If your business is, or will be, something other than a sole proprietorship you will need to list a Registered Agent or Statutory Agent with Secretary of State in the jurisdiction(s) in which that are organized or conduct business.
The Registered Agent provides the public with an address (not a P.O. Box) where there are persons available, during normal business hours, to accept legal service of process for the business in the event they are being sued or otherwise involved in legal action. Additionally the Registered Agent is where the state government(s) send all official documents and notices required each year for tax and legal purposes. The Registered Agent will help facilitate compliance and filing when necessary, and help ensure that the business entity remains “Active” or in “Good Standing” in each jurisdiction. There is generally a fee associated with this Registered Agent relationship at about $200 a year and higher.
So do you need one? Some states allow for the Registered Agent to be an individual at the place of business. However, it can be difficult or burdensome for a business owner to keep track of legislative changes and report or filing due dates for multiple jurisdictions. Failure to do so will result in the business entity to become in “default” or “suspended” status. This will effect the entity’s ability to conduct business, enter into contracts, bring or defend against legal action as well as incur fees and penalties with the Secretary of State.
So while using a commercial Registered Agent could save you some money initially, not designating someone with the ability to ensure compliance for your entity could have costly consequences.
Below is a list of commonly used Registered Agents that cover multiple Jurisdictions: