Why Does My LLC Need a Registered Agent?
All 50 states require you to assign a Registered Agent to be available to receive legal documents for your business, such as government correspondence, subpoenas and tax notices. Depending on what state you’re in, these documents may need to be delivered in person, so having a Registered Agent is key. Does your business operate in multiple states? You’ll need an agent for each one.
Are you a sole proprietorship or partnership? You’re off the hook — these business structures don’t need a Registered Agent.
What Happens If I Don’t Have a Registered Agent?
Not having a Registered Agent is bad news for LLCs and corporations. First off, your Articles of Incorporation won’t be approved by the state without one. Then, any of the following could happen:
Have we convinced you of how crucial this role is yet? Now let’s move on to what an agent actually does.
What Does a Registered Agent Do?
It’s not complicated. Your Registered Agent has one primary function — to receive and sign official legal correspondence. These documents may include:
Official letters and correspondence from your Secretary of State, Division of Corporations or other state government agency responsible for LLCs and corporations.
Receive service of process notices (if your corporation or LLC is sued or needs to appear in court, for example).
Official federal government correspondence, information and notifications.
Tax forms and requests for payment.
Requests to complete permits, company filings or reports.
Note that you may see Registered Agents referred to as the following — but rest assured, it’s all the same role!
Agent for Service of Process
Commercial Registered Agent
Four Key Requirements
Luckily, there isn’t a laundry list of requirements for your Registered Agent. Whether a person or a business, they must:
Yes! You can act as your own Registered Agent for your LLC. This can save you the cost of using a service, but there are a few things you should consider first, including potential risks and complications.
If you use your home address, it will be publicly available. You’ll need to promptly submit notice of a change of address if you move and pay a fee each time your address changes. If you live outside of the state your business is in, you won’t be able to use your physical address. You’ll also need to be available during regular business hours, which may not be feasible depending on your lifestyle and other responsibilities.
Yes, you can designate a family member to be your Registered Agent. This may be an enticing idea if you’re not available during regular business hours or if you’d like to go on a vacation without worrying about missing important documents. However, if the family member becomes unavailable and you miss correspondence, you could risk the ramifications listed above, like falling out of good standing.
For these reasons, we suggest you consider a third-party service.
A Registered Agent service is well worth it, saving you time and giving you peace of mind. Using a service like Incfile’s saves you the hassle of managing official correspondence. We’ll protect your privacy by using our physical address rather than yours if you were to act as your own agent. We’re licensed to operate a business in every state, giving you more location flexibility.
If you prefer to be hands-on, don’t worry — all correspondence will be forwarded to your private email address so you’ll always stay up to date on what’s happening. Get started with us today in minutes.