What Is A Massachusetts Registered Agent?
A registered agent primarily acts as your LLC’s main point of contact with the state. You can expect your registered agent to receive things like tax notifications and compliance information on behalf of your LLC.
Registered agents are also responsible for accepting service of process. That is, if your LLC should be sued, your registered agent will accept the legal summons on your LLC’s behalf.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Massachusetts?
It is possible to be your own registered agent. You could also choose to elect a member of your LLC, or even a friend you trust, as long as the person:
- is 18 years or older
- has a physical address in the state where business is conducted
- is always available during normal business hours to receive service of process in person
Another option would be to hire a professional registered agent service. One of the disadvantages is that it is more expensive than acting as your own. However, using a service helps you avoid any fees or further legal trouble caused by missing or misplacing an important document or notice. This can actually save you more time and money in the long run.
Should I Use A Massachusetts Registered Agent Service?
There are more advantages than disadvantages to hiring a professional registered agent service for your business. Registered Agent Services are also called commercial registered agents.
- Privacy: Your registered agent’s address will be listed on the public record -- not your personal or office address. This is especially important to consider if your business operates out of your home.
- Convenience: If you choose to act as your own registered agent, you will need to be available to receive official notices during standard business hours at the address you provide. Hiring a professional registered agent allows you to keep a flexible schedule.
- Discretion: If your business is ever sued, your registered agent will notify you immediately and discreetly. No need to worry about getting served in front of your employees, or worse -- your customers.
- Peace of mind: A professional registered agent service will send you regular compliance reminders and notify you of any requirements needed to keep your LLC in good standing. As a result, you can focus more of your time and attention on running your business.
- National Coverage: If you decide to expand your business as a foreign LLC in different states, a national registered agent service will be able to continue services there.
- Cost: Hiring a commercial registered agent service is more expensive than acting as your own registered agent.
What Is The Best Registered Agent Service In Massachusetts?
ZenBusiness Registered Agent
ZenBusiness provides the most comprehensive registered agent service for the price, fulfilling all state requirements. They also offer Worry Free Compliance, alerting you of important compliance events, covering your annual filing, and providing expert support.
ZenBusiness's online document management system and regular compliance alerts make working with them worry-free. They'll scan and upload all your essential legal documents into a personalized online dashboard that you can access at any time.
ZenBusiness stands apart in its excellent customer service and their representatives are known for being highly knowledgeable about LLC formation and maintenance.
Registered Agent Standard
Registered Agent Complete
(Registered Agent: $119 after 1st year)
If you want to explore all your options, check out this article on the 7 Best Registered Agent Services written by our friends at Startup Savant.
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
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?
You can easily change your registered agent service online through the Secretary of the Commonwealth website (no fee). Alternatively, you can download a Statement of Change of Resident Agent form and file a physical copy with the Secretary of the Commonwealth ($25 filing fee).
When electing your new registered agent, make sure to submit your new registered agent’s signed consent form. This step may vary by state and depends on who you choose to be your registered agent.
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.
Can I be my own registered agent in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent in Massachusetts so long as you:
- Are 18 years or older
- Have a physical address in Massachusetts
- Are always available during normal business hours to receive service of process in person
What does a registered agent do?
Registered agents help keep your business compliant by maintaining up-to-date paperwork. They also are in charge of accepting official correspondence on behalf of your business, such as paperwork from the state and federal government, tax forms, and legal notices.
Should I be my own registered agent?
You may serve as your own registered agent if you meet certain conditions, and some small business owners choose to do this instead of hiring a third party or appointing someone else to the role.
This position does come with extra responsibilities and potential inconveniences, however, so many business owners decide it’s better for them to choose another person or a professional service to act as their registered agent. You should weigh the pros and cons of each option and decide which is best for you and your business.
What is a registered agent service?
A registered agent service is a third-party company that takes on the responsibilities of a registered agent for your company in exchange for a fee.
Who can be a registered agent?
Registered agent requirements can vary a bit from state to state, but they generally allow for both individuals and business entities to serve as a company’s registered agent.
Individuals must be at least 18 years old and business entities must be registered to operate in the state. Both must have a physical office location and be present during regular business hours.
Although you can be your own registered agent, we recommend you consider hiring an experienced and reliable registered agent service to handle this portion of your business needs.
How much does a registered agent cost?
The cost of a registered agent varies, but it can be anywhere from free (if you act as your company’s registered agent) to a few hundred dollars a year for some third-party services.
Hiring a registered agent service could save you time and money in the long-run.
Is a registered agent the same as the owner?
No. A registered agent keeps certain paperwork up to date and accepts official correspondence on behalf of the company, but that role isn’t the same as an owner. However, the individual owner of a business may also act as the company’s registered agent.
Why do I need a registered agent?
Most states require you to designate a registered agent if you own a business. However, even if it isn't required, we strongly recommend appointing a registered agent to accept service of process, gain peace of mind, and maintain your privacy.
Are registered agents liable?
A registered agent could potentially be liable for damages in the event they fail to meet their legal responsibilities as a registered agent, such as not informing a company it was being sued.
Can I change my registered agent?
Yes. You can change your registered agent by filing the necessary paperwork with the appropriate state agency. Different states have different processes and forms so read our free guides for details about your state.
Should I use a registered agent service?
You must decide if it’s best for you and your business to hire a registered agent service. While registered agent services are convenient and can reduce the amount of paperwork you must keep track of yourself, they also are an additional expense. Weigh the pros and cons to determine the best option for you.
What is a statutory agent?
A statutory agent is another name for a registered agent, a process of service agent, or a resident agent.
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.
What is a service of process agent?
A service of process agent is another name for a registered agent, a resident agent, or a statutory agent.
What is a commercial registered agent?
Some states refer to registered agent services as commercial registered agents.
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.
What is the difference between a commercial registered agent and a noncommercial registered agent?
Most states require LLC owners to provide their LLC’s registered agent’s name and address when forming your LLC. In some states, you will be asked whether you are electing a commercial or noncommercial registered agent. Some states refer to professional registered agents as commercial agents and individual agents as noncommercial.
Does registered agent mean owner?
No. A business owner can be a registered agent, but a registered agent is not necessarily a business owner.