1. Registered Agent for LLC
2. Benefits of Having a Registered Agent
3. What If I Don't Select a Registered Agent?
4. Tips for Selecting a Registered Agent

Updated July 27, 2020: 

Registered Agent for LLC

A registered agent for LLC is a third-party representative registered business' established person who is responsible for receiving process notices, State Secretary correspondence, and other official notifications, including lawsuit notices and tax forms, on behalf of a limited liability company (LLC). A registered agent may or may not have a role in daily business operations.

The LLC must have a registered agent available to accept documents on the business' behalf if the LLC does not have a physical address in the state where the LLC is registered.

The state in which your LLC is registered should be notified that there is a third-party contact person within the state at all times.

Since an actual person is required to serve as a registered agent, P.O. boxes are not considered appropriate addresses because they must maintain a physical street address within the LLC's state.

Designating a third-party to perform this essential role is highly recommended, although it is not legally required. In fact, you can act as your own registered agent given normal circumstances. Even so, having someone else responsible for receiving legal documents means never having to worry about missed deliveries or deadlines.

Businesses are legally obligated to keep their registered agents' information on file in all states to make it easier to receive lawsuit information regardless of whether that business is an LLC or a corporation.

Registered agents may receive tax notices, subpoenas, and types of correspondence, in addition to lawsuits. As such, a registered agent may be referred to as a statutory agent or agent for service of process. The title varies by state.

The registered agent can be any person over the age of 18 or a company that offers registered agent services. In order to form an LLC, a registered agent is required.

It's important for an LLC to nominate someone as a registered agent before filing the articles of organization.

Benefits of Having a Registered Agent

Having a registered agent can help a business avoid potentially embarrassing situations when legal documents are delivered when employees or clients are around.

A major benefit is that the LLC's business location can change without having to file more paperwork because the registered agent's address remains the same.

Good registered agents are experienced with corporate filings and can ensure the LLC complies with the state. Registered agents can also keep important copies on hands, such as a business' bylaws, articles of incorporation and organization, state reports, and company minutes.

What If I Don't Select a Registered Agent?

A business that doesn't have a registered agent runs the risk of falling out of a state's good standing.

Penalties for not having a registered agent include:

  • Having the business license revoked

  • Being subject to fines

  • Being unable to enter into legal contracts

  • Being unable to gain access to a state's court system

Reinstatement proceedings are possible, but they involve civil, monetary, and even criminal sanctions. No LLC wants to go down that road.

Acting as your own registered agent can be concerning if you operate a home-based business and would prefer to keep your information private. Not having a registered agent also means being bombarded by junk mail and solicitations on a regular basis. Businesses with multi-state presences often find it easier to hire a company that provides nationwide registered agent services.

Remember, the address of your registered agent should always be current and on file in the state records. Any changes should be updated via a formal filing and fee.

Tips for Selecting a Registered Agent

You want to choose an agent who has a reputation for being responsible and well versed in the position.

Some states keep a list of companies that offer registered agent services, but if your business operates in multiple states, you need an agent who can act as the registered agent in each of those states.

Choose an agent who is suitable for your business and can bring attention to timely matters to help your LLC avoid fines, penalties, and default judgments.

A registered agent must be able to maintain regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If you need help with finding a registered agent for an LLC, you can post a job on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.