How to Prioritize Surplus Lines Tax Filings & Reports

How to Prioritize Surplus Lines Tax Filings & Reports

Surplus Lines tax filings are complex, with variations in reporting requirements from state to state. We share how to prioritize your surplus lines tax filings and reports to help make staying compliant less overwhelming.

Are you licensed to file surplus lines policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia? Do you get overwhelmed at how to keep track of everything? Do you wonder where to start and how to finish? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, this article is for you!

Surplus Lines Filing Requirements by State

Surplus Lines tax filings are complex and can be overwhelming, with variations in reporting requirements from state to state. 

Step 1: Make sure you are familiar with the requirements in all states where you are writing Surplus Lines business. Filing requirements can be found on each state’s website, and you need to know what is required and when it is due to the state. Need to get in touch with someone at the Department of Insurance or Surplus Lines Association for a particular state? Check out our state directory!

Step 2: Make a plan based on these requirements. Things to consider:

  • State Due Dates: It may seem like this is the “obvious” answer, but it is the primary factor for prioritizing. You don’t want to work on that quarterly report for Oklahoma due to the state on 7/31 before you complete the monthly report for New Hampshire that is due to the state on 7/10. Prioritizing by due date helps you to file your filings and reports timely.
  • Late Filing Fees: Know which states have late filing fees. If you are going to be cutting it close on your filings and reports, you should prioritize the ones that will penalize you for the late filing higher than those that do not. 
  • Digital Signatures: Take advantage of using digital signatures whenever possible. If you need to track down your broker to get that notarized wet signature, have a plan in place ahead of time. The states that require notarized signatures often do not extend due dates based on the availability of the signing broker.

Managing Simultaneous Due Dates

Is it really that simple? Yes! and no. There are several times during the year when multiple states have reports and payments due simultaneously. When this occurs, how do you prioritize? You “eat the elephant”….

  • Take stock of all the reports due at that time. Do they require any special handling (like a notarized signature or overnight payment by check)? If so, you will want to prioritize these items above others due at the same time. You want to complete the more complicated reports first, then move on to the less complex reports, eating that elephant one bite at a time.
  • Plan ahead. If you know of a busy time coming up (Annual Reports, anyone?), try to plan out the things you can complete for those reports ahead of time, when things are slower. 

Help! I’m Still Overwhelmed!

What do you do if you don’t want to do all this work? It’s a lot, I know. Well, you can partner with a company that has all this built-in. InsCipher offers solutions for managing surplus lines compliance, filing, and reporting. Our surplus lines automation software, InsCipher Connect™ has a State Reporting Task Tool with all the due dates and required reports built-in. You can monitor your progress as you work through these tasks, keep track of payments made, when reports are submitted, and what the final report looks like. Our Calendar tool is personalized to your agency’s policies and shows how many filings are due on a particular day, when reports and payments are due, and when tasks are due. 

Alternatively, we also offer InsCipher Filing Services, where our dedicated filing team handles all aspects of surplus lines tax filings, compliance, and reporting for you, allowing you to focus on growing your business.

InsCipher is an insurtech company providing software and services that are revolutionizing inefficient insurance processes. Save your agency time and money by automating surplus lines compliance, filing, and reporting. Want to learn more? Request a free demo today!

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