What Is a Registered Agent?

Most active business entities must appoint and maintain a registered agent in every state where they’re qualified to do business. While an owner or employee of an active company may be able to serve as their own registered agent, it can be time-consuming and complicated to keep up with the compliance requirements.

What is a Registered Agent?

Typically, state law requires businesses to designate and maintain a registered agent. The registered agent must be an individual or business that is authorized to receive service of process, official correspondence and compliance documents on behalf of the company.

A registered agent must also have a physical address that is open during business hours and be accessible to the public. While a business owner or someone in the business can be the registered agent, it’s more practical to use a professional registered agent that offers many benefits, including keeping personal information private, having professionally trained staff, and state-of-the-art processes in place to handle and forward important legal documents.

When choosing a registered agent, consider an agent that services multiple states and is authorized to offer nationwide service. This will help you stay in compliance with varying state requirements as your business expands. Additionally, it will simplify your annual renewals by having a single provider to submit payment to.

What is the Role of a Registered Agent?

A business must designate a registered agent when it incorporates or registers to do business in a state. It is an important requirement under United States law because it allows a person to be served with lawsuits or summons if a legal complaint is made against the business.

A professional registered agent will receive legal and official mail on behalf of the business, forward it to the proper party within the company, and notify the company of upcoming deadlines or actions that are required. A registered agent can save a company time and money by promptly relaying this information, so the company can avoid late fees or penalties.

A business will need to update its registered agent if it changes locations. In addition, if the business is expanding into other states, it may need to use a different registered agent in those jurisdictions. This is because each state has its own rules and requirements regarding service of process.

What is the Responsibilities of a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is the person or business that receives service of process and other important legal correspondence on behalf of a business. They are required to have a physical address in the state where the company is incorporated and to be available during regular business hours.

While a business can list its own address as its registered agent, it’s often preferable to use a professional registered agent service that is experienced in handling these important documents. This can help a company avoid the risk of missing crucial government correspondence like annual state filings and notices from a lawsuit or subpoena.

It also helps avoid the risk of having legal documents served to a business in front of customers and employees, which can be embarrassing and distracting. A reliable registered agent service will log all received documents and have experience making sure important legal documents get to the right people. They will also be able to serve as a corporate liaison for businesses that operate in multiple states.

How Can a Registered Agent Help My Business?

A registered agent services provider can help you reduce your risk of losing crucial paperwork in the mail by acting as a proxy for your company. They will receive legal and official correspondence, forward it to you and notify you of important deadlines and actions your business must take.

A professional service can also save you the time and expense of sifting through junk mail. Using a service for your registered agent means you can avoid the risk of exposing your home address or other private information to public records (something that’s required if you list yourself as the registered agent).

Businesses with multiple business entities or who plan on expanding into different states may benefit from choosing a registered agent service that offers nationwide coverage. This can streamline compliance by giving you a central location for all your company’s paperwork and by simplifying renewal payments and filings. Plus, many registered agent services providers provide compliance calendars that make it easy to stay on top of deadlines and other regulatory requirements.