Why Do I Need a Registered Agent? by Michelle Kaminsky, Esq.

Why Do I Need a Registered Agent?

Every business should have a registered agent and, in many cases, it's required by law.

by Michelle Kaminsky, Esq.
updated September 15, 2020 · 2 min read

If you own or run a small business, most states require you to have a registered agent. But even if your state doesn't, strongly consider getting one. 

What Is a Registered Agent?

registered agent is a responsible third-party who is located in the same state in which a business entity was established, and who is designated to receive service of process notices, correspondence from the Secretary of State, and other official government notifications, usually tax forms and notice of lawsuits, on behalf of the corporation or LLC.

Why Is a Registered Agent so Important? 

Your state officials need to have a contact person for your business in the state during business hours. If you don't have a physical location in that state, the requirement is especially urgent that you have a registered agent to accept documents on your behalf. P.O. Boxes are not acceptable for registered agents.

What Does a Registered Agent Do?

A registered agent accepts tax and legal documents on behalf of your business, making sure you don't miss important information regarding tax payments, lawsuits, or judgments involving your business.

Can You Be Your Own Registered Agent?

While it is usually legally possible to serve as your own registered agent, some advise businesses to designate a third-party to perform this important role.

By having someone else responsible for the receipt of tax and legal documents, you can have the peace of mind that someone will be available to claim such important information, which means you can leave the office freely, go on vacation, etc., without having to worry about complying with the state's Registered Agent requirement..

What Are Other Benefits of Having an Independent Registered Agent?

Besides not worrying about missing important documents, having a registered agent also means that it is less likely that you will have to accept potentially embarrassing legal and tax documents in front of clients. Another advantage is that, as your registered agent address will remain the same, you can easily change your business location without necessarily having to file more paperwork to change your address with the state for each and every move.

What If I Don't Designate a Registered Agent?

A business that does not select a registered agent may risk falling out of good standing with the state in which it is registered. Penalties can include revocation, fines, and the inability to enter into legal contracts and/or gain access to the state court system. Moreover, reinstatement proceedings include further expenses and filings.

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Michelle Kaminsky, Esq.

About the Author

Michelle Kaminsky, Esq.

Freelance writer and editor Michelle Kaminsky, Esq. has been working with LegalZoom since 2004. She earned a Juris Docto… Read more