PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The beginning of the new year means tens of thousands of companies doing business in Rhode Island must file annual reports with Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.
State law requires for-profit corporations to submit annual reports from Jan. 1 and March 1. About 30,000 companies ranging from car dealers to mortgage lenders to restaurants are subject to the requirement.
Filing on-line is easy. Every company has been assigned its own unique Customer Identification Number and Personal Identification Number order to ensure security.
"Our customers have really embraced the upgrades we made a few years ago. About half the annual reports filed in 2012 came via the Internet," said Mollis. "Improvements like this make it easier for companies to do business in Rhode Island."
Corporations can still file by mail or in person at the Secretary of State's Business Services Division, 148 West River St., Providence, during normal business hours.
Failure to file an annual report can result in the revocation of a corporation's Certificate of Incorporation or Certificate of Authority. At other times of the year, non-profit corporations and limited liability companies are also required to file with the Secretary of State.
"State law makes my office responsible for corporate record-keeping. We work hard to give the public access to quick and accurate access to information. The business community deserves credit for being partners in this endeavor," said Mollis.
Mollis posts the reports on his website. The public can search the database by the corporation's name, location and type of business among other criteria. There is even contact information for every company's primary official.
"This transparency is consumer-friendly and ensures that the public has a place to turn for information about businesses," said Mollis. "Corporations that file annual reports demonstrate a commitment to openness, and that can make people thinking of doing business with them more confident."
The Secretary of State's office works with every corporate entity registered to do business in Rhode Island – 60,000 in all. The office also oversees recording commercial liens and protecting corporate trademarks and provides advice to start-up businesses.
Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier for Rhode Islanders to vote, making it easier to do business in Rhode Island and making government more open and accessible. For more information about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers Rhode Islanders, visit sos.ri.gov.