Starting an LLC in Florida is not for the faint of heart. Maintaining one isn’t, either. There’s a bunch of annual requirements: annual taxes, business licenses to renew, and of course, annual reports. A lot of the annual requirements can be pretty complicated, too.
Annual reports can be pretty complicated…but only if you don’t know what to expect. That’s what we’re here for. In this guide, we’ll cover all the essentials to annual reports in Florida: LLC filing fees, where to file, due dates, and if you want, where to go to get help filing. By the end, the annual report won’t feel so daunting anymore.
What is an annual report?
An annual report is a lot like an annual newsletter for your LLC—except you only send it to one place: the state government. Each year, the state needs updated information about your business. And this isn’t a requirement that’s unique to Florida, either. In fact, nearly every state requires some form of annual (or similar timeline) update.
That said, the newsletter analogy falls short because you don’t need to tell the state what you did each month. You don’t even have to tell them the highs and lows of your year. And thankfully, you don’t have to write it out as a letter. All you’ll have to do is fill out the requested information.
Here’s a quick glance at the information Florida will require from you:
- 6- or 12-digit document number assigned to your LLC
- Legal name of the business
- Federal Employer Identification Number
- Address for the principal place of business
- Mailing address (if different from principal business address)
- Name, address, and signature of the registered agent
- Names and addresses for principal members/managers
- Request for a Certificate of Status (if desired)
Sound overwhelming? Don’t panic. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think! In the rest of this guide, we’ll cover all the essentials to annual reporting—including a DIY approach and how to get help if you’d rather not file on your own.
Where do I start?
When it’s time to file your annual report, you’ll want to head to Florida’s Business Portal, SunBiz. This website is where the Department of State will handle and process all of your business filings—not just your annual report.
Currently, Florida only allows for online filings of the annual report, so SunBiz will be your best friend (or at least when annual report time rolls around). Florida also offers detailed instructions on how to fill out each piece of information on the electronic form.
The annual report isn’t extremely difficult to fill out, honestly. But if you’re extremely busy (and who isn’t these days?), the report can seem overwhelming—it’s yet another thing you have to do. That said, you can hire a Florida LLC Service to handle the work for you. Not only will these services actually form your business for you (if you need it), but they’ll also help you handle annual requirements like the annual report.
How much does Florida’s Annual Report cost?
Some states have a pretty hefty price tag of several hundred dollars for their annual report. Other states charge more reasonable fees of less than $100. Florida’s annual report cost is a touch higher than that, though: $138.75. That’s in the middle of the road compared to other states.
Since Florida only allows for online filings, you have limited options for paying the annual report fee. You can use a credit card, debit card, or a prepaid SunBiz account. For credit cards, Florida’s Department of State accepts American Express, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover. Debit card options are a bit more limited: Visa or MasterCard.
When is the Annual Report due?
In most states, the annual report is due, well, annually. In other states, entrepreneurs often refer to it as an annual report even though it’s due every other year. But in Florida, the annual report fits its name; you’ll file every year.
Florida gives you a pretty wide window of opportunity to file the report. Technically, the due date is May 1st every year. But you can file as early as January 1st, so if there’s a time during the beginning of the year that’s more convenient to file it, you can do so. For example, some LLCs opt to file it around tax time since they’re already working on other important annual filings.
In Florida, filing on time is critical; if you file late, you’ll get hit with a $400 late fee. That basically triples your annual report fee!
What happens if you don’t file your annual report?
Sometimes annual check-ins are a pain, right? And we get it: with some things, like annual physicals, dental cleanings, and eye appointments are tempting to skip. Usually, there isn’t a big penalty if you skip them for a year or two (aside from a minor scolding from your doctor).
However, that isn’t the case with annual reports. You should never skip filing your annual report, and you should always do it on time. For one thing, filing on time ensures that you don’t spend any more than you have to.
More importantly, failing to file your annual report can cost you. Of course, there’s the obvious, hefty $400 late fee we’ve already mentioned. But if you leave your report delinquent past the third Friday in September, the state will actually administratively dissolve your LLC. Long story short, they’ll shut down your business by force.
If that happens, don’t panic; you can get reinstated. But it’s a big hassle to do so, so we highly recommend avoiding that hassle by filing it on time each year. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and money.
Maintaining a Florida LLC is no laughing matter, and the annual report is without a doubt one of the most important annual filings. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be too complicated. Hopefully this guide has helped take out some of the guesswork. And don’t forget: an LLC Service can make things even easier.