Annual Reports Are More Important Than You May Think
Even if all your state paperwork is in and filed, the state is never truly done with you. That’s because every year, you will have to file annual reports. Yes, these can be more of a nuisance than anything else, and rarely is there a devastating error that can be made on an annual report, but there are still reasons why these reports are needed and why you should pay attention to them.
Meeting the Deadlines
One reason to pay attention to the deadline to file annual reports is that not meeting the deadline can be costly—the state will charge you a $400 penalty for filing your annual report late. Worse, if you simply don’t file any annual report, at some point the state will simply dissolve your company (which is why you may see “administratively dissolved” in the online corporate database for some companies).
Why does the state insist that you file an annual report? Certainly, there is some element of revenue generation for the state that is involved. But there are also other legitimate reasons to file annual reports.
Your corporate records filed with the state, which are publicly searchable on www.sunbiz.org, are your company’s way of telling the world who owns the company, and who can do things like accept service of process of a lawsuit for and on behalf of a company.
For example, your registered agent is the person who can accept lawsuits on your behalf, and who generally has a legal obligation to inform you of communication sent to the agent about your company. That’s why every year in your corporate report, you will have to verify that your agent is the same, or else notify the state of your new registered agent.
Changes in corporate officers must be noted as well. Once again, Florida law allows certain corporate officers to be served with a lawsuit, which constitutes service of a lawsuit on your company. People in Florida have a right to know who these people are so they know who to serve.
The corporate records also will show things like “doing business as” or fictitious names, or the address and location of your physical offices. This can be important in the event you are served accidentally (such as when your business has a similar or identical name as the business that the opposing party intended to serve with the lawsuit). Your address can prove who you are, and that you aren’t the party that was supposed to be the one served with the lawsuit.
Who Should File Your Report?
Regardless of whether you use your business attorney to file your annual reports, there are a lot of scammers out there that make the process seem more arduous than it actually is. Many will charge exorbitant fees to do what is really an easy and inexpensive process.
Call the West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig today for help filing your corporate paperwork with the state or any other business law matter you may have.