SCAM WARNING for Business Owners

If you are a business owner, then this WARNING is for you.  If you are not, please forward this to your friends who are business owners. Each year, you are required to file an Annual Report with the State of Florida by May 1st of that year (unless the business is a not-for-profit).

Several for profit companies send out emails and letters that look very official about the annual report requirement.  They collect email addresses and physical addresses from the State’s website and are soliciting businesses.  These are THIRD party solicitations not associated with the State – you can file your report on-line without going through any of these companies.  If you get an email or a letter offering to file your Annual Report for a fee, throw away the letter. Each year, we get those letters, too!

You still need to file your Annual Report. Failing to file on a timely basis will result in a business being administratively dissolved by the State, or at a minimum, being required the payments of expensive reinstatement and/or late fees.  With the Annual Report, a filing fee must be submitted.

The filing fees are as follows:

Filed by May 1      Filed after May 1

·         For profit corporation:               $150.00                   $550.00

·         Limited partnership:                   $500.00                  $900.00

·         Limited liability company:          $138.75                  $538.75

Information on filing an annual report can be obtained at www.sunbiz.org.  In fact, you submit the Annual Report and pay the filing fee on-line. To do this, you will need the document number assigned to the business by the State.  You can locate the number by searching the sunbiz website for your business record.  Feel free to give our office a call if you would like us to walk you through the filing process FREE OF CHARGE.  You can also follow the State’s step-by-step instructions here.

Also, do not forget that the act of filing an Annual Report does not negate the responsibility of businesses from following all statutory requirements to maintain those businesses, such as holding annual shareholder and board meetings (for corporations).

 

Help your children with their planning!

If you have adult children, especially young adult children, the topic of estate planning likely does not come up in casual conversation. After all, twenty-somethings should have a long life ahead of themselves. Thinking about Wills and other morbid things is for “old people”. I probably thought that way when I was younger, but having lost a parent at a very early age, I know that death happens at all ages. So does incapacity.

We might even be worried about having types of conversations for fear that it might scar our children in some way. I don’t think that we give our children, even young ones, enough credit. Case in point: a short time ago, I was talking with my children about Wills. They have been to my office many times, but I did not think that they really understood what I did. Because they are ages 10 and 8, I tried to keep the conversation age appropriate. To my surprise, my younger daughter asked if I could write her Will! She wanted to be sure that her treasured stuffed animals passed to her sister when she died. While it won’t carry any legal weight, I am inclined to write that document. Sounds like a learning experience (for both of us)!

In Florida and in most states, when your child becomes an adult, he or she is no longer legally under your control. Therefore, if your child gets hurt, you may have a hard time accessing his or her bank account or talking with his or her medical providers. As simple as it may be, when your child reaches age 18, a great birthday present is to help him or her get a power of attorney and medical directives. As his or her life progresses, perhaps with marriage and children, those documents will likely change. Starting the conversation early in life will help to equip your children with the knowledge and strength to make decisions about their money and health care…and yours.

 

Tip 15: Naming your Real Estate Entities

Do you own investment real estate? If you do, chances are pretty good that you own those properties in a real estate entity, such as partnership, LLC or land trust.  When you own several properties, it may be advisable to set up a separate entity for each property. This type of planning has both pros and cons.

One important consideration is to come up with a name for each entity. Some of our clients come up with creative names, which is great. However, if you have more than one entity, using creative names can get confusing.

We suggest that our clients consider naming real estate holding entities by their street address (or street name). For example, if I own a rental at 123 Main Street, I might deed that property into “123 Main Street Land Trust.”

We like this approach because each entity usually has is own bank account and separate record keeping. If you get a lot of bank statements and/or bills (such as utility bills) in the mail, it’s easy to sort them by “address.” This makes tracking your properties a little easier each month and also helps your tax preparer match up your income and expenses.

Have a question about your investment real estate? Give us a call!