In Alabama, annual reporting is especially essential. The state combines its annual report with its business privilege tax filing, meaning that business owners must complete both simultaneously.
If you own a business in Alabama, it’s imperative to complete your annual report and business privilege tax return accurately and on time. Submitting a late return could be a costly mistake: The penalty can amount to 10% of your total tax burden, plus an additional 1% for each month your payment is late.
At ZenBusiness, we’re here to take the stress out of annual reports for Alabama business owners. In this guide, we’ll break down the practical details of the Alabama annual report and business privilege tax, allowing you to understand your obligations. We’ll also explain how different business entities are required to file and answer common questions about Alabama’s business reporting system.
As we describe various aspects of this process, we’ll also explain how ZenBusiness can assist you run your business smoothly. For example, our worry-free compliance service can help with filing deadlines.
After learning a bit more about Alabama’s regulations, these services might seem especially appealing. Here’s everything you need to know about annual reports in Alabama.
All business entities in Alabama must file annual reports and business privilege tax returns. An annual report provides basic details about a business and its operations, while the business privilege tax charges businesses for operating in Alabama.
While annual reports and taxation are dealt with separately in many states, Alabama elects to combine them (at least with this particular tax; your business will likely owe taxes beyond the business privilege tax), meaning business owners file both simultaneously. But the filing process differs somewhat depending on the type of business you operate.
The simplest way to understand annual reports and business privilege tax returns in Alabama is to familiarize yourself with the following forms. Once you do, you’ll know which forms you’ll need to submit to the Alabama Department of Revenue in any given year.
Due dates for submission of these forms also differ for various Alabama business entities. However, because these forms relate to the business privilege tax, they are due at the same time that tax is.
Here are the due dates for submission of Business Privilege Tax Return and Annual Report forms in Alabama for different businesses. These deadlines refer to filing the prior year’s return (e.g., filing a 2019 return in 2020):
To complete the forms discussed, you’ll need to supply the information they require. Some of these items are basic, intended for records and contact purposes.
For example, regardless of the type of business entity you operate, you’ll need to provide your business’s mailing address, a contact person, and their email address and phone number.
You’ll also need to provide certain administrative information, such as your business’s “BPT account number,” which you received after registering your business with the Department of Revenue online. If you need any clarification regarding these items, use this Department of Revenue annual report service forms search website to find detailed instructions for completing each form.
However, the most important information you’ll provide will concern how much your business owes in business privilege tax. Once again, we advise hiring a qualified tax professional to complete these calculations for your business.
While it is possible to compute your tax burden using the Department of Revenue’s instructions, the necessary calculations can be quite convoluted.
Once you complete your required forms, you’ll need to gather some related documents to substantiate your filing. Here’s what Alabama requires you to submit with your Business Privilege Tax Return and Annual Report forms:
Recall that C corporations and S corporations must also fill out the AL-CAR form and attach it to their return.
Alabama’s process for submitting your Business Privilege Tax Return and Annual Report forms and associated documentation can be submitted online or by mail to the Alabama Department of Revenue.
You can choose to include the business privilege tax with your forms or submit the forms and pay separately using the Department of Revenue’s online payment system.
If you do choose to include payment, provide the following with your filing:
You can send these items and all your forms to the Alabama Department of Revenue.
When you are ready to make your business privilege tax payment, you’ll need to log on to the Department of Revenue’s My Alabama Taxes (MAT) portal. If you do not have an account, you may need to make one before proceeding.
The MAT website offers two options for submitting payments by credit card, the Official Payments Corporation and Value Payment Systems. Value Payment Systems does not charge a convenience fee to process your payment, but enrolling in this system may take slightly longer.
We hope this guide helps clarify your responsibilities as an Alabama business owner when it comes to filing your Business Privilege Tax Return and Annual Report. While the particular details may seem complicated, the information we’ve shared should help you proceed with confidence.
Of course, the best way to gain confidence is by having an expert team in your corner. We are your ally for all Alabama business filings, with the resources and knowledge to keep your business compliant.
Our compliance service provides you with ongoing support for your business filing obligations. With professionals experienced in Alabama law, we’re prepared to deliver the practical guidance you need.
You didn’t start your business to get bogged down in paperwork. To learn how we can take the red tape off your plate, reach out to our team today.
There is a small filing fee associated with the Alabama Business Privilege Tax Return and Annual Report (form CPT for corporations and form PPT for pass-through entities). However, you will need to pay your calculated business privilege tax burden.
If you miss the deadline for filing your Business Privilege Tax Return and Annual Report, you will be assessed a financial penalty. The late filing fee amounts to 10% of the business privilege tax you owe or $50, whichever is greater.
Additionally, you should note that Alabama will charge you a separate fee if you are late paying your business privilege tax. This fee amounts to 1% of the tax you owe for each month you go past the deadline, not to exceed 25%.
Of course, with ZenBusiness’s worry-free compliance service, you’ll never have to stress about filing or paying late. We’ll stay on top of all state deadlines, ensuring that you’re never hit with a surprising penalty.
If you fail to file your Business Privilege Tax Return and Annual Report form, the Department of Revenue will send you a notice of delinquency. During the period in which you don’t file, you will continue to incur additional penalties. Once again, ZenBusiness’s worry-free compliance service is an excellent way to prevent these unfortunate outcomes.
Continued failure to pay your business privilege tax could result in more serious sanctions, including the dissolution of your business. If you are unable to pay the amount of business privilege tax you owe, we recommend seeking the assistance of a trained tax professional.
The Alabama Business Privilege Tax Return and Annual Report (form CPT for corporations and form PPT for pass-through entities) does request items of information about your business that may change periodically. For example, if you change your business’s mailing address, you can include the new one on this form.
C corporations and S corporations must provide additional information in the Alabama Secretary of State Corporation Annual Report (form AL-CAR). This form is also an opportunity to update certain details concerning your business.
However, you cannot use these forms to amend the information provided in your business formation documents. For example, to amend your registered agent, you’ll need to complete and submit an associated form to the Alabama Secretary of State.
If you need to update your business formation documents, ZenBusiness can easily implement any change you need. Our team will handle the amendment paperwork and filing process on your behalf, saving you the time and trouble.
Perhaps you’ve heard the term “annual report” in a slightly different business context. Publicly traded companies are required to publish annual reports to their shareholders, detailing the state of their business. These companies must also share an expanded version of this report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the federal agency responsible for regulating financial markets.
Thankfully, most small business owners don’t need to concern themselves with this type of annual report. When your business blooms into a publicly traded company, you can worry about this government compliance.
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