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A Stitch in Time Saves Nine: Submit Those Annual Registrations to the Georgia Secretary of State!

Jun 21

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6/21/2013 5:28 PM  RssIcon

Georgia statutes require that every business entity registered or filed with the Office of the Secretary of State submit an “annual registration” with the Secretary of State.  This annual registration is normally due by April 1 of each year. (This year the deadline was extended to May 31 due to extenuating circumstances.)  The Secretary of State sends out reminders in advance of the deadline, by e-mail or postcard.  Sometimes for whatever reason the reminder is not received by the appropriate person at the company - but that does not change the fact that the annual registration must be submitted.



If you are unsure whether your business entity has submitted its annual registration this year, go to:



https://cgov.sos.state.ga.us/Account.aspx/SearchRequest



Scroll to the bottom of the page, enter your business entity's name in the field labeled "Inquiry:", and hit the "Search" button.  Then scroll down to the bottom of the page again, and check the status of your entity in the column labeled "Status".  Hopefully you will see "Active/Compliance" in that column.

Initially, the consequence of submitting the annual registration past the deadline is small – a $25.00 late fee, plus embarrassment if someone is checking out your entity’s status online and they see that it is not in good standing.  However, after some time the Secretary of State can and does dissolve your entity.  The consequence of this is that legally your entity has the power to do nothing but take actions to wind up its affairs.

This year, due to the changes in the Secretary of State’s website, many businesses gave up attempting to file their annual registration because of the difficulty that they encountered in trying to do so.

I have prepared the following instructions for submitting an annual registration on the Secretary of State’s new website that many people have found helpful:

 

Annual Registration Instructions

1.      Go to www.sos.georgia.gov/corporations/

2.      Click on the button that reads “Click to Continue to the Corporations Division Home Page”.

3.      Click on the button on the right-hand side of the page that reads “Corporations Renewal”

4.      After reading the verbiage for instructions, click on the button at the bottom of the next page that reads “Click to Continue”

5.      You will be taken to a page that asks you to log on using a username and password.

Hint: A common stumbling block for many people is that they do not realize that with the migration to a new Website, they are (at least sometimes) needing to establish a new account in order to log on!  Old usernames and passwords may not work!  In the middle of the page on which the fields requesting a username and password appear, there is a link “Register for a cGov360 account”.  Click on this link and register for a new account if you have not done so already.  Then, return to the login screen.

6.      On the next page, click on the “Business Filings” tab

7.      On the next page, in the 3rd column from the left, click on either the “ANNUAL REGISTRATION – For-Profit Corp – Online” link or the “ANNUAL REGISTRATION – LLC – Online” link

8.      On the next page, click on the button at the bottom of the page that reads “Next”

9.      On the next page, enter the company name in the “Inquiry” field

Hint: If your company changed its name last year, that information might not have been migrated over yet and you might get an error that “No Results were found.”  In that case, enter your company’s previous name and hope that the Secretary of State gets it straightened out soon.

10.  Hopefully, on the next page your company’s name will be among those listed in the “Search Results” at the bottom of the page.  Click on the link that is your company’s name.

11.  For “Report Year”, enter 2013

12.  Go through several screens and enter the rest of the information for your annual registration and your payment information, clicking the “Next” button at the end of every page.

Hint: Do not rely on the information that is already populated to be reliable.  There are at least two problems that I have observed with various clients. 

First, on the renewals of several of my clients, the address reflected for me as their registered agent is an address that I have not had for years.  I have paper copies of previous annual registrations showing that my current address had been used on previous annual registrations, just for some reason the most current information had not been migrated over yet.

Another problem is that in the migration the first, middle and last names of people have gotten turned around, and you might need to edit the pre-populated information to correct this.

13.  Hopefully, you will then be finished.  I would advise pausing to click the buttons to print copies of your filed annual registration and your receipt, as documentation.

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