When forming a business, state statutes require you to designate a registered agent and, sometimes, a registered office. This allows the state to have an official contact with the company so they can communicate important annual filings and changes in entity requirements. The registered agent also provides the essential responsibility of receiving service of process on behalf of the company. Establishing a registered agent is a critical step to ensure that the company is legitimate and qualified to do business within the state.

A Registered Agent receives Service of Process on behalf of a company in those states where the company conducts business.  Service process documents include legal proceedings, litigation, legal notices, or official government correspondence delivered to the company. A Registered Agent acts as the representative for receiving and forwarding official correspondence from the Secretary of State’s office that may include tax notifications and various compliance documents.

If a company fails to designate and maintain a registered agent it may be penalized by the state for non-compliance (no longer in “good standing”). The State may revoke the company’s authority to do business within the state and impose fines and penalties. The failure to maintain a registered agent may also limit a company’s ability to legally enter into contracts and utilize the protection of state courts.

Within the industry, a registered agent is also referred to sometimes as a resident agent, statutory agent, or statutory representation.