If you have an active business entity (such as a corporation or LLC) you must designate someone to receive official documents from the state. That person is called a registered agent.
This is a required compliance requirement for almost every US state. If you don’t appoint and maintain a registered agent, you could face penalties for failing to comply with the law.
What Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is a person or company that receives legal and government documents on behalf of a business. These documents include service of process (if your business is sued), tax notices, and other official correspondence from the Secretary of State.
A professional registered agent can offer your business privacy, efficiency, and adaptability as you grow. They can also provide you with timely notifications of pending deadlines and actions your business must take.
Choosing the right registered agent is important for all companies. Make sure they know your business entity and compliance rules, have professionally trained staff with expert knowledge of how to handle and forward SOP papers, and have state-of-the-art processes in place to ensure your company’s documents are delivered as expected.
Most states require that businesses choose a registered agent when they register. However, it is also possible to change your registered agent at any time. Typically, you will need to complete a form with the Secretary of State to update your registered agent information.
What Are the Requirements for a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is a person who accepts service of process (court papers if your business is being sued), forwards official correspondence to you, and notifies you about deadlines or actions you need to take. A registered agent can be an individual or a company.
The requirements vary by state but in general, your registered agent must be a resident of the state where your business is registered. This ensures documents relating to a lawsuit can be served on an actual, physical location.
In New York, a registered agent can be an individual, a domestic corporation or LLC, a foreign corporation or a nonprofit organization. The registered agent’s name and address must be listed on the company’s formation filings or registrations with the secretary of state.
In several states, including Idaho, business filings will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. In addition, registered agent information is public record, so anyone can search for your registered agent on a business entity database.
How Can I Become an Agent?
A registered agent is someone who can accept mail and hand-delivered process (such as lawsuits) for a business entity. They are also responsible for receiving any legal documents and tax information that are sent to the business.
If you’re forming a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or nonprofit in New York, you’ll need to name a registered agent. The Secretary of State will be your registered agent by default, but it’s a good idea to change this role after your formation.
Choosing the right registered agent service will save you time, money and headaches in the long run. They can lower your publication costs, provide a more secure mailbox and keep you in compliance with NY corporate law.
If you’re looking for a top-notch, customer-focused registered agent service, Northwest Registered Agent is my pick. Their US-based customer support (which they call “Corporate Guides”) is made up of former accountants, lawyers and entrepreneurs who understand your needs and can answer your questions patiently and quickly.
How Can I Serve as an Agent?
Whether you’re forming a corporation, limited liability company, or another type of business entity, you’ll need to name an agent on the formation documents you file with the state. The registered agent’s name and address will become part of the public record and is available to anyone who wants to find out about your company.
In some cases, you can use a lawyer, accountant, or other professional to serve as your agent. If you choose to do this, make sure the person you select is licensed in your state.
Your agent is responsible for receiving and forwarding important mail on your behalf, such as tax materials and legal notices from the government. If they fail to do so, you may lose a lawsuit or be subject to civil, monetary, or criminal sanctions.
Using a service like Legalinc to serve as your agent can help you save time and money, while also helping you stay secure. They’ll scan and store all of the legal paperwork they receive, so you can easily access it in the future.