A Montana small business owner has plenty of paperwork to take care of every year. One of the most important is a state-mandated Montana annual report. For entities such as Montana limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations, annual reports are required filings that keep your business in “good standing” with the Montana Secretary of State.
This report isn’t a huge project, but it is an administrative task that can take your time and energy away from other business matters.
When you run your own small business, it helps to understand what your annual report is and why the state wants one. Our guide can help.
Table of Contents
- What is a Montana annual report?
- Montana annual report for corporations vs LLCs
- Where do I file my Montana annual report?
- When is the Montana annual report due?
- How much does the Montana annual report cost?
- What information do I need to file my Montana annual report?
- What happens after I file my Montana annual report?
- What if I miss the deadline to file my Montana annual report?
- Who do I contact if I have issues filing my Montana annual report?
- How do I change my Montana registered agent?
What is a Montana annual report?
Your annual report is a yearly opportunity for business entities like LLCs and corporations to confirm or update baseline information about the business, such as contact information for your registered agent, or who your company officers or members are.
The Montana Secretary of State’s Business Services Division may use the data in annual reports to track what businesses are in the state, including how many businesses are opening, operating, or closing. It’s also important to remember that annual reports are publicly available through the Montana business name search.
Montana annual report for corporations vs LLCs
LLCs and corporations must file annual reports on the same day (April 15) each year. Both entities also need to include current principal office details, as well as the name and contact information for the company’s registered agent.
LLCs will need to verify or update the required information for each manager or member. Corporations will need to check or update the required information for each officer or director.
Where do I file my Montana annual report?
Montana only accepts annual report filings online. The state no longer accepts paper reports filed by mail, fax, or in person. To fulfill the annual filing requirement for your company, start by searching for your business at biz.sosmt.gov/search/business. You can also log in to your ePass Montana account at mt.gov (and here are the state’s instructions if you’re new to ePass).
When is the Montana annual report due?
Your Montana corporation or LLC annual report is due every year by April 15.
If you miss the deadline, Montana will list your company as no longer in good standing. It’s still possible to file your report, but Montana will charge a $15 late fee on top of the $20 filing fee, or $35 total.
Domestic corporations and LLCs have until December 1 to complete the filing, and foreign LLCs and corporations have until November 1 to file. If your annual report isn’t filed by then, Montana will dissolve your business entity, stripping your company of the rights and legal protections it had before. Prior to dissolving your company, the state will send a notice of upcoming dissolution.
How much does the Montana annual report cost?
The annual report filing fee for corporations and LLCs is:
- $20 for filing by or before April 15
- $35 for filing after April 15 ($20 filing fee plus $15 late fee)
If your company requires reinstatement, you’ll also need to follow the state’s requirements, including filing reports and paying all fees due.
What information do I need to file my Montana annual report?
Annual reports must include the following information:
- Filing number
- Entity type
- Entity subtype
- Managed by
- State formed in
- Principal address
- Mailing address
- Registration date
- Registered agent
When reviewing and filing your company’s annual report, include, verify, and/or update details as necessary to ensure the state has accurate information for your business.
Note: If your “Close Corporation” operates without a Board of Directors, include the name of each shareholder in the annual report.
What happens after I file my Montana annual report?
Once you’ve reviewed and updated your information as needed, the state’s online process will guide you through to verification and payment. You’ll be able to pay your filing fee online with a debit or credit card.
After completing the payment and filing process online, your report should be processed immediately.
The Montana Secretary of State’s office will also send you a confirmation email verifying that your filing is complete and paid for. Once you have that email, your filing should be complete.
After your annual report is filed, your business should be considered in good standing with the Treasure State.
What if I miss the deadline to file my Montana annual report?
Annual reports are due every year by April 15. If you don’t meet the filing deadline, the following can happen.
Montana will no longer consider your business in good standing. While your business may be able to continue operations, being out of good standing could make it difficult to open bank accounts or seek outside funding. It also puts you at a higher risk of personal liability.
Filing your annual report after April 15 includes paying a $15 late fee on top of the $20 report filing fee.
If you fail to pay by September 1, Montana will notify your business that it is going to be dissolved. That may be your business’s final notice to fulfill your annual report requirement, including paying the filing fee. If your company still doesn’t file, then Montana will dissolve your domestic LLC or corporation on December 1, and the state will dissolve your foreign corporation or LLC on November 1.
A dissolved business loses its former legal protections, but can be reinstated by filling out a form and paying a fee.
Fortunately, these situations are easily avoided by filing your annual report by April 15.
Who do I contact if I have issues filing my Montana annual report?
If there’s an issue with your report, a Montana Business Services representative will be in touch to inform you about the problem, and potentially help you resolve it.
You can also check the resources in the business help center or reach out to the Montana Secretary of State’s office:
- Online: Report a problem or send feedback
- Phone: (406) 444-2034
- Office: Montana Secretary of State, Montana Capitol Building, 1301 6th Avenue, Room 260, Helena, MT 59620
- Mail: Montana Secretary of State, P.O. Box 202801, Helena, MT 59620-2801
Filing your Montana annual report on time can be stressful, especially if you are trying to remember to meet the April 15 deadline at the same time you may be working on your personal and/or company taxes. However, filing an accurate annual report on time is crucial to your business remaining in good standing with the state.
How do I change my Montana registered agent?
Outside of your annual report filing period, you can change your registered agent by filing with the Montana Secretary of State a statement of change signed on behalf of the entity. Alternatively, you can update your registered agent as part of completing your annual report.
Filing Your Annual Report FAQs
Can I file my Montana annual report by mail?
No. Montana no longer accepts annual reports on paper, submitted in person, or sent via mail or fax. All annual reports must be filed online. File your annual report online by April 15 of each year.
How much does it cost to file an annual report in Montana?
Filing your LLC or corporation’s annual report by April 15 costs $20. Filing after April 15 costs $35 ($20 filing fee plus $15 late fee).
Are there any fees or penalties if I don't file my Montana annual report on time?
Yes. If you don’t file your company’s annual report by April 15, the state will assess a $15 late fee on top of the $20 filing fee, so the filing will cost $35 instead of $20.
The state will also consider your business no longer in good standing, which could make it more difficult to open bank accounts or receive outside funding.
What happens if I don’t file my annual report at all in Montana?
If your business does not file its annual report at all in Montana, the state will dissolve your company, effectively shutting it down in the eyes of the state. Montana typically sends notices of dissolution in September. Montana will dissolve foreign corporations and LLCs by November 1 for failure to file an annual report. Montana will dissolve domestic corporations and LLCs by December 1 for failure to file an annual report.
When a business is dissolved, it loses any legal protections granted by its former business structure.
How long does the Montana annual report process take?
Montana requires companies to file their annual reports online, so the process can take a matter of minutes. The first time you file your report, allow extra time to gather current contact information for your members/officers, and verify information for your Montana registered agent.
In years where there are changes to the information in your annual report, you may want to allow 30 to 60 minutes. In years where there are no changes to your annual report, the filing may take as little as five to ten minutes.
Do Montana annual reports need original signatures?
No. Since annual reports are filed online, you only need to follow the online instructions to correctly complete, pay for, and submit your annual report.
Who must file a Montana annual report?
Any company member/owner or authorized third party will file a Montana annual report for your corporation or LLC. If you are choosing to have one of your company owners or members be responsible for filing the annual report, consider specifying this duty and due date in your company’s operating agreement or corporate bylaws. You may also hire a commercial registered agent and compliance service to file on your behalf.