How to Become a Registered Agent (The Complete Guide)

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: October 23, 2023
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Every state has its rules and requirements regarding who can serve as a registered agent.

If you plan on being your own registered agent, you must know how to do this legally.

We have become registered agents for our own business and know the ins and outs of the process.

In this article, we will discuss who can be a registered agent, what a registered agent service does, and how you can become a resident agent.

Quick Summary

  • A registered agent is a service or individual designated by a company to receive service of process, tax documents, and other documents on behalf of the business.
  • Anyone 18 or older or a company within the state can provide registered agent services.
  • A registered agent sets a physical address for the business, accepts notifications of lawsuits, forwards mail, files tax returns, and more.

What Is A Registered Agent?

A registered agent working on a laptop

A registered agent is an individual or service entity designated by a business entity to receive and process legal documents, notices, and other documents on behalf of the business [1].

The business is in charge of ensuring that the statutory agent's physical address is up to date.

The registered agents must give the documents to the correct person once received, and they must be available during regular business hours to accept documents.

How To Become A Registered Agent

If you meet the requirements for being your entity's registered agent in your state, appointing your agent isn't difficult.

Setting up your registered agent is a part of setting up your business.

To become the registered agent, you must file a written acceptance that includes the registered agent's address and zip code along with a signature.

You can also appoint registered agents online when completing formation paperwork.

What Is Needed To Become A Registered Agent?

A person doing paperwork to become a registered agent

To become a registered agent, there are several qualifications that service companies or an individual must meet:

  • Must be a resident of the state
  • Must be available during regular business hours every day of the year
  • Must provide a physical address, name, and other information that will be made public

Every business is required to maintain a registered agent in the state the company was formed to conduct business.

One reason that a limited liability company would choose a commercial registered agent is that they are available during required hours and have a registered office address in the state.

Who Is Qualified To Provide Registered Agent Services?

Anyone age 18 or older or a business located within the state is qualified to provide professional registered agent services.

Specific requirements can vary by state; however, there are some commonalities.

The registered agent's address needs to be a physical office address located within the state so that they can receive mail, and a post office box is not allowed.

A registered agent needs to be reachable every day of the year during normal business hours to act as the company's registered agent [2].

You can choose an employee to be your registered agent, or you can use a lawyer or accountant as your professional registered agent service company.

If you are creating limited liability companies in the state, you can act as your own registered agent.

However, being your own registered agent might be difficult if you aren't available during required business hours.

You should consider the risks of being your own registered agent.

What Is A Commercial Registered Agent Service?

A commercial registered agent in an office working

A commercial registered agent service is a registered agent business that represents multiple companies.

These services receive and forward mail from the Secretary of State, legal services, legal notices, and more.

What Services Does A Registered Agent Provide?

A registered agent provides the service of receiving legal, tax, and other official notices.

They also accept service of process or lawsuit notifications for your business.

Statutory agent providers also provide additional services, including:

  • Providing a physical address for the registered agent service
  • Being reachable during regular business hours for the company
  • Accepting legal services and lawsuit notifications for the business
  • Forwarding mail, lawsuit notices, or tax notices to the company
  • Filing annual tax reports

"The responsibilities of a registered agent are a job in and of themselves."
- Kalpesh J. Patel, Patel Business Law


What Are The Drawbacks Of Becoming My Own Registered Agent?

The drawbacks of becoming your own registered agent are that you have to be available every day of the year during regular business hours; if you miss filing deadlines, this can result in fines or court summons, and more. You will also need to have your private information on the public record.

How Much Does A Typical Registered Agent Service Cost?

A typical registered agent service can cost between $50 to $300 per year. Different services have different costs. Some services roll in a free year of registered agent service with their filing packages.

What Is A Statutory Agent?

A statutory agent is the same concept as a registered agent. The statutory agent has a physical address in your business state and accepts documentation for the business.

Is The Registered Agent Office And The Principal Business Office The Same?

No, they are not the same. The registered office is the registered agent's physical address, and the principal office is the office address of the business where books and records are kept.

Is It Worth It To Be Your Own Registered Agent?

Whether or not it is worth it to be your registered agent depends on whether you meet the state's requirements and if you are comfortable with having your information on the public record.

It also depends on if it is worth saving money and not hiring registered professional agents.

Most businesses find that hiring even a cheap registered agent service provider saves them time, money, and effort that they can put back into their business instead of being the entity's registered agent.



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