What is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent, in some jurisdictions referenced as a resident agent, is an individual or a registered agent service designated by your organization to accept service of process in the event of legal proceedings and other important documents like tax documents, and compliance notifications from the Secretary of State.
A registered agent can be an individual, over the age of 18, or a business. You or another member of your organization like a partner, officer, or employee may serve as the registered agent and can list the physical address of your business (but this rule varies by state); if you choose this route, beware of the potential risks and consequences. There are a lot of compelling reasons to use a registered agent service over an individual. In this article we explore those reasons.
When Do I Need a Registered Agent?
Compliance requirements can be complex and confusing and if you do business in multiple states there are multiple filings to maintain. The variety of forms often require information for a variety of resources (this is a very good reason why you should use an entity management system).
Non-compliance is a risk you should not be willing to take. When you use a registered agent service you reduce the risk of non-compliance by shifting responsibility to the registered agent service. A registered agent is required to be available during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 52 weeks a year. They must have a physical address; a post office box is not acceptable. If you list an individual as your registered agent, it is almost certain that they cannot meet the availability requirements. Additionally, naming an individual as your registered agent will make their address a matter of public record and most people like to protect their privacy.
You may believe that an individual designated by your organization as the registered agent is available during normal business hours, but it is nearly impossible for that to be true. Monday through Friday, 52 weeks a year means no vacations, no business travel, and no daytime errands. Using a registered agent service ensures that availability requirements are met.
You can’t be in two places at one time. While the laws vary by state, you are required to have a registered agent with a physical address in the state in which you incorporated your business This means that if you incorporated in one state for example, many organizations incorporate in Delaware) but the physical location of your business is in another state, your registered agent must have a physical address and meet the availability requirements of the state in which you incorporated your business. Using a registered agent service alleviates the need to maintain multiple offices. This also holds true if you have offices in multiple states, you simply cannot be in two places at one time.
What if your business is cloud-based, you use a post office box rather than a physical address, you travel frequently, or your business requires you to make sales or service calls? Using a registered agent service will ensure that you meet all your availability requirements in all the states where you conduct business.
As your business grows and changes you may change your location, your mailing address or other aspects of your business. When these things change you only need to notify your registered agent service and they will handle the details with each of the states where you do business.
State and federal regulations dictate filing requirements and deadlines and impose penalties and fees for non-compliance with those requirements and deadlines. A registered agent service will keep your organization in good standing with your state of formation, other states in which you do business, and avoid the penalties and fines, allowing you to focus on your business.
Maintaining confidentiality regarding legal matters is crucial to the reputation of your organization. When you use aa registered agent service you protect the sensitive nature of legal entanglements and prevent feeding the rumor mill when law enforcement shows up at your office or a private residence to service process on the registered agent. Using a registered agent service protects your privacy, keeps important matters confidential and accepts service of process in a timely manner so that your organizations legal and financial matters can be addressed promptly
Avoid unwanted solicitations from marketers and other vendors by using a registered agent service. With the name and address of the registered agent being a matter of public record, the information is easily accessible to anyone who wants it. Using a registered agent service will reduce the amount of unwanted marketing items, junk mail, and drop-in visits to your organization.
Using a registered agent service is a means to maintain confidentiality and compliance while reducing the risks of missing deadlines and being sanctioned with penalties and fines.
Learn More About Legalinc’s Registered Agent Services
If you would like to learn more about Legalinc’s registered agent service, call us at 866-757-5850 or schedule a demo.