A business must designate a registered agent to receive service of process notices, government correspondence and compliance-related documents on its behalf. You can appoint yourself or someone within your company, or you can use an agency like CorpNet that offers professional registered agents in every state where your business is licensed to operate.
What is a Registered Agent?
Your registered agent is the person or company that receives official papers like lawsuits (what lawyers call service of process), tax notices and business registration renewal notifications from the state. A registered agent must be an individual at least 18 years old and have a physical street address in the state of registration. Most businesses choose a professional registered agent company like Northwest Registered Agent to ensure that important paperwork is not lost or mishandled.
You can also be your own registered agent, but it’s not recommended because this information is public and you will risk losing privacy rights when important legal papers are served to you in front of clients or employees. If your business will expand into other states, it’s more convenient to have a national registered agent recognized in every state where you want to do business. This is what makes NW Registered Agent stand out from the competition. They offer competitive prices and a customer support team that is comprised of US-based former accountants, lawyers and entrepreneurs.
What are the Requirements to Be a Registered Agent?
The requirements to be a registered agent vary by state. However, in general a person or company must be at least 18 years old and have a physical address (not a P.O. box) in the state where they are registered. They must also be available during standard business hours to receive important documents such as lawsuits and government notices. If they are not, the agent may miss important deadlines or fail to pass on crucial information about a business, which could have serious legal consequences.
It is possible for a business to act as its own registered agent, but it’s best to use a professional service. This ensures that your privacy is protected and you can avoid the embarrassment of being served with a lawsuit in front of customers or employees. It also eliminates the hassle of constantly changing your home or office address, which is required when registering your business. This is an essential feature for small businesses that want to stay compliant and minimize their exposure to risk.
How Can a Registered Agent Help My Business?
When starting a business, appointing a professional registered agent is one of the earliest decisions a company can make. It’s also one of the most important.
Whether you’re an LLC or corporation, a good registered agent will make it easier for your business to comply with state and federal requirements. They will receive legal and official correspondence on behalf of your business, forward it to you when necessary and notify you of any upcoming deadlines or actions that you need to take.
You’ll want to choose a registered agent who has the ability to reliably serve your business and is available during normal business hours. They should also have a physical address in the state of registration (not a P.O. box) and be able to accept service of process in the event that your business is sued. Some states have additional requirements for registered agents, such as that they must be over the age of 18 or a resident of the state.
How Can I Find a Registered Agent?
When choosing a registered agent, look for one who is reliable, accessible, and physically present during normal business hours to receive hand-delivered legal documents. Additionally, the RA should be able to promptly notify you of any time-sensitive compliance documents it receives on your behalf, which helps ensure that you stay in compliance with state and federal laws.
Many states, including New York, require corporations and LLCs to designate a registered agent when filing initial registration papers or updating the information in their records. A good place to start is by calling the secretary of state’s office and asking for a recommendation.
Alternatively, there are dozens of professional service companies that offer registered agent services for a fee. Many of these companies also offer other business services, making them a valuable resource to your business. These services can be found online, such as through sites like LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer. They will also be able to assist you with registering your company in other states.