Although a registered agent may seem like just another procedural hula-hoop you have to jump through to legally operate a small business, the role they play in your business is actually a very important one.
Registered agents are persons who are enlisted with the Secretary of State to receive and forward important communications on your business’s behalf and keep your corporation or LLC in compliance with state law. Individual owners can name themselves as the registered agent for their business – however there are several disadvantages to doing so.
1. Registered Agents Must Have a Physical Address in the State of Incorporation
A registered agent is required to have a physical address in the state where the business is incorporated—and post office boxes or private rented mailboxes do not count. For example, if you form an LLC (http://www.maxfilings.com/form-an-llc.html) or S Corporation in Wyoming—because it has the best tax climate—but live in California where your business is physically located, then you cannot serve as your own registered agent in Wyoming.
2. Doing Business in Multiple States
Nobody can be in more than one place at a time, unfortunately. (It would sure make running a business so much easier if we could!) Consequently, if and when you decide to register your business to operate other states besides where you incorporated, you will need to hire a registered agent with a physical address in each of these states, or use a service that does this for you.
3. Agents Must Keep Normal Business Hours
A registered agent needs to be available during regular business hours in order to receive important legal and state documents, such as tax files, annual reports, subpoenas, lawsuits, and official correspondence with the state and other agencies. If you set your own hours, or aren’t fixed in an office all the time (like a real estate agent or landscaper), then it’s wise to consider a third-party agent service to make sure you never miss important messages from the state.
4. Changing Your Address Means Extra Fees
The address of a registered agent must always remain current with state records. Address changes necessitate an official state filing, as well as a fee. If you act as your own agent, then every time you move—even if it’s just to the office space across the street—you will have to go through this process.
5. The Registered Agent’s Address is Public Record
A registered agent’s address is accessible by the public, which means anyone and everyone has access to it—including spammers and junk mailing lists. If you want your business or personal address information to be kept confidential and private from unsolicited marketers, opt for a third-party registered agent.
Without a registered agent, you would be hard-pressed to keep up with important filing deadlines and responding to legal notices on time. One solution is to use a professional third-party incorporation service to act as your registered agent (http://www.maxfilings.com/registered-agent.php) so that you have one less thing to worry about.
Goodness knows have plenty of other jobs on your plate when you are running a business!