Why Your California Corporation Needs a Registered Agent Service

The California Secretary of State requires every CA corporation to have a Registered Agent. Once you have assigned a California Registered Agent, they can receive official correspondence and documents on behalf of your CA business. Registered Agents can be individuals or other specialized Registered Agent service businesses.

  • If you choose a person as a Registered Agent, he or she must reside in California
  • If you choose a business as a Registered Agent, they must be able to conduct business in California
  • Your Registered Agent must have a physical street address (not a P.O. Box)
  • They must be available in person to sign for any delivered correspondence during normal business hours

Incorporate your S Corporation or C Corporation through us to get your first year of Registered Agent services for free.

Information on the California Secretary of State and CA Registered Agent Services

Registered Agents in California are known as “Agents for Service of Process.” Here’s some important information from the California Secretary of State on CA Registered Agent services.

“An agent for service of process is an individual who resides in California, or a corporation, designated to accept service of process (court papers) if the business entity is sued. If a corporation is designated as agent for service of process, that corporation must have previously filed a certificate pursuant to California Corporations Code section 1505.”

What a CA Registered Agent Does for Your Corporation

What can your corporation expect from your California Registered Agent? Their main function is to accept official documents and correspondence from the CA Secretary of State that will affect your corporation. This includes:

  • Correspondence from the California Secretary of State
  • Service of process notices (e.g., if your CA corporation is sued or required to appear in court)
  • Official California state and federal government correspondence and notifications
  • Tax forms and requests to complete permits, company filings and reports

Why Assigning Yourself as the California Registered Agent for Your Corporation Might Be a Bad Idea

You can choose to act as your own CA Registered Agent for your California S Corp or C Corp.

  • The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in California. Some people establish corporations outside of California and will need to use a Registered Agent service to provide the address.
  • A person must always be available to sign for legal correspondence during business hours. If you can’t always be around, consider using a third-party Registered Agent service like Incfile.
  • The Registered Agent’s name and CA address are part of the public record and available through the California Secretary of State website. If you would prefer your name and address aren’t published, you might choose a Registered Agent service.
  • If you change your California business address or move out of state, you won’t need to file additional documentation with the secretary of state for the new address of your Registered Agent if using a service. You will need to set up a new Registered Agent service in the new state.

There are more considerations, but this should help you with your decision to use a Registered Agent service.

Possible Outcomes of Not Assigning a Registered Agent for Your California Corporation

What happens if you choose not to assign or provide details of a Registered Agent to the California Secretary of State? There are several possible ramifications, including:

  • Getting served or sued and not finding out about it: If your California corporation is sued and you don’t know about it, you could lose to a default judgment in your absence.
  • Falling out of good standing with the California Secretary of State: If you don’t respond to certain correspondence (like the request for your Annual Report), certain states may revoke your right to do business.
  • Losing your status as a California corporation: A CA Registered Agent “proves” to the state that your business exists. Without it, you could lose your business entity protections and your California corporation may be dissolved.

Incfile Provides a Free California Corporation Registered Agent Service for the First Year

If you have an S Corporation or C Corporation that’s incorporated in California and you need a CA Registered Agent, we can help. Incfile provides a complete Registered Agent service for any California corporation. If you form your business through Incfile, we’ll act as your Registered Agent free for your first year (normally a $119 annual cost).

We are authorized to conduct business in California and can legally act as your Registered Agent for your CA corporation. Here’s what you need to know about Incfile’s CA Registered Agent service for corporations:

  • The Registered Agent will always be available to accept documents and letters on your behalf
  • We automatically notify you whenever we receive correspondence for your business from the California Secretary of State or anyone else
  • We scan your correspondence and upload it to a dashboard, so you can review it when convenient
  • We forward all correspondence to an address you choose

Form your C Corporation or S Corporation with us today to get your first year of Registered Agent service for free, including easy access to our comprehensive online dashboard.

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Fees and Requirements in California


State fee

State filing time

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Filing Time and Price

The state charges this amount to file a new business entity. This fee goes directly to the Secretary of State.

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Compliance Requirements

This report is mandatory and must be filed within the specified time frame in order for the entity to remain in good standing with the state. Failure to file this report can lead to the company being revoked or administratively dissolved.

Other State Requirements

Learn more about starting a business in California

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