Annual Business Report: What You Need to Know

When it comes time to wrap up another exciting year for your business, it’s time to file an annual business report and document your company’s financial performance. 

But what do you truly need to know about filing an annual business report? 

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know from who needs to file an annual report to what happens if you miss your deadline.  

Read on to learn more about the logistics behind filing an annual business report. 

What Is an Annual Business Report?

An annual business report is a detailed report that presents a company’s financial performance over the previous year. 

It also includes an overview of a company’s overall performance, citing successes, setbacks, and future opportunities.

This report is critical for investors, shareholders, and other interested parties to evaluate the company’s financial status and potential for expansion.

Who Needs to File

In the United States, specific requirements for annual reports vary by state and type of business entity, so it’s important to check with your state’s Secretary of State office to determine the specific requirements for your business entity. Generally, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and corporations are required to file annual reports with the state in which they are registered to do business.

Why You Should File

One may think that filing an annual report is a nuisance and wonder why one needs to file one at all. But filing an annual report is an essential requirement for companies. It’s a legal obligation that ensures transparency and accountability. It also provides important information to the public, stakeholders, and regulatory authorities.

Here are reasons why filing an annual report is important:

  1. Compliance With the Law: Depending on your jurisdiction, you may be required to file annual reports with the appropriate government agencies, such as the Secretary of State or the Securities and Exchange Commission. Failure to file these reports can result in penalties, fines, and even revocation of your business license.
  1. Transparency and Accountability: An annual report provides a comprehensive overview of a company’s financial and operational performance over the past year. This information is essential for investors, creditors, and other stakeholders to assess the financial health of the company and make informed decisions. By filing an annual report, a company demonstrates its commitment to transparency and accountability.
  2. Investor Confidence: For publicly traded companies, filing annual reports is critical to maintaining investor confidence. These reports provide investors with a complete picture of the company’s financial health, including revenues, expenses, profits, and losses. Timely and accurate annual reports help build trust and credibility with investors, which is important for attracting new investment and retaining existing shareholders.
  3. Access to Credit and Financing: Filing annual reports is often a prerequisite for obtaining loans and financing from banks and other financial institutions. These reports provide lenders with important information about a company’s financial health which helps them assess the company’s creditworthiness and ability to repay loans.

In short, filing an annual report is a legal requirement that provides essential information about a business’s financial and operational performance. It helps maintain compliance, builds transparency, instills investor confidence, and facilitates access to financing.

How to File an Annual Business Report

The process of filing an annual report varies by jurisdiction, but the following steps are generally applicable:

  1. Gather the Necessary Information: Before filing the annual report, you will need to gather all the necessary information, including the business’s legal name, physical address, registered agent, and other relevant details.
  2. Complete the Report: You will need to complete a 10-K form and submit the report online. In some states, you will also need to submit a paper copy of the report.
  3. Pay the Filing Fee: There is usually a filing fee associated with submitting an annual report. The fee varies depending on the jurisdiction and the type of business. The fee can be paid online or by mail.
  4. Verify Receipt: After submitting the annual report, it is important to verify that it has been received and processed by the relevant government agency. You can usually check the status of your report online or by contacting the agency directly.

If you forget your document number, you can find it by searching for your business name on the website of your corresponding Department of State. In some cases, you may need to contact the agency directly to retrieve your document number.

How to Make Changes in Your Annual Report

It is possible to amend an annual report after it has been filed, but the procedure for doing so depends on the jurisdiction and the nature of the change required.

Initially, you should identify the nature of the amendment required, such as rectifying a mistake in the financial statements or updating business information.

Then contact the appropriate government agency to determine what steps are necessary. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to file a revised annual report or prepare an entirely new one.

What Are the Payment Options

With the help of the internet, paying fees for submitting legal documents has never been easier. However, the tried and true snail mail method is very much alive and functional. 

Here are the payment options for filing an annual report:

  • Online Payment Options: Many jurisdictions offer the option to pay the filing fee online. You can usually pay with a credit card or by electronic funds transfer (EFT) through the agency’s website.
  • By Mail or Courier: If you prefer to pay by mail or courier, you can usually find the payment instructions on the government agency’s website. Typically, you will need to write a check or money order payable to the government agency and include it with your completed annual report or filing.

What Happens if You Pay After the Deadline

Failure to file your annual report on time and pay the filing fee after the deadline could result in late fees and suspension or revocation of your business license.

Late filing may also negatively affect your business credit score, which could make it difficult to obtain financing or credit in the future. 

Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of the filing deadline and ensure that you file your annual report on time to avoid any potential negative impacts on your business.

What Happens if You Don’t File the Annual Report

Failing to file an annual report can have serious consequences for a business. The exact consequences may vary by jurisdiction, but they can include the following:

  • Penalties and late fees
  • Administrative dissolution or revocation of business license
  • Inability to conduct business
  • Loss of limited liability protection
  • Negative impact on credit score

A business must file their annual report on time to avoid any litigations. Failing to do so could have severe implications for the business’s financial stability and legal status.

How to Get a Copy of the Annual Report

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) withholds public and non-public records by regulated companies. To obtain a copy of your business’s annual report, visit their website to request a copy of your annual report. Be prepared to provide the business’s name and identification number to expedite the process.

Your Guide to Annual Report Filing

Filing an annual report is an important obligation for any business, as it ensures the accuracy of information about your company and maintains your reputation with the authorities.

However, this process can be complicated and time-consuming, especially if you manage multiple companies or are unfamiliar with the process.

doola Bookkeeping Services offers a solution to this problem. Our skilled team handles all aspects of filing annual reports so you can focus on running your business.

Contact us today to learn how our bookkeeping services can simplify your annual report filing process and ensure regulatory compliance.


Is the annual report mandatory?

Yes, in most states in the United States, filing an annual report is mandatory for Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and corporations. Failure to file the report on time can result in penalties or the revocation of the business’s status.

Do closed businesses still need to file annual reports?

Yes, if a business is registered as an LLC or corporation, it may still need to file annual reports even if it has ceased operations. The specific requirements may vary by state, but in general, the business entity must file a final report to dissolve the business properly.

Who prepares the annual report?

The annual report is typically prepared by the business entity itself or by its authorized representative, such as an attorney or accountant. However, some states may require that the report be prepared by a certified public accountant (CPA).

How long does it take to do an annual report?

Generally, it can take anywhere from a few hours to several days to gather the necessary information and complete the report. However, the time it takes to complete an annual report can vary depending on the complexity of the business structure and the specific requirements of the state.

Who signs the annual report of a company?

Typically, the annual report may be signed by an authorized representative of the company, such as a member or manager of an LLC or an officer or director of a corporation.

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