clients that invest in U.S. real property have discovered that income tax planning for the structure is only once piece of the planning puzzle.  A second piece relates to the imposition of transfer taxes on the sale.  If the property is in New York City, planning must consider the real property transfer tax rules of both the city and New York State.  Both jurisdictions impose tax.  Rusudan Shervashidze looks at recent cases in the State of New York Division of Tax Appeals Tribunal and the New York City Appeals Tribunal involving the same plan, implemented by the same taxpayer, regarding the same parcel of real property.  For New York State purposes, the plan was successful.  However, for New York City purposes, the plan was overturned.  The statutes at the state and city level are almost identical.

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Corporate Matters: Domestication of Non-U.S. Entities

Although not allowed under New York law, a non-U.S. entity may transfer its corporate charter from a foreign jurisdiction to the state of Delaware and many other states.  The process allows a non-U.S. entity to become subject to all of the provisions of state corporate law, and the existence of the corporation is deemed to have commenced on the date the non-U.S. entity was first formed.  When the process is completed, the corporation is legally formed under U.S. state law.  Simon Prisk explains.

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On the Blacklist – Is Delaware a Tax Haven?

One of the fallouts of the Panama Papers is a European call for a blacklist of countries that fail to meet the O.E.C.D. C.R.S. standards.  The European Parliament and several E.U. Member States contend that if the U.S. should be declared a tax haven and added to the European Commission’s new blacklist if it does not implement the C.R.S. and B.E.P.S. Project recommendations.  Are these contentions based on fact or on political agenda?  Christine Long and Beate Erwin explain a trend that that is inching towards an outright trade war.

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Corporate Matters: Anatomy of a Limited Liability Company Agreement – Part I

Simon H. Prisk and Nina Krauthamer begin a series on the reasons why a carefully crafted L.L.C. agreement is important in a joint venture.  Commonly referred to as an operating agreement, this governance tool addresses the purpose, management, and overall operation of an L.L.C. and the obligations of members to make capital contributions.

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Corporate Matters: Directors and Officers Insurance

Many of our clients instruct us from outside the United States to establish companies through which an acquisition or some other transaction will be conducted. After completing our “know your client” obligations for a matter involving a new client, the home country advisors instruct us to form the entity and open a bank account. This month, Simon Prisk looks at directors and officers insurance policies designed to protect incumbents from liability claims based on a failure to supervise the actions of a company. He cautions management to be wary of coverage gaps when comparing policies and costs.

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Corporate Matters: Help – My Delaware Entity Has Been Cancelled!

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We have received inquiries recently concerning Delaware entities that have been cancelled by the State. This situation is not as bad as it sounds, and after a few simple steps (and a couple of checks), the entity can be reinstated.

How Does it Happen?

In Delaware, a corporation becomes “void” for failure to file its annual report. The entity becomes “forfeited” if its registered agent resigns and is not replaced. Registered agents typically resign if their annual fee is not paid in a timely manner. The registered agent is required to give 30 days’ notice of its intention to resign and will have forwarded to the address of record delinquency notices from the State with respect to unfiled reports.

The certificate of formation of a Delaware limited liability company will be cancelled if the entity fails to pay its annual franchise tax for three consecutive years, or if it fails to replace its registered agent within 30 days.

Before a Delaware corporation becomes void or forfeited or a limited liability company has its certificate of formation cancelled, such entity first ceases to be in “good standing.” This occurs as soon as an entity fails to pay certain fees or to file annual reports. While in this status, an entity cannot make any filings with the State or sue in the courts of Delaware. It is also difficult to close any transaction where a good standing certificate is required. This situation may be cured by filing the outstanding reports and paying all outstanding franchise taxes.

Corporate Matters: Series Limited Liability Companies

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Clients frequently tell us they have heard of series limited liability companies but are unsure what they are and when they should be used. In this issue we will briefly explain the series limited liability company (“Series L.L.C.”) and outline some of the pros and cons, with respect to its formation and use.


Delaware and a handful of other states have allowed the formation of Series L.L.C.’s since the mid-1990’s. A Series L.L.C. is a limited liability company (“L.L.C.”) composed of an individual series of membership interests where the L.L.C. is essentially subdivided into many separate series, each series holds distinct assets, and obligations with respect to the assets designated as being in a series. The creation of the series must be included in the Certificate of Formation and the management and operation of each series must be set forth in the Series L.L.C. agreement. The Delaware statute provides that “a limited liability company agreement may establish or provide for the establishment of one or more designated series of members, managers, limited liability company interests orassets” and that each series may have a separate business purpose or investment objective. This allows, in theory, for each series to have its own management structure and distinct business purpose.

The feature that most piques the interest of our clients is the ability of the assets of each separate series to be protected from the creditors of another. An owner of an L.L.C. that holds real estate assets, for example, that comprises both ownership and management could hold each business in a separate series of the same L.L.C., and a suit against the ownership series could not attack the assets of the management series.

Corporate Matters: Delaware or New York L.L.C.?

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When a client is considering commencing business operations in New York, we are often asked whether it is preferable to form a limited liability company (“L.L.C.”) in New York or in Delaware. As we have mentioned in a previous issues, Delaware is generally the preferred jurisdiction for incorporation and the jurisdiction we typically recommend.

We thought it might be helpful to set out a short summary of issues that one will encounter in choosing between a New York or a Delaware L.L.C. and the relevant advantages and disadvantages of using either state.

Filing Fees

The fee for filing the articles of organization for a New York L.L.C. is $200, while the fee for filing a certificate of formation in Delaware is only $90.00. However, if the Delaware L.L.C. intends to conduct business in New York, it must file an application of authority for a foreign limited liability company, accompanied with a certificate of good standing from Delaware.

The determination of whether the Delaware L.L.C. is conducting business in New York is largely fact specific. The filing fee for the application for authority is $250, and the Delaware fee for a certificate of good standing can range from $50 (for a short form certificate) to $175 (for a long form certificate).