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Tennessee Registered Agent (Statutory Agent)

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Your business must appoint a Tennessee registered agent to receive documents in legal matters, including notice of lawsuit. Our reliable registered agent service fulfills this requirement. You get:

  • Same-day documents from our local office in Knoxville
  • Immediate online access to state forms with our address and, where required, our signature
  • Annual fees from $89Multi-Year Discount to $99 per state with no additional charges
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Registered Agents in Tennessee—Duties, Qualifications, and More

Appointing a registered agent with the Tennessee secretary of state is among the first steps to registering or foreign qualifying your organization in the state. Your agent accepts service of process and other official notices on your behalf, helping your organization operate without legal setbacks.

As you browse registered agents in Tennessee, you’ll notice there are several options to choose from. This guide will help you make the best decision and show you how to appoint your agent. You’ll also learn what Harbor Compliance does and how our Registered Agent Service ensures you never miss legal or government correspondence.

Duties of Tennessee Registered Agents

When you form an organization in Tennessee or expand to it from another jurisdiction, a registered agent serves as your main point of contact with the secretary of state. If your organization is involved in litigation, they accept and forward service of process so that you can respond promptly.

Legal process is always served in person, which means that your registered agent must be available during business hours at the registered office—a physical location in Tennessee where your official correspondence can be delivered.

An agent’s absence from the registered office exposes you to the risk of missing a time-sensitive notice, which can have significant consequences and disrupt your operations. For example, you might fail to appear in court on the due date because of a missed notice, in which case the judge will most likely resort to default judgment and rule in the plaintiff’s favor.

A responsible agent makes sure you get a chance to tell your side of the story by delivering your notices timely, minimizing the risk of legal escalations.

Tennessee Registered Agent Requirements

As per Section 48-15-101 of the Tennessee Code, you have two general options when choosing a registered agent:

  1. An individual residing in Tennessee (e.g., a friend, family member, employee, or attorney)
  2. A domestic or foreign corporation authorized to transact in Tennessee

The second option is typically considered safer. Corporations serving as registered agents—also known as commercial agents—are often better equipped to ensure your correspondence doesn’t go unnoticed than individual agents. This is because they employ multiple individuals who will remain at the registered office at all times during regular business hours.

An individual agent, on the other hand, might be absent for numerous reasons, such as:

  • Personal and professional obligations
  • Time off and travel
  • Illness and emergencies

As an individual agent can’t be replaced by another person unless the secretary of state is notified of the change, any of the above scenarios might lead to delays or missed notices.

How To Appoint/Change a Registered Agent in Tennessee

Whether you’re registering a new organization or expanding an existing one, you must name a registered agent with the secretary of state before you can operate in Tennessee. In the former case, you’ll do so in your formation documents, which depend on your organization’s business structure:

Business Structure Formation Documents
Corporation Articles of Incorporation for profit and nonprofit corporations
LLC Articles of Organization

If you’re expanding your organization into Tennessee, you need to name the agent in your foreign qualification filings. An agent is necessary for obtaining your certificate of authority, so it’s best to find one before you start the qualification process.

To partner with another agent instead of your existing one, you need to submit the Change of Registered Agent/Office form to the Tennessee secretary of state.

You can use the same form if your current agent’s address is changed, though you may not need to do it independently if you partner with a commercial agent. They can notify the secretary of state of such changes on behalf of all represented entities, which makes updates more convenient on your end.

Tennessee Registered Agent Service by Harbor Compliance

If you need a reliable partner who will make sure you never miss an important notice, Harbor Compliance is an excellent choice. Our Registered Agent Service encompasses everything you need to stay on top of official correspondence, most notably:

  • A local office in Knoxville
  • Same-day electronic delivery of time-sensitive notices
  • A secure Client Portal for accessing your notices and pre-filled state forms

We also take extra precautions to make sure you don’t miss service of process. In case of a lawsuit, we’ll call the person associated with the account by phone to check whether you’ve received the relevant notices.

Our extensive service portfolio goes far beyond the Registered Agent Service, and we can help you meet numerous additional obligations. The following table highlights some of our most sought-after solutions:

Category Overview
Document filing and retrieval
Beneficial ownership information reporting
Entity lifecycle management
Nonprofit formation
Business licensing support
Tax registration and management

Individual Tennessee Registered Agent vs. Harbor Compliance

The risk of missed notices isn’t the only disadvantage of appointing an individual registered agent. For example, appointing someone from your organization might fix the availability issue to an extent, but you run the risk of receiving service of process in front of your team and clients.

