You did it. Your Washington D.C. 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 Washington D.C., 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 Washington D.C. 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 D.C. Biennial Report? Why is it Important?
Consider a Biennial Report the district’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 D.C. business.
Each state has its own biennial 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 a Biennial Report.
Don’t be intimidated, but it’s not something you want to take lightly. This is how the district 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 district informed so they can update their contact information. Miss one of their communications and your LLC in D.C. 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. Your LLC’s information is available to the general public on the D.C. Business Center website to anyone who searches for it. So, if your must current info is on file, future clients and partners can easily contact you.
How Much Does the D.C. LLC Biennial 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 recurring 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. The Washington D.C. fee is a bit steeper than many states. It’s $300 regardless of your business type. But you’ll only need to pay it every other year, which somewhat softens the financial blow.
Due Date and Frequency for a Biennial Report in D.C.
Given that this is a biennial report rather than an annual one, you’ll only need to file it every other year. The due date for all businesses is April 1st. Your LLC must file an “Initial Report” by the first April 1st that rolls around after it’s formed. This is the same form and fee as the Biennial Report. After this first filing, you’ll file additional reports every other year.
So, if you filed your Articles of Organization and formed your D.C. LLC on September 10, 2018, your Initial Report would be due by April 1, 2019. Then, your next report would be due by April 1, 2021.
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 Biennial Report can yield some serious consequences.
If April 1st comes and goes during your filing year and your Biennial Report sits unfinished, it will incur a $100 late fee. Let your report go overdue long enough and the district can administratively dissolve your LLC. At this point, you would need to reinstate it for an additional $300 before you can continue doing business.
So, April 1st is coming up and you’re thinking about the Biennial Report. What, exactly, are you in for? Here’s the information the form requires:
- Year of filing
- File number
- Date of filing
- Filing fee amount
- Entity name
- State and/or country of formation
- Principal office address
- Registered agent name and office address
- Description of DC business affairs
- Name and address of each member or manager
This is all information that you likely have readily available, maybe even memorized. But once you’ve got it all in one place, the form shouldn’t take long at all.
When you have your information and you’re ready to file, consider your options. D.C. LLCs can file Biennial Reports either online, by mail, or in person.
Online Filing: You can complete the online submission process through the D.C. CorpOnline filing portal. If you already have an account, log in here. Otherwise, you’ll need to create an account here. After logging in, you’ll see a column on the right titled “Reports.” In that column, select “BRA-25 For-Profit Domestic Report Web” if you’re a D.C. business or “BRA-25 For-Profit Foreign Report Web” if you run an out-of-district entity. On the next pages, enter your business information and your payment information, then submit your report.
Filing by Mail: Download and complete a paper form. Then include a check for your $300 payment (made out to D.C. Treasurer) and mail it to:
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
P.O. Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090
Filing In Person: If you’re local to Washington D.C., you’re also welcome to hand-deliver your report to the Business License Center at 1100 4th St., SW, 2nd Floor. Keep in mind that in-person filings will automatically include an extra $100 expedited filing fee.
Does the District 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.
As a courtesy, the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs will mail a Biennial Report reminder to your registered agent before April 1st. They don’t send email reminders, so stay on top of your postal mail. Just to be sure, we recommend setting up your own system of reminders – in a planner, on your phone, on Post-It notes, whatever you like best – so that you don’t forget to file.
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 Biennial 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 Biennial 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 D.C.’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.