Nationwide :: Choosing a Registered Agent for Your Business

Registered Agent Services

What is a registered agent?
Virtually all business entities are required to appoint and maintain a registered agent—also commonly referred to as an agent for service of process or a statutory agent. This registered agent is required to have a physical address in the state of formation or qualification. Once named, the designated registered agent provides a variety of services, such as accepting and forwarding general correspondence, important legal and tax documents (annual report filings, bi-annual filings, etc.) and other time-sensitive documents. While the appointed agent may be an individual member of the corporation, more often than not a professional registered agent is designated.

Can I act as my own registered agent?
If you have a physical address in the state where you form then you can appoint yourself as registered agent; however, doing so means taking on a certain amount of responsibility. For instance, you must be in your office from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, no exceptions. That can make taking a vacation, visiting the doctor or even taking an offsite lunch difficult, as the registered agent must be available every weekday during the above hours to sign for documents. If you can meet that strict time commitment and be certain that life won’t throw you any curve balls that prevent you from doing so, you might consider appointing yourself.

What are the benefits of appointing a professional service company?
Being in business requires knowing where, when and what forms must be filed to ensure your entity is protected. Missing a filing date or filing the wrong form can leave your business exposed—contracts can be voided, your competitors can steal your business name or your entity could lose its good standing, which means you won’t be able to defend yourself in court. Appointing a trusted registered agent with experience and know-how will help ensure that your business remains in compliance.

The registered agent is also responsible for forwarding general correspondence, important legal and tax documents and other time-sensitive documents onto the business. In addition to ensuring these materials are forwarded expeditiously, designating a service company as your registered agent can also eliminate potentially inconvenient and embarrassing situations associated with being served legal papers on the company premises. Appointing a professional service company will help keep any legal matters private. Additionally, you need to ask yourself what will your customers, employees or vendors think if they witness you being served? Remember, perception is everything.

Furthermore, a registered agent must have a physical address in the state of formation or qualification, and Post Office boxes are not allowed. This information then becomes a matter of public record. Appointing a third party prevents your personal information (name, mailing address, etc.) from becoming public information and being posted on that particular state’s website. In a time when identity theft is on the rise, having your personal information made public may put you at risk.

Selecting your registered agent.
Many state secretary of state’s websites offer a list of service companies that may act as a registered agent for a new business formation. Visit your state’s website and you should be able to track down your options. One such company is Paracorp, which provides dependable registered agent services in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia—offering reliable statutory representation to corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships and limited liability companies alike.

For more information about Paracorp’s registered agent services, call 800.533.7272.

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