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Can I Be My Own Registered Agent? (Pro’s and Con’s)

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent

As a business lawyer, one of the biggest questions people email me and ask is…

can I be the Registered Agent of my own business?

If you’re looking to start an LLC or S-Corporation, you will need to designate a Registered Agent.

A registered agent is your company’s official contact person and is required for every registered business in every state. Most states don’t allow your LLC to serve as its own agent, but you can personally serve if you meet state requirements. It’s best, however, to choose a third party who’s always available to receive important documents.

In addition to receiving important mail from the state, Registered Agent services track important tax filings, reporting, and compliance deadlines, ensuring your business meets regulatory requirements. Registered Agent also receive a summons and other court documents.

Having a Registered Agent reduces the likelihood of missing important filing deadlines and facilitates service of process to keep you from being served a summons in front of clients and employees.

Third-party registered agents are ideal Registered Agents if you want to protect your personal contact information, eliminate the threat of being served legal complaints in front of customers, and reduce the risk you might miss important correspondence.

An individual is allowed to act as his own Registered Agent, however the individual must possess a physical street address in the state where the LLC or corporation will be formed. The actual corporation or LLC being formed however would not be allowed to name itself as its own Registered Agent.

While technically you can be your own registered, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. To decide if being your own registered agent is truly in your best interest, let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons.

If you have any questions about this or if you’re looking to start your LLC or Corporation, email me at sam@mollaeilaw.com

 

What is a Registered Agent?

When you form an LLC or S-Corporation, you need to be registered with an agent in the state where the LLC is registered.

Registered Agent has to be a street address with a person or company tied to it and the state wants someone there all the time.

The Registered Office is a physical address (cannot be a PO Box) located in the state where your LLC is formed. A Registered Agent is a person or a company who agrees to accept legal mail and important documents on behalf of your LLC. The Registered Agent is located at the Registered Office and is generally accessible during normal business hours.

Registered Agent is an individual or organization who resides in your state of formation who accepts legal documents on behalf of your business. These documents include documents related to lawsuits and renewal notices from the state.

You may elect an individual within the company including yourself.

The Registered Agent must be located in the state where your LLC or Corporation is registered and must have a physical address — P.O. box is not accepted.

Keep in mind that you cannot use the Registered Agent address as your business’ legal address, or even the mailing address of your company. Think of the Registered Agent as a service to ensure you don’t miss any important documents related to lawsuits or state taxes. The state where you incorporate will require you to have a Registered Agent address at all times.

Please note that a Registered Agent is not a mail forwarding service. Only official mail from the State will be forwarded, such as legal and tax notices. Regular mail should never be addressed to the Registered Agent.

 

Can You Setup a Private Mail Service or a P.O. Box as The Registered Agent?

Registered agents are required to have a physical address in the same state as the business entity. It needs to be a physical place people can go to.

For example, if your business is being served with a lawsuit. The person delivering the summon would need to be able to hand the summons to your registered agent.

 

Can You Use Your Home Address as a Registered Agent?

Technically, you can use your home address as a registered agent – if it is in the same state as the business. That does not mean it is a good idea.

This opens your home up for any angry litigant or ambitious marketing service to show up at your door step.

 

Is it More Cost Effective to Be Your Own Registered Agent?

In theory, you are going to save money by becoming your own registered agent because you are no longer paying a third-party to handle the responsibilities. You, however, need to think about the personal costs of being the registered agent.

It is going to require you to be readily available for the registered agent duties and it will eat into your time for other business needs. Depending on the size of your business, it may not be feasible for you to manage the business and take on the role of registered agent.

 

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in California?

Yes, you can be your own Registered Agent in California.

California LLCs require 2 addresses (they can be the same address):

  1. Registered Agent name and address, and
  2. Principal Business Address

California requires LLCs to designate a Registered Agent with a physical street address (not a P.O. Box) to receive important government documents. This is typically the business owner at the business address.

However, if you’re looking to protect your home address and you don’t want to use your own name and address to be public information, then you should designate a Third Party as your Registered Agent.

California also requires Principal Business address of the LLC. You can provide your business address if you have a business address in California.

If you don’t have a Principal Business address in California, you can use a company like ipostal1.com or physicaladdress.com or usamail1.com to get a virtual office address which you may use for the Principal Business address of the LLC.

 

What To Do Next

Trust me when I say I understand the idea of wanting to manage every aspect of your business on your own. It’s terrifying to pass off such important aspects of your business to someone else.

Even though you can designate yourself as the Registered Agent, it’s best, however, to choose a third party who’s always available to receive important documents.

In addition to receiving important mail from the state, Registered Agent services track important tax filings, reporting, and compliance deadlines, ensuring your business meets regulatory requirements. Registered Agent also receive a summons and other court documents.

If you’re looking to start a business and form an LLC or S-Corporation, email me at sam@mollaeilaw.com and I can help you with the process of getting a Registered Agent as well as answer any questions you might have.

Sam Mollaei, Esq.

As a Business Lawyer for Entrepreneurs, I help entrepreneurs start their U.S. business without dealing with complicated government forms. I’ve assisted more than 2,246 entrepreneurs successfully start their business and I'm backed by more than 702 5-Star Google Reviews. If you're interested in starting your business, take the first step by requesting your Free Strategy Session on this page.

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