A registered agent serves on a company’s behalf in receiving legal documents including but not limited to tax notices, service of process, annual reports, and other correspondence from government agencies. A registered agent can serve as a third-party service, or you may act as your own registered agent.
In this guide, we introduce what a registered agent is, the requirements to be a registered agent, and why you may not want to serve as your own registered agent.
What is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is a person or business entity that is lawfully authorized to receive official documents, such as tax documents or service of process, on behalf of a company. A registered agent is also known as a resident agent, statutory agent, or service of process agent.
In most states, an LLC must appoint a registered agent during LLC formation. The registered agent can be the LLC’s owner, a hired individual, or a professional service. However, the individual or service must fulfill the legal requirements set by the state.
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Who Can Be a Registered Agent?
There are a few requirements on who can serve as a registered agent for your LLC.
- Individual persons selected as registered agents must be 18 years or older and must be state residents.
- Registered agents must have a physical address in the state they are doing business in and be open during business hours.
- Any business owner operating in the state they are conducting business in can be their own registered agent.
- LLCs can use a professional registered agent service as long as the service maintains a registered office with a physical address in the state they are conducting business.
How to Elect Yourself as a Registered Agent
To be your own registered agent, you must meet several state requirements (see above requirements).
Some states call for additional requirements. For example, in California, LLCs cannot serve as registered agents in the state. In Virginia, not every resident can act as a registered agent since an individual must be an attorney or part of the corporation’s management. So it’s important to check the requirements for each state where it requires a registered agent.
While not all states specifically impose similar requirements, it’s crucial to know that all appointed registered agents must be available during normal working hours throughout the year. The need for 24/7 availability is one reason why LLCs choose to get a professional registered agent service provider instead.
Why You Should Not Be Your Own Registered Agent
The requirements to become a registered agent involve significant responsibilities and duties. For privacy and flexibility reasons, it makes sense why you should not act as your own registered agent.
Acting as a registered agent for your business requires compliance with the law. Failure to perform those lawful duties can have serious consequences. For example, if service of process has been delivered, but you’re out of the country for weeks or fail to check your inbox, it can lead to a default judgment.
Tip:We recommend Northwest Registered Agent, which offers a year of its registered agent service for free when you use the company to form your LLC ($39 + state fees).
Having a professional registered agent service can eliminate the burden of handling important legal documents and reduce the risk of non-compliance to your business.
Reasons For Using a Registered Agent Service
It makes sense to use a professional registered agent service for the following reasons:
- If your business was formed in a state where it is not operating
- If your business does not have a fixed business street address or if you work from home
- If your business operates in multiple states
- If you, other members, or managers that are running the business are likely to be unavailable during normal office hours throughout the year
In these cases, a professional registered agent service ensures that you will receive legal and official state documents in a timely manner.
Consider the benefits of working with a registered agent service by checking out StateRequirement’s Benefits of a Registered Agent Service guide.
Recommended Registered Agent Service
There are several benefits of hiring a registered agent service rather than acting on your own. These include compliance with the law, privacy, flexibility, and peace of mind.
Northwest Registered Agent is a registered agent service that offers quality LLC formation services. It’s a great choice for small businesses that prioritize privacy. If you want to keep your address off public records, this LLC service is for you.
Northwest Registered Agent focuses on giving you the best customer service. It guarantees same-day LLC filings, privacy protection, and professional service based on years of experience. Northwest provides its LLC formation and registered agent services as one package, so it’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for both in one deal.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can I be my own registered agent for an LLC?
While you can be your own registered agent for your LLC, it comes with a lot of responsibility. However, for privacy reasons and to free up your time for building your business, we recommend hiring a registered agent service.
How much does it cost to assign a registered agent?
It depends if you’re hiring an individual as your LLC’s registered agent. Registered agent services typically cost between about $100 and $500 a year (state fees included).
Find out the cost of a registered agent with our How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost guide.
Why should I use a registered agent service?
Yes, it’s more convenient for businesses to use a professional registered agent service. They will be the ones to accept the documents on your behalf, without the unwanted visitors showing up at your office address, thus giving you and your business some privacy, security, and peace of mind.
Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated on June 2022.
Any Information on this site is not guaranteed or warranted to be correct, accurate, or up to date. StateRequirement and its members and affiliates are not responsible for any losses, monetary or otherwise. StateRequirement is not affiliated with any state, government, or licensing body. For more information, please contact your state's authority on insurance.
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