You did it. Your Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania, 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania Decennial Report? Why is it Important?
Consider a Decennial Report the Commonwealth’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 Pennsylvania business.
Each state has its own 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 office information, and member/manager names and addresses. Whether you run a domestic or foreign LLC, you should plan on submitting Decennial Reports.
Don’t be intimidated, but it’s not something you want to take lightly. This is how the Commonwealth 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 office, or your current office falls through, you’ll need to keep the Department of State informed so they can update their contact information. Miss one of their communications and your LLC in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania LLC Decennial 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. Pennsylvania’s Decennial Report fee is $70, but you only need to pay it once every ten years, so it’s not a huge expense.
Due Date and Frequency for a Decennial Report in Pennsylvania
You don’t need to file Decennial Reports very often – once per decade. This filing is due during every year that ends in “1” (2001, 2011, 2021, etc.), but you have the entire year to submit it. So, if a “1” year is coming up, you can file anytime between January 1st and December 31st during that year.
There are no initial reporting requirements, so if your file your Certificate of Organization during 2020, your next report will be due in 2021. But if your form your LLC in 2022, you won’t need to file a Decennial Report until 2031.
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 Decennial Report can yield some serious consequences.
There’s no late fee for failure to file a Decennial Report, but if you haven’t submitted it by December 31st, the Commonwealth will revoke your exclusive rights to the LLC name and make it available to other businesses.
We’ve laid the Decennial Report groundwork, and now it’s time to dig into the details. When it comes time to file, here’s the information you will need to provide:
- Return mailing address or email address
- LLC name
- Registered office address or commercial registered office provider
- New registered office address or commercial registered office provider (only if it has changed)
You might have all of this information memorized, and if not, you can easily find it using the Department of State’s Business Entity Search.
When it’s time to file your report and you’ve got the information ready, you can submit it online or by mail.
Online Filing: Navigate to the Commonwealth’s PENN File online filing system. You must have an account, so if you don’t have one, you’ll need to create one. Once you’re logged in, select the appropriate form and enter your information.
Filing by Mail: Download and complete a Decennial Report paper form, then include a check for $70. According to the form’s instructions, the check must be commercially pre-printed with the LLC’s name and address. The Department of State prefers typewritten forms, but if you choose to hand-write it, use black or blue-black ink.
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 Commonwealth sends out reminders on November 1st of the year before the Decennial Filing year. So, on November 1, 2010, they sent reminders to all entities that would be filing in 2011. We recommend that you supplement this notices with your own personal reminders. Use calendars, planners, your phone, Post-It notes, whatever works best to help you remember.
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 decennial 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 Decennial Reports. They can also help you form your business, draft an operating agreement, handle registered office 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 Pennsylvania’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.