What Is a Registered Agent?

Your registered agent is the point of contact for your business. They receive legal, tax and other important mail for your business and promptly relay it to you.

The law requires domestic and foreign corporations and LLCs to appoint a registered agent. Professional registered agents focus on this statutory requirement and provide other services to businesses.

What is a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is an individual or business that receives legal and tax papers on behalf of a business. States require businesses to designate a registered agent when they incorporate or register their business. The registered agent must have a physical address in the state where the business is registered and must be at least 18 years old. In general, the registered agent must be a resident of the state, but some states allow an out-of-state entity to serve as the registered agent if it meets the state’s requirements.

A registered agent should be available during normal business hours to accept service of process papers, subpoenas and other government notices. They should also be able to pass along time-sensitive compliance documents to the appropriate person at a company. It is common for companies to hire a professional registered agent like Northwest to handle this important role. Their services are a low cost and include US-based customer support.

How Does a Registered Agent Help My Business?

Choosing and maintaining a professional registered agent is one of the earliest and most important decisions an active LLC or corporation makes. It is also a compliance necessity that can help businesses avoid monetary penalties from state and federal agencies for failing to meet statutory requirements.

Individuals and business entities who want to serve as their own registered agents must have a physical address in the state of registration (no P.O. boxes) and be available during regular work hours to accept legal documents and mail on behalf of the company. This can be difficult for busy professionals, especially those in the early stages of a company’s life cycle.

For this reason, many companies choose a national registered agent service like Northwest Registered Agent or ZenBusiness to serve as their registered agent. This provides consistency and a streamlined approach to annual renewals. These services can also help ensure that time-sensitive legal documents and notices don’t get lost in the shuffle of everyday business operations.

What is the Minimum Requirements for a Registered Agent?

It’s a good idea for companies that operate across multiple states to consider professional registered agent services. It can save you time and money as it eliminates the need to maintain a separate registered agent for each of the states where your business operates. In addition, it reduces the administrative burden of keeping track of your registered agents and filing renewal fees with each one.

As a general rule, your registered agent must be an individual over 18 years of age or a domestic or foreign corporation that is authorized to do business in your state of registration. They must also have a physical address in the state where your business is registered and be available during normal business hours to receive service of process, government correspondence and other important documents. Additionally, your registered agent must be willing to accept service of process on behalf of your company if a lawsuit or other legal proceeding is filed against you.

How Do I Choose a Registered Agent?

One of the earliest and most important decisions for new business entities is who to appoint as their registered agent. Whether you choose an individual within your company or a professional service company, the person should be reliable and available to receive legal and government documents promptly, be physically present at the registered office during regular business hours, and be able to communicate with you directly when time-sensitive compliance matters arise.

During incorporation or when filing to establish a new business, most states (including New York) require that businesses designate and provide their registered agent. It’s also an important consideration for anyone who may be considering expanding a business into another state (registrations in foreign states often require a different type of document). Many people use an outside registered agent for the privacy and security it provides, as well as the convenience of having a point of contact that can help them manage all of their federal and state compliance requirements.