CORPORATE TRANSACTIONS & COMPLIANCE BLOG

Corporate Compliance and Annual Reports: E-File or Bust!

By: Terri Lennon, COGENCY GLOBAL INC. on Mon, Aug 25, 2014

Have you ever discovered that your company is delinquent with a Secretary of State for failure to file its periodic report?  Annual reports or, in some states, periodic reports, are required to be filed at varying intervals throughout the years based on each state’s statutory requirements. Many times the due dates are contingent upon the type of business entity and may be determined by custom information, such as the date of formation/qualification, renewal month with the state or, in some cases, when the company’s fiscal year end date falls.  When your entity is in multiple states, these varying requirements can make it difficult to keep track of the report due dates. And now, a new challenge faces those responsible for corporate compliance… Did you know that some states require electronic filing of these reports and no longer send paper notifications of the upcoming due dates?

As the Digital Age continues in full swing, many states are jumping on the electronic bandwagon and are saving their taxpayers time and money by requiring electronic filing of their periodic statutory reports.  This trend is saving the Secretary of State offices and their taxpayers money since these filings require little to no human review and immediately file and post on the state’s online system. Some states are also experiencing additional substantial cost savings by no longer providing mailed notification of the upcoming requirement, although many now offer electronic subscriptions to receive email reminders of compliance due dates. (Note that regardless of whether a state notifies you that a report is coming due, the state agencies deem it your responsibility to know when your reports are due and to file them on time.) 

While required electronic filing in certain states adds more complexity to the tracking and filing of these mandatory reports, there is, actually, some good news associated with it. The good news is that several states offer the public a discounted rate when they electronically file versus paper file since the states’ expenditures are less.

Following is a list of states that REQUIRE electronic/online filing for some, if not all, business types that are required to file a report within their state:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Vermont

States Offering Email Due Date Reminder Service

New York State, which allows but does not require electronic filing, will discontinue mailing paper notifications of the biennial report due date to companies formed or qualified to do business in the state. They do offer an email notification subscription service in its place. (For more information about electronic biennial report filing in New York, see our previous post, “Online Filing Now Available for New York Biennial Reports)

Colorado also allows you to subscribe to email notifications. These notifications are not only for notices about your periodic report due date but also include information regarding other changes that have recently been made to the entity’s record. You will receive a confirmation email after signing up and you can also go to this page to unsubscribe.

Florida also provides email notification for their report filings due on May 1st of each year.  During the annual report filing process you are allowed to input an email address in order to receive next year’s notification.

Hawaii Allows Filing Via Mobile Devices
To take things even more techy, and in keeping with the times, the Hawaii Bureau of Conveyances offers online filing of your annual report via your mobile device!  With NO apps! 

Hawaii electronic filing

 

Look For More States Starting to Require E-Filing

Approximately 42 states currently allow both online and/or paper filing of the periodic reports. Due to the substantial associated cost savings, it seems likely that we will see more states get on the bandwagon and start requiring electronic filing.

*The examples in this post do not include all jurisdictions that accept email notification, but is sampling of some of the variations found.

 

This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered, or relied upon, as legal advice.

Topics: Annual Report Compliance, Delaware Corporate, UCC and Compliance