June 13, 2022

Tennessee Registered Agent

Written by: Mary Gerardine

    Whether you’re starting a new LLC or updating the registered agent for your existing business, it’s important to choose the best Tennessee 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.

    A Tennessee registered agent is an individual or business entity that is appointed by a Tennessee LLC or corporation to receive tax and legal documents such as service of process, government correspondence, and compliance documents on behalf of the business.

    Note: If you haven’t yet formed your LLC, you can get one year of registered agent services for free if you form your LLC with Northwest Registered Agent ($39 + state fees). (This is a great deal!)

     

    Best Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Service

    For premium customer service and data security, Northwest Registered Agent is our #1 pick for registered agent service.
    4.8 out of 5 starsNorthWest Registered Agent ($39 + state fees)

    See how Northwest Registered Agent compares to other registered agent services in StateRequirement’s Best LLC Services review

     

    What Does a Tennessee 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 Tennessee?

    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:

    • Yourself
    • 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:

     

    Privacy

    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?

     

    Easy Compliance

    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 Registered Agent in Tennessee?

    All new LLCs that register in Tennessee are required to designate a registered agent. The designated individual or business acts as an LLC’s official contact for legal matters.

    You’ll thus be required to designate a registered agent when registering an LLC with the Tennessee Secretary of State. The agent designation is part of filing your LLC’s Articles of Organization.

    An LLC formation service can file and designate for you, or you can do so yourself. If you choose to yourself, the designated registered agent must have a street address in Tennessee. You’ll need their name and address when you file.

    Once you decide who your registered agent will be, you will need to do the following:

    1. File your LLC Articles of Organization online by using the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Business Services Online to Form or Register a New Business. The third “Agent” section allows you to designate a registered agent. Note that there is the SOS Control Number, which is assigned to every organization formed in Tennessee. Commercial registered agent services will be able to tell you their SOS Control Number. Submit the completed form with the new Tennessee LLC filing fee, which costs $50 per member, with a minimum of $300 and maximum of $3,000.
    2. To file by mail, download the Articles of Organization Limited Liability Company (Form SS-4270). The form should be hand printed in ink or computer-generated. Registered agent and office information is requested in Article 4. You’ll need the name and address of your registered agent, regardless of whether you’re using the business, an individual, or an organization. Mail the completed form to the Tennessee Secretary of State – Attn: Corporate Filing (see mailing address below). You must include payment for the $300 to $3,000 filing fee ($50 per member).
    3. To file in person, download and complete the Articles of Organization Limited Liability Company (Form SS-4270). Bring the completed form to the Tennessee Secretary of State – Business Services Division and pay the associated $300 to $3,000 filing fee.

     

    How Do I Change My LLC’s Registered Agent in Tennessee?

    If you decide to update your registered agent status, there are several things you can do to change your previous registered agent to a new one in Tennessee.

    • File Change of Registered Agent/Office

    The easiest way to change your registered agent in Tennessee is to use the Business Services Online to make the Registered Agent Change. Use your SOS Control Number to search for your LLC.

    You can update your registered agent by filing through mail or in-person. Download the Change of Registered Agent/Office (Form SS-45534). Complete the form and print it out. The registered agent information is covered in Articles 2-4.

    Mail the completed form to the Tennessee Secretary of State – Attn: Corporate Filing mailing address. You can also bring the completed paper document to the Tennessee Secretary of State – Business Services Division address.

    Submit the form, along with payment of the $20 Change of Registered agent fee.

     

    • File Your Tennessee LLC Annual Report

    If you’re filing for your Tennessee LLC’s Annual Report, you can use this reporting period by updating your new registered agent’s information on the report. This is the simplest way to change your registered agent, but it must be done within the yearly filing period.

    You can file your annual report online or mailing a printed copy of the report to the Tennessee Secretary of State – Business Services Division.

    The filing fee depends on the number of your LLC members. You will also still need to pay the extra $20 registered agent change fee.

     

    • File Tennessee Articles of Amendment

    You can also file the Tennessee Articles of Amendment to change your registered agent and make any changes to your LLC Articles of Organization.

    Download and complete the Articles of Amendment to Articles of Organization form. Mail the form, along with the check of $20 filing fee, to the Tennessee Secretary of State – Attn: Corporate Filing mailing address.

    This method is entirely optional, unless you also need to update your business information.

    Note: If you choose to use or switch to a registered agent service, they should complete and file the changes for you. For more information about our recommended Registered Agent service for your LLC, check out our Northwest Registered Agent review.

    Recommended Registered Agent Service

    We recommend Northwest Registered Agent, which offers their Tennessee registered agent service free for one year along with your LLC formation ($39 + state fees).
    NorthWest Registered Agent ($39 + state fees)



    Tennessee Secretary of State Contact Information

    Mailing Address

    Tennessee Secretary of State
    ATTN: Corporate Filing
    Snodgrass Tower, 6th Floor
    312 Rosa L. Parks AVE
    Nashville, TN 37243


    Physical Address 

    Tennessee Secretary of State
    Business Services Division
    Snodgrass Tower, 6th Floor
    312 Rosa L. Parks AVE
    Nashville, TN 37243

    Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00am – 4:30pm

    Phone: (615) 741-2286

    Email: Business Filings & Information Contact Form




    Tennessee Registered Agent FAQ

    Who can be a Tennessee 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 Tennessee
    • 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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