It’s Time to File: Everything You Need to Know About 2020 Annual Reports (and Their Deadlines)

hands typing on laptop computer filing 2020 annual report

With the new year comes new deadlines for your business. One important objective to keep in mind is checking on the annual report due dates to keep your business in compliance with your state regulatory authorities. Your 2020 annual report deadline will depend on which state you’re located in, and whether your business is a limited liability company (LLC) or C Corporation.

Learn more about what you need to do to file your annual report and how to keep your business in good standing with your local state officials.

What Is an Annual Report?

Starting a business involves a process of choosing a business entity, choosing a business name, filing incorporation documents, getting an Employer ID Number (EIN) and dealing with various types of formal documentation to make your business fully “legal” as an established corporate entity — whether it’s as an LLC, C Corporation, S Corporation or other type of business.

But your business documentation filing requirements don’t end with your Articles of Incorporation! Even after your business is up and running, as part of your responsibilities of managing your business, you will need to file ongoing reports with your state regulatory authority (typically your state’s Secretary of State office) to show that your business is still active and operational. This type of ongoing legal documentation is known as an annual report.

There are a few different types of annual report, depending on the requirements of your local state. For example, some states do not require a report to be filed every year; your state might only require your “annual report” to be filed every two years, in which case it will be labeled as a biennial report. The state of Pennsylvania only requires these reports to be filed every 10 years.

Other alternate names for “annual report” (depending on the state) include:

  • Annual renewal
  • Annual registration
  • Business entity report
  • Periodic report

Whatever the annual report is called in your state, the concept is the same: this is a necessary, legal document that you must file by the deadline in order to keep your business compliant and avoid unnecessary costs and complications for your company.

What Information Needs to be Included in my 2020 Annual Report?

The exact details and requirements of your company’s annual report will depend on the state, but in general, an annual report will include basic details about the business, the business location and the business’s owners and agents. For example, your annual report might need to mention:

  • Your company name
  • The purpose of your business (what type of products or services you sell)
  • Business address (principal location)
  • Mailing address (if different from above)
  • Registered agent
  • Names and addresses of the business’s members, managers, owners or directors
  • Stock issued (if any/if applicable to your business)
  • Authorized signature

Why Do I Need to File an Annual Report? 

The purpose of an annual report is to keep the state regulatory authorities updated on whether or not your business still exists and is still operating, and whether or not there have been any significant changes in your business, such as ownership, location or structure.

Filing your annual report is a way to show to the regulatory authorities that your business is still “alive” as an ongoing business operation. It helps you keep your business name, trademarks and relevant tax advantages. It shows the world that you are a legitimate business owner who complies with laws and regulations.

Is an Annual Report the Same as a Shareholder Report? 

Some companies, such as C Corporations, are required by law to provide an annual shareholder report to the owners of the company’s publicly traded stock. However, this type of report is different from an annual report.

Shareholder reports include greater levels of detail about the company’s finances and performance, and are typically shared with an internal audience and/or filed with the SEC. An annual report is a simpler, shorter document that is filed with the state.

US mail boxes

How Does the Process Work for Filing an Annual Report?

The exact steps and costs for filing an annual report will depend on which state your business is registered in, but there are a few key components to keep in mind:

  1. Know Your Due Date: You will typically be required to file your annual report by a certain due date. Some states have one due date for all businesses to file their annual reports, while other states set each business’s due date differently depending on the business’s first date of registration in the state. (See the chart below for detailed due dates by state.)
  2. Watch for Communication with Registered Agent: To help avoid missed deadlines, many states send a reminder communication (by email or postcard) to remind the business owner to file their annual report. This reminder is typically sent to the business’s Registered Agent, who should be able to receive urgent legal mailings in the state where the business is registered.
  3. File Online or By Mail: Most states allow you to file your annual report online (some even require it to be done online), but in other states, you also have the option to file the paperwork via mail.
  4. Pay the Filing Fee: Filing your annual report is not free; all states (except Idaho) charge a fee as part of processing the paperwork for for-profit C Corporations and LLCs. These filing fees (paid to the state) can range from $50 or less, to as much as $400 or more; it all depends on which state your business is registered in. If you choose to use Incfile’s Annual Report filing service, there is also a small fee for Incfile’s services.

When Is the Due Date for My 2020 Annual Report?

Check out this chart below to see your annual report filing deadline. The due date and reporting requirements can be very different, depending on the state and your type of business entity (C Corporation or LLC).

2020 annual report deadlines by state

What Happens If I Don’t File My 2020 Annual Report?

As you can see, the due dates for annual reports are complicated and vary greatly by state and by type of business entity. Please don’t assume that this list of dates is comprehensive; dates might change and might not be reflected on this chart. Be sure to confirm with your state’s regulatory authorities if you have any questions or concerns about your annual report due date or any other business filing deadlines.

Filing your annual report is not just an optional to-do item, it’s a must-have for your business. If you don’t file your annual report on time, you run the risk of having to pay extra fees, or you even might lose your business. Some states might dissolve your corporation or LLC and you would no longer be operating a legal business entity. It’s better to stay compliant and keep your business in good standing; make sure your annual report is filed on time.

Are you ready to file your annual report? Talk to Incfile! Our Incfile Annual Report filing service gives you professional help to meet the deadlines, manage the paperwork, save time and avoid hassle.

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Ben Gran

Ben Gran is a freelance writer from Des Moines, Iowa. Ben has written for Fortune 500 companies, the Governor of Iowa (who now serves as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture), the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and many corporate clients. He writes about entrepreneurship, technology, food and other areas of great personal interest.
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