In order to incorporate a company, you must first select a registered agent. Every entity is required by state law to appoint a registered agent, also known as a statutory agent. The registered agent must have a registered office address in the state where the entity is organized or qualified.
A registered agent is an individual or entity that has been appointed by a company to receive government correspondence, service of process and compliance documents on behalf of the business. The registered agent must have a physical address in the state where the business is registered and be available during regular business hours to receive these documents.
The role of the registered agent is important because it ensures that the business receives important legal information in a timely manner. Failure to maintain an active registered agent can result in serious consequences for the business, including fines and loss of good standing with the state.
In addition to receiving service of process, the registered agent may also receive tax notices, annual reports and other regulatory communications on behalf of the business. It’s important for businesses to choose a reliable and trustworthy registered agent to ensure that they stay compliant with state regulations and avoid any potential legal issues.
Why Do I Need a Registered Agent for My Business?
As mentioned earlier, every entity is required by state law to appoint a registered agent. But why is this necessary?
Firstly, having a registered agent ensures that your business receives important legal documents in a timely manner. This includes service of process, which is the delivery of legal documents such as lawsuits and subpoenas. As a business owner, you want to make sure that you receive these documents as soon as possible so that you can respond appropriately and avoid any potential legal consequences.
Secondly, having a registered agent can help protect your privacy. With a registered agent, you won’t have to worry about legal documents being delivered to your home or place of business in front of customers or employees. Instead, all legal correspondence will be sent directly to your registered agent’s address.
Do I Need a Registered Agent in the State I’m Incorporating In?
Yes, all states require businesses to have a registered agent. The registered agent is responsible for accepting official documents and communications from the state, such as service of process, tax notices and annual reports. The registered agent also serves as the point of contact for the state in case of any inquiries or changes to the business’s status.
If I’m Doing Business in a Different State Than My State of Incorporation, Do I Need a Registered Agent in That State?
Yes, if your business is doing business in a different state than the one it is incorporated in, you will need to appoint a registered agent in that state. Every state requires every entity to appoint a registered agent in each state the entity is qualified to do business. This is because if you are conducting business in a specific state, the state government needs to have a point of contact for you if service of process is required.
What Registered Agents Do You Recommend?
We recommend researching different registered agents available in your state and comparing them based on their features, pricing and convenience. It’s important to choose a registered agent that is reliable and trustworthy, as they will be responsible for receiving important legal documents on your behalf. Additionally, make sure to check their reviews to ensure that other businesses have had positive experiences with them.
Feel free to choose any Registered Agent in your state. Below is a list of Registered Agents provided solely as a convenience:
- Corporation Service Company
- CT Corporation
- Incorporating Services, Ltd.
- Registered Agent Services, Inc.
- Harvard Business Services
How Long Does It Take To Appoint a Registered Agent?
Appointing a registered agent for your business can typically be done quickly and easily. Many states allow you to appoint a registered agent during the incorporation process, which can usually be completed online instantly or by mail in just a few days.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Registered Agent Service?
The cost of hiring a registered agent service can vary depending on the state and the provider you choose. On average, registered agent services can cost anywhere from $50 to $300 per year, but $100 per year seems to be the average. Some providers may offer additional services or perks for an additional fee, such as mail forwarding or compliance monitoring.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?
Yes, you can act as your own registered agent for your business if you are a resident of that state. For example, if your company is incorporated in Delaware, headquartered in New York and you are a New York resident, then you can serve as a registered agent when you qualify to do business in New York. But you may not serve as a registered agent for Delaware.
Just because you can serve as a registered agent doesn’t necessarily mean you should. It’s important to consider the potential drawbacks of doing so.
One major disadvantage is that acting as your own registered agent means that your personal information, such as your home address and phone number, will become public record. This may not be desirable for some business owners who value their privacy.
Hiring a professional registered agent service can alleviate these concerns by providing a physical address and receiving official documents on behalf of your business. They can also forward any important communications to you in a timely manner.
Ultimately, whether or not to act as your own registered agent depends on the needs and circumstances of your business. It’s important to carefully consider all options before making a decision.
Can I Use a Friend or Family Member as My Registered Agent?
In theory, you can choose to appoint a friend or family member as your registered agent for your business. However, it’s important to consider the responsibilities and potential drawbacks before doing so.
Firstly, your registered agent must have a physical address in the state where your business is registered and be available during regular business hours to receive legal documents on behalf of your business. If your friend or family member doesn’t meet these requirements, this person won’t be able to serve as an effective registered agent.
Secondly, using a friend or family member as your registered agent means that this person’s personal information will become public record. This may not be desirable for some people who value their privacy.
Lastly, relying on someone who isn’t a professional registered agent service can lead to missed deadlines and important legal documents being overlooked. This can result in serious consequences for your business, such as fines and loss of good standing with the state.
Overall, while it’s possible to use a friend or family member as your registered agent, it may not be the best choice for most businesses. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision and consider hiring a professional registered agent service if needed.
How Do I Change My Registered Agent?
If you need to change your registered agent, the process is typically straightforward.
First, you’ll hire your new registered agent. Second, you’ll need to file a form with the relevant Secretary of State to inform them of the change in your registered agent. The specific form and filing requirements vary by state, so it’s important to check with your state’s Secretary of State office for guidance.
Once you have filed the necessary paperwork and paid any associated fees, the state will update its records to reflect the new registered agent. Until this process is complete, your previous registered agent will still be responsible for receiving legal documents on behalf of your business.
Finally, terminate your old registered agent. It’s also a good idea to notify your old and new registered agents of the change so that they are aware of their responsibilities going forward. Additionally, if you have any pending legal cases or deadlines approaching, it may be wise to inform all relevant parties of the change to avoid any potential delays or issues.
Overall, changing your registered agent can be a simple process as long as you follow the necessary steps and comply with state law.