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ComplianceDecember 08, 2023

Can I be the registered agent for my LLC?

Small business services
Order Registered Agent Service
Free for 3 months when ordering our incorporation or foreign qualification service.
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In all 50 states and Washington D.C., limited liability companies (LLCs) and other business entities must appoint a registered agent.

A registered agent – also known as a statutory agent – is responsible for receiving critical legal and tax-related paperwork on behalf of the LLC. This includes Service of Process (official notifications regarding a lawsuit against the LLC or wage garnishment proceedings against an employee), as well as franchise tax forms and other tax and legal documents.

In this article, we answer your questions about LLC registered agent requirements.

Who can be a registered agent?

A registered agent must meet state requirements for the position, including being a resident of that state. A business entity can’t act as its registered agent but can select a third-party for the role (such as a service company or law firm).

To be a registered agent, an individual must have a physical address in the state (a P.O. Box is insufficient). They must also be available during normal working hours.

Some states may impose additional requirements. For example, Virginia requires a registered agent for an LLC is either a member of the Virginia State Bar or member/manager of the LLC. Third parties cannot act as a registered agent.

What are the reasons against being your own registered agent for your LLC?

It is permissible for you or a family member or business associate to act as the registered agent for an LLC if all state requirements are met. However, there are reasons why you should not be your own registered agent for your LLC:

  • Missing important documents: You may want to avoid the concern of missing crucial documents while on vacation or during travel. Fines and penalties could be imposed if you miss a deadline.
  • Privacy: If you act as your own agent your name and address will be in the public domain and accessible to all.
  • Reputation: The delivery of Service of Process, often done by local law enforcement, can be uncomfortable for business owners, especially if police officers appear in front of customers, employees, or neighbors (in the case of home-based businesses).
  • Updating state records: The state must have a current address on file for a registered agent. However, the process of officially updating the address with the state can be time-consuming and typically involves the payment of a fee.
  • Multiple states: An LLC or legal business entity must have a registered agent in each state in which it conducts business. Due to residency requirements, an individual cannot serve as the registered agent for an LLC in multiple states.

What happens if an LLC does not have a registered agent?

If an LLC does not have a registered agent, it may lose its good standing. This means the LLC could lose the ability to secure financing and initiate a lawsuit in its resident state. It may even compromise the limited liability protection of the LLC.

Moreover, the absence of a registered agent to accept Service of Process does not exempt your business from potential lawsuits. Instead, the court may establish jurisdiction through alternative means, potentially resulting in your business lacking timely notification of the lawsuit and being unable to mount a defense.

How do I change the registered agent for my LLC?

Changing a registered agent is a statutory procedure and the process varies from state to state. Typically, you will need to file an application to change a registered agent with your state’s filing office. The form must state the company name, entity type, name and address of the registered agent, and the name and address of the new agent.

A state may also require you to submit a form accepting the appointment and giving consent to that individual to serve as a registered agent.

What to look for in a registered agent provider

When selecting a professional third-party registered agent, choose a company with a track record of providing compliance services to companies and entities of all sizes. An experienced registered agent will also have established procedures for handling documents they receive on behalf of your LLC.

In addition, select a company with a nationwide network and a team of professional registered agents who are registered in all 50 foreign jurisdictions so they can act as an agent in your home state and any other state where you do business. To reduce the administrative burden of dealing with multiple registered agent vendors, look for a company that can appoint the same registered agent in each state.

BizFilings can help

Fulfill your state’s legal requirement for a registered agent with BizFilings. At BizFilings, we believe that being a registered agent goes beyond fulfilling the statutory requirement. We provide tools and alerts to help you stay on top of important compliance obligations. Unlike other providers of registered agent services, BizFilings doesn’t charge extra for the services you need to stay informed and compliant.

Our registered agent services include prompt and discreet handling of important legal and tax documents, electronic Service of Process delivery, managed filing services, and more. You can also change your agent to BizFilings for free, we pay the state’s change of agent filing fee. Learn more.

Small business services
Order Registered Agent Service
Free for 3 months when ordering our incorporation or foreign qualification service.
$220 for One Year
Laura Schmidt
Senior Customer Service Representative
small business services

BizFilings

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(800) 981-7183

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