Starting an LLC in North Dakota 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 North Dakota: 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 North Dakota. 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 North Dakota will require from you:
- Principal activities for the business
- Address for the main (executive) office of the LLC
- How the LLC is managed: members, managers, or a board
- Names and addresses for each member of the management team
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 instinct; the Secretary of State does handle most annual filings.
More specifically, you’ll head to North Dakota FirstStop, the online filing portal for most business documents. We find that, in general, online filing is the easiest, quickest way to submit your annual report. If you’d rather file by mail, you still can; however, you’ll still fill out most of it online. Then you’ll print it off and mail it in.
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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota’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. North Dakota, however, keeps things reasonable; you’ll pay just $50 per year for your annual report. That’s not a huge expense, but you do want to keep it listed in your annual budget.
How you file your annual report will also affect how you pay the fee. If you file online (recommended), you’ll pay using a credit or debit card. That said, if you file by mail, be sure to enclose a check or money order (payable to the Secretary of State) in your report’s envelope.
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 North Dakota, the annual report fits its name; you’ll file every year.
More specifically, the state requires you to file your annual report by November 15th every year. The only exception is your very first year of business. You’ll file your first report in the calendar year after you form your LLC.
If you don’t file on time, you’ll get hit with a $50 late fee, taking your total cost to $100.
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.
Obviously, we’ve mentioned that you’ll incur a late fee if you don’t file on time. But if you leave the report unfiled for more than 6 months, the state will administratively dissolve your LLC. Long story short, they’ll shut down your business by force. If that happens, don’t panic; provided you act quickly enough, you can get reinstated. As long as you file an application for reinstatement and pay the $135 fee within one year, you’ll be back in business.
That process can be a hassle. Thankfully, you can avoid that hassle entirely by simply filing your report on time each year. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and money.
Maintaining a North Dakota 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.