A registered agent is an individual or legal entity that accepts legal and tax documents on behalf of another business. Various government compliance departments require to send communications, letters, notices etc. to the business and that’s where the role of Registered Agent emerges. The Registered agent acts as a bridge of communication between the Government department and the Business. A Registered Agent is also referred to as Statutory or Resident Agent.
Does Every Business Require A Registered Agent?
All types of businesses, whether corporations or Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), require an entity to represent as their registered agent in all states in which they administer the company. There are some restrictions on who can become a registered agent in addition to who the person or entity should be and are accessible in a physical location – in the country – during standard business hours.
You must choose a company that can be relied upon to act as your registered agent. Failure to establish and maintain right registered agent right may harm your company’s legal status in the state and result in additional, unnecessary costs.
Roles & Responsibilities as A Registered Agent
The primary function of Registered Agent is to receive the official documents on behalf of your business and keep the business owner updated on the various documents received by him pertaining to your business. In nutshell through Registered Agent it is ensured that the Business doesn’t misses out on important communications and takes appropriate steps with regard to them timely. Registered agents can also act as a service process in a lawsuit, pending or annual report governing tax authority
Kinds of Documents Delivered to the Registered Agent Include –
· Legal documents that inform the company, a lawsuit has been filed against it.
· Annual reports or statements
· Wage garnishment orders
· Tax reports sent by the state’s department of taxation
· Court summons and warrants For the registered agent to be certified, there needs to be a physical address to be designated as the registered office. Additionally, the registered agent’s location is a subject of public record, that should be accessible during normal business hours.
Eligibility Required to be a Registered Agent
To be a registered agent a person needs to adhere to certain state conditions. If we talk in general, any individual
who is above 18 years of age
has a physical address in the state where entity’s business is run and
is available in person at the physical address during normal business hours
can act as a Registered Agent
In few states there are additional requirements to be a Registered Agent.
For instance, in Virginia, the individual must be an attorney-at-law to serve as a registered agent. So make sure to confirm the conditions for each state where a registered agent is claimed.
Can the Business Owner Be A Registered Agent?
Surely any company can designate it’s officer, employee or member as it’s registered agent. But we will give a few reasons after which you will realize that there is an immense need for a registered agent for a company.
If a company acts as its own registered agent, you do not have the versatility to have flexible hours, since you must always be accessible and convenient to accept the service of process during regular business hours. If you manage a business that renders assistance at other locations, you will always have to have an agent at your registered address.
Having a licensed registered agent preserves your privacy. The communications directly go to Registered Agent and you need not ever have to face embarrassing situation of receiving legal papers in front of your customers , family or other acquaintances. A registered agent makes sure that your privacy is not at risk when you are working from hom.e.
. Timely Compliance
You will have assistance in keeping track of the due annual reports and other reports that you may have to file annually. Missing a deadline for report submission , a notice of action or other legal procedures can result in very costly fee or can adversely effect reputation of your company. A qualified registered agent is able to tell you promptly of any letter of service of process or government records and get you the entire document quickly and efficiently.
Focus on Core Business
By having a Registered Agent for your Business you can focus on your Long term business goals and you need not take the pain of opening every official correspondence and understanding it. Your Registered Agent will be there to give you professional advise on such matters.
Also you can expand your business in multiple states by taking services of National Registered Agent.
Can A Company/Business Have More Than One Registered Agent?
An organization can have multiple registered agents. However, it is suggested to have a single registered agent for a multistate business. Based on global reach, efficiency, and simplified services in the long run, it is a better option.
· Single point of contact
All correspondence would be routed to a Single Registered Agent thereby resulting in time saving and efficiency in documents handling as you don’t have to be in touch with multiple registered agents. Also the sole Registered Agent will have your all comprehensive documents in a single checklist and will be in a better position to advise you with regard to them.
· Cost Effective
Most multi state Registered Agents have economical packages for businesses who want to operate in different states. By choosing one such Registered Agent who can act on your behalf in multiple states you save on costing.
· Global Reach
Of a vast number of recognized registered agent providers in the state, relatively few works in all 50 states of the USA. Therefore, go for the registered agent who has a global reach to help you develop your business to the next level.
· Changing the Registered Agent By A Company
Registered Agent once appointed can be changed by the company or LLC. There can be varied reasons for changing the Registered Agent. You might decide to change the Registered Agent
· When your agent is unable to work on your long-term goals.
· When you need to expand your entity to one or more states.
The process of changing the registered agent and the fee for it may vary from state to state. Visit sba.gov to discover what information and forms you’ll require to change your registered agent. Sba.gov provides links and details of each State Services website. By finding your specific State Services website you can get the necessary information like the forms and fees etc. to change Registered Agent.
Basic details you need to fill out in the Registered Agent form are:
· Name of your company
· Name and address of the current registered agent
· Name and address of the new registered agent
· Fees of Hiring A Registered Agent
If you decide to Hire a Registered Agent , you need to explore the various Registered Agent Service providers. There fees would vary depending on the services offered, multi state presence and goodwill. You can intelligently select the one who sounds right for your business.
Also the fees paid to Registered Agents is a deductible Business expense so you save on your taxes too by hiring one. Isn’t that Icing on the cake !!