A recent Missouri news story tells the tale of a business owner who didn’t take care in having a quality registered agent. The Missouri Secretary of State dissolved one of the developer’s corporations for failing to maintain a registered agent. It dissolved another one of the developer’s corporations for failing to file a current and correct annual report. It’s a registered agent’s job to inform a corporation of a state’s tax and legal document requirements and deadlines.
The news story highlights exactly what could go wrong if your corporation doesn’t have a registered agent, or if it doesn’t have an agent who does their job well. If you’re still not sure just what a registered agent does for a corporation or why they’re so important, here are three common questions and their answers:
What exactly is a registered agent?
A registered agent may also be known as a resident agent or statutory agent, depending on the state in which you’re doing business.
A registered agent provides a physical address within a state where someone is available during normal business hours. A registered agent serves several purposes for a business:
- Provides the physical address in the case that the business is served in the case of legal action, like a lawsuit.
- Receives all official documents the state annually requires for tax and legal purposes, such as annual report forms and franchise tax notices.
- Updates business of good standing filing status with the state.
Who can be a registered agent?
While some states allow an officer within the corporation to serve as the registered agent, other states require that the agent be someone outside of the corporation. Depending on the state’s law, this person may also be required to reside in the state or an entity approved to conduct business in that particular state.
Why Should I Hire a Professional as a Registered Agent?
Besides ensuring a good standing with the state, they may also end up being spokesperson for your business. Search “registered agent” stories in the news and you’ll find scores of articles were a corporation’s registered agent has been asked to clarify a company’s stance on pressing issues, or their official statement on legal troubles. A professional registered agent has experience in handling these matters for your business.
Because a registered agent can have such a large impact on your company, it’s important to choose your agent wisely. Learn more about your specific state’s regulations regarding incorporation and who can serve as a registered agent, as well as information about being foreign qualified if you’re starting up business in a different state.