Attention business owners, the time has come to file your Annual Report with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. The annual report must be filed each year between January 1 and May 1 in order to maintain an “active status” with the Department of State. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to update your entity’s information on the Department’s records. The report is not a financial statement. The report will not allow you to change your business name; however, it will allow you to update the principals and addresses associated with your business entity.
You must file your report online at the Division of Corporations’ website, which is www.sunbiz.org. Remember, the report must be filed by May 1, 2013, or all business entities, will be required to pay a non-negotiable $400 late fee. Failure to file an annual report by September 20, 2013, will result in the administrative dissolution or revocation of your business entity on the Department’s records at the close of business on Friday, September 27, 2013.
Keep in mind that information submitted on the annual report is made part of the public record and is, therefore, available for public view on Sunbiz.org. This leads us to a new trend that is rapidly increasing throughout the country, Business Identity Theft. Like personal identity theft, Business Identity Theft occurs when the identity of a business is stolen; however, the damage is usually more severe. The average loss to a victim of Business Identity Theft is $5,000 and 60% of small businesses fail within a year of being a victim of identity theft. Criminals have identified creative methods for exploiting this form of identity theft and have targeted small businesses because they are more vulnerable. Most of the time, businesses are unaware of the crime or how they can protect themselves.
The Division of Corporations suggests you review your business entity’s records at least once a month to ensure there are no errors or problems, even if your entity is dissolved. You can do this by visiting their website at www.sunbiz.org. To learn more about Business Identity Theft, visit www.nass.org and click on the business identity theft link. If you are a victim of business identity theft contact the Division of Corporations at 850-245-6007 or 6904.
For more information on how to file your annual report, please contact the Division of Corporations at 850-245-6056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.