A registered agent is a person or entity that a company designates to receive official government documents such as tax forms, service of process, and agency correspondence.
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Below, we explain more about the purpose of a registered agent, who can be one, and the advantages of using a registered agent service. We also discuss ZenBusiness, one of the best registered agent services.
What Is the Purpose of a Registered Agent?
The main purpose of a registered agent is to receive official documents on your company’s behalf. A registered agent can also help with compliance by notifying you of legal notices and annual report filing deadlines. Essentially, a registered agent serves as a gatekeeper for your company and allows you to act on official correspondence in a timely fashion to avoid penalties.
Some of the documents you can expect a registered agent to receive include:
- Tax forms
- Legal documents
- Official government correspondence (i.e., annual report)
- Service of process (i.e., summons to come to court)
Can I Act as My Own Registered Agent?
You can be your own registered agent, but you also can choose a trusted relative, business associate, or friend. The registered agent you select has to meet a few basic requirements:
- They must be 18 years or older
- They must have a physical address (i.e., not just a P.O. box) in the state where the business is formed
- They must be available in person during normal business hours (i.e., Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Another option would be to hire a professional registered agent service.
Should I Hire a Registered Agent Service?
A national, affordable registered agent service has a variety of benefits, such as:
- Legal Compliance
- Location and Time Flexibility
- Keep Your Address Private
Visit our Should I Use a Registered Agent Service guide for help with making the right choice for your business.
When you’re running a business, there are various rules and regulations to keep track of, such as annual report filing deadlines. Because these rules can change periodically, a registered agent service can help you stay on top of them by sending regular reminders. In addition, the service can maintain copies of your important documents in case the originals are damaged, lost, or stolen.
Building a business takes a lot of mental energy. A registered agent service lets you focus on your business while making sure you don’t miss an important document or deadline.
Location and Time Flexibility
If you act as your company’s registered agent, you must be present during regular business hours to accept official documents. If you would rather work at other times of the day, this is a good reason to hire a registered agent service.
Keep Your Address Private
A registered agent’s address is listed publicly on your state’s government business entity search.
Thus, if you act as your own registered agent and work out of your home, your home address will be listed. Alternatively, if you have a separate office, you could be served with sensitive documents in front of customers or employees. Hiring a registered agent service solves both of these issues because the service’s address is listed, and documents are delivered there.
Best Registered Agent Service – ZenBusiness
ZenBusiness provides one of the best registered agent services available. It doesn’t have any hidden costs or gimmicks, and it offers a full year of professional registered agent services along with LLC formation.
ZenBusiness's regular compliance alerts and online document management system make it easy to work with them as your third-party registered agent service. They can scan and upload all your important business documents and mail you physical copies if you need them.
Finally, ZenBusiness’ customer service is excellent, with representatives who are highly knowledgeable about company formation and business maintenance.
What Does a Registered Agent Do Frequently Asked Questions
What is a registered agent and why do I need one?
All US states mandate that companies choose a registered agent to receive official documents. A registered agent ensures that the government can reach someone at your business during normal business hours.
Can I act as my own registered agent?
In general, anyone who is 18 years of age or older, has a physical address in the state where the company is located, and is available to receive documents during normal business hours can be a registered agent. As a result, you can act as your own registered agent.
Is a registered agent the same as the owner?
No. A registered agent helps make sure a business meets filing deadlines and accepts official correspondence on its behalf, which is not the same role as an owner. However, a business owner may also act as the company’s registered agent.
Should I pay for a registered agent?
There are several reasons to hire a registered agent service, including flexibility, corporate compliance, peace of mind, and privacy.