Starting an LLC in Georgia 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 Georgia: 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 Georgia. 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 Georgia will require from you:
- Name and address of the registered agent
- Email address for the business
- Principal office address
- Name and title of the annual report authorizer (person filing the report)
- Payment information
However, we should note that this information is what you’ll fill in if you need to file the “Annual Registration with changes.” Georgia also has an option to file without changes; if you file using that method, all you’ll need to do is file payment information.
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 head to the Secretary of State’s website. But more specifically, you’ll need to head to the Corporations Division section. There, in bold text boxes, you’ll find two spots labeled “Annual Registration.”
Don’t be fooled by the title “Annual Registration.” That’s just a name Georgia uses for their annual report process. It’s the same thing, really—just a different name.
Like we mentioned earlier, there are two filing options for the online annual registration. If your business details are the same as last year, then you can file under the “no changes” option. But if something’s changed, like your registered agent or you switched locations, you should file the option labeled “with changes.” Each button will direct you to the proper place to file your registration.
If you’d rather, Georgia allows you to file by mail, too. You’ll still start online, but you’ll have to download it, print it out, and mail it in once you’ve completed it.
The annual registration 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 Georgia 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 Georgia’s Annual Registration 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. Compared to other states, Georgia requires a pretty minimal fee of just $50—provided you file online. If you file by mail, you’ll pay an extra $10 as a convenience fee.
How you file will affect how you pay. If you file online, you’ll need to have a credit or debit card on hand. But if you file by mail, you’ll pay by check, bank certified check, or money order.
When is the Annual Registration 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 Georgia, the annual report fits its name; you’ll file every year.
More specifically, Georgia requires all LLCs to file by April 1st. But they give you a wide window of opportunity to file: anytime between January 1st and April 1st. So if there’s a time that’s more convenient in the first third of the year, you can file then. For example, you might find it easiest to file the report while you’re getting your tax documents ready for your accountants. But it’s up to you (as long as you file on time).
If you don’t file on time, you’ll be charged a $25 late 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, though, filing on time ensures that your business maintains its good standing with the state. Delinquent reports lose that status. And if you leave the report delinquent for long enough, the state could dissolve your LLC. Long story short, they can shut down your business by force.
If that does happen, don’t panic; you can get your LLC reinstated. But it’s a hassle to do so, and it’s easy to prevent by filing the report on time. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and money.
Maintaining a Georgia 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.