What do you do if your articles get rejected by the NC Secretary of State? If you’ve taken the time to search a name, draft the articles, and file them, you certainly don’t want this roadblock. However, it’s probably only a minor fix you need.
Firstly, remember that this is only a minor roadblock. It takes a lot to get a permanent rejection. As far as I know, you can keep trying forever to get this right. The clerks at the Secretary of State are pretty patient people. (Bless them for their patience!) However, if you take too long between attempts, they may close out your file.
Regardless, stay calm and take a breath before you respond to any rejection email.
Read the Email
The Secretary of State’s office will email you a reason for your rejection. Most commonly, there’s technical problem with the form you filed. For example, I’ve seen people forget to sign the form or use the wrong form altogether. These are easy fixes.
If it’s a name issue, they’ll tell you why as well. Name issues fall into only a few categories:
- Your name is already taken;
- You need permission from a licensing board; or
- It contains words that require special permission.
In any of those circumstances, the clerk will tell you what you need to do. You may end up having to choose another name, and that sucks. However, that’s why we do a comprehensive name search ahead of time.
Technical issues are the best issues to face. Just correct them and email the articles back to the clerk. Once you’re emailing with a clerk, I’ve found things move quickly. One time, I had a clerk file the articles within 5 minutes of me correcting a technical issue and emailing it back.
I’ve encountered one technical issue a ton. In North Carolina, Limited Liability Companies are required to include “LLC” or some variation in their name. If you don’t, that’s an easy fix.
What If You Know You’re Right?
Here’s the thing: sometimes the clerks get it wrong. I’ve had this happen multiple times. The best thing to do is double check your work and then email with follow up questions. For example, I had a clerk reject my articles because they weren’t the standard form. I’m guessing the clerk was new. I replied back that I had used that exact form dozens of times and never had a problem before and asked if this was a new policy. The clerk replied apologetically and quickly filed those articles.
You absolutely do not want to get hostile with the clerks. That doesn’t help anyone. Their office deals with hundreds of filings each day. It’s a lot easier for them to move through them quickly if they don’t have to deal with rude customers.
If Your Articles Get Rejected
Remember, if your articles get rejected, follow these steps:
- Stay Calm.
- Read the email.
- Double check your work.
- Correct your form.
- Or, ask follow up questions if you don’t understand the rejection.
- Resubmit when things are cleared up if necessary.
It’s that easy. If you follow these steps, you can correct every rejection I’ve encountered.