Registered Agent Information Center

Filled with resources to help businesses better understand the role and importance of a registered agent, the Registered Agent Information Center contains articles, white papers, news, content, tools & resources – everything you need to know about Registered Agents. 

  1. What is A Registered Agent
  2. Answering Your Registered Agent Questions
  3. Educational Resources
  4. Videos
  5. Tools & Guides
  6. Case Law Summaries & State Legislative Updates
  7. State-based Resources

What is a Registered Agent

A registered agent is your official point of contact with the state to receive service of process, legal and state documents, and relay these communications to your business. Most states use the term registered agent. However, some states use the term resident agent, which serves to emphasize that the agent must be a resident of the state. Statutory agent is another term that may be used, highlighting the fact that an entity is required by statute to appoint and maintain an agent for service of process.

Answering Your Registered Agent Questions

We have compiled the top 10 of the most frequently asked questions about Registered Agent and Service of Process. If you don't find the answer you are looking for, please ask your question.

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What Types of Business Structures Require a Registered Agent?

All states demand that statutory entities meet two requirements:

  • File documentation with the state disclosing information about the owners and structure of the business.
  • Appoint and maintain a registered agent within the state.

Four types—limited partnerships (LPs), limited liability limited partnerships (LLPs), limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations (Inc.)—are “statutory entities.” A statutory entity is a creature of state law—their existence and characteristics are governed by state laws.

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What is Required to Become a Registered Agent?

Each state has its own rules regarding the qualifications to serve as a registered agent. In a few states, the entity can serve as its own registered agent. However, most states do not allow the entity to be its own registered agent. In order to become a registered agent for a statutory entity (which includes limited partnerships (LP) and limited liability partnerships (LLP), as well as corporations and LLCs), an individual or a company must meet these minimum qualifications requirements. In addition, the entity must take formal action to appoint the registered agent. In many states, the registered agent must acknowledge and/or consent to the appointment.

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What are the requirements for a Registered Agent?

While states vary in their exact requirements for Registered Agents, there are four rules that generally apply:

  • The Registered Agent must be a resident individual or a domestic or qualified out-of-state corporation.
  • The Registered Agent’s office address must be a physical address in the state.
  • This means that a P.O. box does not qualify as an in-state address. Some states require you to designate a “Registered Office” in addition to naming a Registered Agent. The registered office is the registered agent’s address.
  • The Registered Agent must be available during “normal” business hours Monday through Friday.

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Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?

Although the requirements to become a registered agent are relatively easy to meet, there are significant responsibilities involved. Failure to perform those duties successfully can have serious adverse consequences for the business. For example, the improper handling of a service of process can lead to a company failing to respond in time, which can then result in a default judgment. Also, most states do not allow the entity to be its own registered agent.

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What are the Benefits of a Professional Registered Agent?


Safeguard your business' good standing status.

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Avoid the risk of fines, penalties and unanswered service of process.

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Handle vital legal communications.

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Why LLCs and corporations must have a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is an individual or a company that is appointed by an LLC or corporation to receive service of process, legal documents, and important state communications on behalf of the business. Every corporation or LLC must have an in-state registered agent in its formation state and in every state where it is registered to do business. Failing to appoint and maintain a registered agent can result in severe penalties for the LLC or corporation, and sometimes, its owners.

CT Tip: This agent is referred to as a “registered agent” in most states. However, some states use the term resident agent, which serves to emphasize that the agent must be a resident of the state. “Statutory agent” is another term that may be used, highlighting the fact that an entity is required by statute to appoint and maintain an agent for service of process. 

What is a Service of Process?

Service of process is notice that there is a lawsuit filed against the LLC or corporation. Usually, this involves serving the defendant with a summons. In the case of an LLC or corporation, the summons is served on the registered agent. By serving process on the registered agent, the court obtains jurisdiction over the corporation or LLC. In addition to receiving service of process in connection with a lawsuit against the business directly, the registered agent receives other mission-critical documents, such as:

  • notice of garnishment proceedings against an employee
  • litigation documents once the lawsuit is underway, including motions or requests to produce documents
  • legal notices
  • government correspondence, such as notices of annual report deadlines and tax notification other compliance-related documents

Although these documents might be very different, they all have one common element. Each one contains vital, time-sensitive information.

