A Registered Agent receives Service of Process on behalf of a company in those states where the company conducts business. Service of Process documents include legal proceedings, litigation, legal notices, or official government correspondence delivered to the company. A registered agent for a corporation or other business entity 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.
When starting a business, you must designate a registered agent to receive legal documents on your behalf and you must list a registered office of where these documents can be delivered. While you can be your own registered agent, it is not recommended. One of the biggest drawbacks of being your own registered agent is that you must be at the registered address during standard business hours, in the event you are being served a legal notice.
Not only may it be uncomfortable to receive legal notices in front of your clients, and if operating a home-based business, in front of your family, friends and neighbors, it limits your time out of the office as you must be available all week. Furthermore, you started a business because you were passionate about what you do. Unless you’re in the legal industry, dealing with paperwork and keeping up with industry requirements and regulations can be an overwhelming, and draining task.