If you are planning to start a business, one of the key tasks you’ll need to tackle is designating a Registered Agent. But what is a Registered Agent? What do they do? What types of businesses need a Registered Agent? More importantly, will your business need one? And if so, how do you find a Registered Agent for your small business?
There is also a lot of confusion when it comes to having a Registered Agent. We'll address five common myths on this topic and how Incfile can serve as your Registered Agent.
What Does a Registered Agent Do?
Also referred to as a Statutory Agent, Agent of Service of Process or Commercial Registered Agent, a Registered Agent can either be an individual or business whose main duty is to accept all of your important documents and mailings sent by the state and federal government. The Registered Agent will then forward that information to you and send reminders to make sure that you respond to all important filings and government requests and do not miss any deadlines. These mailings and requests can even include lawsuits and legal summonses.
One of the main requirements for your Registered Agent is that they have a physical address where your documents can be delivered. The second key task is that your Register Agent is available to receive all important correspondence designated for your business during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.). Registered Agents must also be located in the state where you formed your business. And it’s important to point out that a P.O. Box is not considered a physical address and cannot be used as a location for your Registered Agent.
If you are a business owner looking to form a business entity in a state, then you must have a designated Registered Agent when you apply for your business formation.
What Types of Entities Can Incfile Be a Registered Agent For?
Incfile offers a Registered Agent service in all 50 states and for all types of business entities — LLCs, S Corps, C Corps and nonprofits. We can legally act as your Registered Agent in your state of formation.
The benefits of using a Registered Agent service are widespread for a business owner. You'll get an always-available agent who will handle all your documents and automatic mail forwarding. Additionally, you'll get an online dashboard where you can see any information we've received for your business, and you'll get a notification via email or text whenever these documents arrive.
By using a Registered Agent service for your entity type, you'll be sure to never miss any legal or tax correspondence, and you'll keep your personal or business address private.
Five Myths about Registered Agents
Unfortunately, many people may still get confused as to why they need Registered Agent services and the role this function would play in their business. To help clear up some of the misinformation, here are five of the most popular myths regarding Registered Agents, along with a brief explanation that will hopefully add some clarity and highlight the value and importance of this service.
Myth #1: Registered Agents are the hyped-up mail carriers of the business world.
Some may wonder if they really need a mail service just for their important correspondence. Is it really necessary? Fact is, when it comes to receiving mail from the state or federal government or dealing with a legal matter related to your business, you want to make sure that nothing gets lost in the mail or neglected on your desk. Government notifications and filings, tax documents and even court summons are important correspondence and there needs to be a process in place where these documents reach you. Neglecting to respond to a notification or lawsuit or failing to meet filing deadlines can cost you money in penalties and fees and even put the standing of your business at risk with possible dissolution.
Myth #2: It would be cheaper if I acted as my own Registered Agent.
Although you can act as your own Registered Agent, it may not be cheaper than what a dedicated and reliable service would provide. In fact, it may just be an overall bad idea to act as your own Registered Agent. Running a business takes a lot of time and energy, and there are many tasks that will need your attention throughout the workday. Being available just to receive your important correspondence may not be the best use of your time. And don’t forget, you need to be at an actual physical address throughout the business day to receive your important mail. And think about it: Would you really want to be in your store or office if you were to get served with legal papers?
Myth #3: I do not need a Registered Agent for my business.
All legal business entities require a Registered Agent. This also includes online businesses that do not have an actual physical address. Don’t forget that when you do form your business entity, you will need to provide the name and address of your Registered Agent. The added bonus here is that you are also provided with privacy if you choose someone other than yourself. (See response to Myth #2 regarding being served papers in front of clients or customers at your place of work.)
Myth #4: I can use the same agent in multiple states.
Your Registered Agent must be located in the state where you are conducting business. If you run a business in more than one state, you will need a Registered Agent for each of those states. Your LLC should be registered in each state where it owns property or is doing business.
Myth #5: Registered Agents can be expensive.
The average cost for a Registered Agent is a few hundred dollars each year. That's less than a dollar a day! And if you have yet to incorporate your business, Incfile's Registered Agent service is free for the first year if you form your business entity with us. Our service will handle all of your documents; provide email notifications when documents are received, automatic mail forwarding and an online dashboard to access all your important documents. After the first year (free), the cost will only be $119.
How Do I Get a Registered Agent?
Incfile has helped more than 800,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners get started. If you're ready to register your business, consider Incfile's Registered Agent service that's free for one full year if you start your business with us. Our Registered Agent service offers clients access to an easy-to-navigate digital dashboard, providing access to all time-sensitive and important documents.
Peter Mavrikis is an author and editor with over 25 years of experience in publishing. He has worked as the Editorial Director for Barron’s Educational Series, as well as Kaplan Test Prep, where he ran the test prep, foreign language, and study guide divisions. Peter has also written several books on history, exploration, science, and technology.