What is a Registered Agent? Why Do I Need One?
All states require most entities registered to do business in the state to have a registered agent as the formal contact point for the business to receive legal and official communications. Your business could be involved in a lawsuit and never know it unless the state searches its records for your company’s registered agent to contact.
A registered agent handles communication with the state’s governing authorities. That can include documents like:
- Notices for business registration renewals and taxes.
- Requests for annual company reports.
- Contracts that allow you to do business in states where you operate.
- Delivering legal documents if you are involved in a lawsuit.
If you are a business owner or officer, you can be the registered agent for your business. However, many businesses prefer to delegate this role to a third party, for several reasons, one of which might be the potential negative effect on a company’s reputation to be served legal documents at their headquarters.
You may not want to entrust the critical reliability of the registered agent to your business. If your company fails to respond to a “Service of Process,” the first document served in a legal suit, the judge can award full damages to the other party. In addition to an embarrassing Service of Process, your employees can also receive notices for child support, wage disclosures, and wage garnishments at work.
What are Registered Agents Required to Do?
Registered agents have several primary responsibilities:
- Being available during normal business hours to receive legal documents.
- Appropriately receiving and acting on your documents.
- Forwarding Service of Process to the correct person at your company, or your company’s attorney.
- Forwarding all legal documents from the IRS and state filing and tax agencies
You must also have a physical, publicly accessible, office address registered with your local Secretary of State and other regulatory agencies. A P.O. Box does not work as an alternative. And, even though a corporation, LLC, or LP is a separate legal entity, it may not accept court documents like a Service of Processon behalf of your company.
The bottom line:
- Every registered business typically has to designate a registered agent.
- You don’t want to risk not having one if a lawsuit arises.
- Many business owners prefer to have a service act as their registered agent.
SunDoc Filings offers registered-agent services for all 50 states. We also specialize in California (we're located in downtown Sacramento). Learn more and get started at our Registered Agent Services page.
To speak to a live voice, call us at 1-888-595-2747.
SunDoc Filings is not a law firm. The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.