New state website aims to ‘revolutionize’ incorporation process

DOVER — The Delaware Department of State’s corporations section is set to launch the first major change to the state’s corporate franchise registration website since 1989.

An overhaul of the Delaware Corporation Information System is planned for next month. It will allow for the Division of Corporations to improve service and take advantage of modern technology.

The change will not impact most Delawareans.

The Division of Corporations’ online system contains 116 years of corporate filings, but the system is in serious need of an upgrade. Launched in 1983, it last saw major updates 26 years ago.

“It might as well be 100 years in technology years,” department spokesman C.R. McLeod said.

It’s something that has been in the works for at least five years, and department officials had previously developed a list of changes they hoped to see, he noted.

The change will benefit both companies and the government, Mr. McLeod said.

According to an FAQ for the new system, the replacement DCIS “will provide flexibility, easily searchable data and a user-friendly point-and-click technology. The new system utilizes web services to integrate with other systems and supports a host of import and distribution methods.”

Although the web portal will retain the DCIS name, it’s not meant to be seen as “DCIS 3.0” but as something “completely new,” Mr. McLeod said.

To allow for the change, the Division of Corporations will be inaccessible over Labor Day weekend. It will close at 4:30 Sept. 3, a Thursday, and re-open the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Delaware’s business-friendly laws have created a large market for incorporation. Two-thirds of the Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in the state, and fees generated from the franchise tax make up a major portion of the state’s budget. In fiscal year 2015, which ended July 1, the franchise tax brought in $674.8 million — about 17 percent of the state’s budget.

In total, more than 1.1 million active businesses are incorporated in Delaware.

“Our system is completely different from other states that do incorporation,” Mr. McLeod said.

The cost for the upgrade totals $22 million but is not borne by taxpayers.

Funding is, instead, provided by the Division of Corporation’s internal Technology Infrastructure Fund. Money from companies seeking expedited service goes into the fund, which brings in about $7.5 million annually.

Businesses already have been informed, Mr. McLeod said, and a team of workers is focusing solely on the new system.

The DCIS overhaul was developed by Alliance Global Services, with the state’s Department of Technology and Information working to put it into practice.

“It’s critically important to our business and making sure that we continue to be the leader in corporation formation services,” Mr. McLeod said.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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