Entrepreneurs are on the cusp of more than a new year. We’re approaching a whole new decade! How exciting is that? As small business owners say goodbye to 2019, it’s crucial that they enter the next decade in compliance. Forgetting to file or update outstanding documents could result in their business falling into bad standing with the state. Bad standing may result in penalty fees or worse, involuntary dissolution of the business.
However, bad standing doesn’t impact businesses that routinely keep up with corporate maintenance. File these three legal documents to stay in compliance and fully prepare your business to enter a fresh, new decade.
1. Update corporate minutes and bylaws.
Is your business incorporated as a corporation? If so, you may be familiar with corporate minutes and bylaws.
Minutes are notes that are taken during corporate meetings. Taking minutes ensures that the meeting’s purpose has been recorded and details important information. Should anyone need to go back and review their minutes, they’ll be able to easily find and reference these written records. Bylaws, on the other hand, are the written rules and regulations for a corporation. A corporation’s bylaws outline rules for adding and removing directors, the rights and responsibilities of owners, and guidelines for conducting and organizing meetings.
Updating corporate minutes and bylaws is a must before the year ends. Doing this does more than help keep your corporation in compliance. Staying on top of these details contributes to the overall success of the business. Thanks to well-documented minutes, team members have a thorough understanding of what they need to work on next. Both documents also work as tools to avoid conflict. If anyone has a question, they may refer to the corporate minutes and bylaws for clarity. Ultimately, updating corporate minutes and bylaws may lead to an increase in productivity. This added boost aids to your bottom line, especially if you’re starting 2020 with several New Year’s business resolutions!
2. File annual reports.
This is applicable to businesses that have filed as a corporation or LLC. Annual reports are filed yearly with your local Secretary of State office. An annual report documents changes and keeps the state updated on your activities. Some changes may include the names and addresses of members in the business, the business address, name and/or address of your registered agent, and changes in business activities.
Filing an annual report is a fairly straightforward process. You may already be used to doing it, if you have been in business for some time. Before you file, check in with your local Secretary of State for the official filing deadline. These vary on a state to state basis. Some vary depending on your entity formation. File the annual report by its respective deadline and pay the filing fee to avoid delinquent penalties. Remember to also note the changes in your bylaws or operating agreement for your respective corporation or LLC, too!
3. Complete a delayed filing application.
Do you want to start a business this year? Consider completing a delayed filing application. A delayed filing allows you to delay the company’s effective date of incorporation.
Why would you want a delayed filing? Don’t you feel ready to incorporate now? There are a few benefits associated with delayed filings. If you incorporate in the final two months of the year, you will need to pay any additional fees associated with the business. You are also required to report and pay taxes with the IRS since the business has technically been in business for the 2019 calendar year. A delayed filing allows you to not just save money. Filing this paperwork in advance creates a more predictable start date for the business. While the state works on its processing and turnaround times, you may use this time to better prepare your business for its grand opening in the new year — and decade!
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com which provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent services, DBAs, and trademark and copyright filing services. You can find MyCorporation on Twitter at @MyCorporation.