You did it. Your California LLC is officially up and running, ready to take on challenges, roll in the profits, and change the world.
There’s no doubt that this is an exciting time in your business journey. After starting your LLC, it’s easy to get carried away in all the excitement and expectations. After all, as a new business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.
But the state does too. They need to keep updated records on thousands of businesses so that they can effectively reach out with any important tax or legal communications down the road. How do they do it? With your cooperation, of course.
In California, an LLC’s biennial report is called the Statement of Information, and every LLC must submit one every other year to remain compliant with state law. Unsure how to go about it? Never even heard of it? No worries at all. That’s why we’re here. Keep reading for everything you need to know.
If you’d like to hand off this responsibility to save time and focus on running your business, affordable LLC services are a great solution. Not only will they form your business in the first place, but they’ll also manage ongoing requirements like ongoing report filing. Once you're ready to lock it down, have ZenBusiness file all the paperwork.
What Is a California Statement of Information? Why Is It Important?
Consider a Statement of Information the state’s yearly checkup on your LLC. It’s similar to a census in that its purpose is to collect the necessary contact and structural information about each California business.
Each state has its own annual or biennial reporting requirements, and some don’t even require them. But in most states, you’re required to submit one that includes your LLC name, principal office address, agent for service of process information, and member/manager names and addresses. Whether you run a domestic or foreign LLC, you should plan on submitting a Statement of Information.
Don’t be intimidated, but it’s not something you want to take lightly. This is how the state updates your LLC’s record with the most recent information. They need to know how to reach you with important information about your business status, upcoming filings, taxes, and service of process.
For example, if you change your agent for service of process, or your current agent resigns, you’ll need to keep the state informed so they can update their contact information. Miss one of their communications and your LLC in California might end up falling out of good standing or, even worse, administratively dissolved.
Moreover, keeping your information current will help other businesses and potential customers find you. Keeping the most updated information on record is essential for helping new customers and other businesses find your LLC. If the Secretary of State has your most recent info on file, a simple name search will help people find you.
How Much Does the California LLC Statement of Information Fee Cost?
If you’re putting together a budget for all your LLC’s costs – like formation costs, name reservation fees, and initial operating expenses – it’s important to include biennial filings like this one, just so that there are no surprises.
Costs vary from state to state. Some are free while others can be several hundred dollars. California’s Statement of Information, however, falls at the lower end of that spectrum, at just $20 for each filing.
Due Date and Frequency for the California Statement of Information
More good news: California LLCs only need to file a Statement of Information every other year rather than annually (like corporations do). If you formed your LLC during an even-numbered year, you’ll file on every subsequent even-numbered year. And if you started it during an odd-numbered year, you’ll file during every odd-numbered year. In the appropriate years, your Statement of Information will be due by the end of your LLC’s anniversary month (the month when it was formed).
Let’s say you formed your LLC in March of 2012. In this case, you would need to file a Statement of Information by March 31 in 2014, 2016, 2018, and so on.
What Happens if You Don’t File?
You might be thinking, “that sounds like a pain. How bad could it be if I just fly under the radar?” The short answer: don’t try it. Failing to file your Statement of Information can yield some serious consequences. Fail to file your Statement of Information on time and you could be looking at a $250 penalty and the loss of your LLC’s good standing with the state.
We’ve laid out all of the information, and now it’s time to take action by filing your Statement of Information. Whether you choose to file online or using a paper form, you’ll need to include:
- LLC name
- 12-digit Secretary of State file number
- State, foreign country, or place of organization (foreign LLCs only)
- Street and mailing addresses
- Name and address for at least one member/manager (use Form LLC-12A if necessary)
- Agent for service of process name and address
- Type of business
- Name and address of CEO
- Name, title, and signature of the LLC organizer
The form itself contains additional information on each item and step-by-step instructions for completing and submitting it.
All that’s left is to submit your completed form, and you have three ways to go about it: online, by mail, or in person. Online is the quickest route, but if you just love the feel of a paper form, or you like doing business face-to-face, the others are just as effective.
