For those of you running a business in North Carolina, March 15th (actually the 16th this year because the 15th was a Sunday) is an important day—it’s tax time! Some of you might be scrambling to meet the deadline, others have already mailed their returns and it’s business as usual. But if you operate a corporation and changed your registered agent in North Carolina during the past year, you should double check what you sent/are sending to the Department of Revenue.
Like many states, North Carolina annual reports can be filed online, but what’s unique about North Carolina are the requirements when you don’t file online, and how your CPA might be tempted to file the paper form for you.
Each year, North Carolina will send tax forms to corporations registered to do business in the state. Annual report forms are sent along with these tax forms, and if your corporation has a CPA, this form will likely land in their hands. In other states, annual reports are actually classified as a tax (in Alabama, the annual report is part of the Business Privilege Tax (BPT)), and your CPA may treat the North Carolina annual report as such. In most cases, this may be advantageous as you can knock out two tasks in one, but if you’ve recently changed registered agents, this could result in a massive paperwork blooper.
In North Carolina, all business entities are allowed to file annual reports online. Annual reports are due April 15th, one month after the tax due date, and are filed with the NC Secretary of State. North Carolina corporations, however, that opt to file the annual reports with their tax return file a paper form of the annual report, which is sent directly to the NC Department of Revenue. There is no difference in fees no matter which form you file, but if your tax person isn’t familiar with annual reports, they could file the wrong information on behalf of your corporation in North Carolina.
North Carolina annual reports require the following information:
Name of Corporation
Fiscal Year End
Registered Agent Information
Business’ Principal Contact Information
If any of this information has changed in the past year and you’re filing the paper form, you’ll want to check that your tax person filed the proper information. It’s easy to make a mistake as North Carolina prompts users to print a pre-populated form filled with information that could be inaccurate. CPAs and accountants could blow right through this information without checking or even knowing what the correct information is.
To file your North Carolina annual report online, visit the Department of the Secretary of State’s website. You’ll need to search for your business’ name and click on “file annual report,” after which you’ll be led through a series of prompts and eventually be able to pay the filing fee with a credit card or electronic check.
If you’re filing a paper form as part of your corporation’s tax return, you can only access a pre-populated form. Use the link above and click the option to print the form. On the pdf, make any needed changes and send the paper form with the $25 filing fee along with your tax return to the Department of Revenue.
North Carolina does allow businesses to amend annual report information. To make an amendment, use the link above and click the option to “amend annual report.” If any information about your business needs to be corrected, you can make the amendment.