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The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is a set of regulations adopted to make commerce from state to state easier. While the code is the same among all states, filing requirements differ. It covers consensual agreements between parties and does not include non-consensual filings like tax liens. While the intent of the code is for cohesiveness among the states there are distinctions among the states. A number of these are found with each state’s filing requirements.
A UCC generally is a form that parties use to solidify or notify the world of a business transaction between two or multiple parties. It is essential to file a UCC because you’re trying to safeguard your priority or your position in line in the event that something goes wrong in the business deal.
In addition to creating a public notice of a lien, the financing statement is also used to perfect a security interest or to show priority over third-party creditors. It is a legal document and public record. The UCC-1 serves as evidence in the case of any legal disputes over liability.
The following checklist will help you catch any wild cards:
No more redundant data entry and tedious checking for accuracy across multiple forms, the UCC filing hub is a simple, intuitive, and easy-to-use platform that offers you smart UCC automation.
Due diligence is significant when performing Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) searches. Originally designed to streamline commerce across all 50 states and territories, the process became more complex after the 2013 adjustments to UCC Revised Article Nine.
Due diligence experts must adjust to this new environment in order to maintain their high levels of accuracy; even the simplest UCC searches and filings require strong attention to detail. Whether you’re conducting a single search or a more complex due diligence strategy, it’s crucial the search and filing results are clear, comprehensive, and accurate.
Missed deadlines and improper filing and searches can lead to lost time and money for you and your clients.
Tips for Retrieving Debtor Name: Accuracy Is Paramount
Listing the correct debtor name on a UCC filing or search is critical. It sounds like an easy enough step, but unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward.
Current law requires the debtor name to appear exactly as it is listed on the entity’s most recent charter document. It’s not as simple as checking the state website for the organization’s name or a Certificate of Good Standing. The information listed here is considered “compiled data”, meaning it was entered manually by someone working for the state. All states handle this process manually.
If the information was entered incorrectly it could lead to serious errors or omissions on your UCC form.
Even seemingly inconsequential mistakes or variations will affect your filing status. Examples include:
In some states, you can make one of the above mistakes on your UCC filing and be okay, while in others you could be creating a filing for a completely different entity. Not every state uses the same search logic. Don’t be fooled by the name; the UCC is anything but uniform.
Just a quick note: you can still use a Certificate of Good Standing for other purposes, including to check a company’s viability. But don’t rely on these when searching for the correct name to enter on a UCC filing, especially after the 2013 changes to the law.
Listing Individuals in a UCC
The majority of UCC filings involve corporations, LLCs and other business entities. When they involve individuals there’s even more room for error.
The headaches come up when it’s time to determine the individual’s “exact full legal name”, as specified in UCC-1. Accuracy is just as important when dealing with individuals. Where to find this information depends on the state.
There are two options listed:
Alternative A: Driver’s license. To file, you must list the individual’s name exactly as it appears on his or her driver’s license. This option has been adopted by 43 states.
Alternative B: the “Safe Harbor” option. This option gives the court the ability to come up with multiple names for an individual. For example, say someone’s driver’s license identifies him as “Steven Alexander Moore III”, but this person files taxes under the name “Steve Moore” and owns property as “Steven Moore”. In an Alternative B state, all variations would be accepted. Delaware is currently the most important UCC state that has adopted Alternative B.
In an Alternative A state, the filing is crystal clear. But with Alternative B we’re in much murkier waters. How do you navigate? When in doubt, file against multiple names. Ask individuals what names they may have used in the past seven years, as well as the addresses they used during this time. The more data you collect the better.
UCC Filing Checklist
How do you ensure you cast a wide enough net when searching for information for your UCC filing? The following checklist will help you catch any wild cards:
For more information on how you can best prepare for a UCC search or filing, watch the on-demand webinar, Modern Due Diligence Signposts.
Ever-changing jurisdictional requirements can mean missed or incorrect searches.
Missed deadlines can result in lost time and money for you and your clients.
The amount of time and complexity required to manage lien management and debtor due diligence compliance increases year after year.
State law grants liens for unpaid taxes to the various states, with most requiring that a public notice be filed to document the existence of a state tax lien. Most state tax liens are required to be filed only in a local office, usually the county where the property is located. Other states retain state tax lien filings at both the Secretary of State and a local office.
A UCC is the official mechanism for notifying lenders of a possible conflict in collateral interest, a UCC search conducted at the appropriate state filing office and prior to a transaction closing is critical to the due diligence process.