Guides

Selecting Your Company's Registered Agent

When selecting your Registered Agent, look for a company that provides expert service and professional guidance on every aspect of business compliance. Every state requires corporations and LLCs appoint an in-state registered agent (also known as a statutory agent, or resident agent) if you’re incorporating your business or expanding into other states.

Although states vary in their precise requirements, most require that a registered agent be either a resident individual or a domestic or qualified corporation. The registered agent’s office address typically has to be a physical address in the state – it can’t be a P.O. Box.  

The state sends a company compliance information and official correspondence through the registered agent. Your state registered agent receives things like service of process and also annual report, tax or other correspondence that impacts your company’s compliance status. 

Essentially, the state wants a contact – name and address – for your business that’s reliable and available. Often state or governmental official documents include deadlines or timelines for responding.

CT Tip: If your business requires you to move around or you have a mobile office, a professional service company as your registered agent helps you receive critical compliance information – and have the time to respond to it. 

What to Look for When Choosing Your Company’s Registered Agent

Among other things, your registered agent should be reliable, accurate and consistent. Your registered agent should: 

  • Always be available and physically present at the registered office during normal business hours. This ensures any hand-delivered legal documents get proper attention.
  • Know your state’s business entity and compliance rules. Each state’s rules differ. 
  • Know about LLCs, corporations and other types of business entities.
  • Be a compliance expert. It should have resources and trained professionals on hand to expertly manage compliance activities. 

Professional service companies, like CT, often provide full-service registered agent services for LLCs, corporations and other types of businesses. 

CT Tip: A good registered agent helps your business keep its good standing status with the state. The right professional services company can help you stay in compliance and make sure all of your documents are handled correctly.

Full-service registered agent services typically: 

  • Provide automated entity monitoring tools and services
  • Present information on new compliance procedures
  • Give you notice if your good standing ever changes, so you could promptly address any problems as soon as possible
  • Monitor and track state-by-state compliance events, changes and developments
  • Provide expert, personal guidance on business compliance issues

For example, if a business misses an annual report filing (which isn’t hard to do when you’re busy), that oversight jeopardizes its good standing status – and needs immediate attention before the problem worsens. Monitoring services help prevent these kinds of problems.  

Service of process (SOP). Service of process (SOP) is the official notification that your company has been named in a lawsuit. Sometimes the lawsuit is directly against your company, but other times it may be a garnishment action against one of your employees. Regardless of the basis for the lawsuit, it is critical that you respond quickly.

Receiving SOP is the one RA service you hope you’ll never need—but it is one the most essential. The registered office address is usually where a sheriff delivers a lawsuit’s SOP papers if one has been filed.

CT Tip: Keep this in mind, especially from a public relations perspective, if your business has a physical location used by customers or if you’re working out of your home.

But, if the unexpected ever does happen, the service of your registered agent makes a difference in your long-term results. A good registered agent will have professionally trained staff with expert knowledge on how to properly handle and deliver SOP papers. And, your agent should have state-of-the-art processes in place to deliver crucial documents to you, and to follow-up with you regarding delivery.

CT Tip: Someone should always be physically present at the registered office during normal business hours. Having a professional Registered Agent ensures that things like personal emergencies, vacations, business trips, meetings, etc. never leave your company without this physical presence. (Keep in mind, a lawsuit can proceed against you, even if your registered agent is not available to accept service. However, you may lose the opportunity to defend yourself in court or incur extra legal fees.) 

As you can see, it matters who you choose as the designated agent for your LLC or corporation. Having the right registered agent for your company helps you keep your business entity compliance in good shape – and your business in good standing.

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