Pennsylvania Registered Agent

Pennsylvania registered agent, known as a Registered Office / Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP) in Pennsylvania, is required by law for every formal business in the state of Pennsylvania. A registered agent receives all official paperwork from the State of Pennsylvania, they also receive any service of process a business may be served in a lawsuit.

In our Pennsylvania Registered Agent guide, we'll go over everything related to what a registered agent is, what they do, and how to pick one.

Recommended: To explore your options, check out our Best Registered Agent Services review.


What Is A Pennsylvania Registered Agent?

A Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania, such as the Pennsylvania Decennial Report and certificate of good standing 
  • Receives all service of process for the business in any lawsuit

Every formal business in Pennsylvania 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.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Pennsylvania?

Yes, any owner or employee of a business can be its registered agent in Pennsylvania as long as they are over the age of 18, and have a street address in Pennsylvania.

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.

Why Businesses Use a Pennsylvania Registered Agent Service

Many businesses choose to use a registered agent service in Pennsylvania, here are some of the major reasons why:

Compliance

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.

Privacy

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 Pennsylvania Business Entity Search.

If you value your privacy, a registered agent service will use their own address in place of yours.

Discretion

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.

Flexibility

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.

Online Storage

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.

National Coverage

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 Pennsylvania Registered Agent Service

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 Service



$99 Annual
(for those who already have an LLC)

Get Started

ZenBusiness Logo

LLC Formation + 1yr Free Registered Agent Service



$39 + State Fees
(Registered Agent: $119 after 1st year)

Get Started

ZenBusiness Logo
The Truic Flame Logo

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 Pennsylvania?

Whether you'd like to appoint yourself, another member of the LLC, or a professional service to fill the Registered Office role, you'll be able to do so on the Certificate of Organization. The Certificate of Organization is the main LLC formation document in Pennsylvania.

In Pennsylvania, you must have a contract to acquire the services of a CROP before listing one. Without this contract, you could face civil and criminal penalties.

You also can’t use a CROP with Fictitious Name registrations.

Electing a Registered Agent Online

To begin the online formation process, create an account through the PENN File System. Once subscribed, you’ll gain access to all the resources you need to appoint a commercial registered office provider (registered agent) and form your LLC online.

An image of the online LLC filing form for the state of Pennsylvania

Electing a Registered Agent by Mail

To form your LLC by mail, simply download the Certificate of Organization, fill out the required fields and submit a physical copy with the Department of State (along with a $125 filing fee). You’ll be prompted to provide 1) the address of your registered office, or 2) your commercial registered office provider’s name and county of venue in Section 2.

An image of the manual LLC filing form for the state of Pennsylvania

How Do I Change My Registered Agent In Pennsylvania?

To change your Pennsylvania registered agent, simply fill out a Change of Registered Office form and submit it to the Pennsylvania Department of State along with the $5 filing fee paid by check or credit card (online).

This can be done online or by mail.

Online

Mail:
Pennsylvania Department of State
Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
P.O. Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722

The Truic Flame Logo

For more information read our how to change registered agents in Pennsylvania guide.

Registered Agent FAQ

Do I need a registered agent in Pennsylvania?

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.

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.

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 a commercial registered agent?

Some states refer to registered agent services as commercial registered agents.

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.

How to Become a Registered Agent in Pennsylvania

To become a registered agent in Pennsylvania as an individual or business entity, you must: 

  1. Be over the age of 18.
  2. Have a street address in Pennsylvania.
  3. 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 Pennsylvania will send you official correspondence for annual reports, service of process, and other compliance information for the business you represent.

Pennsylvania Business Resources

Resources

Have a Question? Leave a Comment!