Entrepreneurs have a choice when designating their registered agent. Once a business is formed on the state level and incorporated as an LLC or corporation, it is given a right to due process. Most states require that the business designates a registered agent to remain in compliance.
A registered agent, often abbreviated as RA, is an individual or entity that receives service of process. Essentially, registered agents become the point of contact for the business. An RA receives paperwork on behalf of the business from county and state agencies. Documents may include franchise tax forms and renewal reminders. Upon receiving this paperwork, the RA will organize the documents and pass everything along to the business owner.
Who Can Be A Registered Agent?
Some entrepreneurs choose to act as their own RA, while others turn to a third party service for assistance. When is it a good idea to work alongside a third party registered agent, and why do you need this service? Let’s take a look at the benefits that come with appointing a third party RA for your business.
1. Third Party RAs Are Physically Available
Registered agents must meet certain requirements before they can take on these duties. One of the biggest requirements is their location. An RA must have a physical street address in the state of the company’s formation. (P.O. Boxes are not accepted as a street address.) They must also be a resident of the state in which business is conducted as well. If you are not a resident and do not have a physical address in that state, then you cannot be a registered agent.
However, if you do have a physical street address and are a resident of the state then you fulfill the location requirements for an RA. Registered agents must also be available to accept service of process between general business hours. These hours, and days, are typically 8 AM to 5 PM on Monday through Friday.
Timing is often is why many entrepreneurs designate a third party as their registered agent. A startup’s early days are busy ones. Small business owners may not always be able to guarantee that they will be in the office and accept paperwork. If you worry that may happen, name a third party registered agent service. They will be ready and available to receive service of process, providing peace of mind for entrepreneurs with busy schedules.
2. Registered Agents Are Organized
A startup receives a lot of paperwork in its early days in business. Some of these documents include time-sensitive items like annual report notices while others may just be junk mail.
Entrepreneurs don’t need to worry about sitting down and sorting through these documents on their own. A registered agent will be able to organize and separate junk mail from important notices from the state before delivering the documents to you. As the gatekeeper between your business and the state, an RA also understands which pieces of mail to prioritize in terms of time sensitivity. They will deliver high-priority paperwork quickly, ensuring nothing is accidentally forgotten or lost. This gives you more time to meet deadlines and allow your small business to remain in compliance with the state. A third party registered agent will also keep you up to date on what the state needs from you in the near future, too.
3. Registered Agents Provide Privacy
Guess what happens if an entrepreneur decides to act as their own registered agent? Unwelcome guests could arrive to the physical address they provided and publicly serve them with legal paperwork. Sensitive matters, like lawsuits, are embarrassing to receive. If customers saw what happened, would it negatively impact the way they view your business?
Designating a third party registered agent service, however, helps ensure discretion for your small business. Documents that the business receives from the state are addressed to the RA’s name and address information. This adds an extra layer of privacy between your business and the public. Registered agents are impartial receivers of important paperwork. They will collect your documents, organize everything, and deliver them to you discretely. This provides peace of mind in knowing that you will receive these documents privately and may focus on your work.
Ready To Work With A Registered Agent?
Most states do require LLCs and corporations to designate a registered agent for their business. You may act as an RA or designate the duties to a third party registered agent service. For a nominal fee, a registered agent will maintain records, ensure your privacy and security, and keep your business in good standing. Your paperwork, and compliance of the business as a whole, is safe in the hands of a trusted RA.