In most states, a registered agent can be an individual or a business. The main requirement is that they have a physical street address in the state where the company is registered to do business.
Some small businesses designate themselves or an employee as their registered agent. While this may work in some cases, it is often better to use a professional registered agent service.
Requirements for a Registered Agent
When you form an LLC or corporation, you must appoint a registered agent. This person or company is required to have a physical address in the state where you register your business, and they must be available during normal business hours to receive service of process notices, government correspondence and other important documents on behalf of the business. A commercial registered agent service can save you time and money by sifting through junk mail and urgent documents on your behalf, and they can also scan and digitally deliver any paperwork to you promptly.
If you designate your own address as the registered agent, it will be part of public records and could be subject to unwanted gossip or speculation. Hiring a professional registered agent service can provide you with privacy protection, while also allowing you to focus on the growth of your business. They are also compliant with all states’ requirements and filing deadlines. They can keep your business in good standing with state regulators by sending you compliance reminders and handling all necessary paperwork on your behalf.
Service of Process
A registered agent is required by law to receive legal papers (sometimes called service of process) and official notices for a business. This ensures that if a lawsuit is filed against your company, you will be legally served even if you aren’t available to respond promptly.
Ideally, the agent should be available to accept service during regular business hours. However, this isn’t always feasible, especially for a busy small business owner. Using a commercial registered agent service can save you time and money by allowing you to work from home or travel without worrying about missing important legal documents.
Generally, the person or business you designate as your registered agent must have a physical address in the state where your business is registered. This is usually a street address, not a P.O. box. The registered agent is also listed in public records, so anyone who searches the business entity database can find this information.
A registered agent should be available to receive legal documents and government notices on behalf of your business. It is important to choose a service that offers reliable and consistent availability, even during peak business hours. Otherwise, your business could miss time-sensitive compliance documents or lawsuits. This could result in fines and penalties from your state, or loss of the right to operate your business.
An individual or a business can serve as your registered agent, but they must have a physical address in the state where you are registered and be available during normal business hours. P.O. boxes are not acceptable.
If you are registering to do business in multiple states, it is best to use a national registered agent service so that all your important paperwork can be handled by one company. Many of these services also scan all documents and make them digitally available to you. This saves you valuable time and money, and makes it easy to comply with your state’s requirements.
Businesses are required to have a registered agent in each state where they do business. The role of the registered agent is to receive legal papers in case a business is sued (what lawyers call service of process), official government documents, and tax notices.
The cost of a registered agent can vary depending on the level of service and included features. For example, a company that simply forwards legal notices and notifies a business when documents arrive may cost as little as $50 per year. However, companies that offer additional services such as help with general LLC formation, filing annual reports, and handling the New York publication requirement can cost more.
Most registered agents charge between $99-$300 per year. Some companies also bundle registered agent services with other business services, like a worry-free compliance package. Choosing an online registered agent that provides services nationally can be helpful for businesses planning to expand into multiple states.