What Is a Registered Agent for LLC? [The Ultimate Guide for 2021]

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If you want to start your own company, you need to determine the type of company you want to operate. An increasing number of prospective entrepreneurs opt for creating a limited liability company (LLC) because of the numerous advantages. There are, however, specific requirements an LLC must fulfill, such as appointing an LLC registered agent. This article addresses what registered agents are and their responsibilities in an LLC.

What Is a Registered Agent for LLC?

A registered agent—also known as a resident agent or statutory agent—is a designated individual or business entity that receives a service of process (lawsuit notices, subpoenas, court summons), compliance documents, or government correspondence on behalf of an LLC.

Most US states require that you have a registered agent for LLC when you submit the Articles of Organization form and begin the process of registering your LLC. The information listed in such documents is public record—anyone can see who your registered agent is in your company. A state doesn’t impose any specific restrictions on who can fill the role of the resident agent. But particular criteria have to be met before someone is appointed to this position.

What Is a Registered Agent for an LLC vs a Resident Agent for a Corporation?

The law requires that corporations and LLCs have an appointed registered agent that will be the point of contact between the company and the state—they must establish agents for each state where they conduct business. (Check the State’s specific requirements before forming a company or corporation.) Thus, the duties and obligations of the registered agent in an LLC are nearly identical to an agent employed by a corporation.

LLC Organizer vs Registered Agent

The LLC organizer is someone responsible for filing the formation paperwork with the state agency. Each LLC must have a designated organizer in the formation stage. After the process is completed, this person relinquishes power to the owner or LLC members. It’s possible for one of the members to serve as an organizer, including accountants, lawyers, or administrative assistants.

What is a registered agent for LLC, and what’s the difference between the agent and the organizer? The agent assumes all responsibility for the correspondence and paperwork of the company. The main difference between an organizer and a registered agent is that when the formation process is complete, the organizer has no responsibility to the company. In contrast, the agent’s duties have yet to begin. After the company’s formation, the organizer can continue serving as a registered agent, but this doesn’t happen in most cases.

NOTE: If you’re thinking about starting your own company and you’re concerned about the complexities of the formation process, you can always turn to the best LLC service and let them take care of the start-up process for you.

What Does a Registered Agent Do for an LLC?

Resident agents have several responsibilities when they’ve been designated as the official registered agents of the company. They need to receive all official mail addressed to the company and, most significantly, ensure that the company maintains corporate compliance by keeping the company informed about all compliance notices and sending annual report filing reminders. The agent has to accept and mail yearly tax notices and all legal documents received from the secretary of state. Other essential roles of the LLC agent to ensure the company’s smooth venture include:

Providing an Address for Mailing Correspondence

A registered agent needs to have a physical address (or ‘registered office’) listed on the company’s official documents. A PO box address is not accepted as an official address for the agent since the agent must be reachable at the physical location in case of a lawsuit or other legal action.

Receiving a Service of Process, Compliance-Related Documents

All essential documents and summons’ are directly sent to the registered agent. The registered agent an LLC hires must notify the company of all new notices or complaints to take the proper course of action. They are in charge of all legal correspondence.

Opening an LLC in Another State

The company needs to have a separate registered agent for each state where it conducts business. The agent needs to be a resident of the state where the LLC is registered. By simply having a registered agent who is a resident of the state you want to do business in, you can start an LLC.

Choosing Your Business Hours

The resident agent must be present at the physical location listed as the official agent’s address on the appropriate documents. Additionally, the agent is required to be present each business day at regular working hours and be prepared to receive all mail addressed to the LLC.

NOTE: If you don’t appoint a resident agent for your Limited Liability Company, you lose your certificate of good standing, and with it, the protection from personal liability LLCs provide.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent for an LLC?

The registered agent for your business can be anyone that meets specific state requirements. Any of your employees or family members are eligible to take on this role as long as they fulfill the essential needs. The resident is required to be:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • A resident of the state where the LLC is registered
  • Registered in the state where the company operates and have a physical address
  • Available during regular business hours

Different states impose different requirements for registered agents. Before listing a registered agent, make sure that everything complies with the requirements.

Can I Be the Registered Agent for My LLC?

