A registered agent is an individual or company that accepts service of process (legal documents and government notices) on behalf of a business.
A registered agent is an important legal requirement for every business entity that’s incorporated or formed in the state of New York. Designating one isn’t required for sole proprietorships and general partnerships, but may be helpful for business owners who travel a lot or live out of state.
What Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is a designated person or business entity that accepts tax and legal documents on behalf of a business. Almost all US states require corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and partnerships to have a registered agent.
A registered agent keeps a business in compliance by keeping up with official papers from the state and federal government as well as tax forms, legal notices, and other paperwork that could impact the company. They also receive service of process on a business’s behalf when it’s sued or otherwise required to do so by the courts.
A business can designate itself as its own registered agent, or it can hire a third party to serve as its registered agent. However, the former is a risky choice because your business’s address can become public record and your home can be served with legal documents in front of employees or customers.
How Do I Become a Registered Agent?
Many states require all businesses to appoint a registered agent to accept legal and tax documents on their behalf. Typically, this is an individual or company that meets the state’s requirements and has a physical address in that state.
The key is to find a registered agent that’s available to receive official paperwork during business hours. This way, you can ensure that your company doesn’t fall out of compliance or lose its status as a corporation in the state.
If you’re running a small or home-based business, having to regularly sort through official mail can be time-consuming and inconvenient. Choosing a service to handle your registered agent duties can help you manage this task efficiently and effectively, saving you a lot of time and effort.
What Are the Requirements to Become a Registered Agent?
When you form a company, such as an LLC or a corporation, you need to name a registered agent during the process. This person will receive official mail, tax and legal correspondence on behalf of your company.
You can designate yourself, another member of your business (including your partner, officer, or employee), your lawyer, your spouse, or a trusted friend as your registered agent. They must be available to receive papers at your company’s physical address during normal business hours 52 weeks a year.
Your registered agent’s address is listed on your articles of incorporation and business registrations. This information is publicly available and anyone can search for it online.
How Do I Change My Registered Agent?
When you first register your business, you may have designated a person or company to act as your registered agent. This is important because it enables your business to receive legal documents, service of process notices and other forms from the state.
However, there can be a variety of reasons why you might need to change your registered agent. For example, you might have outgrown the capacity of your current registered agent to meet all of your business’s needs or you may decide that hiring a professional registered agent service is better for your business’s long-term success.
Changing your registered agent can be a confusing and time-consuming process, but it is essential to do so correctly. Otherwise, you may fall out of good standing with your state and face hefty fines or revocation of your business license or other privileges.
Depending on your state, you can change your registered agent by mail, fax, in person or online. Most states offer downloadable forms on their business office websites, so you can easily complete and submit the necessary paperwork.