Your Registered Agent, also called a Massachusetts Resident Agent, provides various services, including the acceptance of formal documents and correspondence from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth (SOC).

Your LLC must have a Registered Agent at all times. You appoint one when you first start your business. You can also replace your existing Massachusetts Resident Agent at a later date, provided there is a smooth transition between the old and new agents.

Note: Most states have a Secretary of State (SOS) to administer business formation, among other duties. Because Massachusetts is technically a commonwealth and not a state, this government entity is called the Secretary of the Commonwealth, or the Massachusetts SOC. We may use both terms interchangeably throughout this guide in an effort to accommodate those who may be unaware of this difference and are seeking information from the MA SOS.

Massachusetts Registered Agent Requirements

  • Every domestic and foreign corporation must maintain a Resident Agent with a registered office within the State of Massachusetts at all times.
  • The Registered Agent may be a natural person or a domestic or foreign (licensed to transact business in this state) artificial legal entity (Corporation, LLC, LP or LLP).
  • The registered office is required to be located at a street address (a P.O. Box alone is not acceptable) in the State of Massachusetts.
  • If the Registered Agent is a person, they must reside in Massachusetts.
  • If the Registered Agent is a business, they must be able to conduct business in Massachusetts.
  • The Registered Agent in Massachusetts must be available during normal business hours to sign for any official correspondence.

Note that the address for your Massachusetts Registered Agent doesn’t need to be the same as your business address. In fact, you may be able to use a Massachusetts virtual mailbox for your business address.

Important: A virtual mailbox is not a replacement for a Registered Agent. They perform two separate functions and per state law, you are required to have a Registered Agent.

What a Massachusetts Registered Agent Does

A Registered Agent’s primary job is to accept official correspondence and documents.

This includes:

  • Service of process notices (e.g., if your LLC is sued or required to appear in court)
  • Correspondence from the Massachusetts SOC
  • Tax forms and requests to file permits, company documentation and reports
  • Official state and federal government correspondence and notifications

Having a Registered Agent also provides proof to the state that your business exists.

Incfile Provides Free Massachusetts Registered Agent Service for the First Year

Incfile provides complete Massachusetts Registered Agent service for any LLC that’s formed in the state. Even better, if you form your business with Incfile, you get free Registered Agent service for the first year and only $119 per year after that.

We’re authorized to conduct business in Massachusetts and can legally act as your Resident Agent. Here’s what our Registered Agent service provides:

An always-available Massachusetts Resident Agent, who will receive correspondence, documents and legal proceedings on behalf of your LLC

A dashboard where you can access, store and retrieve any information we’ve received for your business online

Email notification when we receive documents on your behalf

Automatic, direct forwarding of all legal correspondence, documentation and information

Appointing a Registered Agent Service for Your LLC

When you first form your LLC, you must appoint a Resident Agent. You can change it at any point after that. Here’s how to go about it.

Assign a Resident Agent When You Form Your LLC

Your business must have a Registered Agent as soon as it’s formed. You can do this two ways:

1
File a Certificate of Organization with the Massachusetts SOC

When you formally create your business, you’re required to include your Registered Agent details in your Articles of Organization.

2
Form Your LLC Through Incfile and Get a Free Registered Agent

When you form your business through us, we’ll give you a free year of our Registered Agent service — and we’ll use your information to complete and file your Certificate of Organization for you.

Assign a Different Registered Agent After Formation

You can also change your Massachusetts Registered Agent after you’ve formed your LLC. There are a couple of ways to do this.

1
Assign a new Registered Agent Service and inform the Massachusetts SOC

Once you’ve chosen a new Registered Agent, complete and file a Statement of Change of Resident Agent/Resident Office available on the MA SOS website.

2
Use Incfile’s Registered Agent Service and We’ll File the Change on Your Behalf

When you sign up for our Registered Agent service, we’ll take care of all the form filling and filing for you. We’ll collect important information about your business, complete the form, then send it to the MA SOS. Then we’ll notify you once we officially become your Registered Agent.

Massachusetts Registered Agent Search

In some cases, you may want to know the name of the Resident Agent that represents another LLC in Massachusetts. This information is available in the business database of the Massachusetts SOC.

If you can’t find the information you need, you can request it through the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

What Happens If You Don’t Have a Registered Agent?

You may be subject to several possible consequences if you fail to secure a Resident Agent, including:

  • Getting served or sued and not discovering it until later. If your LLC is sued and you don’t know about it, you could lose to a default judgment for failure to appear.
  • Losing good standing with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. If you don’t respond to certain correspondence (like the request for your annual report), the state may revoke your right to do business.
  • Losing your status as an LLC in Massachusetts. A Registered Agent is evidence to the state that your business exists. Without it, you could lose your business entity protections and your LLC may be dissolved.

Acting as Your Own Registered Agent

If you have an in-state address, you're allowed to be the Registered Agent for your Massachusetts LLC. We don’t recommend this approach as there can be some downsides:

  • The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Massachusetts, so if your business is out of state, you don’t qualify.
  • You’re required to have someone on hand during business hours at the Massachusetts address to sign for important documents.
  • The Registered Agent’s name and address are part of the public record and available through the Secretary of the Commonwealth's website. If you prefer your name and address aren’t published, you should use a Resident Agent service.
  • If you change your business address or move out of the state, you need to file additional documentation for the new address. This wouldn’t be necessary if you used a Registered Agent service, making a move or address change much simpler.

Other Useful Resources

FAQs About Massachusetts
Registered Agents

Do I Need to Appoint a Massachusetts Registered Agent?

Yes. All business entities in Massachusetts are required to do so. This is mandated by the Massachusetts SOC. You'll find more information above.

When Should I Assign a Registered Agent?

You must assign a Registered Agent when you form your Massachusetts business with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. You can change your agent afterward by filing the correct form. If you form your business through Incfile, we’ll file all the necessary forms on your behalf. Find more information above.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in Massachusetts?

Yes, but we don’t recommend it for the reasons listed above.

Does the Registered Agent for my Massachusetts-Based LLC Need to have an Address in Massachusetts?

Yes. Additionally, if they are a business providing Resident Agent services, they must be legally able to conduct business in your state. You'll find more information above.

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