As a business owner, you are probably aware that running your business is a full-time venture, leaving little room in your schedule for distractions like taxes, compliance-related notifications, and legal paperwork. Unfortunately, ignoring any of these responsibilities can have serious consequences, including fines, fees, and the closure of your business. The good news is that you can outsource this paperwork headache to a registered agent, a responsible third-party who will take care of the following tasks on your behalf.
5 Things Registered Agents Do for LLCs
- Accept and Forward Tax Documents
- Accept and File Compliance Documents
- Respond to Service of Process Notifications
- Serve as the Physical Address for Businesses
- Help Make Sure Businesses Are in Good Standing
What Is a Registered Agent?
In short, a registered agent is the point-of-contact between your business entity and the government, leaving you free to manage your business, service clients or customers, and interact with other business owners. The registered agent should be located in the same state as your business, or at least have a physical address there (a PO box is not sufficient). They must also be available for receiving government or legal notices during normal business hours.
If your business runs across state lines, you will definitely need a registered agent in states where you do business without having your own physical presence there; otherwise, you may not receive important tax and compliance documents, resulting in the perpetual risk of losing potential lawsuits to default judgments (for example, not showing up in court because you didn’t know your business was being sued).
5 Things Registered Agents Do for LLCs
In all states, a registered agent must be named in the document forming a corporation or LLC. Your registered agent will manage important legal documents on behalf of your business and can represent your company in the event of a lawsuit. Here a few of the things a registered agent will do for your LLC:
1. Accept and Forward Tax Documents
Only two things are certain in life: death and taxes; hopefully, death won’t happen to your business, but taxes certainly will. Whether your business operates in one state or multiple, taxes are always a real headache and there are potentially punitive repercussions for avoiding them (even by accident). It’s important to choose a registered agent who can forward your tax documents on time and employ a successful tax strategy for your business.
2. Accept and File Compliance Documents
A registered agent can help you stay abreast of important compliance documents, along with accepting and filing them on your behalf. Business owners know that federal, state, county, and city-issued documents can pile up, creating a layered headache that’s nearly impossible to manage. Instead of juggling dates, wading through legalese, and dealing with the city or county clerk’s office, a registered agent can do all this for you.
3. Respond to Service of Process Notifications
A registered agent can accept and respond to service of process notifications (court summons). If you have a client-facing business such as a restaurant, consulting firm, or retail venture, you can avoid the embarrassment and frustration of getting served legal notices in front of your clients or customers — your registered agent will take one for the team and notify you at a more appropriate time.
4. Serve as the Physical Address for Businesses
A registered agent can also provide a physical address for your business to receive important documents, which is especially beneficial for businesses that don’t have a physical footprint. If you have any kind of business that’s exclusively online or over the phone (selling products or services), and you don’t want to get paperwork at your personal residence, it can all be sent to your registered agent.
5. Help Make Sure Businesses Are in Good Standing
One of the most basic tasks a registered agent will do is help you make sure your business remains in good standing. The overall goal of their efforts to manage tax, legal, and compliance paperwork on your behalf is to make sure your doors stay open for business (whether those doors are physical or digital). Keeping a business in good standing sounds like a simple task, but it has many moving parts; if even just one of them goes unnoticed, your business could face serious consequences.
The Difference Between Commercial Registered Agents and Noncommercial Registered Agents
Some states will need to know if your third-party representative is a commercial registered agent or a noncommercial registered agent.
Commercial registered agents have filed a listing statement with the Secretary of State (for that state). The state may require this action because they’re serving as the registered agent for a certain number of businesses (for example, in Delaware, if they are the point-of-contact for 50 or more businesses). Basically, a commercial registered agent is in the business of serving as a registered agent.
Noncommercial registered agents have not filed such a listing statement. They might even be a private individual, as opposed to a business or LLC. However, some states require or strongly suggest that your business assign a commercial registered agent (to name a few: Montana, Nevada, Idaho, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Delaware, Maine, and Pennsylvania).
Do You Need a Registered Agent?
An LLC or corporation cannot be its own registered agent. However, you (or a person in your company) can serve as your registered agent. However, there are many reasons why hiring a responsible attorney to be your registered agent is best for your business.
By having a competent registered agent handle the compliance end of your business, you’ll be free to take care of other things, like supplying your business, expanding operations, negotiating and networking with other business owners, servicing your clients and customers, and making time for your own personal life. Without a registered agent, you can kiss the idea of an extended vacation goodbye.
The appeal of a registered agent only increases if it’s a commercial registered agent who can also triple-up as a law firm and tax advisor, two concerns you would probably outsource anyway.
Don’t risk delegating these tasks to one of your employees, especially if they already have work to do and could forget important dates and documents. Outsourcing is a big part of business today, allowing business owners to focus on what matters while driving down costs. Compliance is one of the best concerns you can outsource. On the other hand, business owners who like to keep everything in-house will also benefit from outsourcing compliance so they can focus on their business.
Of course, one of the biggest appeals of appointing a registered agent is decreasing your personal liability, which is something every business owner desires.
The Importance of Limiting Personal Liability
If you’re a serious business owner, you’ve probably set up something like an LLC to separate yourself and your assets from the business — even if your business is a disregarded entity for tax filing purposes.
If you invest in real estate, setting up an LLC is essential. Landlords are constantly at risk from tenant-generated lawsuits. Investors who flip homes are also at risk from construction-related accidents, and even unlawful trespassers.
Real estate investors who are buying, selling, and renting out properties are very busy juggling multiple tasks. They are more prone to transgressing a compliance issue due to negligence, a mistake that can result in thousands to millions of dollars, depending on your investments.
