Whether you’ve made a single-member limited liability company (LLC), a partnership LLC, or a multi-member LLC, you’ll need a registered agent. The registered agent functions as the trusted point of contact that ensures the public and the government can reach your business during normal business hours. Many small business owners wonder, “Do I need a registered agent for my LLC?” The answer is “Yes!” Read on to understand LLC business requirements to maintain a registered agent.
What Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent or resident agent is the official point of contact for an LLC listed on the public record. The registered agent is usually registered with the Secretary of State, where the LLC or any other business entity was created or operates.
A registered agent must have a registered address, which is the official address for the delivery of official documents like tax documents, annual reports, or legal summons. A registered agent is responsible for relaying messages to business owners in a timely manner. Even if you’ve made a simple, do-it-yourself LLC, you must appoint a registered agent.
Do You Need a Registered Agent for Your LLC?
Yes, you must have a registered agent for your LLC. Generally, the Secretary of State will reject an LLC filing if you don’t have a registered agent. If you do business in another state, you’ll need a registered agent in that state as well. Whether you’re a creator with an LLC or have an LLC as a non-US resident, you’ll need a registered agent.
While laws vary by state, all 50 states require business entities to maintain an LLC. In most states, the LLC members or business owners may function as the LLC’s registered agent. You can also appoint another business or resident of the state to act as a registered agent. Or, you can hire a professional registered agent service for around $50 to $150 per year.
Who Can Be a Registered Agent for Your LLC?
State laws vary on precisely who can be a registered agent for your LLC. In most states, the registered agent may be a state resident or business licensed to operate in the state. In some cases, the Secretary of State will function as the registered agent for a foreign LLC.
The registered agent must maintain a registered office with someone available during regular business hours. In all states, you can be the registered agent yourself as the LLC owner. You can also choose to list an employee, trusted friend, or business contact who operates in the state. Or, you can hire a professional registered agent service.
Key qualifications required to be a registered agent include:
- Business address: All registered agents must have a physical street address in the state with someone available during regular business hours. This ensures that process servers can deliver legal summons or other important legal documents.
- Residence: A registered agent must be a person who is a resident of the state or a business operating in the state.
- Other requirements: Most states require the registered agent’s consent for the role. Some states may allow the Secretary of State to function as a registered agent in certain cases, although most require you to appoint a separate registered agent.
4 Reasons Why Should Consider Hiring a Registered Agent Service
If you’re considering hiring a registered agent service, here are key considerations:
1. Compliance with State Requirements
Most states require LLCs to have a registered agent with a physical office address in the state where the LLC is registered. If you operate your LLC in a state where you do not have a physical presence, you will need to hire a registered agent service to fulfill this requirement.
This ensures that the state government and the public can easily reach your company. It also facilitates communication as many registered agent services will scan and email important documents, so you receive them quickly.
2. Privacy Protection
A registered agent’s address is made publicly available, and they receive legal notices and other important documents on behalf of the LLC. Hiring a registered agent service can help protect your privacy by ensuring your personal address is not associated with public records.
This adds an extra layer of liability protection and privacy for LLC owners. It also means that in the event of a court case, your home address isn’t associated with the proceedings.
3. Continuous Availability
A registered agent must be available during regular business hours to receive legal documents and other official notices on behalf of the LLC. A registered agent service can ensure you never miss important notifications if you do not have a dedicated staff or office to handle this responsibility.
For a fee of $50 to $150 a year, you can hire a registered agent service that is available during regular business hours. This is a cost-effective solution for business owners who might not be continuously available or have the budget for full-time employees.
4. Professional Representation
A registered agent service can provide a level of professionalism and credibility to your LLC. Having a reputable and experienced registered agent can enhance your company’s image and reputation among clients, partners, and other stakeholders. It also ensures that you don’t miss important information and can respond promptly to any inquiries or issues that arise.
What Happens If You Don’t Have a Registered Agent for Your LLC?
If you don’t have a registered agent for your LLC when you file for LLC creation, the Secretary of State in most states will reject your LLC formation documents. After LLC creation, the consequences of failing to retain a registered agent vary by state. You might face fines, penalties, fees, or dissolution of the business. Hiring a professional service is an inexpensive solution to avoid the consequences of failing to keep a registered agent.
Get Peace of Mind With a Registered Agent
You need a registered agent for your LLC to perform a crucial business function. As a business owner, you also need professional help to focus on your core business and build market share. A registered agent service can serve as the reliable point of contact for the business to ensure you don’t miss important documents.
Likewise, Doola Bookkeeping Services offer exceptional accounting services for busy founders like you. Get doola books to save time on accounting and free yourself to focus on expanding your LLC to another state or capturing new market opportunities.
Can you use a virtual office or PO Box as your registered agent’s address?
No, you cannot use a virtual office or a PO box as the registered agent’s address. You must have a physical address with someone available during business hours.
Will you be notified when the documents are received by your registered agent?
Yes, a registered agent must inform the business when it receives documents. Registered agent services will forward these documents or scan and email them to your company.
Can you use an attorney as your registered agent?
Yes, you may use an attorney as your registered agent if they meet the state-specified criteria. In most states, an attorney’s office can function as the registered office.
Can you change my registered agent?
Yes, you can change your registered agents. Most states allow you to change the registered agent anytime, usually for a small filing fee. Check for state-specific requirements.