An S corp registered agent guarantees that a government agency can reach your S corp during regular business hours to deliver official documents like tax forms and service of process.
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In most states, companies — including those that elect S corp status — have to choose a registered agent. In this article, we explain what a registered agent for an S corp does, who can be a registered agent, and the benefits of hiring a registered agent service.
What Is the Purpose of a Registered Agent?
In some states, a registered agent is known as a resident agent, statutory agent, or agent for service of process. They are people or entities that S corps or limited liability companies (LLCs) choose to receive government correspondence, service of process, and compliance documents on behalf of the company.
These documents can include, for example:
- Legal documents
- Tax forms
- Summons (service of process), which is a notice of a lawsuit
- Official correspondence from the government
A registered agent can also forward legal notices and send reminders of filing deadlines, which helps your business comply with applicable laws and regulations.
How to Specify or Change an S Corp Registered Agent
In most states, an LLC, partnership, or corporation that has elected S corp status must list a registered agent at the formation stage.
After choosing your business structure, you must add a registered agent office when you file your Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State (or an equivalent government agency).
You can change your registered agent at a later date by filing the appropriate form with the state.
Can the Owner of an S Corp be a Registered Agent?
An S corp owner can be the company’s registered agent, as can anyone who meets the state’s requirements. Although these vary somewhat from state to state, in general, a registered agent must:
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Have a physical address in the state where the business is formed
- Be available to receive documents in person during standard business hours.
Learn more with our Who Can Be a Registered Agent and Is a Registered Agent Considered an Owner guides.
Should an S Corp Use a Registered Agent Service?
Even though you can serve as your own registered agent, we recommend selecting someone else for a number of reasons. The major advantages of using a national, affordable, third-party registered agent service include:
- Compliance With the Law
- Peace of Mind
For more information, check out our Should I Use a Registered Agent Service guide.
Compliance With the Law
Keeping up with all the laws and regulations that affect your business can be difficult and time-consuming. A registered agent can help by reminding you of filing deadlines such as annual report filings.
In addition, a registered agent can store copies of important company documents in case the originals are lost, destroyed in a fire or some other incident, or stolen.
Peace of Mind
With a professional, third-party registered agent, you can focus on expanding your business while someone else handles official documents. Letting someone else keep track of official filing deadlines can help ease your mind.
A registered agent must be present and available to receive official documents during normal business hours. If you would rather work alternative hours, consider hiring a registered agent service.
Under state law, a registered agent’s physical addresses must be made public. If you work out of your home, using a registered agent service will keep your home address out of the public record.
If you have a separate office, using a registered agent service means that a court summons or other sensitive documents will be delivered there instead of at your office in front of your employees or customers.
S Corp Registered Agent Frequently Asked Questions
Can an S Corp or LLC act as its own registered agent?
An S Corp or LLC can serve as its own registered agent. However, we recommend hiring a registered agent service to save time, increase flexibility, and help with corporate compliance.
What are the risks of being a registered agent?
Being your own registered agent comes with risks. For example, you might miss service of process or deadlines for filing documents, which could mean you have to pay fines or face a default judgement. You also might not be available to receive official government documents when they are delivered, which could also result in fines.
What are the costs of using a registered agent service?
Registered agent services range in price about $50 to $300 a year, depending on the company. Many useful related services are often available for an extra charge.