Most states require limited liability companies (LLCs) to file annual reports. Failure to file correctly can lead to penalties and hurt your LLC’s status with the state.
While filing LLC annual reports isn’t difficult, many business owners struggle with the requirements.
We created this guide to clear up any confusion about LLC filing guidelines. You’ll learn how to file LLC annual reports and ensure your business remains in good standing with the state.
What Are LLC Annual Reports?
An LLC annual report is a short document containing some basic details about your business. This typically includes the LLC name, business address, members, and registered agent.
The purpose of the LLC annual report is to ensure your business information is up to date for things like government correspondence, lawsuits, and more.
Several states have unique names for the LLC annual report. For example, you might see this document referred to as the “statement of information” in some jurisdictions.
The Basics of Filing LLC Annual Reports
We’ll take a closer look at the core component of filing an LLC annual report. This will help ensure you fulfill all of the appropriate requirements in your state.
State Filing Requirements
The first thing you need to do is determine whether or not you actually need to file an LLC annual report in your state. While filing LLC annual reports is mandatory in most states, it’s not a requirement across the board.
Arizona, Missouri, Texas, and New Mexico are all examples of states that do not require LLC annual reports.
Not sure if you need to file an annual report in your state? Check out this LLC tax and filing requirements guide from Nolo. Just click on your state for a fast answer—but we recommend verifying this information with your secretary of state’s website.
If you can’t find that answer with your secretary of state, refer to whichever state agency site that you used to file your initial LLC organizational documents.
A quick internet search for “annual report” plus your state can help as well. But it’s worth noting that not every state uses this term. Depending on the state, alternative names for this document include:
- Statement of Information
- Periodic Report
- Biennial Report
- Decennial Report
- Annual Statement
So if there isn’t a direct hit with your first online search, don’t assume you’re not required to file just yet. Keep digging to verify.
Filing Frequency and Annual Report Dates
Once you’ve landed on a state resource explaining whether or not you need to file an annual report, it should be fairly easy to determine when the reports are due.
It’s worth noting that the term “LLC annual report” is actually fairly broad. Not every state requires this filing once per year.
For example, California requires LLCs to file a statement of information within 90 days of filing the articles of organization during the initial LLC formation process. Then you need to file again every two years within the six months leading up to your LLC’s articles of organization anniversary month.
Suppose you have an LLC in California, and you filed your articles of organization on June 15th of an even-numbered year. Your statement of information must be filed at some point between January 1st and June 30th of each subsequent even-numbered year for the lifetime of your LLC.
In Pennsylvania, LLCs are required to file a decennial report every ten years for years ending with the numeral “1” (2011, 2021, 2031, etc.). The report essentially tells the state that your LLC continues to exist and allows you to continue using your LLC name.
As you can see from these two examples, the due dates and filing frequency can be pretty specific. It’s not always just a matter of filing a document once per year—so always refer to your state mandates.
Fees and Taxes
In most cases, there’s a fee associated with filing an LLC annual report. Like most aspects of this filing process, the exact rates will vary from state to state.
For example, the LLC statement of information filing fee in California is just $20. In Massachusetts, the annual report filing fee is $500. The rest typically fall somewhere in between.
Other states have unique fee requirements for each business. In Wyoming, annual report fees are based on your company’s assets. There’s an annual report worksheet with assets broken down into different categories, and instructions for calculating the total filing fee.
The way you file and pay can also impact the total cost of the annual report. For example, some states have different rates for online filing compared to mailing the annual report. Other states impose an additional fee for paying by credit card.
Usually, the cheaper method will be based on whatever is most convenient for the state. If your state still uses a paper system, the mail filing will likely be less expensive than filing online.
In addition to the annual report filing and fee, your state might also impose an annual LLC tax. This could be due around the same time as your annual report.
By default, LLCs provide pass-through-taxation to members—meaning the owners pay income tax on their personal returns, and the LLC itself isn’t taxed.
Let’s look at a state like Texas. We mentioned them earlier as a state that does not require an LLC annual report. However, Texas imposes a state franchise tax on most LLCs. This is just one of many states with a similar fee.
Penalties and Consequences For Not Filing LLC Annual Reports
Depending on the state, failure to file will result in more than just a slap on the wrist. You could be hit with a hefty fine or potentially lose the rights to your LLC name.
Some states might involuntarily dissolve your LLC. If this happens and your business loses its status as an LLC, you’ll also lose all liability protections. Losing your LLC status could also result in contract breaches on outstanding loans or insurance obligations.
All of these scenarios would obviously mean big problems for your business.
