Certain states require a report detailing the basic information about your business to be submitted within the first few months after forming your business. This document, known as either an initial report or a statement of information, aims to provide states with basic information about new businesses operating within the state, sometimes acting as the business’s first annual or biennial report.
What Is an Initial Report?
An initial report is a report that you file at the initial formation of your business that includes basic information about your business. Initial reports typically include:
- The name and address of the registered agent
- The name and address of your business
- An indication of what your business does
- Names of officers, directors, and members of the business
Not all states require initial reports, resulting in business owners frequently forgetting about the initial report altogether. As of 2021, only 10 states require submission of an initial report. It is critical to check your state to see whether an initial report is required.
Some states require initial reports to be submitted along with your business’s formation documents, including:
- South Carolina
In these states, failure to include an initial report with your formation documents can result in your business not being formed until the initial report is submitted.
The Alaska Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licenses permits initial reports to be filed through the mail or online.
Alaskan entities required to file an initial report include:
- Limited liability companies (LLCs)
- Non-profit corporations
Corporations must submit their initial report within six months of incorporation. LLCs must submit their initial report within six months of receiving a form from the Department of Commerce. There is no fee required to file your initial report in Alaska.
California refers to initial reports as statements of information. The California Secretary of State Business Programs Division allows statements of information to be filed online, by mail, or in person in certain offices. Corporations — for-profit and nonprofit — must file a statement of information within 90 days of filing their Articles of Incorporation. For-profit corporations must repeat the process every year. Nonprofit corporations are required to submit a new statement of information every two years.
LLCs must file a statement of information within 90 days of filing their Articles of Organization or application to register, and every two years thereafter.
California requires a fee to file initial reports for all corporations and LLCs. LLCs and for-profit corporations face a hefty penalty fee in the event the statement of information is not filed by the deadline.
The Connecticut Secretary of State requires for-profit corporations, nonprofit corporations, and LLCs to submit their initial report online to the Commercial Recording Division within 30 days of their initial meeting. Connecticut charges a fee to file your initial report for professional corporations, for-profit corporations, and nonprofit corporations.
Initial reports in Georgia are referred to as an Initial Annual Registration. The Georgia Secretary of State provides an annual registration form on its website that can be submitted online or mailed to the Corporations Division. For-profit and nonprofit corporations are required to file the initial report within 90 days of incorporation. However, if your corporation was formed after October 1, you only submit one annual report between January 1st and April 1st that qualifies as an initial report.
Nonprofit and for-profit corporations must submit a filing fee for their initial reports. A late fee is imposed on for-profit corporations that miss the filing deadline.
Georgia does not require LLCs to submit an initial report.
The Louisiana Secretary of State requires domestic LLCs to submit a supplemental initial report form at the time of formation, attached to the Articles of Organization. The submission can be made through the mail or online in certain parishes. The Louisiana initial report requests basic information about your LLC, including:
- The name of your company;
- The address of your company;
- Names and addresses of managers or members; and
- Signatures of parties who signed the Articles of Organization.
Corporations are not required to submit initial reports in Louisiana.
The Missouri Secretary of State requires initial reports to be submitted by:
- Close corporations,
- General corporations, and
- Professional corporations.
Missouri initial reports can be submitted online or by mail (each method has a different fee) and must be filed within 30 days of incorporation. Despite the 30-day deadline, the Secretary of State typically extends the date to within three months after the month of incorporation. A penalty fee is imposed for every 30 days after the deadline that the initial report is not filed.
Missouri LLCs are not required to submit an initial report.
The Nevada Secretary of State requires certain businesses — nonprofits, corporations, and LLCs — to submit an initial report either online or by mail. Nevada’s initial report is referred to as the Initial List of Officers, Managers, Members, General Partners, Managing Partners, or Trustees. The form also serves as a Nevada State Business License Application.
Nevada charges nonprofit corporations, for-profit corporations, and LLCs different fees for a business license, on top of the filing fee for the initial report.
Nevada requires initial reports to be submitted at the time of incorporation for both corporations and LLCs.
