Corporation Registered Agent

A corporation’s registered agent allows the government to reach your company and deliver official documents like tax forms and service of process during normal business hours.

In most cases, states require businesses, including corporations, to designate a registered agent per state regulations. This guide will discuss what a registered agent for a corporation does, who can be a registered agent, and why you might want to hire a registered agent service.


What Is the Purpose of a Registered Agent?

A registered agent, known in some states as a resident agent, statutory agent, or agent for service of process, is an individual or entity that a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) chooses to receive service of process, government correspondence, and compliance documents on behalf of the business. These documents may include:

  • Legal documents
  • Tax forms
  • Summons (service of process), which is a notice of a lawsuit
  • Official correspondence from the government

A registered agent also helps with business compliance issues by sending reminders of filing deadlines and forwarding legal notices. This allows you to take timely, appropriate action.

How Does a Corporation Designate and Change Its Registered Agent?

In most states, you must designate a registered agent for your corporation when forming your business. During the filing process, you must provide a registered agent and/or a registered office when you file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State or equivalent government agency.

A registered agent can also be changed using a form the state provides for this purpose.

Can a Corporate Shareholder Be a Registered Agent?

A shareholder of a corporation can be a registered agent as long as they meet the criteria. In general, to be a registered agent, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Have a physical address (not just a P.O. box) in the state where the business is formed
  • Be available in person to receive documents during normal business hours (i.e., Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Check out our Who Can Be a Registered Agent? and Is a Registered Agent Considered an Owner? guide to learn more. Alternatively, you can use a registered agent service.

Should a Corporation Use a Registered Agent Service?

There are definite advantages to using an affordable, national, third-party registered agent service like ZenBusiness or Incfile. These include:

  • Compliance with the law
  • Peace of mind
  • Flexibility
  • Privacy

Learn more in our guide Should I Use a Registered Agent Service?

Compliance With the Law

A registered agent helps you stay up to date on ever-changing legal and regulatory requirements for your business by reminding you of filing deadlines such as annual report filings.

In addition, a registered agent can keep copies of your important corporate documents. This could be crucial if the originals are lost in a fire, flood, etc.

Peace of Mind

Using registered agent service means you don’t have to worry about missing filing deadlines or important documents. Instead, you can focus on growing your business.

Flexibility

A registered agent must be available during normal business hours to receive official documents. Hiring a service allows you to keep irregular hours if you wish.

Privacy

A registered agent’s physical address must be made public, which you may not want if you have a home-based business. Using a registered agent service solves this privacy issue because the service’s address will be listed rather than yours.

If you have a separate office, a registered agent service will keep you from being served with a lawsuit or having sensitive documents delivered there in front of your employees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a corporation or LLC act as its own registered agent?

A corporation or LLC can act as its own registered agent. However, to save time, increase flexibility, and help with corporate compliance, we recommend hiring a registered agent service.

What are the risks of being a registered agent?

Being your own registered agent carries risks. In particular, you might miss filing deadlines or service of process, which could result in fines or a default judgment against you. You also might not be available to receive official government documents when they are delivered, which could also result in fines.

Using a registered agent service

Using a registered agent service like ZenBusiness is relatively easy and inexpensive. Fees range from about $120 to $300 a year, depending on the company, and a host of useful related services are often available for an extra charge.

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