You can become a registered agent if you meet the standard criteria by listing yourself in your company’s formation documents or by filing the appropriate paperwork with the state requesting a registered agent change.
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In this article, we will explain who can be a registered agent and more about how to become one. We will also go over the pros and cons of acting as your own registered agent vs. using a registered agent service.
Who Can Act as a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is a person or entity that has been designated by a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation to receive government correspondence, service of process, and other official documents on behalf of the business.
Anyone can be a registered agent if they meet the criteria. Although the requirements vary somewhat by state, in general, a registered agent must:
- Be 18 years old or older
- Have a physical address in the state where the business is formed (i.e., not just a P.O. box)
- Be available (in person) during normal business hours (i.e., Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Learn About Registered Agents in Your State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia
How to Become Your Company’s Registered Agent
To become your company’s registered agent, list yourself as such in your company’s formation documents or on a state form for changing registered agents.
Do I Have to Choose a Registered Agent?
In most states, you must choose a registered agent for your LLC, partnership, or corporation at the formation stage. After choosing your business structure, you have to designate a registered agent and/or a registered office when you file the Articles of Organization with the appropriate state agency.
Pros and Cons of Being Your Own Registered Agent
To act as your own registered agent, you must be available to receive official documents on behalf of your company during normal business hours. These can include, for example:
- Legal documents
- Tax forms
- Official government correspondence (i.e., annual reports)
- Summons (service of process), which is a notice of a lawsuit
Why Should I Act as My Own Registered Agent?
The primary reason to act as your own registered agent is to avoid paying a registered agent service an annual fee to perform this function. However, these fees are relatively small (typically a few hundred dollars a year), and they include state filing fees that you have to pay regardless.
Why Should I Not Act as My Own Registered Agent?
You can be your own registered agent if you meet the above criteria. However, although it will save you some money, it will take time that you could spend on growing your business.
There are also hidden costs to think about. For example, if you act as your own registered agent, you might miss service of process, other important government documents, or filing deadlines. This could result in fines or even a court judgment against you.
Reasons to Hire a Registered Agent Service
Reasons to hire a registered agent service include legal compliance, peace of mind, flexibility, and privacy.
A registered agent service can help you keep up with rules governing your business, including filing deadlines. It can also forward legal notices for your immediate attention so you don’t face fines or other penalties.
Peace of Mind
By using a registered agent service, you know that official documents pertaining to your business are being received and handled properly.
If you use a registered agent service, you don’t have to be available during normal business hours to receive documents and can work whenever you want to.
Your registered agent’s address must be publicly listed. If you use a registered agent service, then their address is publicly listed rather than yours. Plus, even if you have a separate office, using a registered agent service will keep people from delivering sensitive documents in front of employees and customers.
Becoming Your Own Registered Agent Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a registered agent?
Every US state requires all companies to designate a registered agent. Depending on the state, this might be called a resident agent, statutory agent, or agent or service of process.
Can I serve as my own registered agent?
Anyone can be your registered agent if they are at least 18 years old, have a physical address in the state where your company operates, and are available to receive documents every day during regular business hours.
Is a registered agent service worth it?
Every business owner must decide for themselves whether to hire a registered agent service. Registered agent services cost money, but they provide help with legal compliance, peace of mind, flexibility, and privacy.