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What Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is a person or company authorized to accept legal documents, tax documents, official correspondence, and other important documents on behalf of your business. A registered agent is also known as a resident agent or statutory agent.
Most states require LLCs to designate a registered agent. The registered agent can be a professional service, the LLC’s owner, or another individual the owner feels comfortable with, as long as they meet the state's criteria.
Registered agent services offer a number of benefits. To explore your options, check out our Best Registered Agent Services review.
For more information on registered agents, see our guide What is a Registered Agent?
What Is the Purpose of a Registered Agent?
A registered agent acts as a company’s main point of contact for process servers and other government officials. Someone representing your company must be reachable at all times during business hours, and the registered agent serves in that role.
Without a registered agent, you are much more likely to miss important documents from the government or a third party, such as tax documents, official government correspondence, or a summons (notice of a lawsuit). This could result in fines or other legal sanctions against your company.
When Do I Choose a Registered Agent?
In most states, an LLC, partnership, or corporation must designate a registered agent at the formation stage. As such, when the company chooses a business structure, it will also be required to add a registered agent when it files its Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State or other appropriate government agency.
Things to Consider as an Owner Acting as a Registered Agent
The owner of an LLC, or any other individual, can act as the LLC’s registered agent if they:
- Are 18 years or older
- Have a physical address (not a P.O. box) in the state where business is conducted
- Are available in person during normal business hours
However, there are several things an owner should consider before deciding to act as their LLC’s registered agent. These include:
- Time Requirements
For more information about being your own registered agent as well as the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, check out our Can I Be My Own Registered Agent? guide.
The physical address of a registered agent is a matter of public record. This means your home address will be listed if you act as your LLC’s registered agent and work out of your home, which presents privacy concerns.
If you work out of an office and list that as the registered agent’s address, this avoids some privacy concerns but adds others. In particular, you may not want someone coming to your office in the middle of a workday and serving a lawsuit or delivering other sensitive documents in front of your employees.
If you act as your LLC’s registered agent, you will need to be available every day during business hours to receive and sign for documents. This requires time that you could be spending on other business matters.
Should You Hire a Registered Agent Service?
Designating someone else to serve as a registered agent for your LLC or corporation has its benefits. In this section, we cover the major advantages of using an affordable, national, third-party registered agent service officer—like ZenBusiness or Incfile—such as:
- Compliance with the Law
- Peace of Mind
Visit our Should I Use a Registered Agent Service guide for help with making the right choice for your business.
Compliance With the Law
One of the main benefits of hiring a registered agent is that they will help you stay up-to-date on state regulatory requirements, such as deadlines for annual report filings. A registered agent can also help you keep copies of your corporate documents as well as help you find accountants and attorneys.
All of these services will help your LLC stay on the right side of the law and avoid fines and lawsuits.
Peace of Mind
By hiring a registered agent, you can have peace of mind that your company is meeting legal requirements that you otherwise would have to keep track of yourself. This allows you to focus on other priorities, such as growing your business.
A professional registered agent will always be available during business hours every day of the year to receive important documents. This gives you more flexibility in choosing your own work hours.
Moreover, hiring a national registered agent service will let you form an LLC in any of the 50 states.
Hiring a registered agent will keep you from being served with a lawsuit or having to sign for other sensitive documents in person. In addition, you won’t have to publicly list your home address.
LLC Owner Registered Agent Frequently Asked Questions
Is a registered agent necessary?
Most states require you to designate a registered agent for your LLC, partnership, or corporation when forming your business. After choosing your business structure, you will be expected to add a registered agent office when you file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State or other official government agency.
Can the organizer of an LLC be the registered agent?
It depends on the state. In some states, the organizer of an LLC can also be the registered agent.
Does Registered Agent mean owner?
No. A registered agent is a person or entity that a company designates to receive official legal documents such as court papers. It could be the owner, but it doesn’t have to be.
Can a registered agent sign on behalf of an LLC?
A registered agent may not sign official documents on behalf of an LLC unless the LLC’s operating agreement explicitly states that the registered agent is authorized to do so. However, a registered agent can sign for the receipt of official documents on behalf of the LLC.