New Mexico Requirements
The New Mexico Secretary of State requires for-profit and nonprofit corporations to submit an initial report to the Corporations Bureau. The submission can only be performed online. The New Mexico initial report is due within 30 days of issuance of your company’s certificate of incorporation or certificate of authority. New Mexico charges both profit and nonprofit corporations a filing fee to submit their initial report. Corporations that fail to comply with the deadline incur late fees.
South Carolina Requirements
The South Carolina Department of Revenue requires the following entities to submit initial reports:
- For-profit corporations
- Nonprofit corporations
- Close corporations
- Close professional corporations
The initial report can be submitted either by mail or online. South Carolina requires initial reports to be submitted at the time the corporation is formed. South Carolina includes the cost of filing the initial report in its costs of formation. Failure to submit the filing within the deadline results in a delinquent penalty of 5% per month, not to exceed 25%.
The Washington Secretary of State requires domestic corporations and LLCs to file an initial report within 120 days of incorporation or formation of the entity. The report must be filed with the Corporations Division and can be done through mail or online. Washington charges an application fee and an online filing fee for initial report submission.
What if I forget to file my initial report?
Failure to file an initial report can start your business off on the wrong foot, resulting in monetary and administrative consequences for your business. Penalties for the failure to file an initial report vary from state to state.
Most states impose, at minimum, a late filing penalty on business owners who forget to file their initial report. Some monetary penalties increase every day your initial report filing is late, so be sure to submit your initial report as soon as possible.
Continued failure to file your initial report can result in dissolution of your business or losing your good standing status in the state. Being in good standing allows businesses to obtain financing, enter contracts, and expand their operations. The loss of good standing status can negatively affect all of these.
If your business is administratively dissolved, you can sometimes submit a reinstatement form to the Secretary of State, submit the missing initial report, and pay the fees imposed by the state.
ZenBusiness offers a Worry Free Compliance service to provide business owners with an easier way to manage the requirements of maintaining legal compliance in their state. We know that business owners are primarily concerned with the operation of their business, not keeping track of deadlines and legal obligations.
Our Worry Free Compliance service helps eliminate these burdens for business owners and provides alerts for important compliance and filing deadlines, including for initial reports. The service covers your business’s annual/biennial filing and two yearly amendments. While our service will not file your initial report for you, we will provide proactive alerts to remind you of the initial report filing deadline.
ZenBusiness Alleviates the Stress of Starting Your Own Company
The filing requirements for entities seem unending for business owners who are attempting to get their company off the ground. There are deadlines to comply with, documents to file, and contracts to sign. Don’t let the daunting process of starting your business deter you from chasing your dreams. ZenBusiness can provide the assistance you need to get your business on its feet. We offer expert advice on growing and operating your business, while making sure you meet important deadlines and file the necessary paperwork.
Initial Report FAQs
Below are some commonly asked questions from business owners involving initial reports.
My state isn’t on the list. Do I need to file an initial report?
No. If your state does not require an initial report, there are likely no forms available for you to submit that information, anyway. A lot of the information included in an initial report can also be found in annual reports and organization documents for an entity. Because requirements vary so widely from state to state, it is crucial to ensure you know what filings are required for your business and when they need to be completed.
Is an initial report the same as an annual report?
Initial reports and annual reports are two separate filings. Initial reports are typically only required once, soon after you form your business. Annual reports, on the other hand, are submitted periodically by your business. The time frame for submitting annual reports varies depending on the state where your business is incorporated.
Forgetting to submit your annual report can result in serious consequences for your business, just like forgetting your initial report. ZenBusiness’s Annual Report service helps business owners file their annual reports to remain compliant and in good standing so you can avoid the penalties of missing the deadline.
Do I need a lawyer to file an initial report?
No, a lawyer is not required to file an initial report. Most states provide an online database for business filing submissions. If you have an attorney to oversee your business documents, allowing him or her to review your initial report is never a bad idea, but it is not a necessity. Sign up with ZenBusiness today for expert guidance on navigating the process.