Whether you’re starting a new LLC or updating the registered agent for your existing business, it’s important to choose the best Rhode Island registered agent for your needs.
This article will help you to choose the registered agent that best fits your business, go over the basic functions of registered agents, and answer common questions about registered agents.
Best Rhode Island Registered Agent Service
Northwest Registered Agent
When choosing a registered agent service, you want someone who understands the importance of staying compliant and being diligent about legal processes and paperwork. That’s why Northwest Registered Agent is our #1 registered agent service choice for Rhode Island businesses.
We recommend Northwest Registered Agent, which offers everything that you need to form your LLC along with Registered Agent services. The company boasts over 20 years of operations helping small businesses start or grow.
Northwest has a 100% Error-Free Guarantee with outstanding customer support, exceptional services, and high prices to match. If data privacy and access to customer support are top on your list, the extra costs of working with Northwest Registered Agent may be well worth it for you and your business.
Recommended Registered Agent ServiceFor premium customer service and data security, Northwest Registered Agent is our #1 pick for registered agent service.
NorthWest Registered Agent ($39 + state fees)
What Does a Rhode Island Registered Agent Do?
A registered agent does a few things for a company. Their main task is to be present when or if the company needs to receive tax or legal paperwork. These would be documents that can’t be sent to a mailbox or delivered to a front desk; rather, documents that must be handed directly to the person who represents the company.
A simple example would be a service of process, which is the delivery of legal documents in a lawsuit. These service documents must be delivered directly to the company’s representative – the registered agent – to ensure they are received.
This may seem like a small task, but the caveat that makes this a critical position is that the registered agent is required to be at the documented location to receive these papers during all “regular business hours.” This is the main reason that most people choose to use a registered agent service rather than operating as their own agent.
Other forms that your registered agent may receive on your behalf are:
- Tax forms
- Legal documents
- Official government correspondence
- Service of process
Another function of a registered agent is to file official documents with the state in which the LLC or corporation is established. In most states, businesses are required to file an annual report once per year to keep the business in “good standing” with the state.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in Rhode Island?
The short answer is yes, you can be your own registered agent.
Whether or not that’s the best plan for you or your company is another question entirely. If you are looking to spend the absolute, bare minimum amount of money on your business, then being your own registered agent may not be a terrible choice. Still, even in that scenario, we don’t recommend it.
Benefits of Using a Registered Agent Service
There are only a few realistic options when it comes to whom you file as your registered agent:
- An attorney
- A registered agent service
As mentioned above, being your own agent has pitfalls and isn’t recommended. What’s more, an attorney in this position would be quite expensive and is generally only a viable option if you had them form your business for you.
So, that leaves you with the option of using a service. Here are the biggest benefits of using a professional registered agent service:
When you form an LLC or corporation, your formation data goes into a state database which is open and searchable to the public. The information in this database can include:
- Business name
- Formation date
- Registered agent name
- Registered agent address
While you can’t stop the state from publishing this information, you can retain the privacy of your name and your address by using a registered agent service. Since this information is public, marketing companies use these databases to gather information to market their products and services to business owners. Your mailbox will thank you for keeping your business address private.
Another major privacy benefit is having legal documents delivered to your agent and not you personally. If, for some reason, someone brings a lawsuit against your company, would you rather have your agent call you with these documents or have them served to you in front of your customers, clients, or employees?
Along with privacy, another of the main benefits of using a registered agent service is that they will help to keep your business in “good standing” with the state.
Some states require LLCs and corporations to file annual reports or other timely documents. While these generally aren’t difficult tasks, they are often easily forgotten or lost in the day-to-day work that your business hands you.
Your registered agent will send you reminders that this work needs to be completed, and some will even provide you with the proper documents to make your work even easier.
How Do I Elect a Resident Agent in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island requires all LLCs to designate a resident agent, which is another term for what other states call a registered agent.
A resident agent can be an individual or a business entity, and it can be yourself or another member of the business. The agent is responsible for receiving tax forms, service of process (if sued), and other official communications. They should be generally available during business hours, and willing to receive such communications.
Your chosen resident agent also must have a physical Rhode Island address. You’ll need the agent’s name and physical address when filing your LLC formation documents, which mainly consist of Articles of Organization.
An LLC formation service can take care of filing your documents (including selecting a resident agent) for you. You alternatively can file yourself.
Once you decide who your resident agent will be, you will need to do the following:
- File your Articles of Organization online through the State of Rhode Island’s Business Services Online Filing System. Complete your business information on the online form and submit it along with payment for the $150 Rhode Island LLC filing fee made payable via credit card.
- You can file by mail or in person if you download Articles of Organization – Domestic Limited Liability Company (Form 400). The form can be completed and then printed. Article 2 of the form requires the resident agent’s name and address. Once you complete the form, submit it along with the $150 filing fee to the Rhode Island Department of State’s Business Services Division.
How Do I Change My LLC’s Resident Agent in Rhode Island?
Should you ever need to change your LLC’s resident agent or resident office, you can do so by doing the following.
File a Statement of Change of Resident Agent
Complete the Statement of Change of Resident Agent (Form 642) if you’re changing the resident agent on record. You can submit this form online, by mail, or in person.
To submit online, log onto the Business Services Online Filing System using your LLC’s Customer Identification Number (CIN) and PIN. To submit by mail, download the appropriate form and mail it to the Rhode Island Department of State – Business Services Division.
There is a $20 fee for changing a resident agent while there is no fee for only changing a resident office. The $20 fee is payable either by credit card (online) or by check (hard copy) made payable to the Rhode Island Department of State.
Recommended Registered Agent ServiceWe recommend Northwest Registered Agent, which offers their Rhode Island registered agent service free for one year along with your LLC formation ($39 + state fees).
NorthWest Registered Agent ($39 + state fees)
Rhode Island Department of State Contact Information
Rhode Island Department of State
Business Services Division
148 W. River St.
Providence, RI 02904
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm
Phone: (401) 222-3040
Rhode Island Registered Agent FAQ
Who can be a Rhode Island registered agent?
Anybody who meets the necessary requirements can act as your registered agent. These requirements include:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must have a physical street address in the state of Rhode Island
- Must be available during typical work hours (i.e., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday)
Is a statutory agent the same as a registered agent?
Yes. Some states refer to registered agents as statutory agents. Other names for registered agents include resident agent and agent for service of process.
Can I be my own registered agent?
While you can be your own registered agent, it comes with a lot of responsibility. This could take you away from the parts of your business that you enjoy the most. It can also be stressful trying to keep up with all compliance requirements, and your information will also be available on the public record.
Can I get a free registered agent?
Yes, as long as they meet all of the necessary requirements and follow the state’s guidelines. It can lead to trouble if you use someone that doesn’t follow all rules and regulations.
Many LLC formation services offer free registered agent services with their packages for a certain amount of time.
Why do I need a registered agent?
All states require that LLCs have a registered agent. Businesses need registered agents because there needs to be a point of contact for every business, for legal processes, communication, and staying in compliance.
Check out StateRequirement’s guide on why you need an LLC registered agent.
How do I choose a registered agent?
The best registered agent or service will be responsible, helpful, and honest. They should have a track record of being on time and working with other influential businesses.
How much does a registered agent service cost?
A registered agent service can cost as low as $99/year for some services, but others may charge considerably more depending on what services they offer.
Information on this page is not to be considered legal or tax advice. Data was gathered from a multitude of sources and most recently updated in May 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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