What is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent’s purpose is to act on a company’s behalf by providing a physical address within a state’s jurisdiction in order to receive legal documents such as Service of Process (i.e., Lawsuits, Liens, Subpoenas, etc.), Annual Reports, Tax Correspondence, and other mailings from state regulatory agencies. The registered agent then forwards these documents and notices to the company that they represent. A post office box alone does not constitute a physical presence by statutory requirements.
Most states require that a company, specifically a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), limited partnership (LP), or other corporate entity type, appoints and maintains a registered agent with the Secretary of State (or equivalent agency). The registered agent is a matter of public record and is listed with the relevant state agency. Depending on the laws of the specific jurisdiction in which the business entity is registered, some jurisdictions may refer to a registered agent as a resident agent or statutory agent.
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Registered Agent Service FAQ
Frequently asked questions about registered agents
A registered agent is not a mail forwarding service. While a registered agent does forward all of your legal documents and state correspondence, the registered agent address is not for all of your business mail.
We suggest setting up a P.O. Box for any mail that you do not want delivered to your physical address. Keep in mind, that you may still need to provide your physical address for registered agent service, but that information will not be listed publicly.
A registered agent can either be a designated person or a commercial registered agent service provider. You cannot list your company as your company’s registered agent because most states require the name of the person that is designated to receive state and legal documents on behalf of the company.
A drawback to using an employee of the company is that a registered agent must be available daily during regular business hours to accept legal documents. What happens if that employee is on vacation? You may miss important services of process documents and risk having a default judgment against your company – an action that can include expensive fines.
Commercial registered agent providers are always available to accept documents and will ensure that you don’t miss any of your important documents!
All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and even international jurisdictions require a designated registered agent listed on the incorporation or formation documents of a company.
In nearly all cases, you must list a person or a commercial registered agent provider. A few states will act as your registered agent; however, the Secretary of State will still need to know who at your company to forward your service of process and legal documents on to.