A registered agent is a person or service who receives important legal documents for your business. It’s a requirement in most states for formal business entities like LLCs and corporations.
You can appoint yourself or someone in your company as the registered agent, but a professional service offers consistency and convenience. Plus, you can get the services you need at a competitive price.
Who is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is an individual or company that receives legal papers and government correspondence on behalf of a business entity. Although a business can designate itself as its own registered agent, it’s often better to use a professional service that’s experienced and reliable. This way, it’s more likely that important documents will get into the right hands.
Typically, you’ll designate your registered agent during the incorporation or registration process for a corporation or LLC. For a general partnership or sole proprietorship, you don’t need to designate one — but you still need to keep up with your tax obligations and other compliance filings.
The registered agent you choose — either an individual or professional service like CorpNet — must be located in the state where your business is registered. If your business expands into multiple states, you can use a national registered agent service like ours to make sure all important paperwork gets to the right place.
What is the Role of a Registered Agent?
A registered agent must be available to receive service of process notices, lawsuits and other important legal documents on behalf of a business entity. They must have a physical address in the state of registration and be open during normal business hours. P.O. boxes don’t qualify. An individual resident of the state or, in states that allow it, a domestic or foreign business entity authorized to do business in the state can serve as a registered agent, but most businesses hire a professional legal service to act on their behalf.
Some lenders and guarantors require a company’s registered agent be listed in loan or guarantee agreements. The information about a company’s registered agent is public record and accessible via business filing databases. Businesses that operate in multiple states or plan to expand across the country may want to consider hiring a national registered agent services provider so all important documents and notifications go to one address.
How Does a Registered Agent Help My Business?
In general, the purpose of a registered agent is to allow someone to receive legal papers on behalf of the business in the event of a lawsuit or other government action. This can save a business time and money by making sure that important documents aren’t missed.
In most states, you will be asked to list your registered agent on the initial business registration or incorporation paperwork. The agent can be an individual or a business service company. You may also be able to find national service companies that offer registered agent services in all 50 states.
Typically, the registered agent must have a physical address in the state of registration (P.O. boxes don’t count) and must be available during normal business hours to accept documents and correspondence on behalf of the business. A good registered agent should have experience handling business compliance filings and be able to provide fast and reliable service. They should also be a trusted partner for the life of your business.
How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?
Using a professional registered agent will protect your business from losing important legal paperwork due to lost mail or other unforseen circumstances. It will also help you avoid the costly fines that can come with missing filing deadlines.
Every state requires that a business have someone on record who can receive service of process, lawsuits or other official documents. While a business can technically appoint itself or another person in its company as the registered agent, it is better to use a service that specializes in this role.
Northwest is a recognized name in the industry and offers a basic registered agent service at an annual rate of $125 per state, with discounts available for larger companies who need services in multiple states. They have a reputation for excellent customer support, and additional services like report filing are available. Other options include ZenBusiness, IncFile and Harbor Compliance. They all have similar offerings and price points, but may vary slightly in terms of customer service and privacy policies.