Registered Agent services aren’t cheap. Many companies charge $100-125 per year to act as your agent. So it’s important for you to know 1. Do you need a Registered Agent and 2. Should you pay for one.
What is a Registered Agent
Every state requires that an LLC organized under its laws have a registered (or resident, in some states) agent at a physical location within the state. The purpose is for the government to be able to deliver official documents to the LLC. The most likely documents are tax forms and notice of lawsuits.
Basically, the Registered Agent is the place and person within the State’s physical jurisdiction on whom service of process can be done. The State wants a physical person and place within their borders whom they can go to with taxes and lawsuits.
If you are forming an LLC in the state where your business operates, you can simply use your business office address. In this case, you are your own Registered Agent. This is the most common arrangement. Even if you operate your business out of your home, you can use you home address for official service.
When do you need to pay for a Registered Agent service?
If you don’t have a physical location in the state where you formed your LLC, then you’ll need to appoint a registered/resident agent within that state to receive official documents.
Example: You live in Missouri, but you formed your LLC in Nevada (there’ll be another post later about why this may or may not be a good idea). Nevada is going to want a registered agent that is located in Nevada to be able to serve with official papers–a.k.a. lawsuits and tax notices (while Nevada has no state income tax, they do have business taxes, for example on gambling). If you don’t have a house or office in Nevada to receive these papers, you’ll need to hire someone who does to accept these papers on your behalf. This person is a registered agent.
Many incorporation companies will, for a fee, act as your registered or resident agent.