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What Is a Registered Agent?

by Yasir Asif
Registered Agent

Under United States law, corporations and LLCs must designate a registered agent during incorporation or business registration. A professional service company like CorpNet can serve as your registered agent in multiple states, simplifying compliance and reducing the risk of missed legal deadlines.

While you can appoint yourself or another individual within your business as your registered agent, it’s preferable to use a registered agent service that offers privacy and reliability. The registered agent’s job is to receive important paperwork and promptly relay it to the business owner.

Service of Process

The main reason businesses need a registered agent is for the service of process. The law requires that people who want to sue a business must serve the company in some way. This is often done by hand-delivery by a process server, but can also be done by mail.

The registered agent (sometimes called a statutory agent or resident agent) is the person or company that receives these legal documents and mail on behalf of the business. The registered agent’s information is public record and can be found in government databases.

Having a professional registered agent ensures that the registered agent is always available during standard business hours to receive these important documents and mail. In fact, this is one of the reasons why most corporations and LLCs choose to hire a professional registered agent service. Choosing a professional registered agent also helps protect the privacy of the business owner as their personal information will not appear in public records.

Notification of Deadlines

A registered agent can alert you when compliance filing deadlines approach. This may save you time and money. You can set a number of days before a project deadline when you would like to be alerted (we recommend using the default setting of 1 day).

While you can designate yourself or an employee as your own registered agent, this poses a privacy risk. In addition, if you’re served with a lawsuit, it could be in front of customers or employees. A professional registered agent service will protect your privacy and provide the convenience of getting important documents emailed to you.

Some services provide this level of service at a reasonable cost, including Northwest Registered Agent. Others, such as Sundoc Filings and ZenBusiness, charge too much for too little. A better option is Harbor Compliance, which provides a full suite of registered agent services for about the same price as those of Northwest. They also include identity theft protection in their package, which makes them an excellent choice for small businesses and corporations.

Representation in Legal Matters

It can be difficult for a business to keep track of state government filing requirements, deadlines, and other legal notices. This is why registered agents are important. They receive all official correspondence and promptly forward it to the business owner.

A registered agent can be an individual resident of the state in which the business is registered to operate, or it may be a domestic or qualified foreign business entity authorized to do business in that state. The minimum requirement in most states is that the registered agent must have a physical address (not a P.O. box).

Choosing a service that provides registered agents for multiple states can be helpful if you plan to expand your business into other states. This can save you time and money by having one company handle all of your state requirements. In addition, hiring a registered agent service ensures that your important legal mail is always handled properly.


As you form your business and expand into different states, a registered agent service will be able to help you stay in compliance with each state’s requirements. This will ensure you don’t miss any important filing deadlines that can result in hefty fines.

A professional registered agent service will also have a dedicated staff with extensive experience in handling various kinds of legal documents, including lawsuits and subpoenas, as well as complying with business entity and registration renewal requirements. They will also have a physical location that is open and available during regular business hours and be able to receive hand-delivered documents in a timely manner.

You can also choose to be your own registered agent, but this can become a huge burden on you and could ultimately put your business at risk if you are sued or have a law enforcement issue. You can avoid this by using a commercial registered agent service, such as Swyft Filings, that is affordable and provides you with all the services you need to be in compliance.

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