I talk from time to time about why having a registered agent is such a good idea for a busy small business. You may have heard of a registered agent but not really known what the heck it was. Here I want to educate you on what a registered agent does, as well as help you understand why you might want one.

In a Nutshell…

A registered agent, sometimes referred to as a resident agent or an agent for service of process, is a person or company officially recognized by the state where you incorporated or registered as an LLC to accept service of process on behalf of the corporation. What’s “service of process,” you ask? That’s simply the paperwork that you are sent about your corporation. So that could be your notice to file your annual report each year, or legal paperwork if you become involved in a lawsuit.

The registered agent has a physical location in the state where you incorporated (not sure where to incorporate? Here’s help deciding). You can’t simply designate your Post Office Box or other “mail service” as your registered agent because the agent must be available Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm at the location you specified on your Articles of Incorporation or Organization in order to accept service of process.

Benefits to Having a Registered Agent

If you incorporated in one state but don’t have a physical presence there (or else you’re not available that Monday – Friday schedule), it’s valuable to work with a registered agent who is available in that state to accept paperwork on your behalf.

Also, the registered agent’s name and address are public information. If you wish to keep your company’s address information confidential, having a registered agent affords you that extra added layer of privacy.

Having a registered agent provides peace of mind because you don’t have to worry about missing important paperwork (especially if you relocate your office). Wherever you’re doing business, your registered agent will be able to communicate about any paperwork you need to review.

What About Doing Business in Multiple States?

If your corporation is qualified to do business in other states, those states will generally require a registered agent in that state.  So yes, you will need a registered agent service in each state you are incorporated in or run an LLC from.

Keep Your Registered Agent Info Up to Date

Your business is required by law to have a registered agent from the moment you start a corporation or LLC. If you do not pay the fee charged by your designated registered agent (or otherwise have a registered agent), your corporation may be considered defunct by the Secretary of State and lose corporate status. Make sure to update your registered agent information annually and/or whenever there is a change.

Incorporating a business or need a registered agent service in another state? CorpNet can take your Registered Agent responsibilities off your mind with our Registered Agent Services, FREE for a newly incorporated business for the first year and $149 yearly thereafter.