A CA Agent for Service of Process provides various services, such as accepting formal documents and correspondence from the California Sec State.
Your corporation must have California Registered Agent services at all times. You appoint one when you first start your business. You can also replace your existing Registered Agent after formation, provided there is no period during which your business is without an Agent for Service of Process.
The address for your California Registered Agent doesn't need to be the same as your business address. In fact, you can use a California virtual mailbox for your business address.
Important: A virtual mailbox is not a replacement for an Agent for Service of Process. They perform two separate functions and per state law, you are required to have a Registered Agent.
What California Registered Agents Do
The primary function of an Agent for Service of Process is to accept official correspondence and documentation, including but not limited to:
- State and federal government correspondence and notices
- Service of process notices (e.g., if your corporation is sued or required to appear in court)
- Correspondence from the California Sec State
- Tax forms and requests to complete permits, company filings and reports
Having a Registered Agent also allows you to prove to the state that your business exists.
Incfile Provides Free California Registered Agent Services for the First Year
Incfile provides complete Registered Agent services for any CA corporation formed in the state. Even better, if you form your corporation through Incfile, your Registered Agent is completely free for the first year and only $119 a year after that.
Incfile is authorized to conduct business in California and able to legally act as your Registered Agent. Here’s what our CA Agent for Service of Process services include:
Appointing a Registered Agent for Your Corporation
When you're setting up a corporation in California, you must appoint an Agent for Service of Process at that time. You can change the agent at any time after that. Here’s how.
Assign a Registered Agent When You Form Your Corporation
Your business needs to have a Registered Agent as soon as it’s formed. You can do this two ways:
When you create your business, you must include Agent for Service of Process information in your Articles of Incorporation.
If you form your business through us, you’ll get our Registered Agent service free for one year. We’ll use the information you provide to complete and file your Articles of Incorporation for you.
Assign a New Registered Agent After Incorporation
You can also assign someone else as your CA Agent for Service of Process after you’ve incorporated. There are a couple of ways to do this.
Once you’ve chosen a new Registered Agent, you update the change when you file your Statement of Information with the Secretary of State. You can make your filing online within your corporation's six-month filing window.
When you use our Registered Agent service, we take care of all the forms for you. We’ll collect the pertinent information about your business, complete the appropriate paperwork and send it to the California Sec State on your behalf. We’ll notify you when we officially become your Agent for Service of Process.
Search for a California Registered Agent
In some situations, you may need to know the name of the Registered Agent that represents another CA corporation. You'll find this information in the state's business database.
If you can’t find the Registered Agent information there, you can request it from the Secretary of State.
What Happens If You Don’t Have a Registered Agent?
Acting as Your Own Registered Agent
You can be the Agent for Service of Process for your California corporation if you have a business office in the state. There can be some drawbacks to this approach:
Other Useful Resources
FAQs About California Registered Agents
Yes. All business entities are required to have an Agent for Service of Process (Registered Agent). This is mandated by the California Sec State. You'll find more information above.
You must assign a Registered Agent when you form your business with the Secretary of State. You can change your agent afterward by updating the information in your annual Statement of Information. If you form your business through Incfile, we’ll file all the necessary forms on your behalf. You'll find more information above.
Yes, but we don’t recommend it for the reasons listed above.
Yes. And if you use a company as your Registered Agent, that company must be legally able to conduct business in the state. You'll find more information above.