Under United States business law, domestic and foreign corporations and LLCs must appoint and maintain a registered agent. This person or business must be available to receive service of process notices and government correspondence during normal business hours.
Most states allow you to appoint yourself or someone within your company as your registered agent, provided that they meet the state’s requirements (such as a physical address and availability during business hours). However, many people find it easier and less expensive to use a professional service.
What is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is a person or company that a business designates to receive official papers in case of legal action against it (what lawyers call service of process), as well as any government notices like taxation correspondence. It’s a mandatory requirement for most types of business entities, including domestic and foreign corporations and LLCs.
Many businesses choose to appoint themselves or another employee as their own registered agent, but the simplest way to comply is by using a professional service company that has agents in every state where you do business. Using one means that you can have a single point of contact as your business expands into new states.
A good registered agent will be reliable and always available to accept service of process notices, and government correspondence. They will also have a dedicated team to help you understand and comply with the complexities of your business entity’s requirements. Their prices are reasonable, and their customer support is friendly and patient.
How Does a Registered Agent Help My Business?
A registered agent is the person or business that the state uses to serve legal papers on your company if it gets sued. Companies are required to appoint one in order to keep up with business compliance requirements.
A professional service like Northwest Registered Agent can help you stay in compliance for just $125 per year. They are available all day, every workday and can receive your important paperwork for you. They also provide valuable compliance-related information, including filing deadlines for each state.
While you can appoint yourself or someone else within your company to be your registered agent, most businesses find it convenient and cost-effective to use a registered agent service instead. You can get registered agent services from dozens of websites, such as LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer and IncFile. These services are often cheaper than hiring an attorney and they have US-based customer support to help you with any questions. Using a service also gives you peace of mind, because you can take vacations or leave the country without worrying about missing important mail.
How Can I Become a Registered Agent?
Generally speaking, a registered agent can be any individual or entity that meets the state requirements (typically residency and physical address). However, since there are so many potential issues with individuals acting as their own registered agents, such as availability to receive legal documents and a lack of privacy, businesses often prefer to use a professional service.
Choosing the right registered agent services company can save your business time and money, as well as help you stay in compliance with all business filings. Many national registered agent services have years of experience serving clients, and can provide a full range of business filing services in every state where your business operates.
A professional registered agent can also make it easier to expand your business into multiple states. Having one consistent registered agent across all states allows you to focus on your business and not worry about missing important documents or filing deadlines. Most of the top registered agent services companies will also scan and upload all legal documents received, for added convenience.
What is the Minimum Requirements for Registered Agents?
In New York, a registered agent must have a physical street address. This can be your business location, your home, the address of a trusted family member or professional such as an attorney or accountant, or a registered agent service. However, if you designate someone in your business as your registered agent, they must be available during regular business hours and not have a P.O. Box or private rented mailbox (these are not acceptable addresses for registered agents).
Additionally, you should not be the person to receive legal documents for your company; this can put your personal and business life at risk. A commercial registered agent service will accept and forward all official correspondence to your business, allowing you to maintain privacy while still having access to important information. Many services also scan and digitally store all received documents, simplifying your paperwork. This is especially beneficial for businesses that operate in multiple states. Choosing a nationally-based service allows for consistency and simplicity with your registered agent needs.