Starting an LLC in Maryland 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 Maryland: 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 Maryland. 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 Maryland will require from you:
- Legal name of the LLC
- Address of the business
- ID Number provided by the Department
- Federal Employer Identification Number
- State of formation for the LLC (usually Maryland unless you are a foreign LLC)
- Date of formation
- Federal principal business code
- Type of business
- Email address of contact person
- Trade name (if used)
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 the time comes to file your annual report, your gut might tell you to head to the Secretary of State’s website. And that’s a good gut instinct—but it’s not quite the right place. This filing is handled by Maryland’s Department of Assessments and Taxation. Specifically, you’ll want to visit Maryland Business Express. There, you can file nearly every business form in existence, including your formation documents and, of course, your annual report.
If you’d rather file by mail, you can download the state’s pdf for the annual report. After that, you fill it out and mail it back into the Department of Assessments and Taxation.
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 Maryland 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 Maryland’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. Maryland is one of those states that charges a heftier annual fee. Each year, you’ll pay $300 when you file the annual report.
How you file your report will affect how you pay, too. If you file by mail, you’ll need to include a check or money order along with your annual report. But if you file online, you can use a credit or debit card to make the payment.
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 Maryland, the annual report fits its name; you’ll file every year. More specifically, Maryland LLCs will file their annual report in conjunction with tax season. That means the due date is April 15th.
If you don’t file on time, then you could get hit with a pretty hefty late fee. The fee is billed to you based on your county and how late you file the report. This penalty can be as high as $500 in some cases! So it’s very important to file on time.
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, failing to file your annual report can cost you your business’s good standing in the state. If your report is delinquent, the state could administratively dissolve your LLC. Essentially, they’ll shut down your business by force. If that happens, don’t panic; you can get reinstated. But it’s a huge hassle to do so. It’s far easier to avoid the drama and file on time each year.
Maintaining a Maryland 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.