You can also name yourself, but you’d need to be at the registered office at all times during business hours, so you’d lose all flexibility. Your information would also enter the public record, which could result in spam or other forms of disrupted privacy.

Harbor Compliance eliminates all of these issues to give you complete peace of mind. The main benefits of signing up for our Registered Agent Service include the following:

  • Privacy and security—Our name and address are listed with the secretary of state, so your details can remain confidential. We also safeguard any gathered data with strong encryption, cloud monitoring, and other industry-standard security measures.
  • Complete flexibility—Your notices can be accessed online through the Client Portal, so you can manage them wherever you are. Harbor Compliance also offers nationwide availability, so you can appoint us in multiple jurisdictions and manage correspondence from all of them in one place.
  • Reliability—Someone is always available at our Knoxville office to receive your notices, so you can trust they won’t pass us by and will be delivered efficiently.
  • Support—If you run into any issues or need advice, our Help Center is at your disposal at any time.

How To Appoint Harbor Compliance as Your Tennessee Registered Agent

You can leverage our Registered Agent Service in three scenarios:

  1. Registering a new organization
  2. Expanding into Tennessee
  3. Changing your existing agent

Below, you’ll find the specific steps to partnering with us in each case.

Registering a New Organization

If you’re forming a new legal entity, we can take over the entire registration process through three services designed for different business structures:

  1. Incorporation
  2. Nonprofit formation
  3. LLC formation

Choose your preferred service, and we’ll submit all the necessary filings on your behalf. As a part of the process, we’ll name Harbor Compliance your registered agent.

If you prefer to register independently, you can appoint us by taking these steps:

  1. Sign up for the Registered Agent Service separately
  2. Find the details of our Knoxville office in the Client Portal
  3. Fill out and submit your registration filings

Expanding Into Tennessee

Our Foreign Qualification Service package offers everything you need to obtain a Tennessee certificate of authority quickly and expand your organization without complications.

All you need to do is complete a simple signup wizard, and we’ll complete the qualification process from start to finish. Besides appointing ourselves as your registered agent, we’ll provide the service at no additional cost for a year if you opt for the package.

Changing Your Registered Agent

If you’re looking to change your Tennessee agent, we can complete the process in your name if you sign up for the Registered Agent Service.

As you complete the purchase, you’ll see the Add Change of Agent Service option right before checkout. Select it and complete the checkout, and we’ll submit the necessary filings to the secretary of state.

Located in nearby Knoxville, TN!

How to Appoint Us as Your Tennessee Registered Agent


Appoint us as your Tennessee registered agent when you incorporate your business or form your LLC. Sign up for registered agent service and file using the state forms and instructions in your Client Portal. The forms are pre-filled and signed as required by the state.

Foreign Qualification

Appoint us as your agent when you apply for a certificate of authority to transact business in Tennessee. Sign up for Tennessee registered agent service and file using the forms and instructions in your Client Portal. The forms are pre-filled and signed as required by the state.

Change Agent

Changing your registered agent to us is easy. Sign up for Tennessee registered agent service and file using the forms and instructions in your Client Portal. The forms are pre-filled and signed as required by the state.

Book of Business

Harbor Compliance is a provider of nationwide registered agent service. We can help you consolidate your agent representation and achieve cost savings. Our specialists manage the process to change registered agents so that virtually no work is required on your part. We will complete the state filings to appoint us as your registered agent. Additionally, we can extend your subscription term so that you avoid double payment for any portion of your current contract. There’s no reason to wait. Simply contact us for consolidation and we’ll take care of the rest. If you have registered agent appointments spanning multiple states or entities, contact us today.

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Tennessee Registered Agent FAQs

Here, you’ll see some of the most commonly asked questions about Tennessee registered agents. If you need additional information, visit our extensive Information Center.

A registered agent is an individual or organization that accepts service of process on behalf of the represented entity.

Appointing a registered agent is obligatory for most legal entities—you can’t operate in Tennessee without one.

You can appoint yourself as a registered agent, but you’d need to be available at the registered office at all times during regular business hours.

You can perform an online business search on the secretary of state’s websites, and the results will reveal an organization’s registered agent.

Never Miss a Notice With Harbor Compliance

While the role of a registered agent seems simple, any failure to fulfill it can significantly impact your operations. To partner with a reliable agent and avoid such risks, order our Registered Agent Service today.

If you need additional support to meet all the necessary obligations, you can also do the following:

To learn more about our registered agent service in other U.S. jurisdictions, refer to the following table:

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