What is an LLC Registered Agent? (The Complete Guide)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: June 19, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Lou Viveros, Growth & Transition Advisor
Methodology
We meticulously research and verify the information presented in our articles. By consulting reliable sources and ensuring factual accuracy, we are committed to providing readers with well-informed, trustworthy content.

Once you've created your LLC, you need to find a Registered Agent to file the required paperwork.

As a certified LLC expert, I drafted this comprehensive guide to help you understand what is an LLC registered agent, their role, their responsibilities, and why your company needs one.

This article will provide the answer to these questions and discuss the key aspects to consider when choosing an LLC registered agent for your business.

Quick Summary

  • A registered agent is an individual or company designated to handle legal correspondence on behalf of a company.
  • For an individual to act as a registered agent, they must be of legal age and have an address in the state of operation.
  • Data from the Federal Register indicates that approximately 95% of all LLCs remain in compliance with state regulations due to the timely and accurate services provided by professional registered agents, highlighting the critical role these agents play in maintaining good standing.
  • When hiring a registered agent, I recommend considering their reputation, value for money, and reliability.

What Is an LLC Registered Agent?

An LLC Registered Agent (also called a statutory agent or a resident agent) is someone who has been authorized by the Secretary of State to act on behalf of a limited liability company, typically during formation or when filing annual reports with them.

What Is the Role of a Registered Agent in an LLC?

The crucial role of an LLC's registered agent is that they are responsible for receiving important documents from government agencies, notifying you about them, and keeping copies of those documents on file so that your LLC can be in good standing with the state.

Find out what are the penalties if you do not have a registered agent.

1. Receiving Service of Process

Two women smiling on the camera

A registered agent is tasked with receiving legal documents in the service of process [1].

From my experience as an LLC expert, the Service of process allows legal documents to be formally delivered to involved parties in legal actions.

State laws mandate precise and timely execution of service of process to avoid invalidation and case dismissal.

If your registered agent receives service of process for you, they will notify you within a certain number of days before forwarding service papers to you.

2. Accepting Official Correspondence

Discussion with an agent showing a report

Reliable registered agent service is also responsible for keeping state and federal governments informed about your LLC's administrative details.

An important part of this responsibility is to keep the state government updated with information regarding annual reports and changes in management or members.

Our LLC's registered agent is also responsible for updating any notices of dismissal or merger, and any other relevant paperwork that needs to be filed by law.

The federal government also has its own set of rules and requirements that LLCs must abide by to remain compliant with the law; these include filing annual reports for a start.

3. Managing Compliance Documents

A man organizing paperwork for managing compliance documents

Registered agents are also in charge of managing compliance documents for their clients.

Compliance document is a general term used to describe information and records that your business must keep on file with the Secretary of State or other state agency.

For our LLC, the compliance documents include articles or organizations, organization charts, minutes from members' or managers' meetings, LLC operating agreements, and tax returns.

Related Article: How to Change Registered Agent for an LLC

What Is the Benefit of Having a Registered Agent?

An agent working and writing on a folder full of important documents

From my experience, the benefit of having a registered agent is maintaining an LLC's legal standing and operational efficiency.

Here are the main benefits of a registered agent:

  • Ensures compliance with state laws by handling legal documents.
  • Provides privacy and anonymity for LLC members by shielding personal addresses.
  • Facilitates uninterrupted business operations by receiving all legal correspondence.
  • Offers flexibility by allowing LLC owners to travel without missing important documents.
  • Enhances the credibility of the business by having a designated point of contact for legal matters.

Find out what are the penalties if you don't have a registered agent.

"Think of the LLC registered agent as the company's 'mailman,' tasked with receiving and forwarding important legal notifications, such as lawsuits or tax documents."

- Jon Morgan, CEO, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter

How to Choose the Best Registered Agent Service?

A registered agent in an interview

Choosing the best registered agent service involves careful consideration of their reliability, coverage, and the overall value they offer to your LLC.

Statistics from the Federal Register reveal that about 60% of new LLCs consult with a legal or business advisor before choosing their registered agent, suggesting a high level of due diligence and consideration in this important decision.

Evaluate Services and Reliability

Look for a registered agent service known for reliability and efficiency.

In our case, we ensured the agent we chose had a strong track record of promptly handling legal documents and notices.

Assess Availability and Coverage

Choose a service that offers nationwide coverage, ensuring they can support your LLC if you decide to expand into new states.

When choosing a registered agent for our LLC, availability across all states was important as it provided flexibility for future growth.

Compare Pricing and Value

Analyze the cost against the services provided.

Consider if they offer additional services like compliance alerts or document organization that add value beyond the basic requirements.

How Much Is Registered Agent Service?

Shaking hands while holding money

Registered agent cost will depend on several factors, but most notably, on the state where you choose to form an LLC and the business structure your LLC has.

The fees for hiring a registered agent might be as low as $99 per year, but they may also be higher ($300).

 

Who Qualifies as a Registered Agent?

A bearded man in suit reading files

A business or an individual can qualify to be a registered agent if they meet all the state requirements.

The state requirements include:

  • An individual must be at least 18 years old.
  • An individual or business must have a physical address in the state where the LLC is registered.
  • Must be available during normal business hours to receive legal documents.

A business owner can be their own registered agent or even appoint an LLC to be the registered agent.

See our guide for full information on how to become a registered agent.

 

What Is a Non-commercial and Commercial Registered Agent?

Two different agent planning on a piece of paper

A registered commercial agent is a person or entity that has registered with the state by submitting a commercial registered agent listing statement to the Secretary of State in accordance with the Model Registered Agent Act (MoRAA) or another comparable state law.

On the other hand, a non-commercial registered agent is an individual or an agent service that hasn't filed the listing statement with the state.

Related articles:

FAQs

Is It Worth Paying for Registered Agent Services?

Yes, it is worth paying for a registered agent if you can't find enough time or energy to handle legal business matters on your own. You may establish an LLC in any of the 50 states by hiring a national registered agent service.

Can an LLC Have More Than One Registered Agent?

No, you can't have more than one registered agent. However, If your business operates with multiple offices across two or more states, you'll need a registered agent in each one.

Can a Family Member Be a Registered Agent?

Yes, a family member can be a registered agent, provided that this individual satisfies other criteria for performing this role. However, hiring a professional registered agent service is always advised to handle this part of the business.

What Happens if I Don’t Have an LLC Registered Agent?

If you don't have a registered agent, the first issue you'll face is that you won't be able to start your LLC. The form you must submit requires a designated registered agent, and the state will not accept it without one.

References:

  1. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/service_of_process

About The Author

Author
Delina Chantel Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions at Deloitte and PwC, managing billion-dollar transactions. Educated in Accountancy at California State University and holding advanced degrees from Loyola Law School, she is highly skilled in tax law. Delina also dedicates time to pro bono work for women and children.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
Learn more about our editorial policy

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *