Your Business End of the Year Legal Checklist

2018 is quickly coming to an end, and if you are a small business owner, it is a good time of the year to ensure you accomplished many crucial aspects of running a business and are well prepared for the coming year. And of course, before diving too deep into thinking about all you want to accomplish in 2019, and beyond, it is a good idea to create a checklist of items before 2018 comes to a close.

While it may feel difficult or easier to push off until 2019, remaining in good standing with the law is not only necessary but beneficial to the future growth of your business. This article addresses some items you should check-off before the year’s end.

Annual Meeting

If your business is structured as a corporation or an LLC, you must hold an annual meeting. This simple procedure is easily overlooked throughout the year with seemingly more important matters, or as often in the case of small business unnecessary. Regardless of the size of your business, if you are organized as a corporation or LLC you must hold an annual meeting discussing important decisions for the coming year between owners, shareholders or board members.

During the annual meeting it is important to keep corporate minutes, summarizing what has been discussed, are recorded. This all ensures your business remains in compliance with Iowa law. If your business has not already done so, now would be a good time to get your annual meeting for 2018 scheduled.

Secretary of State Filings

Has your business structure or corporate governance changed at all in 2018? Did the business move or was there a change in your registered agent or board members? If so, if you have not already, you may look into filing a statement with the Secretary of State’s office documenting the change. Additionally, if your business is a corporation you must file a biennial report in 2018 detailing any changes made in 2017. Likewise, if your business is an LLC you should be prepared to file your biennial report in 2019. It is crucial these filings are kept up to date or your business will be administratively dissolved for failing to remain in compliance.

Tax Preparation

Of course although not yet due, December is a great time to assess your estimated taxes. Take the time now to review your businesses’ paperwork and review all the annual earnings of your employees, so once it is tax season, any unexpected events will be already taken care of and you or your accountant is ready to file and submit your taxes early in 2019. Being prepared can eliminate many of the stresses of tax season, and there is no better time than now to do so.

The Year Ahead

Now that you’ve checked those items off the list and your business remains in full compliance, December is a great time of the year to take the time and evaluate and provide feedback to employees. Not only will everyone know where they stand, but how they can be better in 2019. This can be such a helpful and positive experience that only serves to ensure the growth and success of your business. Finally, take the time to outline where you want your company to be at the end of 2019.

It is always good to be thinking ahead, but do not forget to complete the commonly overlooked items above. If you believe your business may not be in compliance with Iowa law, we recommend you speak with an attorney.

Joseph Rust is an Associate Attorney with the Sullivan & Ward Professional Corporation. He can be reached at (515) 247-4721 or