Can I be my own registered agent for an LLC? Appointing yourself as a registered agent might be the easiest and most cost-effective practice. But before taking this step, there are some aspects of the job you need to consider. When you take on the role, you need to list a physical address, which will be the address where you’re available to receive mail during business hours. Usually, this is the company’s address or your home address.

Using a home address for LLC is not advisable for privacy reasons, as it will be a matter of public record. Many ask then: Should I be my own registered agent for an LLC? If your company operates from a physical location—where you’ll be present for most of the business day—then it’s a good idea to list yourself.

Locating Registered Agents

You should be able to locate a registered agent through the secretary of state. The majority of US states have databases of in-state registered agents where you can search for one that meets your company’s needs. The annual fees for hiring a professional agent range between $50.00 and $300.00.

NOTE: Finding the best-registered agent can save you a lot of legal trouble. If there are any irregularities in your operations, the agent can warn you in due time.

Key Takeaways

Registered agents are designated individuals or businesses that receive official mail and correspond on behalf of LLCs.
Appointing a registered agent for an LLC is a requirement in all states.
Anyone can serve as a registered agent as long as they meet a few essential state criteria.
A registered agent doesn’t only receive mail, but they also help the company comply with the law.

Do I Need a Registered Agent for My LLC?

Many new, smaller companies don’t hire a registered agent. But hiring a professional agent has its benefits.

Helps a Company Stay in Compliance

The agent ensures that the company complies with all the laws and regulations that concern its business, protecting it from fines and liability.

Give Peace of Mind

By hiring an agent, all correspondence and notices will be immediately handled.

Don’t Need Regular Hours

Agents are available during designated hours, leaving flexible time for others.

Able to Open an LLC in Another State

Professional agents can have a fixed address in multiple states. There is no need to change an agent if expanding operations to another state.

Privacy

If you list the address of a registered agent, you protect both your private and business addresses. Keeping them confidential also provides you with a sense of security.

After considering the aforementioned, do you need a registered agent for an LLC? There are obvious advantages to having a registered agent.

NOTE: Some LLCs decide not to maintain the services of their registered agent after they’ve established the company. But this has serious ramifications, as you could be subjected to fines and penalties or be sued by the state.

How Do I Choose a Registered Agent for an LLC?

Before reaching a final decision on who your registered agent should be, you need to make sure the agent meets all the state criteria and that they’re a right fit for your company, as seen below.

  1. Lives in the Same State as Your LLC – One of the state requirements is that the agent’s address should be located in the same state where your company is based.
  2. Reputation – Before deciding on a professional agent, you should read any reviews clients might have or ask about the agent’s work ethic.
  3. Cost – The LLC registered agent cost is one of the determining factors. Even if an agent ticks all the boxes, you’ll need to choose an affordable option if you cannot afford their services.
  4. Commercial Listing Statement – Although it’s not a requirement, you should consider hiring a commercial registered agent, who has a listing statement from the secretary of state and is typically deemed more reliable.

NOTE: Commercial and non-commercial agents perform the same duties. But there is one drawback for non-commercial agents—the state can limit the number of non-commercial registered agents providing services.

Conclusion

Hiring a registered agent is a state requirement, but it’s also a convenience for LLCs. And since there are no strict rules as to who can serve as an agent, you don’t have to hire a professional to perform this function. But you need to ensure that the person or business you employ as a registered agent for LLC is responsible and will responsibly perform all the assigned duties.

FAQ

Can you be the registered agent for your own LLC?

You can assume the role of a registered agent for your LLC, as long as you list a physical address and are present at the specified address during work hours on business days.

Is the registered agent the same as the owner?

The owner can serve as the registered agent, but it’s not necessary.

Who qualifies as a registered agent?

A person that has a registered physical address in the LLC’s state of operations and is at least 18 years old can qualify as a registered agent.

What is the role of a registered agent in an LLC?

Many ask: What is a registered agent for LLC? A registered agent receives all official mail and correspondence on behalf of the LLC and maintains the paperwork—all tax forms and legal notices go through them.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I’m an entrepreneur by profession and an artist by passion. I do business to pay the bills and make music to bring the thrills. Thanks to a bachelor in Business Administration, I'm well-versed in all things business. Owning a construction company certainly helps, too, but it also brings out my love for building and home protection.

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