You might be wondering - do I need a registered agent? If you run a small business or live in the state where your entity is registered, the reasons for hiring a registered agent may not be obvious.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to decide if you need a registered agent:
- Is your business registered in a state that you do not have a physical location in?
- Is your business run out of your home, making your business address the same as your personal address?
- Do you have a brick and mortar business where you would prefer not to receive legal mail or service of process (i.e.. Be served legal documents)?
- Is your business address not consistently staffed during business hours?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you might want to hire a registered agent.
Many states require a registered agent in the state where an entity is established. Delaware is one such state with that requirement. If your entity is registered in a state where you do not live or have a location, you will need a registered agent. The Incorporators Ltd. provides registered agent services for entities in Delaware. Our partners at Universal Registered Agents offer services nationwide.
So what if your home is your office? The listing of your business address is all about privacy. If your home is where you run your business, are you comfortable with having your personal information out there? Again, this is a personal choice but for safety and privacy reasons, many business owners opt to have a registered agent whose address is then used instead.
If you live in Delaware (or in the state where your entity is registered) then you could theoretically act as your own registered agent but many choose not to for privacy reasons.
Businesses with a brick and mortar location can use that address. But let’s say you own and run a coffee shop. Are you comfortable with being served to the barista at the front register? Or receiving legal or tax documents to this location?
In order to maintain legal compliance, you're required to be available to receive service of process during business hours at your business address. If your business (brick and mortar or home based) is not open during traditional business hours, you will need a registered agent to ensure that service of process can be received.
Service of Process? That won't happen to me.
Many business owners think that it won't happen to them - until it does. Whether it's a disgruntled customer, an accidental injury, or a contract dispute, it absolutely could happen to you and your business. We're there to make sure that if it does, you receive it in a timely fashion so you can respond appropriately.
What does a registered agent do?
Your registered agent will accept and forward annual report tax notices and any other official documentation from the Secretary of State to the entity contact; and will accept and forward Service of Process.
Under Delaware law, a registered agent must be generally available during normal business hours to accept service of process. That said, this is the minimum of what your registered agent should be doing for you. A great registered agent provides additional helpful tools and services.
Here are some of the things The Incorporators Ltd. can do for you:
- Courtesy email reminders so you never miss a due date.
- Tax filing service, which enables you to maintain entity information for quick, efficient filing.
- Commercial registered agent services. We're contracted with the Delaware Division of Corporations and have direct access to the Delaware Corporate Information System (DCIS). We offer a full suite of corporate services including filings, research, and retrievals.
Can I be my own registered agent?
Yes, as mentioned above, if you have a street address in the State of Delaware you may act as your own registered agent. However, you may choose not to due to the privacy concerns.
I formed my entity with another company. Can I change my registered agent?
Yes, you may change your registered agent at any time and it’s actually an easy process.
If you need a Delaware registered agent and you’d like to use The Incorporators, purchase services here we’ll get you set up.
If you need services in another state, we offer nationwide services through our partners at Universal Registered Agents. Just fill out our quick form here and someone will be in touch shortly to get you set up.
What do I have to do to maintain my registered agent services?
You must keep your registered agent informed of any changes to your company’s contact information. This is extremely important, as your registered agent may receive service of process on your behalf and must be able to accept and forward it to you.
For our Delaware clients, we will also forward Annual Report Tax Notices and any other notices from the State of Delaware to the designated contact.
Additionally, you will also need to pay a fee to your agent for their services. Commercial Registered Agent fees vary greatly. The Incorporators Ltd. annual Registered Agent fee is $99.00.
If you have any further questions about what a Registered Agent does or how The Incorporators Ltd. can help you form or maintain a business, contact us or call 800-223-3928.