Starting an LLC in Michigan 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 Michigan: 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 Michigan. 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 Michigan will require from you:
- Legal name of the business
- Principal address for your office
- Name and address of your registered agent
- Name and address for each member/manager
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 instinct might tell you to go to the Secretary of State’s website. And while that’s a good idea, it’s not quite the right place. Instead, you’ll head to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. More specifically, you’ll head to LARA’s Corporations Online Filing System.
There, you’ll have to log in using your Customer ID Number or PIN. Once you have, you’ll have a chance to select the annual report from the options for online filings. If you’d rather file by mail, the department does send a paper copy of the report to your registered agent 90 days before the due date. Simply get it from your agent (or have your agent file it on your behalf, if he or she offers that service).
One quick note before we dive in: Michigan refers to this filing as the Annual Statement. It’s the same idea as an Annual Report—just a different name.
The annual statement 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 Michigan 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 Michigan’s Annual Statement 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. Michigan, however, keeps the fee for the annual statement very manageable: $25.
How you file also affects how you’ll pay the fee. If you pay online, you should have a credit or debit card on hand when you file. But if you’re filing by mail, you should pay using a check or money order.
When is the Annual Statement 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. And for the most part, Michigan’s annual statement is just what it sounds like: annual.
More specifically, the annual report is due every year by February 15th. You need to file each year on or before that date. The only exception is if you filed your Articles of Organization after September 30th. If that’s true, the first year you won’t be required to file an annual statement. The annual requirement would begin to apply during your second year of business. All other LLCs will file every single year, no exceptions.
If you don’t file on time, you won’t pay a late fee unless you’re a professional LLC. PLLCs incur a $50 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, failing to file your annual report can cost you your good standing in the state. If your report is delinquent, you’ll use your Certificate of Good Standing. That certificate is a must-have for several other business functions, so you won’t want to lose it. The good news is, you can get that certificate back. But it’ll cost you $50. Plus, additional paperwork is a hassle to file. It’s much easier to simply avoid that hassle by filing on time.
Maintaining a Michigan 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.