Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
If you’re new to the small business world, chances are you’ve never heard of a Registered Agent, let alone just how vital it is to your new business formation.
So, what is a registered agent and what does a registered agent do? A registered agent (or statutory agent or resident agent) is a responsible third-party in the same state as your business. This third-party can receive official government notifications and service of process (usually tax forms and notice of lawsuits) on behalf of your limited liability company. Think of it as your LLC Registered Agent.
Table of contents
- Can I serve as my own registered agent?
- Is every business required to have a Registered Agent?
- In conclusion
Can I serve as my own registered agent?
You can technically serve as your own Registered Agent, but before you sign up for this, know that being your own Registered Agent means you must be available during all normal business hours and the location or registered office is public record.
Registered Agents that fail to perform their function, can spell serious consequences for the business entity. For example, if a customer was injured inside a store and sued the store. If the store’s registered agent fails to notify the business entity of a summons to appear in court to respond to the lawsuit, then when the case goes to trial, nobody would appear to defend the store and the customer would win by a default judgment.
To make matters even worse, the store would likely not be able to get the judgment overturned on appeal because technically, they had been properly served. This is one of the most common reasons that businesses generally utilize a third party as their registered agent. This could be it a commercial service company, an attorney, or in some cases, a CPA.
The person at a business entity that maintains contact with the registered agent is normally the corporate secretary or governance office.
Is every business required to have a Registered Agent?
No. A business registered agent is only required if your business doesn’t have a physical address in the state in which it’s registered. That state needs to know it always has a physical contact person.
But don’t dismiss a registered agent as optional just because the above scenario doesn’t apply to you. There are numerous advantages to having a professional registered agent for your business needs.
Advantage #1: Never miss important documents
Like we mentioned above, your LLC Registered Agent accepts official documents, annual reports, and legal documents on your behalf, which are usually time-sensitive with due dates, requiring immediate action or signatures.
How do you do this if you run a home-based business or are rarely in the office? Like the lawsuit scenario described above, if you miss a summons to appear in court, the person who’s suing you will win by default judgement.
With an LLC Registered Agent, you never have to worry about missing a summons, or any other important documents, you can remain in good standing with peace of mind.
Advantage #2: Avoid embarrassment
There are few things more embarrassing than accepting legal notices or tax documents in front of your clients. Even if you’re completely innocent, being served a subpoena or a tax notice doesn’t look good and calls into question your integrity as a business owner.
You always want to maintain a polished, professional image in front of clients and potential clients. A LLC Registered Agent protects your image by receiving these sensitive notices on your behalf.
Advantage #3: Easily change your business location or your Registered Agent
As your business grows and expands, you’ll need a bigger office space. This is exciting but also frustrating. Frustrating because it means having to change your office address with the state, send change of address letters/emails to all your clients, and have your official mail sent to the wrong address for weeks until the Post Office officially re-routes your mail. With a Registered Agent, you can move as much as you want while your mailing address remains the same.
In that same vein, if at some point your business wants to change its designated Registered Agent service provider to another party, you can accomplish this by obtaining a form from the secretary of state where the business entity is registered. After completing said form with the new registered agent information, you must pay any requisite fees and file it with that state office. These filing fees and pricing may vary from state to state.
Advantage #4: Add credibility to your business
Image is everything in the business world. Using your home address or a P.O. Box can at best make you look unprofessional, and at worst…fraudulent. With a Registered Agent you get a professional business address that affirms your credibility and instills confidence in your clients
While LLC Registered Agents are required for some businesses, they’re tremendously beneficial to all businesses. It gives you the freedom to to travel and focus on other aspects of your business.
How do you find a registered agent? Well, you can type “how to find the best registered agent service near me” or “registered agent near me” into Google and sift through dozens of options, or you can give us a call for customer support!
When you incorporate your business with Inc Authority, you get a free Registered Agent for 1 year. So, if you’re serious about running a professional, polished incorporation, contact us to take advantage of our valuable registered agent services!
Incorporating is the most powerful thing you can do to legitimize your startup. And at IncAuthority.com, our setup LLC services are 100% free. Always. So, don’t wait. Form your new LLC today and enjoy the protection due to you and your business under the law.