Starting an LLC in Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island: 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 Rhode Island. 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 Rhode Island will require from you:
- Business ID number
- Legal name of the business
- Your NAICS code (a code that matches your primary business activities)
- A description of your business activities
- State in which you formed your LLC (usually Rhode Island unless you’re a foreign LLC)
- Principal office address
- Mailing address for the LLC (sometimes the same as above)
- Names and addresses of your managers
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. But more specifically, you’ll want to visit the state’s annual report filing page. Here, you can log in (using your Customer Identification Number and PIN), fill out the required information, pay, and wrap up your annual filings all in one place.
Granted, that’s where you’ll head if you want to file online. But if you’d rather file a paper copy, you’ll need to download the Annual Report for a Limited Liability Company form. Once you’ve filled it out, you can pop it in the mail. Just be sure to allow enough time for delivery!
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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island’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. Rhode Island, however, charges a very reasonable $50 for their annual report. It’s not a hefty expense, but you will want to make a note of it in your budget each year.
How you file your annual report will also affect how you make your payment. If you file online, the internet portal will request credit card information during the last steps of filing. So be sure to have a credit or debit card on hand while you’re filing. But if you choose to file by mail, you’ll want to enclose a check or money order for $50 in the envelope with your printed report.
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 Rhode Island, the annual report fits its name; you’ll file every year.
Rhode Island maintains a different filing period for different types of business entities. LLCs will need to file between September 1st and November 1st. That’s a fairly wide window, but we recommend filing sooner rather than later so it’s out of the way.
If you don’t file on time (well, technically within the 30-day grace period), Rhode Island will hit you with a $25 late fee, taking your filing cost from $50 up to $75.
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.
The fee for a late annual report is pretty minimal, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of complacency. Leave your report delinquent for too long, and the state could administratively dissolve your LLC.
Long story short, they would shut down your business by force. If that happens, you can typically get reinstated. But it’s a big hassle to do so. It’s much easier to simply file your report on time and avoid the hassle entirely.
Maintaining a Rhode Island 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.