What is a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is a business's legal appointee to receive notice of lawsuit and other legal or government notices. State law requires every LLC, corporation, and other business entity to have a registered agent.

The business lists its registered agent with the Secretary of State either when the business is formed or when the business expands to that state. Some states call the registered agent a resident agent, statutory agent, commercial registered agent, or registered office. The appointee may be a person or a business.

Video: What is a registered agent?

Every business has a registered agent that receives its legal documents. Documents are typically hand-delivered at the registered agent's physical office. This means the agent must be available during normal business hours to receive documents. You must have an agent in the state where you are incorporated. When you expand to other states, you must also have an agent in those states. So, who is the registered agent? The agent is either a person or a company; however, your company cannot act as its own agent. The role of the registered agent is not overly complex, but it does come with a lot of responsibility, so make sure you choose a reliable agent.

What a registered agent does not do

  • A registered agent is not a virtual office for receiving all regular postal mail and packages for your business.
  • A registered agent is not a tax address for your business. Some businesses have their tax documents sent directly to their CPA.
  • A registered agent is not an address to be used at will for anonymity.

What is a registered office?

The registered office is the address where your registered agent accepts notice of lawsuit and other official or government notices on behalf of your business.

The registered office is a physical address for your company. If your business is ever sued, a sheriff or government official will hand deliver legal documents to the registered office anticipating your registered agent is on duty to sign for them.

State law requires the registered agent to maintain a registered office. The registered office must be located in the state where you are registering your business with the Secretary of State and must be a physical address (post office boxes are rarely allowed).

How do you appoint a registered agent?

Most likely you were filling out a form to register your business with the department of state when you encountered the terms “registered agent”, ”resident agent”, ”statutory agent”, or “commercial registered office provider”. As an example, the Delaware form is pictured below:

An example of filling out a Delaware form

A registered agent provides a physical address for your company and receives service of process and important government notices for your business. If your business is ever sued, a sheriff or government official will hand deliver legal documents to the registered agent.

As you can see on the Delaware form above, you have to list a registered agent and the address. You can either provide a person's name as a registered agent and their address, or we can provide both for you.

Continue reading “Can I Serve as My Own Agent?”
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