In New York, the Secretary of State will act as your registered agent by default.
This means that you will not necessarily have to appoint a separate New York registered agent in order to register your business as a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation.
Nonetheless, many small businesses choose to use a registered agent service instead in order to reduce their publication costs and protect their privacy.
This article will help you make the best choice for your business.
Recommended: Northwest Registered Agent offers free registered agent services with LLC or corporation formation ($29 plus state fees).
Choosing a Registered Agent in New York
A New York registered agent serves as your business’s primary point of contact with the state, and will also be responsible for communicating any legal notices that may be filed against your business (i.e., deliver service of process).
Even though the New York Secretary of State will automatically act as your statutory agent for service of process by default, you can choose to use a premium registered agent service or be your own agent instead, so long as:
- Your agent is at least 18 years old.
- Your agent has a physical address in New York.
- Your agent is always available during normal business hours at their specified address.
New York Registered Agent Services
- Lower publication costs: Your publication formation will cost you at least $1,500 if your principal address is in New York City (i.e., if the Secretary of State acts as your business’s statutory agent.). On the other hand, a registered agent service’s address can be outside the city, which will reduce the overall cost of your publication.
- Legal compliance: Several third-party services offer additional benefits that the SOS will not, such as reminding you when your annual report is due and uploading all legal documents online in PDF form.
- Privacy: Your registered agent’s address will become publicly available as soon as you form your LLC or corporation. This means that hiring a third-party service can be an affordable way of protecting your private information.
Let’s Find the Right Registered Agent for Your Business
We’ve tested and reviewed the most popular registered agent services.
Can You Be Your Own Registered Agent?
Yes, you can, although this is generally not recommended.
This is because the New York Secretary of State will act as your statutory agent by default, and so you will not need to act as your own agent, regardless of how tight your budget is.
We recommend hiring a third-party service as a small business owner due to the fact that it’s generally the most time-efficient option available while still being relatively inexpensive (i.e., around $10 per month.).
If you are planning to form a new LLC, you can use an LLC formation service in order to receive a free year of registered agent services.
This can cost as little as $29 per formation — excluding state fees — and will save you a significant amount of time when starting out.
If you are forming an LLC but prefer to file the paperwork yourself and act as your own registered agent, take a look at our How to Start an LLC in New York guide.
Best New York Registered Agent Service
If you're in New York and either looking to form a new LLC or switch your existing registered agent, it's crucial to consider factors like cost, range of services, reputation, and customer support.
Many people seek registered agents offering features like mail forwarding, document scanning, and compliance monitoring.
Northwest Special Offer
If you haven't formed your LLC yet, consider Northwest's LLC formation package for $29 plus state fees, which includes a free first year of registered agent service.
- Premium customer service
- Streamlined ordering
- Robust privacy features
To help you make an informed choice, we've compiled a table comparing the top 5 New York registered agent services below.
Top 5 New York Registered Agent Services
BEST REGISTERED AGENT SERVICE
TRUSTED AND WELL-KNOWN COMPANY
Whether you're starting a new business or considering a change, it's crucial to weigh factors like pricing, services, reputation, and customer support when choosing a registered agent in New York. Compare quotes and read online reviews to find the best fit for your needs.
Benefits of Using a Registered Agent Service
Many businesses choose to use a professional registered agent service when they form an LLC. This is because it can offer a number of benefits, including:
- Lower Publication Costs:
New York requires newly formed LLCs to publish a notice of formation in local newspapers. Publication can cost around $1,500 or more if the principal address is in New York City.
A registered agent service located outside the city allows an LLC to use the registered agent’s address as the principal address, which greatly reduces the cost of publication.
- Legal compliance: A registered agent service will ensure that you don’t miss an important legal document or notification (e.g., service of process, etc.) as a result of not being in your office (or as a result of a human error).
- Improved privacy: If you act as your own agent, your name and address will become public record on the New York Corporation and Business Entity Database. Using a registered agent service will help keep your information private.
- Discretion: When it comes to legal disputes, you will want to avoid receiving lawsuit-related documents in front of your clients and/or some employees.
- Better storage: Your service will generally scan all documents received and upload them online in PDF form. This means that you will always be able to access them online, and won’t have to worry about losing an important document.
The right registered agent service can also be beneficial if you plan to expand into other states as a foreign LLC. This is because, otherwise, you would need to find an individual or business entity that is a resident — or is allowed to transact business — in each state that you want to register in.
How to Elect a Registered Agent in New York
If you are planning to form an LLC in New York, the Department of State will act as your statutory agent by default.
This means that you will not be legally required to appoint a registered agent (e.g., individual, third-party service, etc.) when you are completing your Articles of Organization. However, you can choose to elect one if you wish.
Electing a Registered Agent Online
You can form your LLC online through the New York Department of State website ($200 filing fee required). If you choose to elect a registered agent, you can do so on this form.
Electing a Registered Agent by Mail, by Fax, or In Person
To form your New York LLC by mail, fax, or in person, you will need to do so after filing your Articles of Organization ($200 filing fee). Download a Certificate of Change ($30 filing fee) and complete the statement that says, “The limited liability company hereby designates (your agent’s name) its registered agent upon whom process against the limited liability company may be served.”
How to Change Your Registered Agent in New York
In order to change your registered agent in New York, you will need to fill out a Certificate of Change form and file it with the New York Department of State’s Division of Corporations, State Records, and Uniform Commercial Code.
Keep in mind that you will need to file a different form depending on how your business is registered:
- Domestic LLC
- Foreign LLC
- Domestic Corporation
- Foreign Corporation
- Domestic Nonprofit
- Foreign Nonprofit
This can be done by mail, in person, or by fax:
Mail or In Person:
New York Department of State
Division of Corporations, State Records, and Uniform Commercial Code
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Ave.
Albany, NY 12231-0001
Check out our full guide on how to change registered agents in New York.
New York Registered Agent FAQs
Can I be my own registered agent in New York?
Yes, you can.
Having said that, this route is generally not recommended due to the fact that it’s relatively inefficient from a time point of view. It will also not save you any money since your default statutory agent will be the New York Department of State.
See our New York Registered Agent article for more information.
Is a registered agent required in New York?
It can be. If you are planning to start an LLC in New York, for example, you will need a registered agent in order to get started.
Having said that, the Secretary of State will act as your statutory agent by default, so you do not need to appoint another agent individually unless you want to.
Who can be a registered agent in NY?
Anyone can be a New York registered agent as long as they are at least 18 years old, have a physical street address in the state, and are always available during regular business hours.
Keep in mind that the New York Department of State will be your LLC’s default statutory agent unless you elect otherwise.
How do I appoint a registered agent in New York?
If you plan to register your business as an LLC, your default statutory agent will be the Department of State.
Having said that, you can choose to use a New York registered agent service instead or simply fill out a Certificate of Change form after your LLC has been registered.
How do I change the registered agent for my LLC in NY?
You can change your LLC’s statutory agent by filling out a Certificate of Change form and submitting it to the New York Division of Corporations, State Records, and Uniform Commercial Code alongside a $30 filing fee.
For more information, have a look at our How Do I Change My Registered Agent in New York article.