Although a company’s registered agent can be the owner of a business, it is not considered an owner. We recommend hiring a registered agent service rather than acting as your own registered agent.
In this article, we’ll explain what a registered agent is, who can be one, and the pros and cons of being your own registered agent.
What Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is a person or entity that a company designates to receive official government documents and other important papers like a court summons, tax filings, or correspondence from the Secretary of State. A registered agent also helps businesses comply with filing deadlines and other rules.
Who Can Be a Registered Agent?
Anyone can be a registered agent if they meet the state’s requirements. These vary from state to state, but generally, a registered agent is someone who:
- Is 18 years or older
- Has a physical address (i.e., not just a P.O. box) in the state where the business is formed
- Is available (in person) during normal business hours (i.e., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday)
Should an Owner Be a Registered Agent?
An owner can be a registered agent if they meet the criteria above. Although this approach will save a little money on fees for registered agent service, it has several hidden costs to be aware of. In particular:
- It will cost you time that you could be using to develop your business.
- Missing a court summons (service of process) if you can’t be reached could mean that a default judgment will be entered against you.
- Not being available to receive other important documents or missing filing deadlines that a registered agent service would remind you of could result in fines.
Benefits of Using a Registered Agent Service
In addition to avoiding the hidden costs listed above, there are several other advantages of using a registered agent service – like ZenBusines– including:
- Compliance with the law
- Peace of mind
Compliance With the Law
Registered agent services help companies comply with state requirements by sending periodic filing reminders. This helps you avoid legal fees, penalties, and other sanctions. A professional service can:
- Help you find accountants and legal professionals in your state.
- Keep copies of your corporate documents in case they are lost due to theft, natural disaster, or anything else.
Peace of Mind
Running a business takes time, energy, and attention. A registered agent service gives you peace of mind by allowing you to:
- Prioritize growing your business.
- Keep business and personal mail separate to maintain a work-life balance.
- Provide additional support if your business runs into a problem or if any questions arise.
A registered agent has to be available during standard business hours to receive documents at the address provided. A registered agent service lets you:
- Maintain flexible business hours. You can choose your own hours instead of having to be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day to receive documents.
- Form an LLC in one or more other states. A registered agent must have a legal residence in the state where the business is formed. Hiring a national registered agent service will let you form an LLC in any of the 50 states.
A registered agent’s address is a matter of public record, so if you work out of your home, your home address will be listed. A registered agent service protects your privacy by:
- Keeping you from being served with a lawsuit in front of your family, employees, or customers.
- Publicizing their address instead of yours, which will cut down on the amount of unsolicited mail you receive.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a registered agent the same as the owner?
A registered agent can be the owner of a company, but it doesn’t have to be. A registered agent is any person or entity that meets the state’s criteria for a registered agent and is designated to receive a company’s official documents.
What does registered agent name mean?
The registered agent name is simply the name of the person or entity designated as a company’s registered agent.
Who qualifies as a registered agent?
Anyone who is 18 years of age or older, has a physical address in the state where a company was formed, and is available to receive official government documents during normal business hours qualifies as a registered agent. A business entity can also qualify if it has personnel who meet the above criteria and is licensed to operate in the state.