North Carolina has the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, famous coastal destinations, and several major metropolitan areas that make it an attractive business location. North Carolina fosters a pro-business environment with low corporate income tax and business costs. If you’re planning to start a business in North Carolina or expand to the state, you’ll need a North Carolina registered agent.
Look for a reliable North Carolina registered agent, as missing a critical deadline could jeopardize your business. Read on to understand the responsibility of a registered agent and tips to select the best option for your business.
What Is a North Carolina Registered Agent?
A North Carolina registered agent is the trusted point of contact for your North Carolina business entity. The role of a registered agent is to receive official correspondence or government documents, including legal summons, tax reminders, and other documents.
You’ll need a registered agent or resident agent for any business entity registered with the Secretary of State, including a partnership, non-profit, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC).
An individual or company with a physical address in North Carolina can serve as the registered agent as long as they have a physical address in the state which is open during regular business hours.
An owner, director, employee, or any other individual or company can act as a registered agent, or you can hire a registered agent service for as little as $35 a year.
What Is a Registered Office in North Carolina?
A registered office is the business location of a North Carolina registered agent. The registered office must be a physical address and must be open to receive service of process and other official documents during normal business hours.
According to North Carolina law, the registered agent is responsible for maintaining a physical registered office in North Carolina. The registered office cannot be a post office box or virtual mailbox.
What Are the Legal Duties of a North Carolina Registered Agent?
According to North Carolina law, “The sole duty of the registered agent is to forward to the business entity at its last known address any notice, process, or demand that is served on the registered agent.” To fulfill this role, a North Carolina registered agent must maintain a physical office in the state and ensure it is staffed during regular business hours.
Summary of North Carolina registered agents’ duties:
- Maintaining the registered office
- Ensuring someone is available at the listed address during business hours
- Receiving all official correspondence
- Receiving service of process and legal summons
- Forwarding everything to the business owner promptly
Why Is a Registered Agent Required in North Carolina?
North Carolina requires all businesses to maintain a registered agent to ensure smooth communication between the business and the government or public. The state has several laws pertaining to the requirement to maintain a registered agent and registered office. Article 55-5-01, for example, states that corporations must maintain a registered office and registered agent.
Does North Carolina Require Registered Agent Consents?
Yes, North Carolina requires a registered agent’s consent to perform the role.
When Do You Need a North Carolina Registered Agent?
You need a registered agent for any business entity formed or operating in North Carolina. This includes:
- North Carolina LLCs
- North Carolina corporations
- North Carolina nonprofit corporations
- Foreign LLCs, partnerships, corporations, or nonprofit corporations transacting business in North Carolina.
Who Can Be a Registered Agent in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, you can appoint a resident of the state or business to act as a registered agent. This includes:
- An individual who resides in North Carolina
- A domestic business corporation, nonprofit corporation, or LLC
- A foreign business corporation, nonprofit corporation, or LLC authorized to transact business in the state
In all cases, the registered agent’s business address must match the registered office’s address on file with the Secretary of State.
How to Choose a Registered Agent Service in North Carolina?
A professional registered agent service can save you time and money, ensuring you never miss important documents. Here is what you should consider when choosing a registered agent:
The cost of a registered agent service in North Carolina ranges from $49 to $300 per year. The price varies based on the company and services offered. Choose a service based on your budget and the features you require.
Many North Carolina registered agent services offer premium features like mail scanning with email forwarding, or online account access. Some bundled services offer online LLC formation or legal advice. Consider premium features and whether they offer greater value for your business.
A registered agent’s reputation for service, value, and privacy is also important. Look for a registered agent service with strong positive reviews from current and past clients. Check sites like Google, BBB, and Trustpilot for both positive and negative reviews to ensure you choose a professional service as a trusted interface of your company with the public.
What Happens if You Don’t Have a North Carolina Registered Agent?
The Secretary of State will reject your business filing if you don’t have a registered agent in North Carolina. Likewise, without a registered agent, the filing entity may face fines or penalties.
How to Change Registered Agents in North Carolina?
You may change registered agents in North Carolina at any time. It’s essential to inform the North Carolina Secretary of State immediately of any changes to the registered agent or registered office.
Whether you want to choose a professional registered agent service or appoint yourself, you’ll need to file the Statement Of Change Of Registered Office And/Or Registered Agent Form and pay the $5 filing fee.
You can mail the completed form along with a check payable to “NC Secretary of State” to:
Business Registration Division
P. O. Box 29622
You also have the option to deliver the form at the State Capitol Building, between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding State holidays.
The address for hand delivery is:
2 South Salisbury Street
Building a Thriving North Carolina Business
Building a thriving business requires time and excellent support. A North Carolina registered agent offers reliable contact and privacy for your company to ensure you don’t miss any important documents while saving costs.
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How long does a North Carolina Registered Agent’s appointment last?
A North Carolina registered agent’s appointment lasts until the business moves out of state or changes the registered agent with the Secretary of State.
Can you appoint an out-of-state Registered Agent for your North Carolina business?
No, you cannot appoint an out-of-state registered agent. A North Carolina registered agent must have a physical address in the state.
How much does hiring a professional Registered Agent in North Carolina cost?
Hiring a professional registered agent in North Carolina costs $49 to $300 a year.
Are North Carolina Registered Agents responsible for any fees or taxes?
North Carolina registered agents aren’t responsible for any fees or taxes. Instead, the business owners and LLC members are responsible for all taxes, fees, annual filings, and other business responsibilities.
Is a Registered Agent’s address public?