What is a registered agent?
When filing your LLC application with the State of Pennsylvania, one important question asked is the location of the registered office for the LLC in the Commonwealth. This means that a street mailing location is required in the application to receive important official documents and mail for the business. Such documents can include tax forms, request to complete permits company filings and reports, service of process legal documents (in case your LLC is named in a lawsuit), and official state and federal government notices. Access by the business owner to these notice and mail providers in a timely manner is important to avoid the risk of losing your limited liability protection.
Who needs a registered agent?
For many small business owners, the new business can be a home-based or a web-based business which limits the accessibility to such important documents. Many of these owners prefer privacy and do not want their homes or offices listed publicly in the state and federal records. More so when registering a virtual office where there is no physical street address or mailing location in the State of Pennsylvania.
Under such conditions, contracting a third-party Commercial Registered Office Provider or Registered Agent for your LLC is needed to receive such important documents on your behalf. In general, the LLC’s registered agent is an individual or entity which has been designated by the LLC to receive service of legal, government, and compliance-related documents on behalf of the LLC. As such, the third-party Registered Agent’s street mailing address serves as a general point of contact for those businesses that do not include a street address in their LLC application form. Costs for such third-party services often range between $100 and $300 per year.
Can you be your registered agent?
For many small businesses, hiring a registered agent service just doesn’t make sense if your business has an official street mailing address to receive such important documents in a timely manner and you are not concerned about privacy, you should be OK without an outside contracted Registered Agent. Under such conditions, the business owner would be the best name to list down as the registered agent for the business to receive the important document. It is important, however, that the business person listed as the Registered Agent must be available at all times during business hours to receive such important documents. Otherwise, hiring an outside registered agent might be your next best option to ensure that important legal and state documents are received on time.
How do you find a registered agent?
To search for a third-party Commercial Registered Office Provider to represent your LLC, you can go to the PA Department of State business database to select a Registered Agent. The site is: https://www.dos.pa.gov/BusinessCharities/Business/Resources/Pages/Commercial-Registered-Office-Providers.aspx
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The Duquesne University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers no-cost, confidential consulting services and educational programs in Southwestern Pennsylvania to empower entrepreneurs and small business owners with the knowledge they need to start, grow, and prosper.