What is a Registered Agent?

When incorporating a business or registering an existing company to transact business in any state (also called foreign qualification), you are required to have a registered agent in the state of incorporation or qualification. The term registered agent is one that most new business owners have never heard. This article helps you to understand what a registered agent is and the role it plays.

A registered agent receives important legal and tax documents on behalf of a business, including important mail sent by the state (annual reports or statements), tax documents sent by the state’s department of taxation, and Service of Process—sometimes called Notice of Litigation, which initiates a lawsuit.

About the registered agent

There are certain requirements a company’s registered agent must meet and characteristics around who can be a registered agent and how the registered agent’s information is treated.

  • Availability and physical address. The registered agent must be available during normal business hours and have a physical address in the state of incorporation or qualification. Post office boxes and private rented mailboxes are not allowed.
  • Address is publicly-accessible. Additionally, the registered agent’s address is a matter of public record, meaning anyone has access to it. A company’s formation and foreign qualification documents filed with the state are publicly-accessible. In states that do not require a company’s legal address the formation or qualification documents, the registered agent’s address is the only address on file with the state for that company.
  • Acting as a registered agent. Individuals can act as a registered agent for a business. For example, if you have a physical address in the state where you form your corporation or LLC, you could name yourself as the agent. You could not, however, name your new company as its own registered agent. In order for a company to act as a registered agent, it must typically be approved to do so by the state in question.
  • Professional registered agent service provider. As your professional registered agent service provider, BizFilings:
    • Reminds you of upcoming compliance requirements and deadlines, such as the due date for the annual report required by your state of incorporation.
    • Provides software to manage important corporate records and documents.
    • Offers secure, online access to important documents.
    • Monitors your company's status in the state(s) where it is registered.