A legal analysis: Which business structures require a registered agent?

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To hire or not to hire? When starting a business, that should not be the question. Rather you would rather want to ask, who to hire.

According to The US Small Business Administration, when forming a company as an LLC or a corporation in most states in the United States, a business must designate a registered agent. Keeping a registered agent on file becomes an ongoing corporate compliance responsibility for those businesses. There are three options to deciding on a registered agent: the owner acting as its own registered agent, appointing a friend or family member as the registered agent or hiring a registered agent service. It is advised to go with the third option. Here is why.

Advantages to hiring a registered agent service

When you choose to be your own registered agent, you must be available to receive documents and correspondence during the hours you specify, which limits your flexibility and freedom, making hiring a registered service to be the better option. One of the most significant benefits of using a registered service agent is the ability to keep your business private. The company’s address will not be registered or listed in a public record, avoiding the embarrassment of receiving a lawsuit in front of your employees or customers. There are legal requirements for filing reports and other government documents; a registered agent is there to keep the company informed of these requirements and to notify them of certain deadlines. This ensures that the company is legally compliant. Running your own company can be time consuming, and your attention must be divided among several tasks. Another benefit of using a registered agent is that they provide assistance. This relieves a lot of unnecessary stress and allows you to concentrate on other aspects of the business. Even though you have to pay a little extra for this service, the amount of time you save makes up for it. At the end of the day the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Registered agent defined

A Registered Agent is a person or company who receives critical information, official documents, and correspondence from state, federal, and other government bodies. They send this information to your company so that you can respond properly and on time. The registered agent serves as the point of contact for all legal documents and communications. These legal documents includes: official letters and communication from your state’s Secretary of State, Division of Companies, or other state office in charge of LLCs and corporations, notices of service of process, such as when your corporation or LLC is sued or must appear in court, correspondence, information, and notices from the federal government Taxation forms and payment requests, as well as requests for permissions, corporate filings, or reports to be completed.

If you choose to be your own registered agent, or appoint a friend or family member, there are three requirements that needs to be met:

  • The individual must be 18 years or older
  • A physical address in the state where the company is formed must be presented
  • The person needs to be available to receive any correspondence during the set out office hours

Choosing the best option

There are many registered agent services available in the U.S., but the following two are the most popular. They are known for their value for money and excellent client service.

Northwest registered agent

Northwest, the more expensive option, offers an incorporation package for $225 plus state fees. This may appear to be a lot of money, but what is included makes it well worth it. Northwest has corporate guides who handle all of your filing requirements as well as annual report compliance. They provide premium registered agent services for free for the first year. Northwest goes above and beyond to protect your company’s data; they even set up compliance calendars to remind owners of important dates.


Unlike Northwest, which only offers one package, IncFile offers three: silver, gold, and platinum. Silver is the entry-level package and costs nothing; you only need to pay the state fee. The Incfile Silver package includes the preparation and filing of your formation articles as well as a full year of registered agent service. In addition, you will receive a corporate tax consultation, which Northwest does not provide. If you choose the gold or platinum packages, you will gain access to additional features. A legal form collection, as well as a business website and domain name, are among the features.

It does not matter what type of business you want to form, to appoint or hire a registered agent should be on the top of your priority list, due to the fact that it is a legal requirement in most U.S. states.

Story by Virginia Sagal

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