You did it. Your Florida 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 Florida, an LLC’s annual report consists of two parts: a Franchise Tax and a Public Information Report. Each LLC must submit these filings to the Florida Comptroller every year to keep their information current. 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.
For brevity’s sake, we’ll refer to these two combined filings as the “Annual Report” in this guide.
What is a Florida Annual Report? Why is it Important?
Consider an Annual Report 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 Florida business.
Each state has its own annual reporting requirements, and some don’t even require them. But in most states, you’re required to submit one per year that includes your LLC name, principal office address, registered agent information, and member/manager names and addresses. Whether you run a domestic or foreign LLC, you should plan on submitting an annual report.
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 registered agent, 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 Florida 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. If the Department of State has the most updated data on record, people can find your business by performing a name search.
How Much Does the Florida LLC Annual Report Fee Cost?
If you’re putting together a budget for all your LLC’s costs – like formation costs, state taxes, and initial operating expenses – it’s important to include annual 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. In Florida, you’ll pay $138.75, which isn’t exactly cheap but also isn’t bad compared to some other states.
Due Date and Frequency for an Annual Report in Florida
The Annual Report is due every year by May 1. It’s like birthdays or holidays, but less exciting. Nevertheless, it’s something that you’ll still want to mark on your calendar so that you don’t forget. You can file as early as January 1 and sometimes it’s easier to get it out of the way as soon as possible.
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 Annual Report can yield some serious consequences.
Any Annual Report that comes in after May 1 will automatically incur a $400 late fee. Missed the deadline? Don’t panic! Just submit your report and pay the required fees as soon as possible.
If you haven’t filed an Annual Report by the third Friday in September, the state will administratively dissolve your LLC. Dissolved entities must submit a reinstatement application and pay a $100 fee (along with all the outstanding Annual Report fees) to regain their active standing.
Now that we’ve laid out the ground rules, let’s get to the main event: filing your Annual Report. If it’s between January 1 and May 1, you’re ready to go. To complete the online form, you’ll need to include:
- Document Number (assigned to your LLC when you registered)
- LLC name
- Federal EIN number
- Principal business address
- Mailing address
- Registered agent’s name, address, and signature
- Member/manager names and addresses
- A valid email address
Gather all this information beforehand and filing your Annual Report shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Florida’s Department of State provides detailed step-by-step filing instructions if you need further information.
Florida’s Annual Report filing process is entirely electronic, so you’ll need to file through the Department of State website. Navigate to this page and you’ll find a button to file your Annual Report. Click it, enter your Document Number, and you’ll be on your way. Don’t know your Document Number? Just search for your LLC name and you’ll find it on your specific business record.
When you’re finished entering the required information, you’ll be prompted to provide credit or debit card information for payment. After this, your filing will be processed immediately.
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.
The Department of State helps ensure that you don’t forget by sending a reminder to your registered agent before the May 1 deadline. Your registered agent will then notify you or handle the Annual Report filing for you.
Can I Hire a Service to Handle it?
You probably have a full plate as it is, and the thought of adding one more responsibility to your to-do list might make you shudder. You’re not alone.
Plenty of other LLC owners have outsourced their reporting duties to LLC services. These companies will take the entire process off your hands, handling your Annual Report each year. If that piques your interest, we recommend ZenBusiness, which is an experienced and trustworthy LLC company.
But their services aren’t restricted to forming an LLC or managing Annual Reports. They can also help you form your business, draft an operating agreement, handle registered agent responsibilities, and much more, all for a reasonably low price.
If thinking about your LLC responsibilities ties your stomach in knots, let ZenBusiness take some of those worries off your plate.