If you’re wondering what a Registered Agent is, you’re on the right page…
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.
Where Can I Get a Registered Agent?
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
You can find other Registered Agent services here: https://fitsmallbusiness.com/registered-agent/
What Happens If I Don’t Get a Registered Agent?
A corporation that fails to select a registered agent may risk falling out of good standing with the particular state that it has been registered in.
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.
If you have any other questions about starting your business, email me at email@example.com