If you own a Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or Limited Partnership (LP), you are likely required to designate a registered agent for your business entity. You will need to provide the registered agent’s name and address on the formation documents you file with the state.
While choosing to serve as your own registered agent is an option, there are a number of compelling reasons to choose a registered agent service provider for your business.
What Are the Requirements for a Registered Agent?
There are certain restrictions and conditions to becoming a registered agent for your business. Some states may have more or less strict standards, but in general, an individual or business can become your registered agent if the following requirements are met:
- The registered agent must be available during normal business hours to receive important state and legal documents.
- The name and physical address of the individual are required if the agent is a person.
- The registered agent’s address must be a physical street address. PO boxes are not allowed.
- A registered agent must physically reside or have a physical office in the state of the business.
- If the agent is a business, it must be a company registered in the state and is in good standing. Usually the business name or some record ID is required to identify the business as your agent when you file.
Every business situation will vary depending upon your business type and model, but here you will find the reasons why it is worth hiring a professional registered agent service.
1. Same Day Access To Served Documents
Time-sensitive documents need immediate attention. If you are often away for client and sales meetings through the work week or get pulled into urgent work-related tasks, you may not be available during normal business hours to get legal documents. A registered agent will be able to receive all legal documents in real-time and then notify you of the deadlines that you must meet according to the document. With a reliable registered agent service doing this for you, you can stay on top of these time-sensitive items no matter where you are and what you are doing.
One of the biggest benefits of hiring a registered agent service is that you can use their address on the Secretary of State’s website and other publicly available records. This is especially useful if your business is a home-based business because the address of a company’s registered agent is a matter of public record. This means that if you are your business’ registered agent and you list your home address as the registered agent’s office, your personal contact information will be listed on public documents and process servers will deliver notifications to your house. Also, another layer of privacy is if your business gets sued; they will deliver the service of process to your registered agent.
3. You Use A PO Box As Your Business Address
Your company must have a registered agent with a physical office in that state. This is because the state where your business is registered in needs to know there is a contact person for your business in the state during normal business hours. For this reason, PO boxes are not acceptable for registered agents. If you do not have a physical location in that state, using a professional registered agent service will be the best option to accept documents on your behalf.
4. You Do Not Maintain Normal Business Hours
If you are unable to keep normal office hours, travel frequently, or do not have a permanent worksite, using a registered agent service provider ensures that important documents will still reach you and your business. One of the requirements of being a registered agent is that they must be available during normal business hours to accept important documents. If you set your own hours, you may wish to consider using a professional registered agent service provider, so that you don't miss these important communications.
5. You Want All Documents In One Place
Business owners find it beneficial to have registered agent services in order to comply with state regulations and to be sure all important notices to the business are kept in one place with their registered agent. A registered agent service will provide you with your own online account where you can track all notices and all reports. You will easily maintain and keep track of all your mail online.
6. You Will Need A Registered Agent In Every State In Which You Register Your Business As A Foreign Entity
When you register your company to transact business in states other than your state of formation, a process known as foreign qualification, you need a registered agent in each of those states. For this reason, many business owners choose to hire registered agent services because it is easier to use one provider who can be an agent for you in multiple states than having to deal with separate agents.
7. Your Business Address Is Likely To Change In The Future
One of the main advantages is that you will not be tied to one location. The address on record with the state for the registered agent must be current at all times in the state records. Updating registered agent information requires a formal state filing and often a fee to be paid to the state. By using a registered agent service, you won’t have to worry about this part. If the registered agent service moves their office, they will be the ones to do the filing instead.
8. Customer Service
Forming a business entity can be challenging. A registered agent service can help you with questions you might have with your business entity. They may also offer access to a representative that will help you with the information you need to get your business up and running with your Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or Limited Partnership (LP) and any other questions you have with your business needs. Obviously, this would be mostly focused on the filing process. If you need advice on how best to form the business, it is best to consult a legal counsel.
9. You Want To Avoid The Risk Of Non-Compliance
If you are unfamiliar with the entire process, it can feel overwhelming. Compliance requirements can be both time and labor intensive, often requiring the completion of lengthy and sometimes confusing forms using information from various sources. By choosing a registered agent service, they will help you stay in compliance, avoid unnecessary state penalty fees, and maintain your company's good standing in your state of formation and/or qualification.
While business owners can choose to serve as his/her own registered agent, a registered agent service can offer an extra layer of protection for legal compliance and liability. Failure to handle your served legal and compliance paperwork correctly can lead to serious adverse consequences. Your business may be suspended by the state and you will lose your “good standing” status.
By having a professional registered agent service for your business, you won't have to worry about missing any important documents for your business.
For LLCs and Corporations, a registered agent service for your business will help you avoid the risk of non-compliance and any potential penalties incurred. This will allow you to focus on growing your business.
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