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The Perils of Giving and Getting Notice

By Goria Weber & Jarvis on Jan 13, 2017 at 06:03 PM

We have all been there, positive we emailed that person but they say they never got it; or getting stuck with a late penalty because the little notice got lost in your junk mail in your mailbox. Getting and giving notice is an important component of running any successful business


Receipt of appropriate notice is not only firmly sounded in common sense, it is a fundamental feature of Constitutional due process -- think of "due process", that buzzword you hear all the time on the news and television. I won’t bore you with summary of the historic importance of notice, and frankly I would also rather not dust off my Constitutional Law books. But in today’s fast-paced world where people expect immediate results and outcomes in days via email and other electronic forms of communication, the importance of notice (and paying attention to notices) can get lost in the shuffle.


The Pitfalls of Email


Email is great. I cannot imagine effectively doing my job without it, as evidenced by that once or twice a year our firm’s internet goes down for one reason or another. However, as email becomes a primary form of communication, you need to be mindful of its impact on your rights and responsibilities.


For example, you may sign a contract and service arrangement that allows the other party to send required notices by email. But what happens when that notice goes into your spam file? Or you just delete it as spam? It is important that you pay attention those terms and conditions, and watch for these notices, as failure to do so can cause you an unnecessary headache.


Also, if you send notices to clients or vendors as part of your business routine, you may want to discuss the notice procedures with a legal professional to make sure those notices are enforceable


Government Notices


Fortunately, notices from the government are still typically provided by regular mail. Whether a notice from the IRS, FTB, Secretary of State, county assessor’s office, city code compliance department, law enforcement, local or state government, or other bureaucratic agency, you still need to read your mail.


Another important feature is that you properly update your current mailing address with the USPS, as failure to do so could result in a notice being sent to an old mailing address, to a rental property, or other unintended location. To this day, despite my best efforts I still periodically receive mail at my parents’ house even though I haven’t lived there in 25 years. They are good about letting me know, but not everyone is so lucky.


Notices Regarding Your Business


In my professional experience, the most important notices relate to your business operations, as failure to timely respond to notices from government, landlords, licensing agencies, persons filing lawsuits against you, or other similar notices can range from minor inconvenience to catastrophically costly. It may be helpful, and even critical, to have tax and legal professionals who are easily available to answer the “I just received this in the mail, what does it mean?” question I get so often from clients as notices are becoming more and more complex given the way government bureaucracy and the legal profession operate today. While the answers widely vary, providing at least a quick answer and outlining the appropriate course of action not only usually puts the client at ease, but also avoids a client ignoring a notice for fear of the uncertainty of its importance.




Don’t ignore notices. With help from your tax and legal professionals, once clients understand why they received a notice, it is almost always allows clients to take needed action rather than doing nothing.


Dave Jarvis

Mar 20, 2018 Arrow1 Down Reply
Anthony kiryakoza

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