If you’re starting an LLC in Massachusetts, the business entity formation process is one of the first and most important hurdles. This step can be ...
Massachusetts Resident Agent for an LLC
Written by: Carolyn Young
Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.
Edited by: David Lepeska
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on June 30, 2022
Updated on May 18, 2023
If you’re thinking of forming a limited liability company (LLC), you should know that in Massachusetts you will need a resident (registered) agent to handle all of your official paperwork. The resident agent, which is also required for corporations, LLPs, and nonprofits, is a specific role that involves several key considerations and restrictions, as detailed below.
What Is a Resident Agent?
A resident agent, also known as a registered agent, is a person or business authorized to accept legal, tax, and financial documents on behalf of your business. Some states do not require a resident agent, but in Massachusetts, your LLC needs a resident agent.
Massachusetts’ Resident Agent Requirements
In Massachusetts, you can be your own resident agent for your LLC, or it can be another member of the LLC, an outside individual, or a qualified business service.
In Massachusetts, the requirements to be a resident agent are:
- Must be 18 years or older
- Have a physical address in the state and be a resident of Massachusetts
- Be personally available during normal business hours
- If the agent is a business entity, it’s registered to operate in the state
Responsibilities of a Resident Agent
Essentially, the purpose of a resident agent is to ensure compliance with state laws and to make sure all official matters are handled in a timely manner. Having one person or entity handle state documents helps ensure nothing is missed, helping avoid potential potholes.
Documents that the agent may receive include:
- Tax forms and documents
- Government correspondence
- Legal documents
- Summons documents in case of a lawsuit
Advantages of a Registered Agent Service
A registered agent service is a professional service that will handle official correspondence and documents for your business. Registered agents ensure that all official correspondence is handled on time and keep copies of documents for you. They also keep track of deadlines and send reminders of things you need to file, such as tax forms and annual reports.
A registered agent service will help keep you in compliance with the law and save you time by keeping track of key documents and filing deadlines. This also frees you up to focus on growing your business. The agency will also offer support if problems or questions come up.
Using an agency enables you to have flexible hours. If you’re your own registered agent, you must be personally available from 8 AM to 5 PM at your registered agent address. If you use an agency, they are available during those hours and you’re free to focus on growing your business.
Choose Your Registered Agent Service in Massachusetts
If you use a national agency, they will help you form an LLC or corporation in another state or multiple states where you do not have residency. A good agency also offers a level of privacy, as you would never be served with a summons at your business in front of customers or employees.
You need a service that has an office in Massachusetts, but you may want to choose a national service so you have the flexibility to form LLCs in other states. Other than that, you should choose a service that offers:
- Compliance management, to send reminders of key deadlines
- Document copying and digital storage so you can access documents online
- Availability during the required hours, with prompt customer service
- Service in all 50 states and US territories
- Registered agent service starts at $99 per year
- Great customer support
- The site is easy to use (only takes several minutes to set it up)
Northwest Registered Agent
- Registered agent service costs $125 per year
- Transparent pricing/no hidden fees
- Commitment to privacy
- If you form your LLC through Incfile, registered agent is free for the first year. Otherwise, it’s $119 per year.
- An easy to use digital dashboard
- An always-available Massachusetts registered agent
- Registered agent service costs $99 per year (discount if you choose 2+ years)
- Local registered agent office in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
- Quick and easy service
How to Appoint Your Resident Agent in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, when you file your certificate of organization to form your LLC, you’ll need to enter your resident agent name and address, and the resident agent will need to sign the form. This will officially record your resident agent in Massachusetts.
You can file your certificate of organization online or by mail.
If you want to file by mail you can download the form and mail it, along with the $500 fee, to:
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place
Boston, Massachusetts 02108-1512
Email: [email protected]
Once you have chosen your resident agent, whether it’s you, another member, or a professional service, you do not need to register the agent with the state. Instead, in Massachusetts, your resident agent just needs to be named on your certificate of organization, along with address and other relevant information, and the state will record this as your LLC’s official resident agent.
In Massachusetts, having a resident agent is legally mandated. If you would prefer not to deal with the added hassle yourself, you might consider hiring a professional service, which will ensure your LLC’s compliance with all state regulations and renewal requirement and simplify expansion beyond your state.
Keep in mind that resident agents provide valuable, and necessary, services for your business.
Massachusetts Resident Agent for an LLC
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