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Can You Be Your Own Registered Agent?

By: SmallBizClub

 

Why Does My Small Business Need a Registered Agent

Can you be your own registered agent? It’s a common question that many people ask when starting their businesses and the answer may surprise you. Let’s find it out…

What is a registered agent?

In some states, you are required to have a registered agent in order to operate a business. A registered agent is an individual or organization that agrees to be your point of contact with the state and accepts legal documents on your behalf. A good example of this would be if you were not present at the location of the business when someone else tried to serve you with legal papers. There is no universal rule for who can be your registered agent; it depends on what state you are doing business in. The requirements for being a registered agent vary from one state to another.

An agent for an LLC

A registered agent can be an individual, such as you, or it can be a private or public entity. If your LLC is a single-member LLC (meaning you’re the only member), then you’ll need to act as your own registered agent. But if your LLC has multiple members, & one of them is willing to serve as the registered agent for the company, then that person should submit a Certificate of Acceptance of Appointment of Registered Agent. You can also hire professional services to act as registered agent on behalf of you.

A Registered Agent’s Purpose:  

The purpose of a registered agent is to provide some contact information in case there’s any legal action taken against the LLC. It will also provide some way for those seeking information about your business to contact you so that they may ask questions about what type of business you do, etc., and how they can get in touch with someone from your organization.

Your designated agent will receive the following documents on behalf of your LLC:

  • Various Legal Documents
  • Tax documents
  • Communication from the government
  • Summons – Notice of a pending lawsuit

What is the need for a Registered Agent for an LLC?

If you have an LLC, you are required by law to have a registered agent. If you are your own registered agent, then you will need to keep the business’s physical address & mailing address up-to-date with the state agency. In addition, if someone needs to serve legal documents, they will need this information in order to do so.  If you decide to be your own registered agent, it is important that all of these requirements are met. Make sure that you’re aware of everything that being your own registered agent entails before making any final decisions. 

Who can serve as the registered agent for an LLC?

A registered agent is someone who serves as the primary contact for a company registered under a particular state. Some states allow you to act as a single registered agent, while others require you to utilize the services of another agent. You should check with your state’s Secretary of State’s office to determine which one applies to you. 

To be a registered agent for an LLC, you must meet the following requirements: 

A physical address should be registered:

Registration with the Secretary of State is required for the registered agent’s name & physical address. They must provide the physical address & be located in the same state as the LLC. In the event that your registered agent changes, you must also update this information with the state.

Who qualifies as a registered agent?:  

If your state allows it, you can be the registered agent for your LLC yourself. The person or entity you choose as your registered agent should be regularly available to receive mail from the law firm. This person or entity can be the owner of the law firm, an employee, a lawyer, or a trusted friend. 

The state-specific laws:

Be sure to familiarize yourself with any & all state-specific laws concerning how to appoint a registered agent. 

What are the pros and cons of becoming your own registered agent?

Being your own registered agent has some benefits and some drawbacks. Here are a few to list,

Pros: 

  1. Registering as your own representative is the cheapest option for most businesses. 
  2. The biggest pro of being the registered agent of your business is that you know best what information needs to be on file with the state secretary’s office, so it makes sense that you should be in charge of keeping it updated and accurate. 
  3. Not having to hire someone else can save your company money and time when registering for other licenses. 
  4. It also means that there is less chance of any mistakes happening because you are more involved in the process every step of the way. 

Cons: 

  1.   There is no guarantee that this will always work out smoothly.  If your employees make any errors or do not take care of their responsibilities then it could lead to fines or penalties which would affect you financially. 
  2. Another potential downside of being the registered agent for your company is if something were to happen to you then somebody else would need to take over this responsibility which could cause a lot of confusion and problems down the line. 
  3. As the owner, you are ultimately responsible for anything that happens at your company.

Conclusion

It is possible to be your own registered agent in some states, but you need to be aware of the risks & costs associated with being your own registered agent.  I think it’s wise to seek other, more qualified help for now!

Published: November 13, 2022
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SmallBizClub.com is dedicated to providing small businesses and entrepreneurs the information and resources they need to start, run, and grow their businesses. The publication was founded by successful entrepreneur and NFL Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton. We bring you the most insightful thinking from industry leaders, veteran business owners, and fellow entrepreneurs. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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