Corporation Registered Agent
A corporation registered agent (or agent for service of process) provides a physical office in the state where you form or register your corporation. The registered agent’s legal responsibility is to receive service of process and government notices during regular business hours and forward them to you. These documents are time-sensitive, which means it is important to choose a reliable registered agent for your corporation.
- Jump To:
- What is the role of a corporation registered agent?
- Why do I need a registered agent for my corporation?
- How to choose a reliable corporation registered agent
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Related Resources
What is the role of a corporation registered agent?
Registered agents serve a vital role in helping your corporation meet statutory requirements for forming and operating in a given state. A registered agent is necessary to incorporate or register a business in any state. The primary responsibility of a corporation registered agent is to receive service of process and forward it to the business. The registered agent must have the location and infrastructure to receive and deliver legal documents reliably to you.
The registered agent’s role is important, but specific in scope. A corporation registered agent is a designated point of contact with the state to receive legal documents. Corporation registered agents do not receive regular business mail, such as bank statements or utility bills. The registered agent is typically not the incorporator. The registered agent also does not normally open bank accounts for the corporation. Businesses can designate an owner or employee as their corporation registered agent, but there are downsides.
Keep reading to learn why hiring a service company as your corporation registered agent has compliance benefits.
Why do I need a registered agent for my corporation?
Before you file articles of incorporation, you will have to appoint a corporation registered agent. Regardless of the state in which you decide to incorporate, a registered agent for service of process is required. Failure to appoint a registered agent for your corporation means your articles of organization will be rejected right out of the gate. It is important to designate a corporation registered agent that meets your state’s requirements so that you can get your business up and running quickly.
If you hire a registered agent service provider, your registered agent can also help you manage secretary of state annual reports to keep your corporation in good standing.
How to choose a reliable corporation registered agent
Most registered agent service companies will meet state requirements, but how do you choose the right one for your corporation? With Harbor Compliance as the registered agent for your corporation or portfolio of entities, you benefit from a reliable, local presence in every state and our robust, proprietary software. Registered agent service includes complimentary access to our award-winning entity management software. With Entity Manager, you can view where your entities are registered to do business, receive annual report reminders, store documents and notes, and track critical data.
Nationwide Presence: We provide local registered offices in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These offices are open during all regular business hours to receive legal and government notices.
Same-Day Document Delivery: Your documents are scanned locally and delivered to you electronically on the same day. With customizable notifications, you will never miss a delivery when you’re on the go.
Secure Client Portal: You have one secure, cloud-based Client Portal to manage your service across multiple states and entities. Easily configure notifications to colleagues and legal counsel to ensure the right parties receive service of process and important documents.
Clear Invoicing with Predictable Savings: We provide flat-rate pricing that does not include per document fees or other additional costs. You will receive one invoice per year for the renewal of each subscription. Invoices are accurate and easy to understand. Flexible payment options are available for added convenience.
Industry Expertise and Compliance Solutions: Beyond registered agent service, you can access our comprehensive solutions for entity, tax, and license management. Supported by a reference database of nationwide requirements and our award-winning software platform, our specialists help you maintain compliance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can serve as my corporation registered agent?
Your corporation registered agent can be either an individual or a company such as a commercial registered agent, but generally not your company itself. However, there are a few additional requirements:
- The registered agent must have a physical address in the state where your business is incorporated.
- The registered agent must be available during regular business hours to receive service of process and other important notices.
- The registered agent must consent to receive legal and government notices on behalf of your business.
- The registered agent must reliably forward these notices to the appropriate parties within your company.
While individuals can serve as their corporation’s registered agent, there are several benefits to choosing a reliable corporation registered agent service. In general, registered agent service providers meet state requirements, eliminate your need to file change paperwork each time you move, and offer software and assistance with corporation annual reports to help you maintain good standing.
Can I be my own corporation registered agent?
Generally, you can appoint an individual to be your corporation registered agent. The registered agent can also be your own business address. However, there are several other considerations you should make when deciding who to appoint as the registered agent for your corporation.
Discreetly receive service of process with a corporation registered agent
Using a third-party registered agent means that their information, not yours, is listed in public records. Process servers deliver lawsuits and other notices to the registered agent’s address. By appointing a corporation registered agent, you discreetly receive service of process rather than personally, or potentially in front of employees and clients. Additionally, members of the public have less visibility into your company ownership and address, which adds a degree of privacy.
Corporation registered agents are a legal appointment
The registered agent for your corporation is a legal appointment that serves as the main point of contact between the state, courts, and you. The registered agent must be available during all business hours to receive service of process and other legal notices. Reliable registered agent service providers will already meet this requirement by maintaining a physical office with staff to greet process servers.
Once formed or registered in a state, corporations are required to maintain a registered agent on an ongoing basis. If the registered agent’s information changes, the corporation generally is responsible for filing an update with the secretary of state in order to ensure service of process can be received. When you appoint a service company as your corporation registered agent, they typically file state-specific change forms on your behalf if their name or address changes. If you appoint an individual as the registered agent for your corporation, you must remember to file change of registered agent forms with the secretary of state when that individual’s name or address changes. Appointing a registered agent service provider avoids the additional paperwork and means you have one less step to take when you move.
Access to a reliable corporation registered agent network when you grow
When your business grows and needs to expand into a new state, you will need a new corporation registered agent that meets the requirements of that new state. Most individuals cannot fulfill the requirements of two or more states at once. Many registered agent service providers maintain offices in multiple states, which means they can provide your corporation with the registered agent representation needed to do business in each new state. If you plan to register your corporation in multiple states, consider using a national registered agent service before you even incorporate.
What if I don’t live in the same state where I incorporate?
Many entrepreneurs choose to incorporate in another state, such as Delaware or Nevada, for additional tax or legal benefits. If you decide to incorporate in another state than where you live, you will need a registered agent (or corporation resident agent) that resides within those borders. Typically, a registered agent service company that provides a physical address in every state will meet your needs when you incorporate and register it to do business in other states.
Do I need a corporation registered agent in every state?
Yes. A corporation registered agent for service of process is required in each state where you plan to register your corporation. If you need a certificate of authority to transact business in a state, you will be required to list a registered agent for your foreign corporation. This process is known as foreign qualification. Harbor Compliance provides nationwide registered agent service, which means you’ll always have access to reliable corporation registered agent service as you grow.
Do I need a registered agent for each of my corporations?
Yes. A corporation registered agent for service of process is required for each entity you incorporate. Choosing a registered agent service company allows you to manage your portfolio of entities, track key compliance deadlines, and benefit from consolidated reporting insights across all of your businesses.