What is the purpose of a Registered Agent?
A registered agent (often referred to as an RA, and sometimes called a statutory or resident agent) is the person or legal entity responsible for receiving important legal documents on behalf of your business. Some of these documents may include franchise tax forms, annual reports, renewal reminders, and lawsuit paperwork. The RA will organize said documents and forward them along to the corporation or LLC so that nothing gets lost through the cracks. You may act as your own RA or work with a third party business.
Who can be a registered agent?
As mentioned above, you may act as your own RA (especially if you hold a position as a corporate officer or director) or work alongside a third party. In order to qualify as a registered agent, you must have a physical street address in the state of formation. A P.O. Box is not an acceptable form of an address. Registered agents must be available during general business hours to receive service of process and must also be a resident of the state. . It is perfectly legal to serve as your own registered agent, but using a third party for this important service is highly recommended. A third part RA is reliable, understands what they are doing, and helps keep track of legislative changes and requirements in the state.
What happens if I don't have a registered agent?
Most states require businesses to designate a registered agent in their formation state. For Corporations and LLCs formed on the state level, they are required to have a registered agent to remain compliant with the state law. If you do not have a registered agent, or try to avoid designating one, you company may incur penalties and the jurisdiction may even revoke your legal status. It's much better to designate a registered agent as soon as possible, since the service provides an added layer of privacy, extra security, and peace of mind for your small business.