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 is only required to file a decennial report once every ten years, and this filing helps the state keep its records updated 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 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, being 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 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 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 2021, your next report will be due in 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
- LLC organizer title and signature
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 them, use black or blue-black ink.
Once you’ve finished filling out the form, you can mail it and your check to:
Pennsylvania Department of State
Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
P.O. Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722
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 report year. So, on November 1, 2020, they sent reminders to all entities that would be filing in 2021. We recommend that you supplement these notices with your own personal reminders. Use calendars, planners, your phone, Post-It notes, whatever works best to help you remember.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Filing the Pennsylvania LLC Decennial Report
Should I use a decennial 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 decennial 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 decennial 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 decennial 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 decennial report filing service, it isn’t our top choice.
When is my decennial report due each year?
It doesn’t matter when you originally formed your LLC, as each LLC in Pennsylvania has the same decennial report due date. Each decennial report is due at any time during a year that ends in the numeral “1.” Therefore, the next decennial report deadline after 2021 for Pennsylvania LLCs is December 31, 2031.
Does Pennsylvania 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 decennial reports, with the difference being that an initial report either accompanies your formation documents or follows their filing within a couple of months.
However, in Pennsylvania, there is no need for LLCs to file initial reports. Instead, this state gathers all of the information it needs for your LLC’s first decade in business from your Certificate of Organization filing.
What if I need more time to complete my decennial report?
Pennsylvania does not offer extensions for decennial reports, but seeing as they’re only due once per decade and you have a full year to file it, there really aren’t any excuses for missing the deadline. If you fail to file your LLC’s decennial report by December 31, the state will revoke your business name exclusivity and allow other entrepreneurs to form businesses using your LLC’s name.
Where can I find more official information about Pennsylvania’s LLC decennial reporting requirements?
The Department of State’s Decennial Filing page answers quite a few frequently asked questions that can help you figure out all of the details of your LLC’s decennial report requirement.