No matter what line of business you’re in, things can always go wrong. You want to eliminate personal liability as much as you possibly can. Personal liability is not exclusively under threat from outside risks like clients and other businesses. Sometimes, the business owner can be a risk to their own business through accidental negligence, even with simple tasks like registration, taxes, and general government correspondence.
You can’t really control outside factors that affect your business, such as the larger economy, business partners who veer from an agreed agenda, or even dissatisfied clients, whether they’re defaming you through online reviews or calling you to court. Despite this, controlling what you can control eliminates unnecessary risk and minimizes potential losses to your business. Appointing a registered agent is one way you can take control and make sure that your own business won’t be one of the factors that can disrupt operations, through missing an important deadline or losing necessary paperwork.
Do registered agent requirements vary by state?
Every state requires an LLC, partnership, or corporation to have a registered agent. In some states, the agent will be called a statutory agent or an agent of process. Regardless of what they’re called on paper, some requirements are uniform throughout. They need to be available at a physical location (not a PO box) during normal business hours (generally between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM, but this can vary by state) and be over the age of 18 if they’re an individual.
There may be some variations between states, but if you have questions, or want to see a list of registered agents, you can always contact the office of the Secretary of State for your state.
Who will be responsible for updating the registered agent information with the state?
You are allowed to change your registered agent if the need arises, but you are also responsible for notifying the Secretary of State about the change by filing the requisite paperwork and paying any necessary fees. If your business moves or undergoes reorganization, it can be easy to forget this step, especially if you’re not in regular contact with your registered agent.
What can happen if you do not maintain a designated registered agent?
If you attempt to cut corners and save a few hundred dollars on the paperwork, you may end up paying a lot more. Without a registered agent handling the compliance end of your business and helping you stay in good standing, you could face revocation of important business licenses, fines, negated contracts, and unwanted court proceedings.
Having a registered agent also has some lighter benefits, such as maintaining the anonymity of your personal residence and mailing address, sparing you from junk mail, and saving you the embarrassment of having a uniformed police officer serve you papers. Also, if you travel frequently for business or pleasure, not having a registered agent can put your business at serious risk.
See the Difference Expertise Can Make
If you’re interested in utilizing Anderson Advisors’ registered agent services, fill out the form below
THE ANDERSON ADVANTAGE
Individualized tax planning to help you keep as much of your money in your pocket as possible.
Asset protection strategies and solutions to shield your assets and limit personal liability.
Retirement and financial planning and wealth management strategies to maximize what you already have.
Anderson Advisors’ Registered Agent Services
Many companies offering to be your registered agent are run by salesmen, not lawyers. As we mentioned, there are real benefits to having a registered agent who also understands the legal system and tax strategies.
At Anderson Business Advisors, we take the role of a registered agent very seriously and offer our clients a streamlined experience. Our proprietary business monitoring service proactively ensures your business entity is maintaining compliance in over 49 jurisdictions. You can review service of process notifications and filter them by month, lawsuit, and jurisdiction. We offer software for process management tools and electronic payment options.
Everything about our firm is geared toward fulfilling the true role of a registered agent. We make it easier to run your business without having to worry about compliance and legal issues.
Whether you are contemplating having Anderson Advisors form your new business entity, filing your own entity and need a registered agent service, or looking to upgrade your existing registered agent service from your current provider, Anderson Advisors is the best choice for comprehensive and exceptional services at an attractive price. Your registered agent is your first line of defense against default judgments and business revocation. Choose wisely. As the leading provider of registered agent services in Nevada and throughout the United States, Anderson Advisors’ registered agent services maintain a wide base of registered agents and statutory compliance experts. We serve thousands of small and large companies, providing expert knowledge of every jurisdiction.
Anderson Advisors’ registered agent services include a range of offerings:
- Maintain entity compliance – our first-of-its-kind business entity monitoring service. Proactively monitors your entities and immediately notifies you about status changes in 49 jurisdictions
- View service of process by month, lawsuit type, or jurisdiction
- Paperless service of process management tools
- Electronic payment options
Nevada Privacy Enhancements
Nevada is the premier jurisdiction for individuals looking for business privacy. With Anderson Advisors’ unlimited nominee, your business owner, manager, officer, or director are provided complete anonymity. Your business is protected behind the legal shield of our law firm. Your personal information will not be made available to the public. This keeps your name and address away from prying eyes, annoying solicitors, junk mail, and anyone else who accesses the Secretary of State’s database for various reasons since, sometimes, those reasons are not for your benefit.
- Nominee officer or director for corporations
- Nominee manager for LLCs
- Complete business address and mail forwarding
Learn more about Anderson Advisors’ unlimited nominee.
The employees at Anderson all have unique different skills. It’s really hard for any one person to have all the answers. It’s so neat to have the community and the package together in one organization. If you don’t have the answer or another advisor doesn’t have the answer, they are going to go find it out for you and help you really get to where you need to be.
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Registered Agent FAQ
Choose a Question Below
Why do I need a registered agent ?
In all states, a registered agent must be named in the document forming a corporation or LLC. A registered agent is authorized to receive service of process in the event of a lawsuit and other important documents on behalf of the business.
What are the requirements for being a registered agent?
A registered agent must be an adult or an authorized business available during normal business hours at a street address in the state in which the business is formed. For privacy and convenience reasons, many businesses choose a third party, such as a commercial registered agent, to serve as their registered agent.
Can I change my registered agent to Anderson Advisors?
Yes, you can change the registered agent of an existing corporation or LLC. Doing so typically requires a fee and filing with your state. If you want Anderson Advisors to be your businesss’ registered agent, we will file the required documentation at no additional cost. Sometimes, we even have special promotions that may cover all costs. Contact us today to see our current promotions.