A recent turn of events in a San Francisco neighborhood should prompt you and your entity to confirm that your contact information is up-to-date. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, residents of a private street, lined with multi-million dollar homes, recently learned that their street had been purchased by real estate investors at a tax sale after the homeowner’s association failed to pay its annual $14 property tax bill for several decades. The association claimed it was unaware of its tax obligations because the county tax bills were apparently sent to the address of a former accountant who hadn’t worked for the homeowners since the 1980s. The residents have filed a lawsuit seeking to undo the tax sale and while their success in that endeavor is uncertain, two things are certainly true—this was a costly and completely avoidable mistake.
While it is prudent to review all of your entity’s contact information to make sure creditors, vendors, and others can easily and consistently communicate with your entity, there are two specific records that are critically important—the contact information of your registered agent and the mailing address for your local real estate taxes.
By statute, all foreign and domestic corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships registered in Missouri must designate and maintain a registered agent. A registered agent is simply a person designated by the entity to receive important notices and demands on the entity, such as state and governmental agency filings and tax statements. The registered agent is also designated to receive notice of any lawsuit initiated against your entity. If your registered agent or registered agent’s contact information is outdated, it is possible you may miss very important notifications. Consequences of failing to maintain good contact information for your registered agent can include the Secretary of State administratively dissolving your entity and allowing a default judgment to be entered against your entity. In Missouri, you can verify that your registered agent contact information is current by visiting the Secretary of State’s website or clicking on this link.
Local Taxing Authority
The next piece of information to verify is the one that led to the dilemma in San Francisco—a current mailing address for your local real estate taxes. This is the address where local governments send notifications regarding annual tax obligations. Many counties, including St. Louis County, maintain these records on their websites which allow for ease of verification. Failure to maintain this address can result in not receiving notice of your tax obligations and, ultimately, sale of your property by the local government to satisfy those taxes.
As demonstrated in the San Francisco case, failure to maintain current contact information can have profound financial and legal implications; however, with simple, routine verifications you can ensure your entity is properly protected against those risks.
If you have questions or concerns about your entity’s contact information, immediately contact your local or state government officials or consult with your attorney.