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Registered Agent: Does Your Business Need One?



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Aug 24 2019
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When starting or registering a business entity, you usually have a checklist of steps and requirements that you need to cross off to establish a solid legal foundation for your business. Finding a registered agent might be one of the items on your list, but what exactly is a registered agent?

 

A registered or statutory agent is an individual or company that receives service of process, legal documents, and official notices including tax forms, annual reports, renewal reminders, and court summons on your business’s behalf. But how do you know if your business needs one? Read on to figure it out.

 

The Benefits of Having a Registered Agent

If you’re wondering whether having a registered agent will be of use to your business, review the following benefits and decide if your business requires them. Federal and state notices can’t be sent to a P.O. box, which is the only mailing address many businesses have. By having a registered agent with a physical address in the state of incorporation, you won’t have to worry about missing important documents.

 

Whether you’re on vacation, working from a home office, doing business in several states, or working from a mobile office, having a registered agent gives you security in knowing that you won’t be missing any important business-related or legal documents, consequently eliminating the danger of having penalties or fines imposed for missing a deadline and keeping your business in good standing with your state.

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It’s especially beneficial to have a statutory agent if you do business in multiple states. You can use the registered agent service in several states with different in-state addresses for each one. Keeping your registered agent’s address updated with the state saves you the hassle of having to file the necessary paperwork each time you change your business location, preventing any fines or legal ramifications.

 

Additionally, having a registered agent gives you an extra layer of privacy. Rather than risk receiving potentially embarrassing tax and legal documents in front of your clients, registered agents receive service of process for your business during any legal action and privately pass them along to you. This ensures that your business maintains its privacy and separation from the public, keeping your reputation and integrity intact while staying on track with paperwork.

 

Who Needs a Registered Agent?

All businesses of all types that are registered with the state need to designate a statutory agent. From limited liability companies (LLC) and limited partnerships to limited liability partnerships, these business types will be required to name their registered agent during business incorporation or registration.

 

Business arrangements such as general partnerships and sole ownerships, aren’t registered with the state and consequently don’t need to appoint a registered agent. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have to keep up with tax obligations and respond promptly to legal papers, they certainly do. If your business is open 24/7 and there’s always someone there to sign for the delivery of service and notices, you might be able to spare yourself the expense and just list yourself as the registered agent.

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Can You Be Your Own Registered Agent?

Legally, you can serve as your own registered agent as long as you meet these requirements:

  • 18 years or older
  • Have a stable physical address in the state where the business is conducted
  • Available in person at one location during all business hours. This means you’re effectively anchored to your desk when you serve as a registered agent

 

Although it’s more expensive, hiring a professional registered agent service is highly recommended for it gives you friend the freedom to conduct business from any location and ensure that you avoid any fees or further legal trouble caused by missing or misplacing important documents, saving you more time and money in the long run. Hiring a professional registered agent service also gives you peace of mind so you can focus your time, energy, resources, and attention on running and developing your business. It can ease your stress and help you maintain flexible business hours and a healthy work-life balance.

 

A business that’s required to have a registered agent, but fails to attain and maintain one, can face some serious consequences. A new business’s formation or qualification documents that are crucial for its incorporation will probably be rejected by the state if they don’t appoint a statutory agent. A company that doesn’t obtain a registered agent also runs the risks of penalties, fines, and possible default judgments in favor of the other party in the case of a lawsuit.

 

The legal ramifications of not having a registered agent can be grave, leading up to a business’ suspension or termination. Determine whether or not your business needs one and make sure your business is built on a sound reliable foundation for a thriving business venture.



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