The North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State has been much more aggressively pursuing those companies that do not file their annual report. They have been notifying companies that are behind this year and threatening termination. Filing an annual report (and paying the associated fee) is generally required in order to maintain your status.
Keep in mind that the status of your filings is one thing that good lawyers look at when deciding whether to pursue a lawsuit against yourself as an individual or as a business. Late filings can make it easier for a lawsuit to be filed against yourself and your individual assets, therefore removing one of the legal protections of incorporating or forming an LLC. I am not a lawyer, but that was some information I picked up from one and would like to pass on. As always, consult with your lawyer for legal advice. If you need to be referred to one then just let me know and I can make some suggestions.