How do I Choose the Best Service for my Needs?


Registered Agent Service

Whether you are forming a new business or expanding an existing business to a new state, your registered agent helps you safeguard your business and stay in good standing. 

Registered Agent 

Change of Registered Agent

When you are unhappy with your current registered agent or if you have fallen out of good standing, a professional registered agent will obtain and file all the requisite forms and skillfully manage the process from start to finish.

Change of Agent

International Registered Agent

For global representation needs and to ease the burden of international compliance and keep your business informed with global representation services.

International Registered Agent

Why do states require companies to have a Registered Agent?

Almost every state requires you to designate a Registered Agent to serve as an official contact for your business. State agencies and courts send your company important compliance information and official correspondence through your Registered Agent. For most businesses, this correspondence consists of annual report and tax filing correspondence. Your Registered Agent is also responsible for receiving Service of Process and legal mandates for your company and promptly relaying them to the correct individuals within your business.

Learn more about registered agents and why you need one.

Registered Agent Tools & Guides


Worksheet - How to Choose the Right Registered Agent

Finding a registered agent requires due diligence on your part and it’s important to ask the right questions of any potential agent. Use our handy checklist to help identify the right registered agent for your business.

Author: CT Corporation Staff

Your Registered Agent: First Line of Defense Against Risk

The requirements that govern business entity compliance at the state level are varied and complex. In companies with multiple entities in multiple jurisdictions, the busy corporate legal department is hard-pressed to both monitor all requirements and efficiently comply with them.

Author: Garth Jacobson, Government Relations Attorney

Registered Agent Basics Guide

If you’re incorporating your business or expanding into other states, part of the process is designating your registered agent – also known as a statutory agent, resident agent or statutory representation. A business entity like a corporation or LLC has to have a registered agent in the state where it was formed and in any other states where it’s registered to do business.
Author: CT Corporation Staff


 

Key Criteria to Help Identify the Right Registered Agent Author: Vijay Ramaiah, Director, Product Management

Case Study: Individual Registered Agent’s Lack of Knowledge Results in Default Judgment Author: Sandra Feldman, Publications Attorney

Five Reasons Why Multistate Businesses Should Use a Single Registered Agent Author: CT Corporation Staff

The Risks of Using an Individual as Your Registered Agent Author: Sandra Feldman, Publications Attorney

How to Choose a Registered Agent Author: CT Corporation Staff

Three Situations When Having a Professional Registered Agent Makes Sense Author: Marcia Richards Suelzer, J.D. 

How To Keep Your Business in Compliance

  • In addition to appointing a Registered Agent, businesses also need to stay on top of your annual report filings.
  • Nearly every state requires a periodic report that updates an LLC’s or corporation’s basic information, such as the principle business location, officers’ (or managers’) names, and the name and address of the registered agent. 
  • Learn more, visit the Registered Agent Info Center

State Legislative Updates & Case Law Summary


State Legislative Updates

Wyoming — House Bill 22, effective July 1, 2017, provides revisions to the requirements for each business entity’s designated communications contact, including specific exclusions of the entity’s registered agent or employees of the registered agent as that designated communications contact unless that registered agent is an officer, director, member, manager, partner or trusty of the entity.

Case Law Summary

Texas - Registered Office - U.S. Energy Management Inc. v. JRB International L.P., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 374 (4/26/2017). The Texas appellate court ruled that a corporation that listed its business address as its registered office, and then failed to update the Secretary of State’s records when the business moved, was not entitled to a bill of review of the default judgment issued against it.

State Legislative Updates

North Dakota — Senate Bill 2252, effective August 1, 2015, enacts new sections of law relating to the role of the secretary of state in filing signed documents or records, permitting an agent to sign documents or records filed with the secretary of state, and providing a penalty for a person signing without authority.

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