If you plan on running a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), limited partnership, or limited liability partnership, you’ll need to designate a registered agent for your business entity.
While it might just seem like a step in the business formation process, finding a registered agent is an important decision for your business.
You will need to ensure that you’re choosing someone who is qualified to act as a registered agent.
In this guide, we’ll explore how to find a registered agent and share some tips for appointing a registered agent for your business entity.
What is a registered agent?
Person receiving packages
A registered agent is a company or individual that acts as the LLC’s or corporation’s official point of contact.
This point of contact makes themselves available to receive tax notices, audits, legal documents, service of process, and other official communication in the state where the entity is licensed to conduct business.
The registered agent is designated by the business entity to accept these tax notices and legal documents.
Once the official communication is received by the registered agent, the registered agent then forwards it to the corporation or LLC for which he or she represents.
The address and name of the agent are registered when the documents are filed with the state when forming the corporation or LLC.
Every corporation and LLC must not only appoint and maintain a registered agent in the state in which the business was formed, but also in every state where the LLC or corporation conducts business.
A registered agent is simply an individual or service designated to receive mail for a business entity.
What is a Registered Agent? | Quick Guide for LLCs & Corporations by Northwest Registered Agent
Who is qualified to act as a registered agent?
There are a few general requirements for someone to act as a registered agent, listed below:
The registered agent can be an individual or a company that provides resident agent services.
If the registered agent is an individual, the individual must be at least 18 years of age.
The registered agent must have a physical address in the designated state.
In most cases, the registered agent must reside in the state and must be available at the physical address during normal business hours.
An LLC or corporation cannot act as its own registered agent.
Note: Most states allow employees or owners to act as the business’s registered agents.
What are some things to consider when choosing a registered agent?
Appointing the owner or an employee of a corporation or LLC may seem like the logical and easiest decision to make, but before you do, there are a few key things to consider. Check out How Much is a Registered Agent: Essential Cost Breakdown.
1. The privacy of your registered agent
The registered agent information is public information which means that anyone can access the name and address of your registered agent.
This is really only an issue when the business is operated out of the owner’s home and the owner is the registered agent.
The registered agent’s address is then the owner’s home address.
The owner’s private address becomes public knowledge, compromising the owner’s privacy.
2. Your registered agent should be readily available
The registered agent must be available during normal business hours to receive the official correspondence.
This correspondence is typically delivered by an in-service process, courier, or mail.
When appointing a registered agent, you want to make sure that it’s someone who is available at the designated address during regular hours of operation.
3. Your registered agent must be trustworthy
The official correspondence that a registered agent might receive has the potential of being very confidential information.
Therefore, you’ll want to choose a registered agent you can trust to keep all business information confidential.
How can I find a registered agent in a different state?
Women opening a package with a letter
There are times when your LLC or corporation might require more than one registered agent, and not only that but a registered agent that is in a totally different state.
So, how do you go about finding a registered agent in another state?
Fortunately, there are several options, which we’ll cover below.
1. Use your CPA
One option is to have your CPA act as the registered agent for your business entity.
CPAs and attorneys are allowed to act as registered agents in all states. Both typically offer a service that provides registered agent services in any state the client chooses.
2. Choose a registered agent service provider
There are providers that offer their services as registered agents.
If an LLC or corporation is incorporated by a service provider, the service provider will offer to act as the registered agent in any state.
If neither one does not use a service provider, an independent registered agent service provider could be hired.
In fact, Shoeboxed will be providing registered agent services soon as an upcoming new service.
Best Registered Agent Services of 2023 by How To Start an LLC
3. Register your Corporation or LLC
There are some states that allow the LLC or corporation to act as its own registered agent.
The LLC or corporation, in this instance, is still required to have a physical address with individuals available during business hours.
However, most states require that the registered agent be a third party.
4. Appoint a corporate officer or member
Corporate officers and directors can be registered agents in all states.
As long as the corporate officer, director, member, or manager lives in the state, that person can be appointed as the registered agent for the business entity.
How can I find a company’s registered agent?
The registered agent information is listed on the paperwork that is included as part of the formation documents of the business entity.
The formation documents that are filed with the state’s business filing office become accessible to the public.
You can either do a Google search or go to the Secretary of State’s website and look for the business entity search on the website.
Enter your search details with the exact name of the company.
You’ll now have access to amendments, LLC Articles of Organization, and other documents of the business entity.
Here, you’ll find the registered agent’s name and address.
If the state doesn’t offer an online business search, you can call the filing office directly.
Frequently asked questions
Is a company’s registered agent public information?
Yes. A company’s registered agent’s information is public information.
What if I have questions about registered agents in a particular state?
If you have any questions about registered agents in a particular state, you can either go to the Secretary of State’s website and search for the business entity or call the state office in which the organization was created.
Finding a registered agent is important to any business.
If you’re looking to appoint a registered agent to your company, be sure that they tick all the boxes of a qualified registered agent.
Caryl Ramsey has years of experience assisting in different aspects of bookkeeping, taxes, and customer service. She uses a variety of accounting software for setting up client information, reconciling accounts, coding expenses, running financial reports, and preparing tax returns. She is also experienced in setting up corporations with the State Corporation Commission and the IRS.
Shoeboxed is a receipt scanning service with receipt management software that supports multiple methods for receipt capture: send, scan, upload, forward, and more!
You can stuff your receipts into one of our Magic Envelopes (prepaid postage within the US). Use our receipt tracker + receipt scanner app (iPhone, iPad, and Android) to snap a picture while on the go. Auto-import receipts from Gmail. Or forward a receipt to your designated Shoeboxed email address.
Turn your receipts into data and deductibles with our expense reports that include IRS-accepted receipt images.
Join over 1 million businesses scanning & organizing receipts, creating expense reports, and more—with Shoeboxed.
Try Shoeboxed today!