How to Change a Registered Agent in California

As a California business owner, there may be a time when you need to change the person or company who receives legal notices and important documents on behalf of your business. This person or company is called the registered agent. Although changing your registered agent in California doesn’t have to be challenging, it does involve paperwork and fees.

This article will explain why you might need to change your registered agent, how to do it, and how doola can help you change registered agents in California.

The Process of Changing a Registered Agent in California

Follow these steps to change registered agents in California.

Step 1: Select a new California registered agent

You can be your own California registered agent, hire an individual, or hire a registered agent service. A registered agent service provider, such as a doola, will handle the state filing for you and provide other benefits.

Step 2: Complete and submit a Statement of Information form

A Statement of Information form is a document that tells the California Secretary of State about your business information, such as your business name, address, officers, managers, and registered agent. You need to file this form every two years for LLCs and every year for corporations. You can also file this form outside the regular filing period to change your registered agent.

You can file the Statement of Information form by mail (to the Secretary of State, Statement of Information Unit, P.O. Box 944239, Sacramento CA 94244-2300), online (at bizfileonline.sos.ca.gov), or in person (to the Sacramento Office, 1500 11th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814). 

The forms and instructions are on the California Secretary of State website

Step 3: Pay the filing fee (if applicable)

There is no fee if you file a Statement of Information outside the normal filing period to change your registered agent. However, if you file a Statement of Information during your required filing period, you must pay the filing fee of $20 for LLCs and $25 for corporations. You can pay by money order, check, or credit card (online or in person).

Step 4: Confirm the change of registered agent

After you submit your Statement of Information form, the California Secretary of State will process it and update your business records. You can confirm the status of your filing online. You can also request a copy of your filed Statement of Information for your records. 

What Are the Fees Associated With Changing a Registered Agent in California?

The fees for changing a registered agent in California depend on when you file the Statement of Information form with the California Secretary of State. Here are the possible scenarios:

  • There is no fee if you file a Statement of Information outside the required filing period to change the registered agent listed on your most recent statement.
  • If you file a Statement of Information during your required filing period (California LLCs must file every two years), you must pay the Statement of Information filing fee. The fee is $20 for LLCs and $25 for corporations.

If you want a copy of your filed Statement of Information for your records, there is a $1 fee for the first page and $0.50 for each attachment page. The certified copy will cost you $5.00

How Long Does It Take to Change a Registered Agent in California?

The time it would take to change a registered agent in California depends on how you submit your Statement of Information form to the California Secretary of State and when they receive it.  

  • Filing a corporate Statement of Information online results in an immediate processing of the change in registered agent.
  • If you choose to mail the Statement of Information, expect the change in registered agent to be processed within approximately 5 business days.
  • Submitting the Statement of Information in person at the filing counter means it will be processed at the same time as requests received in the mail on that date. 

Note that there isn’t any special handling service available for annual or biennial statements.

Who Should You Notify About Changing Your Registered Agent in California?

Changing your registered agent in California involves updating your business information with the California Secretary of State (SOS). There’s no requirement to inform any other government agencies, but it’s wise to notify your lawyer, business partners, stakeholders, and customers about the change.

It’s always a good idea to let your previous agent know when you switch to a new one. This step helps avoid any confusion or problems that might come up later

What Happens If You Fail to Change Your Registered Agent In California?

It’s important to update your registered agent if you have a business in California. If you don’t, it can cause problems for your business. Here are some things that could happen if you don’t update your registered agent:

  • You may miss important legal notices or tax documents sent to your registered agent, resulting in fines, penalties, lawsuits, or even the dissolution of your business.
  • You may lose your good standing status with the California Secretary of State, which can affect your ability to do business in the state, obtain licenses, permits, or contracts, or access financing or credit.
  • You may face legal action from your former registered agent if they continue to receive mail or service of process on your behalf. They may charge you fees, sue you for breach of contract, or report you to the state authorities.
  • You may break the rules of your operating agreement or bylaws if you do not inform your business partners or stakeholders of the change. This situation can cause arguments, disagreements, or loss of trust among your business associates.

How Often Can You Change Your Registered Agent in California?

California has no set limit on how often you can switch your registered agent. However, it’s better to think carefully before making changes too often. Too many changes can cause problems for your business and make managing things difficult.

Choosing a reliable and consistent registered agent from the start is key. Constant changes can result in you missing important information and cause delays in receiving important documents. These gaps may affect your business and relationship with others.

Hassle-Free Registered Agent Change in California with doola

Changing your registered agent in California is a straightforward process. But it requires careful attention to detail. Ensuring that everything goes smoothly protects your business and keeps it compliant.  

doola can help you with this process by providing registered agent services to take care of the necessary paperwork and filings. With their help, you can update your registered agent and follow California’s requirements easily. Don’t let administrative tasks slow down your business. Work with doola to make changing your registered agent simple!

FAQs

Can I change my registered agent in California at any time? 

Yes, you can switch your registered agent in California anytime by filing a Statement of Information form with the California Secretary of State. 

Can I change my registered agent myself, or do I need to hire a professional in California?

You can change your registered agent in California on your own if you fulfill the requirements. On the other hand, you can also hire a professional registered agent service to handle your legal correspondence and compliance needs.

Will changing my registered agent in California have any impact on my business operations or legal standing? 

Changing your registered agent in California won’t impact your business operations or legal standing if you update your information with the state and notify your current agent. However, not maintaining a reliable agent can lead to serious consequences such as missing legal notices, losing good standing status, or facing legal action.

Can I change my registered agent if I am not physically located in California?

Yes, you can change your registered agent in California even if you are not physically located there, as long as your new agent has a physical address in California and is available during normal business hours. You can also use a registered agent service with a presence in California to represent your business.

Are there any specific qualifications or requirements for a registered agent in California?

In California, a registered agent must either be a resident or have a business located in the state, with a physical street address (P.O. boxes not allowed), and be available during normal business hours.

doola's website is for general information purposes only and doesn't provide official law or tax advice. For tax or legal advice we are happy to connect you to a professional in our network! Please see our terms and privacy policy. Thank you and please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions.

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