Starting an LLC in Montana 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 Montana: 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 Montana. 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 Montana will require from you:
- Legal name of your business
- Name and address of the registered agent
- Principal office address
- How the LLC is managed: by members or managers
- Name and address of each member or 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 might tell you to head to the Secretary of State’s website. That’s a good instinct. But that’s a big website to navigate. You’ll want to head to the right page.
ePass Montana is the best place to go when you want to file the report. That’s because Montana relies on online filings to handle most of their documents. This streamlines the process; if you don’t have any amendments to make, then you can simply check a few boxes and finish up. It’ll take a little longer if you have to make any changes.
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 Montana 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 Montana’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. Montana, however, keeps things really affordable. The fee is just $20. That said, it’s an annual fee, so you’ll want to include it in your budget every single year.
When you file the report, be sure to have a credit or debit card on hand to make the payment. If you fail to file on time, there’s a $15 late fee.
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 Montana, the annual report fits its name; you’ll file every year.
More specifically, you’ll need to file the annual report by the same day you need to have your taxes filed: April 15th. Essentially, you can just add it to the list of things to do for tax day.
One quick note: the annual report is due the year after you’ve filed your annual report—even if you filed your Articles of Organization before tax day. For example, if you filed your formation documents on March 10 of 2023, you wouldn’t file an annual report until 2024.
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.
Like we mentioned earlier, failing to file on time will cost you $15 in late fees. But delay the filing long enough and you’ll lose your good standing with the state. Worse, if you still haven’t filed by November 28th, the state will administratively dissolve your LLC in December.
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 hassle to do so. It’s far easier to avoid the hassle entirely by filing on time each year. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and money.ons, so you won’t want to lose it.
In extreme cases, the state will 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 hassle to do so, so we highly recommend filing it on time each year. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and money.
Maintaining a Montana 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.