Everything You Need to Know About Registered Agents for Your LLC or Corporation

Registered agent requirements

Whether you’re thinking about starting your own business or already running one, it’s important to know the rules and requirements regarding Registered Agents. Every formal business entity in the United States, whether it’s an LLC, S corp or C corp, must have a Registered Agent. In this guide, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about getting a Registered Agent for your company, including what Registered Agents do, how to find one and what happens if you don’t have one.

What Is a Registered Agent?

A Registered Agent is an individual or business that receives important information, official documents and correspondence from the state government, federal governments and other agencies. They forward that information on to your LLC or corporation so you can respond to it appropriately.

What Does a Registered Agent Do?

A Registered Agent must be available to receive and sign for official correspondence during normal business hours. They will receive documents from official bodies and notify you, forwarding the information. The type of correspondence they receive includes:

  • 1

    Official letters and correspondence from your Secretary of State, Division of Corporations or other state government agency responsible for LLCs and corporations

  • 2

    Service of process notices (if your corporation or LLC is sued or needs to appear in court, for example)

  • 3

    Official federal government correspondence, information and notifications

  • 4

    Tax forms and requests for payment

  • 5

    Requests to complete permits, company filings or reports

Are There Other Names for a Registered Agent?

Registered Agents can be known by various names in each state. These names include:

Agent for Service of Process

Statutory Agent

Commercial Registered Agent

Resident Agent

Do I Need a Registered Agent?

All businesses that are formed as legal entities are required to name a Registered Agent. These types of businesses are:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • S Corporation
  • C Corporation
  • Limited Partnership (LP)
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • Nonprofit corporation, including a corporation using a 501(c)(3)

All of these business entities, regardless of the state they are registered in, must have a Registered Agent.

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What Are the Requirements for a Registered Agent?

Your secretary of state or division of corporations has certain requirements that apply to Registered Agents. Typically, they are:

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  • 1

    If the Registered Agent is an individual, they must reside in the same state where your organization conducts business.

  • 2

    If the Registered Agent is a business, they must be legally able to conduct business in the same state where your organization conducts business.

  • 3

    The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in the state (not a P.O. Box).

  • 4

    Your Registered Agent must be available during normal business hours to receive and sign for any correspondence.

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

If you do not assign or provide details of your organization's Registered Agent to the secretary of state, you could face significant problems, including:

Legal problems

Being served to appear in court and not knowing about it, resulting in a default judgment in your absence and other legal problems

Dissolving of the business

A loss of standing with the secretary of state that results in your business being dissolved due to failure to file official correspondence (like an Annual Report)

Losing your status as a legal business

Losing your status as a legal business, since a Registered Agent “proves” to the state that your business exists

Registered Agent Q&A

Everything you need to know before choosing the right registered agent for your company.

Incfile’s Free Registered Agent Service

In addition to $0 Business Formation, Incfile offers a complete, easy-to-use registered agent service for any business incorporated in any state in the U.S. It’s free for the first year, whether you formed your business with us or not (and just $119 annually after that).

We’re authorized to conduct business in every state and can legally act as your registered agent, wherever you are.

Always available registered agent

An always-available Registered Agent who will receive correspondence, documents and legal proceedings on your LLC’s or corporation’s behalf.

Digital dashboard

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

Email notifications

Email notification whenever we receive documents for your business.

Automatic forwarding

Automatic forwarding of all legal correspondence, documentation and information directly to you.

Order Registered Agent Service

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