A Comparison Of Nevada, Delaware And Florida Corporate Statutes
Posted by Securities Attorney Laura Anthony | June 21, 2016 Tags: , , , ,

When forming a new entity, I am often asked the best state of domicile.  Following a July 1, 2014 increase in Delaware franchise taxes, I am also often asked the best state to re-domicile or move to following an exit from Delaware.   Delaware remains the gold standard; however, there has been a definite shift and Delaware is now not the “only standard.”

Part of the reason for the shift away from Delaware has been the increase in fees.  Delaware calculates annual fees based on one of two methods: (i) the authorized share method; and (ii) the assume par value capital (asset value) method.  For either method the annual fee is capped at $180,000.00.   Even for small- and micro-cap business issuers, the annual fee often reaches the tens of thousands.  For example, a company with 300,000,000 common shares authorized with a $.001 par value per share and 30,000,000 shares issued and outstanding and $20,000,000 in gross assets would pay $180,000.00 per year using the authorized share method and $70,350.00 per year using the assumed par value method.  This is a very significant expense for a small company and, as you can see, the assumptions I have made reflect a very small business.

A second reason for the shift away has been that over the years, the Delaware General Corporation Law(DGCL) has become more aligned with the Model Business Corporation Act (MBCA), which in turn has become the standard followed by many states.  In other words, the differences between, for example, Delaware and Nevada have narrowed.

Delaware originally established itself as the best state of incorporation for several reasons including that the Delaware Court of Chancery hears all matters in Delaware courts involving business and corporate disputes and has done so since its formation in 1792.   Accordingly the judges are well informed on business matters and corporate law in general, and there is a large body of precedence from which corporate management and their advisors can garner and use when planning transactions and other corporate actions, and determining related risk management.

For instance, in today’s active merger and acquisition marketplace, Delaware courts have led the way in deciding cases involving appraisal and dissenters’ rights and directors’ duties and responsibilities.  See my blog HERE for more information on appraisal rights and HERE on directors’ duties.

Moreover, oftentimes institutions prefer to invest in Delaware domiciled corporations in making their own risk assessments.  The reason is not always because Delaware is better but rather the funds’ insiders or counsel may be familiar with Delaware law and, in making a relatively quick investment decision, do not want to expend the time or resources researching a different state’s body of law.

The two most popular states for incorporation by business entities remain Nevada and Delaware, both of which offer corporations a degree of flexibility from a menu of reasonable alternatives that can be tailored to the companies’ business sectors, markets and corporate culture.  Other states have also gained popularity for various reasons.  For example, Florida has gained popularity due to the rise in Florida businesses and Florida-based public companies.  Wisconsin and Colorado have also become popular due to low fees and management-friendly provisions.

For my clients I am very comfortable recommending states outside of Delaware as a preferred choice for domicile or re-domicile.  This blog provides a summary and comparison of the most relevant provisions of the Delaware, Nevada and Florida corporate laws…

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The Author

Laura Anthony, Esq.
Founding Partner
Legal & Compliance, LLC
Corporate, Securities and Going Public Attorneys

Securities attorney Laura Anthony and her experienced legal team provides ongoing corporate counsel to small and mid-size private companies, OTC and exchange traded issuers as well as private companies going public on the NASDAQ, NYSE MKT or over-the-counter market, such as the OTCQB and OTCQX. For nearly two decades Legal & Compliance, LLC has served clients providing fast, personalized, cutting-edge legal service. The firm’s reputation and relationships provide invaluable resources to clients including introductions to investment bankers, broker dealers, institutional investors and other strategic alliances. The firm’s focus includes, but is not limited to, compliance with the Securities Act of 1933 offer sale and registration requirements, including private placement transactions under Regulation D and Regulation S and PIPE Transactions as well as registration statements on Forms S-1, S-8 and S-4; compliance with the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including registration on Form 10, reporting on Forms 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K, and 14C Information and 14A Proxy Statements; Regulation A/A+ offerings; all forms of going public transactions; mergers and acquisitions including both reverse mergers and forward mergers, ; applications to and compliance with the corporate governance requirements of securities exchanges including NASDAQ and NYSE MKT; crowdfunding; corporate; and general contract and business transactions. Moreover, Ms. Anthony and her firm represents both target and acquiring companies in reverse mergers and forward mergers, including the preparation of transaction documents such as merger agreements, share exchange agreements, stock purchase agreements, asset purchase agreements and reorganization agreements. Ms. Anthony’s legal team prepares the necessary documentation and assists in completing the requirements of federal and state securities laws and SROs such as FINRA and DTC for 15c2-11 applications, corporate name changes, reverse and forward splits and changes of domicile. Ms. Anthony is also the author of SecuritiesLawBlog.com, the OTC Market’s top source for industry news, and the producer and host of LawCast.com, the securities law network. In addition to many other major metropolitan areas, the firm currently represents clients in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Atlanta, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Denver, Tampa, Detroit and Dallas.

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