Online: Head to California’s online filing page and fill out the information on each screen. Follow the onscreen instructions and you’ll be done before you know it. You can pay with a credit or debit card (Visa or MasterCard) as part of the filing module and your form will be processed within one business day.
By Mail: Download and complete Form LLC-12. Then, include a $20 check made out to “California Secretary of State,” and send your materials to:
Secretary of State
Statement of Information Unit
P.O. Box 944230
Sacramento, CA 94244-2300
In-Person: If you live near Sacramento and would rather hand-deliver it, you can drop it off at 1500 11th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Does the State Send Reminders?
Reminders are always nice. They help you stay on top of your business requirements and ensure that you won’t fall out of good standing.
Unfortunately, you won’t be getting any help from the state in this endeavor. The California Secretary of State doesn’t typically send out reminders about Statement of Information due dates or other ongoing filings. So, it’s up to you. Mark it on your calendar, write it in your planner, set an alert on your phone, anything that will remind you to file before you’re hit with a hefty late fee.
There you have it, everything you need to know about California’s reporting requirements. Follow this guide to a T and your LLC will be prepared to operate smoothly and in good standing long into the future.
And remember, if at any point it seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. A good LLC service like ZenBusiness (or LegalZoom) can be a valuable resource, taking care of all the little details, so you can focus on growing your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Filing the California LLC Statement of Information
Should I use a biennial report service, hire an attorney, or prepare and file my own reports?
This question largely comes down to personal preferences, but we do have some general insights. The DIY route can be quite a bit of work, as you’ll need to keep track of your due dates and complete the entire report on your own with no assistance. As for hiring an attorney, this can be prohibitively expensive for many businesses, as a lawyer can charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars to prepare and file your Statement of Information.
You can think of business services companies as a middle ground between these options. While most of these companies charge a fee to prepare and file your Statement of Information, that fee will be significantly less expensive than an attorney’s fee. At the same time, you still aren’t going it alone. Instead, you have an experienced professional guiding you through the entire process.
I’ve heard the most about LegalZoom. Are they the best biennial report service?
LegalZoom is the most well-known of all business services companies, thanks to its long track record and extensive advertising campaigns. That said, all of that brand power comes at a cost, as LegalZoom’s pricing and features don’t always compare advantageously to its competitors. While we do appreciate LegalZoom’s Statement of Information filing service, it isn’t our top choice.
When is my Statement of Information due?
Your Statement of Information due date depends on when you formed your business. If you formed your LLC in an even-numbered year, you will file Statements of Information in each even-numbered year. The same goes for LLCs formed in odd-numbered years.
As for the due dates within those years, your Statement of Information is due by the end of your anniversary month. So, for example, if you formed your business in June 2021, your Statement of Information will be due by June 30 of each odd-numbered year.
Does California require LLCs to file initial reports?
In some states, LLCs are also required to file initial reports. These reports are typically quite similar to annual or biennial reports, with the difference being that an initial report either accompanies your formation documents or follows their filing within a couple of months.
In California, every new LLC must file an initial Statement of Information within 90 days of the state accepting the Articles of Organization filing. This Statement of Information is identical to the ones you’ll file on a biennial basis throughout the life cycle of your LLC.
What if I need more time to complete my annual report?
If you need some additional time to finish preparing your Statement of Information, you are unfortunately out of luck. California does not provide any wiggle room for LLCs to finish their Statements of Information after the due dates.
Any LLC that fails to file this biennial report by the end of its anniversary month must pay a $250 fine. In addition, the state will send the LLC a notice of delinquency, and the Franchise Tax Board can assess further penalties if the Statement of Information is still missing after 60 more days.
Where can I find more official information about California’s LLC biennial reporting requirements?
The best resource for info straight from the state is the California Secretary of State’s Statements of Information Filing Tips page. This page includes links to the state’s online filing system, a detailed filing schedule, and more.
LLC Annual Reports in all 50 States
We break down the LLC Annual Reporting process for all 50 states. View our guides below.