There are some important 2017 business deadlines that are coming up fast. If you want your business to stay compliant in the new year, keep these in mind:
The 2017 Annual Report for your business must be filed with the Florida Division of Corporations before May 1, 2017. The Florida Department of State charges a late fee of $400.00 for not filing this report before May 1, 2017. If no report is filed before September 1, 2017, your business entity will be administratively dissolved and you will not legally be able to conduct business in the state. Remember that, in addition to filing your Annual Report, you need to hold an annual meeting and keep minutes of that meeting for your corporate records.
The New Year brings with it many tax obligations. First and foremost, make sure that you are current with the IRS on your payroll taxes, and that your W-2s and 1099s have been sent before February 1, 2017. We strongly encourage you to discuss all your payroll obligations with us and/or your accountant as soon as possible.
Also, as a reminder, most business tax returns must be filed with the IRS on or before March 15, 2017. S-Corporations (and limited liability companies taxed as S-Corps) are required to provide shareholders with Schedules K-1 by April 1, 2017. Also, limited liability companies that are taxed as partnerships must file a partnership return every year. You should contact your accountant as soon as possible to be sure your return is filed before its due date.
Florida Revised Limited Liability Company Act
Though not strictly a deadline, many small business owners have not complied with the Florida Revised Limited Liability Company Act, which went into full effect on January 1, 2015. There are some big changes in the law, with over 17 non-waivable provisions. If you have not reviewed your LLC’s Operating Agreement in a few years, it is time to bring it up-to-date. (And if you set up your LLC without bothering to write an Operating Agreement – you need one yesterday!) Call us to discuss what you need to do to become compliant under the new law.
Florida and Federal Trade Secrets Laws
There have been major recent changes to Florida and Federal trade secrets laws, and they are already in effect. We recommend that you discuss with us any existing confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements as they may need to be updated.
The Federal Defense of Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) creates a federal legal scheme for the protection of trade secrets that previously was left to the states. The DTSA provides for civil and criminal immunity to whistleblowers for disclosing confidential or trade secret information to the government. Importantly the DTSA requires employers to provide notice of whistleblower immunity in any confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement, and failure to provide notice can invalidate those agreements. Every business that uses confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements with their employees and independent contractors should immediately contact us to update their contracts.
Florida’s Amended Criminal Trade Secret Act exempts financial information of a private company as a “trade secret” from mandatory disclosure under Florida’s Sunshine Laws. While there is no corresponding provision in the Florida Civil Trade Secrets Act, we advise businesses to update their agreements to include “financial information” as a trade secret.
Website ADA Compliance
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in “places of public accommodation.” While the statute does NOT specifically mention websites, the Department of Justice and courts have interpreted it as applicable, and Amendments to ADA to specifically include websites are anticipated as soon as this Spring. If you own a website for your business, or if you develop websites for business owners, we encourage you to become familiar with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA. Moreover, any web developer you hire should be contractually obligated to meet or exceed WACG 2.0 AA. See us to update your contracts accordingly.
Carlos Carbonell, CEO, Echo Interaction Group
Rob Henlon, Fierce Entertainment
Michelle Widmer, Founder & Director of Events, The Empress Table
Rodney E. Luke, President, Luke Brothers Custom Homes