What is an LLC?
A limited liability company (LLC) is a business structure in the United States whereby the owners are not personally liable for the company's debts or liabilities. Once you’ve established your LLC, you must comply with several legal requirements to maintain your LLC and keep it in good standing with North Carolina’s Secretary of State. This includes the yearly filing of an annual report that summarizes your business operations over the past year.
What is an Annual Report?
Every state has unique limited liability company (LLC) laws with different requirements for filling out the annual report. LLC annual reports are not the same as the detailed financial statements corporations release yearly to analysts, regulators, and analysts. Instead, an LLC annual report gives general information and facts about your business. This can include your registered agent’s name and address. It also gives information about your business activities that occurred the previous year. An annual report is intended to provide shareholders or other individuals with information on your financial performance and business activities.
States, including North Carolina, require you to file this report annually because they believe it is important for the information to be available to the public. Many details of a company can change within a year. States also utilize the information included in this report to decide how much franchise tax a given LLC may owe.
In general, the information that is included in the annual report includes the following information:
- The principal business address
- Member/ manager names and addresses
- Identification numbers such as the state entity number
- Business purpose
- Authorized signatories
- Information about your registered agent
Filing this report with the North Carolina secretary of state allows your business records to remain up to date. It lets any creditors or other interested people look up your contact information. The government also utilizes this information to track whether you have paid your LLC state taxes.
How do I file my annual report?
You file your annual report with North Carolina’s Secretary of State. You must have your LLC file number on hand. State agencies use this unique nine-digit number to identify your business entity and for taxation purposes. You can find this information by performing a business entity search. The link to do so can be found here.
It costs $202 online and $200 by mail to file the annual report with North Carolina’s Secretary of state. All filing fees are nonrefundable, so ensure the document is filled out completely and accurately. You must make checks or money orders payable to the “Secretary of State.” You can either choose to file the annual report online or by mail. To file online, click here. To file by mail, you can access the printable form here. You will need to send it to the following address:Business Registration Division
P.O. Box 29525,
Raleigh, NC 27626-0525
When is the annual report due?
North Carolina annual reports are due April 15, regardless of when you initially established your LLC.
What are the penalties if I file my annual report late?
Any annual report submitted after April 15 will lead to losing your LLC’s “good standing” status with North Carolina’s Secretary of State. Failure to file your annual report within 60 days of the due date can lead to your LLC’s dissolution.
Do I need to use a registered agent professional service?
Although not required, having a registered agent may provide several benefits, including avoiding late fees. The job of a registered agent is to receive and send any legal documents on behalf of your LLC. This can ensure that your documents are filed on time, including your annual report. The main advantages of utilizing a registered agent are listed below.
- Prevent late penalties: If you do not file your annual report, the Secretary of State in North Carolina can elect to dissolve your LLC. The registered agent is responsible for alerting you of any deadlines and may even submit the annual report.
- Improved flexibility: Having a registered agent service available during standard business hours to receive legal documents can help you focus on your business activities.
- Privacy maintenance: Rather than listing yourself as a registered agent, using a service can help maintain your privacy. Instead of your address or the business address is listed for public access, your registered agent will be listed. If someone were to sue your LLC, the lawsuit would be sent to your registered agent rather than your business, which customers may see.
In addition, if your registered agent has changed, you can make this correction on the annual report you submit.
What are franchise taxes?
Annual reports are often used to calculate how much franchise tax you owe. States impose a franchise tax on businesses for the opportunity of organizing or registering to transact business in North Carolina. In other words, this is a fee for the state providing your company with the statutory authority for your LLC to operate and claim benefits that come with an LLC.
Franchise taxes are typically due around the same time you file your annual report.
The filing process for an annual report is not complicated but can take considerable time. It can also be challenging to balance deadlines to file these annual reports with your business responsibilities, primarily if your LLC operates in multiple states. To make sure you are on top of these deadlines, make sure you mark your calendar, or you can use a registered agent service as mentioned above. A registered agent service can provide peace of mind knowing that all your reports are filed promptly and accurately.