What Is the Purpose of a Registered Agent?
Registered agents are sometimes called resident agents or statutory agents. They are people or entities that S Corps or LLCs designate to receive service of process, government correspondence, and compliance documents on behalf of the business. These documents can include, for example:
- Legal documents
- Tax forms
- Summons (service of process), which is a notice of a lawsuit
- Official correspondence from the government
A registered agent can also help your business comply with applicable laws and regulations forwarding legal notices and sending reminders of filing deadlines. This allows you to take appropriate action in a timely manner.
How Does an S Corp Designate and Change Its Registered Agent?
In most states, an LLC, partnership, or corporation must designate a registered agent at the formation stage. After choosing your business structure, you must add a registered agent office when you file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State or other official government agency. A registered agent can be changed later on using a form that the state provides.
Can an S Corp Owner Be a Registered Agent?
As the owner of an S corp, you can be your company’s registered agent. In fact, generally speaking, anyone who meets the following criteria can be a registered agent:
- 18 years of age or older
- Physical address in the state where the business is formed
- Availability to receive documents in person during standard business hours.
Should an S Corp Use a Registered Agent Service?
Although you can serve as your own registered agent, there are definite advantages to choosing someone else. Below, we cover the major advantages of using an affordable, national, third-party registered agent service. These include:
- Compliance With the Law
- Peace of Mind
For more information, see our guide Should I Use a Registered Agent Service?
Compliance With the Law
It can be difficult and time consuming to keep up with all the laws and regulations that affect your business. A registered agent can help with this by sending reminders of filing deadlines such as annual report filings.
A registered agent can also store copies of important company documents in case the originals are destroyed or stolen.
Peace of Mind
A professional, third-party registered agent helps you focus on growing your business while letting someone else handle official paperwork. That way, you don’t have to spend time and energy keeping track of things like filing deadlines.
A registered agent is required to be available during normal business hours so that official documents can be delivered. If this doesn’t work with your schedule, that’s a good reason to hire a registered agent service.
States require the physical addresses of registered agents to be listed publicly. Hiring a registered agent service will keep your home address out of the public eye if you work out of your home.
Alternatively, if you have a separate office, a court summons or other sensitive documents will be delivered to your registered agent’s office, rather than to your office in front of your employees or customers.
S Corp Registered Agent Frequently Asked Questions
Can an S Corp or LLC act as its own registered agent?
An S Corp 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 judgement against you. You also might not be available to receive official government documents when they are delivered, which could also result in fines.
What are the costs of using a registered agent service?
The costs of using a registered agent service range from about $50 to $300 a year, depending on the company, and a host of useful related services are often available for an extra charge.