How to Be Your Own Registered Agent in Florida
One of the aspects of forming an LLC in Florida or any other state is deciding who will serve as the company’s Registered Agent. You might be wondering, “Can I be my own Registered Agent for my Florida LLC?” The short answer is “Yes,” and the longer answer is “Yes…but it’s complicated!”
If you want to be your own Florida LLC Registered Agent, you need to be aware of a few possible risks and downsides, and decide whether you really have the time and capacity to be a Florida Registered Agent in addition to running your business.
What Does It Mean to Be a Florida Registered Agent?
Basically, when you serve as the Registered Agent for an LLC in Florida, it means you’re the designated point of contact who is available to receive official legal notices for your business. It’s an important responsibility, and not every LLC owner is able to handle it themselves or wants to spend the time to be the Registered Agent for their own business.
To be a Florida Registered Agent, you need to comply with state-specific requirements:
- The Registered Agent for a Florida LLC must be an individual person or a designated Florida business – a Florida business cannot serve as its own Registered Agent.
- The Florida Registered Agent must have a street address, not a P.O. Box.
What Does a Florida LLC Registered Agent Help With?
You might be wondering whether it’s really necessary to have a Florida Registered Agent, or if you can just handle the duties yourself. Keep in mind that there are several types of business-critical documents and legal notices that your Florida LLC might receive, and many of them require immediate or time-sensitive responses.
Your Florida Registered Agent can help you stay up-to-date and aware of any urgent situations with your business, such as:
- Official documents, notices and correspondence from the Florida Secretary of State
- Service of process notices (in case someone sues your business or if you are summoned to appear in court)
- Notifications and correspondence from the federal government or Florida state government
- Tax forms, requests for business permits and other company filings and reports
What Are the Risks of Serving as Your Own Florida LLC Registered Agent?
It’s true that as a Florida LLC owner, if you permanently reside in Florida, you can choose to serve as your own Registered Agent. But there are a few potential risks and downsides to handling this role by yourself:
- Your name and address will be a public record: As a Registered Agent, your name and address are required to be published as public information. If you would prefer to preserve your privacy and confidentiality, hiring a Registered Agent service allows you to protect your identity in this way.
- You’ll get lots of junk mail: As a Registered Agent for an LLC, you can expect to receive a lot more business junk mail from various companies that are trying to sell products or services to your business. It can be harder to get off of mailing lists for B2B sales than it is as a regular individual consumer; if you’d rather not sort through piles of junk mail, hiring a Registered Agent service for your Florida LLC might be a better solution.
- You may forget business filing deadlines: What if you receive an urgent notice from the secretary of state, and it gets lost in the shuffle of your daily business operations? A Registered Agent service can help ensure that your urgent business filing deadlines don’t fall through the cracks.
- You might miss a court date: Getting sued is one of the worst-case scenarios for every small business owner. If it happens to you, a Registered Agent service can help make sure you promptly receive the service of legal process. This is the official “notice” and summons from a court that notifies you of your lawsuit and gives you an opportunity to appear in court to defend your company. A Registered Agent service will receive and promptly forward any service of process notices to you, which helps make sure you appear in court to defend yourself and avoid losing a default judgment if you’re absent.
If you are a permanent resident of Florida, you can be your own Registered Agent for your Florida LLC. But before you decide to do it alone, be sure to consider the time investment, complexity, and possible expenses that can be incurred by not using a Florida Registered Agent service for your LLC.
Many small business owners know the value of outsourcing and getting help with various administrative tasks, freeing up their time to do what they do best and invest their energy into running their business. A Registered Agent service can do the same. For a small annual fee, Incfile offers a Registered Agent service that helps Florida LLC owners get the peace of mind of knowing that this essential aspect of doing business in Florida is already covered — while helping to preserve their privacy. If you’re starting a business with Incfile, your first year of Registered Agent service is included at no cost.