What is a Registered Agent?
Registered agents, also referred to as statutory agents, agents for process of service, and resident agents, are third party companies, entities, or individuals that are, in essence, the primary contact between a business and its domicile state. The registered agent accepts all tax, government, and legal documents on a company’s behalf, including service of process in a possible lawsuit. Also, as the liaison between the business and governing state, the registered agent ensures that all compliance filings are accurate and up-to-date.
Not all businesses require a registered agent. The concept is reserved for companies that are mandated to register with the state in which they conduct business. In other words, registered agents are needed to represent corporations, limited liability companies, or LLCs, and limited liability partnerships, or LLPs. Once one of the former are chosen as a business structure, a registered agent must be appointed prior to filing any organizational paperwork with the Secretary of State.
Registered agents receive any and all mail from the state ensuring that companies maintain compliance by filing annual reports and other critical paperwork in a timely manner. This is probably one of the most important facets of the agent’s job. Any business that misses crucial deadlines would be in violation of state and local tax and businesses laws and may have to temporarily cease operations until everything is sorted out.
Another vital role related to a registered agent’s essential gatekeeper status is accepting process of service on the behalf of the company he or she represents. This means that legal papers will be served on the registered agent as a surrogate for the business. This could be due to a pending legal action filed against the company, or, though less likely, it may be because the company’s records are being subpoenaed for use in a lawsuit to which it is not a party.
Why are Registered Agents in Louisiana Required?
Registered agents are required by the state because proper notification of all parties to any legal proceeding is requisite, with notable exceptions, before the court is able to proceed. Service of process, along with a signed and notarized affidavit from the process server, proves that a defendant company has been made aware of any lawsuit filed against it. As such, a business owner that denies knowledge of a suit will not have a legal leg to stand on and will either have to go to court to face the music or not respond and risk a judgment being made against the company in his or her absence.
Who Can Be a Registered Agent?
Louisiana registered agents can run the gamut from the business owners themselves, colleagues of theirs, or a professional agency service. As long as the entity meets the state’s requirements, they may take on the responsibility.
A business owner or someone in authority, such as a board member or CEO, may be the official registered agent for a company as long as they are over the age of majority (in most states this is 18 years), have a physical address in the state of operation, and are always available during the hours of 9AM and 5PM local time.
However, this can be a lot to handle in addition to the many other duties associated with running a business. That is why many companies are turning to professional registered agent services to take care of the associated tasks in their place. Not only do they take the added pressure off business owners, but they also ensure that everything is taken care of in a timely manner when it comes to tax forms and business filings. It can be easy to miss a deadline when businesspeople already have so much stacked on their plates.
There are other advantages to hiring a professional registered agent service. As long-standing professionals in your area, they can connect you to the top attorneys and accountants for your business needs, and they can use these prior relationships to work together for your company’s benefit.
Another benefit is privacy. The address listed on public record with the state would be that of the registered agent, not your business’s or your personal residence. Not only is this important if you operate your business out of your home, but it can be invaluable for you even if you have a separate brick-and-mortar location. After all, who would want to be served in front of their employees, or, even worse, their clients and customers? Having a separate address also prevents business owners from receiving unsolicited mail.
A registered agent service in Louisiana also keeps copies of all your formation documents in an additional safe place besides within your possession. That means if a fire or natural disaster destroyed your documents, you are sure to have another set.
Baton Rouge Process Servers, in addition to process serving, is a renown Louisiana registered agent service that will take excellent care of your business’s legal filings and compliance needs. For a reasonable fee of $200 annually, Scott and his team will handle all the minute details and ensure that you are informed of any pending matters immediately and discreetly. Paperwork copying and shipping fees will cost extra.