If you have a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, you may be required by your state to have a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or business that is authorized to accept legal, tax, or financial documents on behalf of your business.
You can check your state’s website to see if you are required to have a registered agent for your LLC or corporation. You can be your own registered agent if you meet certain requirements.
Who Can Be a Registered Agent?
You can be your own registered agent for your business, or it can be another member or shareholder of the business. You can also choose to have another individual who is not a member or shareholder, or a professional agency that offers registered agent services.
The requirements to be a registered agent are:
- Age 18 years or older
- Have a physical address in the state where your business is formed
- Be available during normal business hours to accept correspondence personally
- If the agent is a business entity, it must be registered to operate in your state
You cannot, however, name your corporation or LLC as the registered agent.
Many LLCs and corporations choose a member or shareholder who is highly involved in the business to be the registered agent, although a registered agent service can save you time and ensure compliance with the law.
What Is the Purpose of a Registered Agent?
Essentially, the purpose of a registered agent is to ensure that compliance is maintained and that all legal, tax, and financial matters are handled in a timely manner. Having one person or entity to handle important documents helps to ensure that nothing is missed so that issues are avoided.
Documents that the agent may receive include:
- Tax forms and documents
- Any government correspondence
- Legal documents
- Summons documents in case of a lawsuit
What Is a Registered Agent Service?
A registered agent service is a professional service that will handle important correspondence and documents for your business. They will ensure that all correspondence is handled on time and keep copies of documents for you. They will keep track of deadlines for you and send you reminders of things you may have to file, such as tax forms or annual reports.
A registered agent service will help to keep you in compliance with the law, and also save you time by keeping track of your important documents and filing deadlines. This can help you to keep your focus on growing your business. The agency will also offer support if problems or questions come up.
Utilizing an agency also allows you to have flexible hours. If you are your own registered agent, you must be available from 8 AM to 5 PM at your physical registered agent address. If you use an agency, they are available during those hours so that you don’t have to be.
If you use a national agency, you can also form an LLC or corporation in another state or multiple states where you do not have residency. An agency also offers you a level of privacy – you will not be served with a summons at your business in front of customers or employees.
How to Elect a Registered Agent
To elect yourself or another individual as your registered agent, you will simply fill in their information on the LLC formation forms or Articles of Incorporation when you set up your business. If you choose an agency, you will do the same, and the agency will tell you the specific information to include on the business formation forms.
Can I Change My Registered Agent Later?
If you decide to change your registered agent, you can do so at any time. You just need to file the appropriate paperwork with your state, and in most cases, you can do this online. There may be a small fee involved.
States have varying requirements about changing a registered agent, so check your Secretary of State website to see how to file the change.
The registered agent for your business plays an important role and is responsible for critical documents and correspondence, so take care when choosing your agent. Registered agent service companies are often a good choice and can save you time.
Some owners, however, prefer to take control and be their own registered agents. The good news is that it’s your choice!