In most cases, your LLC may not be dissolved if you filed a week or a month late. But you’d be forced to pay a late fee. These late fees are usually significantly more than the annual fee.
For example, earlier we mentioned that the California statement of information filing fee is just $20—one of the lowest fees in the country and only due every other year. But late filings are assessed a penalty of $250.
3 Tools For Filing LLC Annual Reports
Filing LLC annual reports on your own without any help can be a bit intimidating for LLC members. Fortunately, there are tools and solutions on the market that will make your life much easier.
#1 — Incfile
Incfile is best known for its online business formation services. In fact, the site has been used to form over 500,000+ businesses, making it one of the most popular solutions in this category. But Incfile also offers a wide range of additional business services beyond the initial formation process.
Even if you didn’t use Incfile to form your business, you can still use them to file your annual reports. Just fill out a simple form online, and an Incfile representative will contact you to obtain the information required in the report. The service starts at $99 plus state filing fees.
#2 — Harbor Compliance
Harbor Compliance has helped over 25,000+ businesses nationwide with a wide range of services. As the name implies, this service provider specializes in compliance. They even offer a managed annual report service for LLCs—so you have one less thing to worry about.
You’ll benefit from automated filings and less paperwork. The Harbor Compliance software will track due dates and always file your reports on time. You’ll have complete control over your data and have the ability to see a real-time view of your status from a user-friendly admin dashboard. The service starts at $175 per state, and Harbor Compliance offers volume discounts of up to 40% for businesses operating in multiple states.
#3 — Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent helps LLCs and other business entities remain compliant in all 50 states. They offer exceptional customer service and put your mind at ease when you hire them as your registered agent.
Part of your service includes free online tools, like instructions and reminders for annual reports in each state where you operate. You’ll still need to file the annual reports on your own, but Northwest Registered Agent will make sure you file everything on time at no extra cost. These registered agent services start at $125 per year, and the compliance reminders are included.
3 Tricks For Filing LLC Annual Reports
I’ve identified a few quick tips and best practices to help you file your LLC annual reports. These tricks will help you avoid penalties and ensure you’re fulfilling state requirements.
Trick #1: Set Reminders For Filing Due Dates
Many states will send a reminder out in the mail about upcoming deadlines and annual report fees. But you can’t rely on this alone.
When you’re running an LLC, it’s easy to forget about filing a single-page document with your updated business information. So setting a reminder and marking your calendar in advance is basically a requirement—unless you have an exceptional memory.
This is especially useful for LLCs in states that have unique deadlines. It’s not always just a matter of filing the report when you pay year-end taxes.
Suppose you’re in a state where you need to file an annual report every other year during the anniversary month of filing your articles of organization. In that case, it will probably slip your mind without a reminder. So mark your calendars, and automate recurring reminders.
Trick #2: Use a Filing Service to Put Your Annual Reports on Autopilot
The easiest way to remain compliant for LLC annual reports is by using a third-party service.
Some services will file those reports on your behalf. You’ll be contacted prior to the deadline so the company can verify information about your LLC. Then they’ll just take care of everything else for you.
It’s also common for registered agent services and business formation services to assist you with this process. For example, some registered agents offer annual report compliance services. They’ll automatically send you filing instructions and reminders for deadlines.
While there’s obviously an added fee for using a service like this, it’s usually fairly inexpensive. When you weigh this cost against the potential penalties and consequences associated with not filing, it’s well worth it.
Trick #3: Don’t Forget About Other States Where You Operate
For those of you who do business in more than one state, you might need to file multiple annual reports. This is usually required in every state where your business is registered.
It’s worth noting that the filing process may not be identical to your home state.
As we’ve seen throughout this guide, requirements vary as you cross state lines. So you’ll need to repeat the steps we discussed earlier to ensure you’re compliant in each state.
That’s another reason why it’s so useful to use a third-party service. These organizations are well-versed in all 50 states, so they can help you navigate the waters in every jurisdiction where your LLC operates. This is definitely useful for businesses required to file LLC annual reports in multiple states.
What to Do Next
Now that you understand the basic concepts of LLC annual reports and how to file them, it’s time to make sure you remain compliant. First and foremost, visit your local state agency website to see if and when you need to file an annual report.
From there, you’ll need to set up an internal process for filing those reports that can be repeated each year the report is due. Check out our list of the best registered agent services, as many of these companies can assist you with this process.
We also have an in-depth guide on the best LLC services that’s extremely useful for startups and existing LLCs alike. From legal services to contracts, document filings, and more, this guide will help your LLC remain compliant.