LOANS AVAILABLE FOR FLORIDA BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY SEVERE WEATHER IN BAY AND JACKSON COUNTIES
Businesses in Bay and Jackson counties, including sole proprietors, impacted by the severe weather at the beginning of January can apply for assistance from the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program. This program provides short-term, no-interest loans of up to $50,000. Small businesses in need of assistance have until March 9, 2024 to apply. Visit the Florida Commerce website to learn more, view the lending guidelines and required documentation, and to file an application.
SMALL BUSINESSES WILL HAVE TO REPORT BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP
A law passed by the US Congress in 2021 will require small businesses to file a new report about their “beneficial owners.” A beneficial owner is someone who owns at least 25% of a company or who exercises substantial control over the company.
“Substantial control” means (1) an individual is a senior officer; (2) the individual has authority to appoint or remove certain officers or a majority of the directors of the company; (3) the individual is an important decision-maker; or (4) the individual has any other form of substantial control over the company.
The name, address, and date of birth of all beneficial owners, along with a copy of the individual’s driver’s license or passport, must be reported electronically to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which is a bureau of the US Department of the Treasury.
Companies created prior to January 1, 2024 have until January 1, 2025 to file a report. Companies created after January 1, 2024 must file a report within 90 days of their creation.
While there are some exceptions to this new reporting requirement, it will be a huge burden on most small businesses. Right now, there are more questions than answers about it, but companies created before 1/1/24 have until the end of the year to comply. There is an effort in Congress to delay the reporting because so many small businesses have not been made aware of it, but nothing official has happened as of now. FUBA will keep our members updated as we learn more.
FILING PORTAL IS OPEN FOR YOUR 2024 ANNUAL REPORT
Every Florida corporation and limited liability company (LLC) must file an online update each year with the State of Florida to keep the company in active status. This update is called an Annual Report and is filed with the Florida Division of Corporations, the official corporate registry for the State of Florida.
The Annual Report verifies the information on file with the state for your company and is a good time to make any needed changes, like a new mailing address or adding a new officer for the company. It is also a money-maker for the government – the state charges corporations $150 to file their Annual Report and LLCs $138.75. You have to file an Annual Report every year even if there are no changes to your company’s information.
The deadline to file your company’s 2024 Annual Report is May 1st, but the state’s filing portal at Sunbiz.org is open now so businesses can file early.
Make sure to file your report before the deadline. If you miss the May 1st deadline, the state will charge you an additional $400 for your Annual Report. And if you still have not filed it by September, the state will dissolve your company. If your corporation or LLC is dissolved, any officers of the company that have workers’ comp exemptions can lose their exemptions.
Another consequence of the state dissolving your company is that someone else could take over your company name and start doing business under that name. There are many reasons why it is important to make sure your company files its Annual Report every year!
The only reminder the government will send you is an email to the address they have on file for your company. This email will be from FL_DOS_Corporations@dos.state.fl.us and will give you a link to the state’s official corporate registry at Sunbiz.org.
To file your company’s 2024 Annual Report, go to Sunbiz.org and make sure the page says “An official State of Florida website” at the top. This is how you know you are on the official government web page. Under “Filing Services,” click on the “Annual Report” link. You will need the document number that was assigned to your business by the Division of Corporations when you first registered with the state. This number will be in the reminder email from the Division of Corporations, or you can look it up by going to Sunbiz.org and clicking on “Search Records” and searching your company’s name.
BE ALERT FOR SOLICITATIONS ABOUT YOUR COMPANY’S ANNUAL REPORT
As we described in the article above, all Florida corporations and LLCs are required by law to file an Annual Report every year with the Division of Corporations.
Every January, private companies start sending solicitations to small businesses that look like they are from the government. These emails are companies with names like “Business Filings Depot” and are usually from the “Reminder Department.”
These solicitations look like they are from the government and provide a link for you to file your company’s Annual Report. Before clicking on the link in these emails, understand that these companies charge a lot of money to file your company’s Annual Report, usually about $100 more than you actually need to pay. If you pay one of these companies to file your Annual Report, it could be much more expensive than filing it yourself on Sunbiz.org.
The only email you can trust about your Annual Report is the reminder you will receive from the Florida Division of Corporations. It will be from FL_DOS_Corporations@dos.state.fl.us and have a link to the state’s official corporate registry at Sunbiz.org.
FUBA members concerned about these solicitations can call our offices at 800-262-4483 and ask for Karen or Mallory.