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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, tax filing correspondence, and service of process.
Because a Registered Agent is required by law, failing to have one can cost your company its good standing in that state. This means you could lose the ability to secure loans and initiate lawsuits in your state of business. It might even endanger your limited liability protection.
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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.
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.
CT Tip: Not having a registered agent to accept service of process does not mean that the company cannot be sued. What it does mean is that the court can obtain jurisdiction in another manner, but the company will not have timely notice of the lawsuit and will not be able to mount a defense.
In addition to receiving service of process in connection with a lawsuit against the LLC or corporation directly, the registered agent receives other mission-critical documents, such as:
Although these documents might be very different, they all have one common element. Each one contains vital, time-sensitive information.