End-of-Year Checklist For Law Firms
ComplianceAugust 06, 2021

End-of-year checklist for law firms

The flurry of activity at year’s end can leave little time to complete the many to-dos at your law firm. Set yourself up for success by helping your clients complete critical compliance transactions. This easy-to-use checklist is a good place to start for end-of-year compliance, deal closing, and due diligence needs.

end of year compliance checklist
End-of-Year Checklist For Law Firms
Use this checklist to help your clients ensure that they've completed all outstanding U.S. and global compliance issues. 

Mergers and acquisitions

Once a merger is agreed to, there are actions that may need to be performed before the filing of merger documents, including reserving a name, reinstating an entity, forming an acquisition subsidiary, obtaining supporting documents, and more.

Related article: The 10 key phases of a merger and acquisition deal

Corporate spin off

Following the closure of the spin off transaction, it is prudent to audit the survivor and non-survivor entities of the parent company, and ensure that all required spin off notices, filings, and other documents were completed. Similar research should also be conducted to ensure that business licenses, both internationally and in each U.S. state, are updated.

Related article: Corporate spin offs: Four essential compliance steps 

Global activity

Compliance responsibilities extend to business activities around the world. Make sure to perform a health check of global entities. Keep in mind that compliance requirements vary between countries, even down to the local level.

Related article: Global entity compliance starts with a health check 

Adding or changing locations

When entering new states, opening new locations, or expanding a product or service line one or more of the following may need to be done:

  • Reserve a name
  • Form a new business
  • Foreign qualify
  • Assumed name/DBA filings
  • Obtain good standing
  • Update business licenses

Related article: Infographic: Mapping the business events that trigger compliance obligations 

Amendments

Don’t forget that some changes to a corporation or LLC require the formation document (e.g., Articles of Incorporation for a corporation or Articles of Organization for an LLC) to be amended. For example, if a corporation or LLC underwent a name change, you will have to file articles of amendment for the change to be legally effective. Or if your Articles of Organization say that the LLC is to be member-managed and you want to switch to manager-management you have to file an amendment. And if the corporation or LLC is qualified in foreign states, an amendment to the certificate of authority might be required as well. Make sure all required amendments were filed and that the state’s records on a company are up to date. And if not, be sure to get those amendments filed.

Related articles: Corporation handbook, LLC handbook

Closing or selling

Steps must be taken to properly dissolve a business in the state of formation and withdraw from all states where it has registered. Doing so before year-end will eliminate the need to file a partial-year tax

Related article: The rising risk of business identity theft: Why formal entity dissolution and withdrawal is a critically important safeguard 

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