Every state requires a corporation or an LLC to have a Registered Agent (sometimes called a resident agent, statutory agent, or agent for service of process). The Registered Agent address is the address that will be used by the state for any official legal and tax correspondence. The Registered Agent address must be a physical, in-state street address; P.O. Boxes are not acceptable. If needed, Jumpstart can provide you with a Registered Agent as a part of all plans, and any official legal and tax correspondence from the state will be digitized and available for access in your dashboard.
Do You Need a Registered, Resident, or Statutory Agent for Your Business?
Your business is required to have an official “registered agent” in the state (or states) where you do business, in order to have an officially designated place of operations and permanent physical presence where the state government can contact you with correspondence related to legal and tax documents such as franchise tax forms, service of process (notice of litigation in case you become party to a lawsuit) or just the annual report forms that your business must file each year to maintain your good standing as a legal entity.
Your registered agent can be an individual person (such as you, the business owner) or you can hire a registered agent service (such as the one offered by Jumpstart) to give you an added degree of convenience, reassurance and accountability to help manage your vital legal documents and avoid complications or errors.
What is Included in Registered Agent Services?
Registered Agent services, such as the one offered by Jumpstart, help you avoid hassles and inconvenience of managing all of your own documentation from the state. It also helps preserve your privacy by setting up a public-facing "registered agent" address for your business that is separate from your home. When you use a Registered Agent service, any official legal or tax correspondence will be forwarded to your personal, private contact address. As your Registered Agent service, we also help you stay on top of deadlines such as filing annual reports and other essential documents to keep your business in good standing.
What Happens if You Don't Get a Registered Agent?
If you do not set up a Registered Agent, whether it’s yourself as the business owner or a designated Registered Agent service, you are putting your business at risk in several ways:
Missing out on critical information
If your company gets sued and you have not set up a Registered Agent with the state, you might not even get notified of the court summons and you risk being hit with a default judgment.
Losing good standing
Without a Registered Agent, you might not get notified about filing deadlines for annual reports or other compliance documents that you need to file with the state to keep your business in good legal standing. This could lead to fines and penalties, depending on the policies of your state.
Loss of your business entity
Without a Registered Agent, the state has no proof that your business really “exists,” and if you miss your deadlines for annual reports or other essential paperwork, you risk ending up in a situation where the state administratively dissolves your business entity and declares that your business no longer exists. This results in a loss of your limited liability protection and other damages to your business operations and reputation.
Getting a Registered Agent seems like a simple task to protect against unlikely scenarios – after all, you probably won’t get sued, right? But it’s worth doing just to make sure your business is in compliance with the state and to ensure that you get promptly notified of any changes or problems along the way.
How to Choose a Registered Agent for Your LLC or Inc.
When choosing your Registered Agent, you need to choose someone who will be:
Available during business hours
Able to be served with a legal notice, if necessary
Able to promptly relay any legal documents to the appropriate people at your business.
A good Registered Agent service can help you respond quickly in the event of a lawsuit, avoid missed deadlines, fines and penalties for non-compliance, and otherwise manage the details of paperwork so you can focus on running your business.
Jumpstart can provide you with a Registered Agent for free as part of your plan, and any official legal and tax correspondence from the state will be forwarded to your contact address. We even give the first year of Registered Agent service for free — a feature that makes us the best online formation company for small business owners.
Each of our three incorporation packages include a free year of registered agent service, if you do not need us to act as your registered agent you are not obliged to do so and you can name yourself or whomever you wish.
After the first year, your service will automatically renew to keep your company in compliance with state requirements. You will always have the option to cancel the service at any time by assigning a new registered agent with state and notifying us of the change.
We only point this out because there are companies that will offer the registered agent service for a pre specified time lets say 6 weeks or 3 months and then auto charge your payment card for whatever their annual fee is and then keep charging every year thereafter going forward making the assumption that the company is still active or that you have not changed the agent on file with the state.