Business filings to handle before the end of the year

The clock is ticking

The end of the year is approaching, and with all of the holiday parties, family outings, and little ones’ recitals, it can be difficult to keep business at the front of our minds. But, at this time of year especially, there are certain business filing obligations that every small business owner should tend to, if applicable.

Here’s your priority list for what needs to be filed before the year’s out!

Annual reports

Though the specifics of annual reports can vary from state to state, they’re a good thing to take care of before the end of the year across the board. Each state has different requirements, so before you get to filing, be sure to check what’s expected of you. For example, if you have an LLC in Delaware, you’re excused from filing, and if you have any type of business in Ohio, you don’t have to file all together. But for those businesses that have to file, filing before the end of the year is a must in order to avoid late fees.

Most states even have a standardized form, making the paperwork process pretty painless.

Annual reports are used to keep the state updated on what’s going on with your business. If you remember filing an initial report when first starting your business, you’ll just be updating a lot of the same information: registered agent information, who your members and executives are, your primary place of business, and a description of what your business does — all important things to keep the state apprised of! Most states even have a standardized form, making the paperwork process pretty painless.

Reinstatement

Though no small business owner ever intends for it to happen, sometimes businesses fall into “bad standing.” This can happen when you fail to send in your annual report, pay for the franchise board tax, or any of the filing fees. If your business has been marked with a bad standing stamp, it could eventually be involuntarily dissolved. If this happened to your business this year, it really is in your best interest to reinstate your business before the year is out.

Being dissolved, your business no longer has any of the protection or financial benefits that a filed LLC or corporation has. Find out why it was you were dissolved, and do the necessary paperwork for that reason. If you didn’t file your annual report on time, for example, you’ll have to file a delinquent form for the annual report and then the reinstatement application. Additionally, don’t forget about the accompanying fees that go with the paperwork.

Dissolution

Then there are those businesses that have just run their course. Maybe the owner’s moving on to a different venture, or there’s no longer money in that particular business. Whatever the reason, sometimes business owners want to voluntarily dissolve their business. A dissolution is a formal closure of a business with the state. A corporation or LLC must file articles of dissolution in order to complete the termination. Upon being dissolved, the business will no longer need to file annual reports, pay state fees or taxes, or be seen as active in the eyes of the state. If you no longer want to do business, be sure to file the dissolution paperwork before the year is up to avoid paying next year’s fees for a business that’s not even active.

Don’t forget the other year-end tasks. Check out our free checklist.

The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

Deborah Sweeney
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.