When you start your own business, it is important to consider the legal requirements involved, especially now that lawsuits are rapidly being filed left and right. What should you do to protect yourself? One thing that you must consider is which registered agent options are available to you.
What is a Registered Agent?
The registered agent is the official point of contact between the state authorities and the company. Moreover, the registered agent is responsible for receiving official government notifications, including service of process and state tax documents, and passing them along to the company.
Having a registered agent is not only smart, but it is required. Every company must, by statutory mandate, have a physical address in the jurisdiction in which it is incorporated. The state will penalize a company for failure to maintain a registered agent by dissolving the administration, causing the business to wither away.
You need to have a registered agent at the time that you form your company. As you expand your business into other states, you are required to qualify your activities and appoint a registered agent in each new state.
What are your Registered Agent Options?
If you elect to provide a street address for your company within the state where your company was incorporated, you are legally able to designate yourself as the company’s registered agent. Many entrepreneurs prefer to engage the professional services of a registered agent provider though.
Using a registered agent service provider offers many benefits. First of all, this provider allows you to spend your time building your business. The registered agent will help enforce your compliance requirements and make sure that you get all of your documents submitted to the state in a timely manner. Having a trusted registered agent will effectively provide you the compliance expertise and convenience you need to develop your business on your own time, without over-worrying about legalities.
If your business is home-based, and you act as your own registered agent, you may receive excessive amounts of junk mail to your home address. By hiring a service provider, you avoid the inconvenience and annoyance of papers stacking up in your mailbox and on your kitchen counter.
If you don’t maintain normal business hours and/or travel frequently, it is absolutely necessary that you hire an agent. The agent must maintain normal business hours so that important documents can be signed for when they are delivered. If you don’t hire an agent, you risk missing important legal notifications. Likewise, if your address is likely to change, you use a P.O. box as your business address, or you do not have a permanent worksite, you will be greatly inconvenienced legally. A registered agent is responsible for maintaining a current address on record with the state and will consistently receive the documents. A P.O. box does not legally qualify as a physical address, and changing your address often requires formal state filings and additional fees. It is much simpler and more convenient to hire an agent.
It is also easiest to hire an agent if you are incorporating in a state other than where your business is located, or if your company does business in several states. You need a registered agent for each state in which your company is legally authorized to do business. Avoid hiring multiple registered agent services for each state you do business in by selecting a national registered agent who is active in all 50 states.
Hopefully you are now better informed about how to optimize your new company and can now make the right decision about registered agent services. Tailor your legal protection to best fit your business’ interests and you will go far.
For more information about Registered Agents and to find out about the Inc. Plan (USA) Registered Agent service, click here.