RKL: What Is a Decennial Report and Why Must I File One in Pennsylvania?

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Just as the census tallies the U.S. population every decade, Pennsylvania takes stock of existing businesses through a decennial report. According to state law, decennial reports are requested every 10 years during years that end with number one. As such, the latest batch of decennial reports must be filed during calendar year 2021. The Pennsylvania Department of State (DOS) recently sent out notices about this requirement to affected businesses and organizations.

What is the purpose of a decennial report?

Through a decennial filing, businesses and organizations report that their name or mark are still in use. All names or marks that are not claimed or reported are reissued for use by anyone in the wider marketplace.

Does my business have to file one?

According to the DOS, “all domestic and foreign business corporations, non-profit corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships that are not also limited partnerships, business trusts, as well as insignias and marks used with articles and supplies” must file a report that they continue to exist.

Exceptions include:

  • Any of the above entity type that “has made a new or amended filing with the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations from Jan. 1, 2012 thru Dec. 31, 2021 other than a decennial filing, name reservation, name search, consent to appropriate name or fictitious name registration”
  • Nonqualified foreign associations
  • Fictitious names and trademarks
  • Business corporations that have had officer information shared with DOS by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue in the previous 10 years

How do I file a decennial report?

DOS started sending decennial report notice postcards to affected businesses or organizations on Jan. 15, 2021. The postcard contains a website to access the decennial forms (Decennial Report of Association Continued Existence and Decennial Report – Insignia or Mark Used with Articles or Supplies) and filing instructions. It costs $70 to file a decennial report, which must be submitted along with the forms.

On its website, DOS offers searchable PDFs that list all names and marks requiring a 2021 decennial report. Businesses or organizations still unclear about filing requirements after searching these PDFs should call the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations customer service line at (717) 787-1057.

What happens if I don’t file or miss the deadline?

Businesses or organizations that fail to file a decennial report remain in business, but their names or marks become available for requested use and registration in Pennsylvania.

Overdue decennial reports may be filed at any time, which will reinstate the name of the business or organization provided it has not been appropriated during the registration lapse.

Questions about the decennial filing? Click here to contact RKL.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael J. Eby, CPA, is a Partner in RKL’s Tax Services Group. He helps privately held businesses in industries – such as manufacturing, construction, retail, and real estate – implement tax strategies that achieve their unique goals and objectives.

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