You did it. Your Montana 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 Montana, an LLC’s annual report must be filed each year by April 15, and it helps the state keep its records up-to-date regarding the business activities within its borders. 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 the Montana 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 Montana 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 Montana 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. Anyone can find your LLC information by performing a name search, so consistently updating your information allows people to contact you.
How Much Does the Montana LLC Annual Report 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 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 Montana, your annual reports won’t break the bank, as they’re only $20 each. Still, you’ll need to pay this fee every year, so be sure to set aside $20 in your budget.
Due Date and Frequency for an Annual Report in Montana
You likely already have April 15th marked on your calendar because it’s the deadline for tax filings, and you can add “file annual report” to your to-do list for that day. All Montana businesses must file their annual reports before April 15th, but not before January 1st.
Your LLC’s first annual report will be due the calendar year after you first file your Articles of Organization. So, if you formed your LLC in March 2021, your first report wouldn’t be due until April 15, 2022.
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.
But things happen, life gets busy, and maybe the April 15 deadline slips your mind. In this case, your annual report would incur a $15 late fee, so it would cost $35 in total. If you still haven’t filed by 5:00 p.m. on November 28, the state will dissolve your LLC on December 1. For foreign LLCs, you have until October 31 to file a late report before the state dissolves your business.
We’ve covered all the basics and now it’s time to dig into the details. Before you file an annual report, you should know what you’re up against. Here’s the information it requires:
- LLC name
- Registered agent name and address
- Principal office address
- Whether the LLC is managed by members or managers
- Name and address of each member or manager
That’s all! You might even know this information off the top of your head. And the nice part is that if nothing has changed from the prior year, you can simply confirm everything and be on your way. Even if you have to make changes, the form doesn’t take long at all.
The Montana Secretary of State no longer accepts paper filings, so you will need to submit your annual reports online. To do so, search for your business using its name or Business ID number and select your LLC from the results. Click the button that says “File My Annual Report” and you’ll see your business information. If you don’t need to make any changes, you can simply check the confirmation boxes and hit submit.
But if some of your business information has changed, click “Login to Change the Information.” At this stage, you will need to create an ePass account if you don’t already have one. After logging in, make the necessary changes and hit submit. The Secretary of State will process your submission within 1-2 business days.
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 Secretary of State will mail a reminder to your registered agent and email reminders to your business email address in the months leading up to the April 15 due date. Still, we think it’s a good idea to set up your own system of reminders, just to be safe. Do whatever works for you, whether it’s writing notes in your planner, setting alarms on your phone, or anything else.
There you have it, everything you need to know about Montana’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 Montana LLC Annual Report
Should I use an annual 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 annual reports.
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 annual reports, 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 annual 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 annual report filing service, it isn’t our top choice.
When is my annual report due each year?
It doesn’t matter when you formed your Montana LLC, as its annual report due date will be April 15 of each year regardless.
Does Montana 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 reports, with the difference being that an initial report either accompanies your formation documents or follows their filing within a couple of months.
In Montana, there is no initial report requirement for LLCs. Instead, this state gathers all of the information it needs for your LLC’s first year in business from your Articles of Organization filing.
What if I need more time to complete my annual report?
Montana does not offer extensions for LLC annual report filings. However, while the state will charge you a nominal $15 late fee if you miss the April 15 deadline, it does have a bit of a built-in buffer period to give you a chance to catch up on your missing report. Montana does not administratively dissolve any LLCs for missing annual reports until December 1.
Where can I find more official information about Montana’s LLC annual reporting requirements?
To be honest, Montana doesn’t do a great job of providing official info about LLC annual reports online. If you have questions that this guide can’t answer, you might want to call the Secretary of State’s office for further assistance.