A Massachusetts registered agent, known as a resident agent in Massachusetts, is required by law for every formal business in the state of Massachusetts. A registered agent receives all official paperwork from the State of Massachusetts, they also receive any service of process a business may be served in a lawsuit.
In our Masachusetts Registered Agent guide, we'll go over everything related to what a registered agent is, what they do, and how to pick one.
Recommended: Get a free year of registered agent services when you form an LLC with Northwest Registered Agent ($29 plus state fees).
What Is A Massachusetts Registered Agent?
A Massachusetts registered agent is an individual or business entity that acts as the point of contact for your business for:
- All communication with the State of Massachusetts, such as the Massachusetts Annual Report and certificate of good standing
- Receives all service of process for the business in any lawsuit
Every formal business in Massachusetts eg LLC, corporation, etc is required by law to have a registered agent.
For more information on the role of registered agents, read our What is a Registered Agent guide.
For help forming your LLC, use our How to Start an LLC in Massachusetts guide.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Massachusetts?
Yes, any owner or employee of a business can be its registered agent in Massachusetts as long as they are over the age of 18, and have a street address in Massachusetts.
You could also choose to elect a member of your LLC, or even a friend you trust, as long as the person meets these requirements too.
Though many businesses prefer to use a professional registered agent service. To learn more about the Best Registered Agent Services of 2022, read our guide.
Why Businesses Use a Massachusetts Registered Agent Service
Many businesses choose to use a registered agent service when they form an LLC, here are some of the reasons why:
A registered agent service maintains a compliance calendar and will remind you when annual reports or other filings are due, and help you file them.
This helps you to avoid fines and keeps your company in good standing, which is important to maintain your limited liability protection.
Legal complications, fees, or any other issues can arise if you do not respond quickly to service of process. A registered agent will scan your documents, share them with you online, and notify you when they are available.
If you work from home, or even a private office, and act as your own registered agent, your address will be published publicly on the Massachusetts Business Entity Search.
If you value your privacy, a registered agent service will use their own address in place of yours.
Receiving service of process for a lawsuit at your business can be a sensitive situation to have happen in front of your employees and clients.
To avoid having this issue a registered agent will receive any service of process and other documents at their office, and discreetly deliver them to you online.
If you are your own registered agent, you must be available at all normal business hours, every working day of the year.
Registered agent services run physical offices and have staff to cover those hours, so they can be available at those times
Hiring a registered agent service allows you to be more flexible in the hours and locations you work. So, take a vacation, work from home or the office, or travel the world, knowing they’re around to take your paperwork.
A good registered agent service will scan your documents as soon as they are received, storing a digital copy of all your business documents and any service of process available on a convenient dashboard.
Typically, if you’ve used an LLC formation service, you will also use them as a registered agent. This means that a copy of your formation documents will also be available online.
Having all of this information, available as PDFs, is very helpful when you need to do things for your business, such as opening a business bank account, applying for a business credit card, applying for small business loans, and many more things that require a copy of your documents.
If you plan on expanding your business into other states like if you’re hiring an out-of-state employee or opening a new sales office, a registered agent is necessary for your foreign LLC or other entity.
Most registered agent services operate in all 50 states and Washington D.C. Just pay a little extra for the new state you operate in, and they will deliver all those documents to the same online dashboard.
How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?
The cost of hiring a registered agent service is typically around $50 to $300 per year. This is a small cost when you consider how much time it will save you — it’s well worth the price.
Best Massachusetts Registered Agent Service
Northwest is the best registered agent service based on overall quality and transparent pricing. Northwest offers a seamless user experience and best-in-industry customer service and privacy protection.
When you choose Northwest as your registered agent service, you'll get an online account to access essential documents, mail forwarding, and business address services.
Northwest’s virtual mailbox service will scan your mail and forward it to you electronically. This means that you can keep track of your mail no matter where you are in the world.
Registered Agent Standard
LLC Formation + 1 yr Free Registered Agent Service
One Year Free Registered Agent with LLC Formation $29 (Plus State Fees)
How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, you will be required to elect your registered agent when you complete your LLC’s Certificate of Organization. The Certificate of Formation is the main LLC formation document in Massachusetts.
Electing a Registered Agent Online
You can form your LLC online with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ($500 filing fee required). You’ll be prompted to appoint your registered agent in Section 5.
Electing a Registered Agent by Mail, Fax, or In Person
To form your LLC by mail, download the Certificate of Organization ($500 filing fee required), fill out the required fields and submit a physical copy with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. You’ll be asked to provide your registered agent’s information in the middle of page 1.
How Do I Change My Registered Agent In Massachusetts?
To change your Massachusetts registered agent, simply fill out a Statement of Change of Registered Agent/Registered Office form and submit it to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. There’s no filing fee if you submit online, but the state charges a $25 fee for paper or faxed filings.
Massachusetts has different Statement of Change forms for different business structures:
Mail or In Person:
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place - Room 1717
Boston, MA 02108-1512
(617) 624-3891 (Fax filings must include fax voucher cover sheet)
Consent to Appointment
Your new registered agent also will need to consent to their appointment. They can do this by signing the Statement of Change form.
Registered Agent FAQ
Do I need a registered agent in Massachusetts?
Every U.S. state, with the exception of New York, requires all corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) to have a registered agent. A registered agent may be called different names in different states, such as a resident agent, a statutory agent, or an agent for service of process.
What does “service of process” mean?
Service of process means receiving legal documents, such as a summons. A summons is an order to appear before a judge due to a pending lawsuit.
Does registered agent mean owner?
No. A business owner can be a registered agent, but a registered agent is not necessarily a business owner.
What is a resident agent?
A resident agent is another name for a registered agent, a process of service agent, or a statutory agent.
The state of Massachusetts refers to registered agents as resident agents.
How to Become a Registered Agent in Massachusetts
To become a registered agent in Massachusetts as an individual or business entity, you must:
- Be over the age of 18.
- Have a street address in Massachusetts.
- Have the business you’re representing list your name and address on their formation or change of registered agent documents.
After this, the State of Massachusetts will send you official correspondence for annual reports, service of process, and other compliance information for the business you represent.
What is a registered agent service?
A registered agent service is a company that agrees to receive service of process for an LLC, corporation, or nonprofit.