Florida business owners big and small must file this report to stay active. Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re running a business in Florida, May 1 should have a big mark on your calendar every year. That’s the deadline to file the Florida Annual Report.
The Florida Annual Report is a mandatory form you complete to let the state know you’re authorized to do business. It also lets the public know who your authorized officers, directors and managers are.
If you submit the Florida Annual Report late, you’ll face a hefty penalty of $400. And if you don’t do it at all, you risk losing your business license. Before May 1 rolls around, here’s everything you need to know to fill it out the right way.
What information do you need to file the Florida Annual Report?
- Document number: Your six or 12-digit number affiliated with the Division of Corporations.
How do I find my document number? Click here to find your document number if you’re a corporation, limited liability company, or limited partnership. You can search by the business’ entity name, registered agent name, Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), zip code, street address, and more.
- Entity name: Your legal business name
- Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN): The nine-digit number the IRS assigns to you for tax purposes. (Note: This is not your Social Security Number.)
How do I find my FEIN? There are a few ways to find it, according to the IRS.
You can find your receipt that should have been emailed to you after you applied for the FEIN, find a previously filed tax return, or call the IRS’ Business & Specialty Tax line at 800-829-4933 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time Monday through Friday.
- Principal place of business address: The street address of your entity’s principal office
- Mailing address: You need your mailing address if it’s different from your principal address
- Registered agent name, address and signature: The legal or individual entity — not the business itself — who can accept service of process. (This is someone who’s responsible for processing your business’ documents.)
- Principal names and addresses: These include officers, directors, managers, authorized representatives and general partners
- Email address: Make sure it’s a valid email address that the state can use to reach you, if needed.
One part of the process that’s not required is requesting a certificate of status, which is essentially a receipt that shows your business is active and you’ve paid your fees. You can request this when you file your report. For LLCs, the fee is $5. For partnerships and corporations, the fee is $8.75.
It’s a good idea to purchase the certificate of status. You may never need it, but the instances where you may are important. Banks, creditors or even investors might ask to see it — so potential bank accounts and credit cards may depend on it. Not every financial institution will ask for your certificate of status, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The Florida Annual Report isn’t an ownership listing, so you don’t need to worry about reporting information regarding your owners, stockholders, partners or investors. You also aren't disclosing any of your financial information publicly by filing your report.
How to file your Florida Annual Report
Now that you have all the information you need, you’re ready to sit down and actually file your annual report — well ahead of the May 1 deadline, of course. You can file it as early as Jan. 1 of the year.
It should take no more than three minutes to complete if you’re prepared. If you’re doing it on your own, this step-by-step walkthrough will make it even easier.
Step 1: Go to SunBiz.org
SunBiz.org is the Florida Secretary of State’s site where you’ll find plenty of resources and forms you’ll need as a Florida business owner. Your annual report is just one of the many reasons you have to visit SunBiz.org each year — so keep it bookmarked or readily available.
Click “Annual Report” in the Filing Services section. You’ll be taken to the Annual Report starting page. Here, you can find a helpful FAQ where they address questions like how to get a copy of your report, what payment options are available, how to make changes to the report and more. Once you’re ready, click the button to begin filing your report.
Step 2: Enter your document number
This is the six or 12-digit number from the beginning of the checklist. (Check above for how to find your number.)
Step 3: Follow the on-screen instructions
As long as you have all your relevant business information — your document number, FEIN, addresses, etc. — before you start filling out the process, you shouldn’t run into any problems.
There’s no need to print anything out unless you want to print your confirmation at the end. The rest of the process is just a typical online form.
How much does the Florida Annual Report cost to file?
The cost depends on how your business is structured. Below are the costs associated with the more popular business structures:
- Profit corporation: $150
- Non-profit corporation: $61.25
- Limited liability company: $138.75
- Limited partnership or limited liability limited partnership: $500
Filing your Florida Annual Report is mandatory, so there’s no way to avoid this expense. The late fee is $400 on top of those costs. However, non-profit organizations are exempt from paying the late fee.
If you make a mistake or any of your business information changes, you’ll also need to pay to amend your report later on. Here’s how much:
- For-profit and non-profit organizations: $61.25
- Limited liability company: $50
It’s free to download your completed report after it’s been processed.
When you don’t have to file the Florida Annual Report
The only situation where you wouldn’t have to file the Florida Annual Report is if your business has closed.
If that’s the case, then you should still familiarize yourself with SunBiz.org. That’s where you’ll find resources you need for officially dissolving or withdrawing your business.
Beware of scammers
From the beginning of the year until May, you might receive suspicious emails, phone calls or letters about the Florida Annual Report. Why? Scammers know that the annual report is serious enough to dissolve your business if you don’t take action. So they’ll use that to their advantage and try to squeeze some money out of you.
Here are some of the most common scams we see small business owners receive:
- Letters: Mostly at the beginning of the year, you may receive letters asking for your credit card information or telling you to log in to a portal to fill out your report. The Florida Secretary of State will never do this. The only website you’ll need to complete the report is SunBiz.org — so don’t give out any financial information to a contact you don’t know.
- Emails: Scammers know that any official communication about the Florida Annual Report will come from the Florida Secretary of State, so they’ll try to impersonate them. If you receive an email about the annual report that’s from anyone else besides FL_DOS_Corporations@dos.fl.us, it’s likely a scam — especially if they’re asking you for money.
The bottom line
Every Florida business owner has to file the Florida Annual Report. You can lose your business license if you don’t. And if you complete it late, you’ll have to pay a $400 penalty.
Completing the report is quick and fairly simple. You don’t have to stress about it, but you can’t just forget about it either.
Want to save time on Florida Annual Reports and focus on the parts of your business that you love? Schedule a free call with a DiMercurio Advisors team member today and learn what tax and accounting responsibilities you can take off your plate.