If you’re wondering what a Registered Agent is, you’re on the right page…
Are you a small business that wishes to form a limited liability company? Is so, you will need help from a registered agent. Before you learn about the role of an agent though, you need to define a limited liability company or LLC.
A limited liability company is set up so a business owner is not personally liable for his or her liabilities or debts. The hybrid entity combines the qualities of a corporation with the characteristics of a sole proprietorship or partnership.
While individuals and corporations can form an LLC, insurance companies and banks cannot.
The main advantage of an LLC is tax-based. The owners of LLCs do not report their profit and loss information on a corporate tax return, thereby avoiding double taxation.
In most states, LLCs and Corporations are required to designate and maintain a Registered Agent (also known as a “Resident Agent” or “Statutory Agent”) with a physical street address (not a PO Box) during normal business hours to receive service of process and other important government documents.
You may designate yourself be the Registered Agent if you have an address in state where you’re forming your business.
If you need a Registered Agent or want to stay anonymous by not using your own address (since most states reveal your Registered Agent information to the public), you can sign up for a Registered Agent service.
As a business lawyer, I’ve assisted hundreds of clients just like you start their business and I can definitely help you with yours.
If you have any questions about starting your business, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is a Registered Agent?
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.
When you form an LLC or Corporation, you need to be registered with an agent in the state where the LLC is registered.
It has to be a street address with a person or company tied to it and the state wants someone there all the time.
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.
- Registered Agent must be physically located in the state of formation
- Registered Agent must be present at the Registered Office Address continuously during business hours
- Registered Agent Address and other information must always be kept current with the state
- Registered Agent information becomes publicly accessible
A registered agent receives all important tax and legal documents on behalf of your LLC or corporation. Agents can also receive the services of process (SOP); this is when a particular business entity becomes a party to a legal action, like summons or lawsuits.
The registered agent may at times also receive paperwork from the state for the yearly renewal of your corporations or LLC business charter. The only people who can act as a registered agent in a company are:
- Member of the company
- Third party (Service Company or Lawyer)
When Do I Need a Registered Agent?
Every entrepreneur knows that owning a business is a full-time job. The main point here is that when you are a business owner, you are always working, even when you sleep at night, you are constantly thinking of ways to improve your venture.
Therefore, what happens when your business gets summoned for a lawsuit, or receives state office documents while you are away on vacation? Do you pack your bags and leave? The United States business law dictates that you must at all times have a business agent that will be responsible for receiving these documents during normal business hours.
This particular agent, which can either be a separate business or an individual must be available to receive and sign the documents. The idea behind this is to make sure that processes such as receipt of tax, or notice of lawsuit run smoothly and to avoid situations where people claim the documents got lost in the mail.
That is the reason for having a business agent. It is also the reason so many business and corporations especially those that are owned by a single person often have a registered agent at another location, where they will receive the paperwork for the business and later ensure that the business owner receives them.
To many people, it might seem like a small role to play. But take this example. Your product ends up injuring a client, and they decide to sue. You never receive the paperwork, maybe because you are out on vacation or business or because the current agent is a bit sloppy.
So since you have not received the paperwork requiring you to appear in court, you will not be able to know when the case will happen, and fail to appear for the proceedings, losing a default judgment, all due to a simple oversight. I don’t think anyone wants that kind of thing to happen.
Why You Should Name a Registered Agent First
A registered agent is just one more person who can help your LLC succeed. He or she can assist you while you are establishing an LLC.
Reasons to Establish an LLC
Forming an LLC supports a business owner in the following ways:
- Pass-through taxation. The owner files his or her taxes like a sole proprietor. In other words, the LLC does not need to file an IRS tax return. The owner of the LLC reports profits and losses on Schedule C with his or her 1040 tax filing.
- Non-residency is okay. By forming an LLC, you do not need to be a US citizen or permanent resident of the US.
- Legal safeguard. An LLC gives you a limited liability for debts.
- An enhanced professional standing. Suppliers, partners, and vendors view owners of LLCs more favorably.
Why You Should Name a Registered Agent before Your Form an LLC
When you name a registered agent for your LLC, he or she will take care of managing or receiving the documentation.
To form an LLC, you need to do the following:
- Select a legal name for your company and reserve it.
- Draft and file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State’s Office.
- Choose the manager or members of the business, or select the people who will run it.
