Sunday, November 23, 2014

Do You Need a Registered Agent When You Form an LLC or Corporation?

When you're busy planning the formation of an LLC or corporation, its easy to overlook some details, even the important ones. Every corporation or LLC must have an agent who is designated to receive official correspondence and notice in case of lawsuit.

Registered agents are also known as resident agents or statutory agents, and they serve an important role in your company.

In most states, the resident agent must be either an adult living in the state of formation with a street address, or a corporation or LLC with a business office in the state that provides registered agent services. If you form an LLC or incorporate in your home state, any officer or director, or manager or member in the case of an LLC, may act as the resident agent. Having a third party act as the statutory agent comes with some advantages, however, including increased privacy and reducing the risk that you will be surprised at home with court papers for a lawsuit.

Doing Business in Another State

So, what happens after you incorporate in Delaware, for example, and then decide to start doing business in New Jersey? At this point, you will need registered agent service in the new state. The agent's address can also be where the state send annual reports, tax notices and notices for yearly renewals of the business's charter.

You will be required to maintain a resident agent in any state where your company does business, and the agent's office address and name must be included in the articles of incorporation giving public notice.

Finding a Statutory Agent

Most corporate service companies provide registered agent service, which includes forwarding any tax notices or official documents from the Secretary of State and the acceptance of legal service of process to forward to your company. Basic levels of service include a legitimate working office, compliance management, information shielding and document organization as well.

Agents, or statutory agents, serve an important role. After all, you will lose by default if you can't be served or the paperwork isn't passed to you properly, so a reliable registered agent is your first line of defense against opportunistic lawyers. It's usually best to choose someone else as your registered agent, as you don't want to be served in front of employees or customers in a working office, and a good agent will protect your personal information from appearing online.

Christine Layton writes for USA Corporate Services, a business service company specializing in helping business owners incorporate or form an LLC and decide which of the types of companies is best for their business.
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