Corporate Annual Reports: Don’t Be Deceived!


Each year around this time I hear of someone who has received a very cleverly worded letter in an official looking envelope that appears to be from the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s  office.   To keep from being tricked please read on.

If you own a corporation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts you are required to file an annual report with the Secretary of State’s office.  The annual report is due 2 months and 15 days after the close of the company’s fiscal year.  If your company has a December 31 year end (and a vast majority of companies have a December 31 year end) your annual report is due March 15.   Because the reports for a vast majority of the companies are due March 15, now is the time when these deceptive letters begin to appear.

So what exactly is going on?  The letter is worded to give you the impression that by paying $125 to this organization your required annual report with the Secretary of State will be filed.  The amount requested ($125) is the same as the cost to file your annual report with the Secretary of State’s office by mail.  Sending in the $125 as the result of this written request will NOT satisfy your filing requirement with the Secretary of State’s office.  The Secretary of State does not send out any payment reminders.  If you get a request for payment of $125 it is NOT from the Secretary of State’s office and it is NOT for your required annual report with the secretary of state.

So what are you receiving?  You are receiving a solicitation from a company, who for a fee of $125, will provide you with a copy of boiler plate minutes for an annual shareholder and director meeting.  Your company should hold an annual meeting of the shareholders and directors and you should keep minutes of these meetings.  The deception that is occurring is that people think they are filing their annual report with the Secretary of State when they are not.  While every company should hold an annual meeting and keep minutes, paying $125 for boilerplate language is not productive for anyone other than the organization selling the minutes for $125.

If you receive a solicitation in the mail don’t be fooled.  To file your annual report and pay the fee you can go to the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cor/coridx.htm.    You can even file on-line and save.

 

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