- Decide on the number of owners.
- Apply for a license or obtain certificates for your field or industry.
- File IRS Form SS-4 or apply online at the IRS site for an Employer Identification Number or EIN.
- Apply for required ID numbers, such as the identification number needed to pay disability or unemployment taxes. This number will need to be included with your EIN.
All the above tasks can be handled more easily after you name a third-party, or registered agent.
Now that you know the basis for using the services of a registered agent, you will need to find out more about his or her role when forming an LLC. You can learn more about his or her responsibilities by emailing me, email@example.com.
Learning More about the Registered Agent’s Role
The following information can serve as a basis for further inquiries.
How A Registered Agent Can Help You
If you own or run a small business and are forming an LLC, you should strongly consider getting a registered agent to help you with its formation and continued operation. A registered agent is a named third-party who resides in the state where an LLC is formed.
The registered agent receives communications from the Secretary of State’s office, official government notices and documents, and process notices. Most of the paperwork includes tax forms or lawsuit notices on behalf of the LLC.
A registered agent can also perform the same role for a California professional corporation.
Why Is It Important to Use the Services of a Registered Agent?
The state where you form your LLC needs to know who to contact about your business during regular business hours. Therefore, any related information cannot be sent to a US post box.
The registered agent must live in the same state where your company is based.
What Responsibilities Does a Registered Agent Perform?
A registered agent accepts tax forms and legal documents on behalf of the LLC, thereby ensuring that you do not overlook any important details about tax payments, lawsuits, or judgments.
A registered agent may work in the LLC or may accept the role individually.
Can You Be Your Own Registered Agent?
While you can name yourself as a registered agent, legal experts usually recommend that a business designate a third-party to accept and process legal and tax paperwork.
Why Should You Designate a Third-party?
By using a third-party, you will have more control over the claiming of company-related documentation. This allows LLC owners to come and go from the office and schedule vacation time without worrying about compliance.
I can fill you in on all the advantages of naming a registered agent for your business. Simply contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can give you further information about choosing a registered agent and using his or her services.
What Are the Advantages of Using an Independent Registered Agent?
Besides complying with legal and tax rules and regulations, a registered agent makes it possible for you to do business without worry. This means that you won’t have to accept tax or legal documentation in front of clients, which could prove to be embarrassing.
Important documents can always be sent to the same address, even if you decide to relocate your business. That will save you from filing additional paperwork, or making an address change for every move.
Where Can I Get a Registered Agent?
In All U.S. States
You can get a Registered Agent from Nationwide Registered Agent here: https://www.harborcompliance.com/registered-agent-wizard/start
Delaware Registered Agent
You can get a Delaware Registered Agent here: https://www.delawareregisteredagent.com/1-year-registered-agent-signup
California Registered Agent
In California, business entities are required by law to designate and maintain a registered agent (aka “resident agent” or “statutory agent”) with a physical street address (not a PO Box) during normal business hours to receive service of process or other important government documents.
California also requires California Principal Business address.
California requires you to list a principal street address of the LLC in California. You can provide your business address if you have a business address in California.
If you don’t have a California Principal Business address, you may use a company like earthclassmail.com or usamail1.com to obtain a virtual office address which you may use for the principal street address of the LLC.
You can get a California Registered Agent here: https://www.cacorporateagents.com/order/business/order-landing-ra
What Happens If I Don’t Get a Registered Agent?
A company that does not name a registered agent may lose its good professional standing within the state it is registered. Penalties may include fines or the inability to enter into legal or financial agreements, or correspond with the court.
The penalties that are involved though varies with the state include license revocation, fines and even inability to enter into legal contracts or gain access to the courtroom system.
The process that would be involved in reinstatement proceedings could include further monetary, civil, and even criminal sanctions as well.
What To Do Next
Now that you have read about naming a registered agent, you probably still have questions.
While the above information gave you a reasonable explanation for naming a registered agent, you still need to obtain legal direction.
If you want to form an LLC or corporation but have not yet named a registered agent, you need to learn how to proceed. Call me or contact me by email, Sam Mollaei, Esquire. I will use by legal knowledge and experience to help you with forming an LLC or corporation or naming a registered agent.
If you have any other questions about starting your business, email me at email@example.com
Start Your U.S. Business Confidently
Join 3,000+ Entrepreneurs Who Have Successfully Started Their U.S. Business