When you start a limited liability company (LLC), you’ll want to be prepared to file annual reports for your business. Annual reports are an important part of annual compliance for your business.
But knowing exactly how, when, and where to file your annual report can feel overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll cover all the need-to-know essentials of filing an annual report so you can check this item off your list.
An LLC annual report is a simple business filing that most states require for registered business entities. In the majority of states, this report is due every year (hence the title “annual report”). But some states require a biennial report (due once every two years) instead; Pennsylvania is a true anomaly, requiring this report once every 10 years.
The annual report actually contains some very basic information about your LLC, such as your physical business address, your registered agent information, your mailing address, and other contact information.
What an LLC Annual Report Is Not
An LLC’s annual report, for the purpose of this guide, is not a financial report. It’s different from the report a corporation is required to send to its shareholders. Granted, if you want to write up a financial status report for your members, you can. But the LLC annual report we’re discussing is a simple compliance requirement.
Annual reports exist to keep your state agency up to date so it can maintain accurate records for its legal business entities. It’s a quick fact-check for your contact information so the state knows where to send official notices. The report also helps your state know that you’re still up and running.
Additionally, an annual report allows your state to collect an annual fee. Paying this money might seem like a hassle for your business, but the revenue helps your state maintain its programs. In turn, this helps your LLC — and your whole state.
Filing an annual report is easiest when you know exactly what to expect. Every state is a little bit different, but let’s talk through the general guidelines you should follow.
Consult with your Secretary of State (or similar agency) to learn what the LLC annual report requirements are in your area. Some states require this yearly report, others require a biennial report, and a couple of states don’t even require a report. You’ll also want to check your state’s due date and fee schedule so you know what to expect.
If you operate in multiple states, you’ll need to file a report in each state where you’re located. Keep in mind that states have different names for this report, like “periodic report,” so you might need to modify your search a bit.
You’ll need to compile the information you’ll fill out on the annual report. Every state requires slightly different information, but often it’s similar to what’s included in your Articles of Organization. Here are some of the most common topics for LLC annual reports:
In some states, you can actually use your annual report to make amendments to some of your business information. This feature is most commonly used to update your registered agent. Generally, going this route saves you a little more money than making a separate amendment and paying that fee.
Please note that some changes, such as changing your legal business name, can’t be made on the annual report. You’d need to file the full Certificate of Amendment to do that.
Now you’re ready to actually fill out and submit your annual report. Every state has slightly different methods, such as online filing, dropping off paper forms in person, or filing by mail or fax. Simply pick your favorite filing method, fill in the required information, and submit it.
Most states also charge an annual report fee, which you should include with your completed report. That might entail filling out a credit card endorsement form, getting a money order or cashier’s check, or writing a business check. Some states don’t accept cash payments unless you’re filing in person, so check your local guidelines. And don’t forget that if you’re filing late, you’ll probably owe a late fee, too.
Every state sets a deadline for when your annual report is due, and you’ll want to make sure you file by then. In some states, the report due date follows your fiscal year. In others, the due date is the beginning or end of your LLC’s anniversary month. It varies, so check and track the due date for each state where you operate.
Worried that you’ll accidentally miss your deadline? Our annual business report service or our worry-free compliance service can help you stay on track.
Failing to file your report on time can have some substantial penalties. The most common penalty is a late fee, which varies from state to state. In some states, it can get really pricey to file your report late. Florida, for example, charges a hefty $538.75 for late reports. Additionally, you can lose your good standing status in your state.
If you wait too long to file your late report, you might even face administrative dissolution: when the state closes your LLC by force. You can usually file for reinstatement to remove your delinquent status, but it’s a hassle. And it can be expensive. It’s far simpler to just file your report on time and avoid dissolution entirely.
Running an LLC can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to go it alone. Here at ZenBusiness, we help small business owners breeze through the red tape of business operations. Whether you need help filing your annual report, worry-free business compliance assistance, a new registered agent, or anything in between, we have you covered.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
That depends on your state. In many states, you can file online. If that’s the case, all you have to do is access your state’s online portal, fill in the required information, pay the fee, and hit submit.
If your state offers paper filings, you’ll have to find your state’s form. Then you’ll print it, fill it out, and either send it in or drop it off to your state agency. Be sure to include an accepted form of payment.
You actually don’t have to write your own annual report form. Your state will provide an online or paper form that you can fill out and submit.
Almost anyone associated with the LLC can prepare the annual report. Often this task is handled by a member, but another representative can submit it, too. Here at ZenBusiness, our annual report service can prepare it for you.
In most states, an annual report comes with a filing fee. There are a few states that either don’t require a fee or don’t require an annual report. But in most states, you should expect to pay a fee. If you don’t file on time, you can also expect to pay a late filing penalty.
If you don’t file your annual report on time, you’ll probably incur a late fee. But if you never file the annual report at all, there’s a good chance the state will administratively dissolve your LLC. If that happens, you’ll need to file all your delinquent annual reports and apply for reinstatement.
If your state has an electronic filing process, you’ll need a computer with internet access. Alternatively, you can submit your report manually by printing off a copy of your state’s annual report form. Beyond that, you’ll need to have some basic information about your business, such as your address, your registered agent, and more.
An annual report for an LLC (or any registered business, really) helps the state keep a running database of all businesses in operation. It also gives you an opportunity to update basic information that may have changed throughout the year. For example, you might update your principal office address on file or your registered agent’s information.
Ultimately, it’s up to you. A lot of small business owners prefer online filings because there’s a faster turnaround time and payment by credit card is easy. But you can file a paper form instead if you prefer. Either method is legitimate if your state offers both.
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