You did it. Your North Dakota 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 North Dakota, 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 North Dakota 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 the North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 Secretary of State has the most updated data on record, people can find your business by performing a name search.
How Much Does the North Dakota 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 North Dakota, LLCs pay $50 per report, which won’t break the bank, but is significant enough to note in your yearly budget.
Due Date and Frequency for an Annual Report in North Dakota
Your North Dakota LLC will need to file one report per year, and you must submit it by November 15th. However, you don’t need to file an Annual Report in the same calendar year that you form your business.
Let’s say that you file your Articles of Organization to start your LLC on June 25, 2021. Your first report would be due by November 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.
If you forget the November 15 deadline, your Annual Report will incur a $50 late fee, so you’ll need to pay $100 total when you file. Fail to file within six months of the due date and the state will administratively dissolve your business. In this case, your LLC would need to file for reinstatement within one year, which costs $135 plus the $100 Annual Report.
Now that we’ve nailed down the rules and regulations, let’s talk about the Annual Report itself. You’ll need the following information to complete it:
- Business activities
- Principal executive office address (cannot be a P.O. box)
- Whether the LLC is managed by members, managers, or a board
- Names and addresses for each member, manager, or board member
For the sake of expediency, have all this information ready before you begin the filing process. This way, you can fly right through it.
The easiest and most popular way to file North Dakota’s Annual Report is through the Secretary of State’s FirstStop filing portal. To do so, you’ll first need an account that’s linked to your LLC. If you originally formed your business online, no sweat – you already have a linked account. However, if you formed your LLC by mail, fax, etc., you will need to create one.
Here’s how: from the FirstStop page, click “Login” at the top right and then select “Personal Account.” Enter the required information, confirm your account, and you’re good to go.
Now you’ll need to link your account to the correct LLC by requesting a PIN. Search for your business here, and when you find it, click the “Request Access” button. Then choose “Request PIN.” From here, the Secretary of State will mail a PIN to your business address. Once you have it, log in to your FirstStop account, search for your business, click “Request Access,” and enter your PIN. Phew, you’re done. This process might take several days, so don’t start it right before November 15th.
Prefer mail? Postal submission is also a possibility, but you’ll still need to fill out the Annual Report through FirstStop. Then, when you’re finished, you can print and mail it, along with your payment, to:
Secretary of State
State of North Dakota
600 E Boulevard Avenue Dept 108
Bismarck ND 58505-0500
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’s office does its part to help you remember your Annual Report filing by mailing a reminder to your registered agent 60 days before the due date. Even so, we think it’s wise to set up your own reminders closer to the deadline, just to make sure. Jot a note in your planner or set an alarm on your phone, whatever will best ensure that you don’t forget.
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.
There you have it, everything you need to know about North Dakota’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.