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How to Crush the End-of-Year Filing Rush

Nellie Akalp
Posted by Nellie Akalp on Nov 29, 2023 1:33:44 PM

As the year comes to a close, many businesses and their accountants find themselves amid an end-of-year filing rush. This critical period involves a flurry of financial activities, from tax preparation and compliance reporting to annual financial statement submissions. The pressure is on businesses to meet business filing requirements and accountants (or bookkeeping services) to play a pivotal role in ensuring their clients successfully navigate this challenging period. 

To help navigate the end-of-year filing rush, we’ll provide you with valuable insights and strategies to help your business clients beat the clock and submit their corporate business filings on time. Whether you’re a seasoned accountant or just starting your career, here’s what to know to serve your clients better and contribute to their success.

Proactive Tax Planning 

Year-end is a good time to advise clients on minimizing their tax liabilities in the coming year. You might suggest changing their legal structure to take advantage of the C Corp’s flat tax rate or filing as an S Corp to save owners on paying some employer taxes. As an S Corp, owners’ salaries are subject to employer taxes, but shareholder distributions are not. Changing a company’s legal structure is called a “structure conversion” and is not allowed in every state. Some states require companies to dissolve their current business and form a new company under a different structure.  

The Annual Report 

Most state governments require registered business entities to file an Annual Report called a Statement of Information. In most states, this annual filing is completed through the Secretary of State’s office, but it varies from state to state, so be clear on what your clients’ states require. Your client must update the names and addresses of the company’s key owners and managers, registered agent information, and the number of shares issued (if applicable). If the company changes registered agents, the owners must also file a Change of Registered Owner form.  

In most states, the Annual Report is due on the anniversary of the company’s official formation; however, year-end is a good time to prep your clients for the task. 

Board Meeting 

Clients with businesses structured as C Corporations must hold an annual board meeting and document the meeting with detailed minutes recorded and kept on file. Annual meetings ensure owners’ transparency about the company’s goals, sales and debt updates, and other official corporate information. 

Good Standing in the State 

For companies to be in good standing with the state, they must continue to pay their taxes and other fees on time and meet that state’s business filing requirements. If, for some reason, they’ve lapsed, your client needs to file for reinstatement by filling out a reinstatement form and paying a fee, so the company is again back in the state’s good standing. 

Company Expansion 

Is your client considering expanding the business to other states? If so, they’ll need to register for foreign qualification. Foreign qualification is typically pretty simple and requires meeting the business filing requirements of the state and paying the filing fee. In general, the company must foreign qualify if: 

  • Your client establishes any kind of physical presence in the state, such as office space, a warehouse, or a retail store 
  • Your client conducts in-person meetings in the state 
  • The business is structured as an LLC (limited liability company) or corporation 
  • The client has even one employee living and working in another state 

If your client plans to move the business to a new state, the process depends on the company’s legal structure. Sole proprietorships and partnerships should close their business in their current state of operation and start over in the new state. If the business has a registered DBA name (doing business as), the owner should file to withdraw the name from the state.  

Other entities, such as corporations and LLCs, can either dissolve the company in the old state and start over in the new state or file a foreign qualification in the second state. 

Close a Business 

If your client wants to close their business by year-end, the first step is to create a plan to pay off the company’s debts and notify customers and vendors. 

For your clients who own a partnership, corporation, or LLC, how the business closes should be outlined in their operating agreement. Typically, the company must conduct a formal vote and obtain signatures from all partners and board members. Corporations are required to have two-thirds of the voting share members consent to close. The regulations for LLCs vary by state. 

Next, corporate business filing rules require corporations and LLCs to file an “Articles of Dissolution” form or a “Certificate of Termination/Certificate of Dissolution” form.  

Stay Updated on Regulations 

Attend relevant seminars, webinars, and training sessions to keep current on your clients’ business filing requirements. This ensures that you can provide accurate advice and guidance to your clients, helping them avoid compliance issues. 

Topics: Management Advisory


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