In the state of Florida, business entities like limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations, are required to name a registered agent. This person or business must have a physical presence in the state of Florida, and be able to receive legal communications on behalf of the business.
Registered agents also receive important information such as service of process notices, correspondence from the Secretary of State, official government notifications, tax forms, and notices of lawsuits. Sometimes you may choose to name one of the members of your organization as the registered agent, but most often hiring a company providing registered agent services is an option.
What Does a Registered Agent Do?
Registered agents primarily provide a presence in the state of Florida. In case of a service of process, they must physically be able to receive documentation on behalf of the business they represent. Although the bare minimum of receiving documents is required, having a good registered agent means that will provide company formations, book-keeping and accounting, virtual office services, and mail handling.
Your registered agent should also accept tax and legal documents on behalf of the company. This is essential in remaining compliant regarding tax payments, lawsuits, or judgments against the business.
Why You Need a Registered Agent in Florida
In the state of Florida, you are legally required to have a registered agent. This is because you need a physical presence in the state in order to receive correspondence and service of process. Despite this seeming like a burden, there are various benefits that come with using a registered agent.
- Maintain anonymity: Forming an LLC or corporation with a registered agent means that you can avoid putting your personal or business address online.
- Avoid embarrassment: In the case of being served with a lawsuit, having a registered agent can prevent it from happening at your place of business. Being served at work can be extremely embarrassing, especially if it is in front of family and friends, or even customers.
- Additional assistance: Great registered agents will provide you assistance with additional services as well. This can take the effort and stress off of you, and allow you to focus more on growing your business. When you have a great registered agent, the services they provide are invaluable.
Should I Hire a Company as a Registered Agent?
There are various benefits to hiring a company as a registered agent.
- Privacy: Instead of your own address being listed on record, it will be that of your registered agent. This is also very important if you operate your business out of your home.
- Convenience: By acting as your own registered agent you will need to be home during business hours at the specific Florida address you provide. Hiring a professional registered agent provides you with more flexibility.
- Less stress: Professional registered agent services will be sure to reduce your stress by sending you any notices you need to say in compliance.
- From in more than just Florida: By using registered agents in other states, you can form entities there as well.
How to Choose a Registered Agent in Florida
Requirements of a Registered Agent
There are only a few qualities necessary of a registered agent in Florida,
- Must be 18 years or older
- Must have a physical address in Florida (it cannot be a P.O. box)
- Must always available during normal business hours to receive service of process in person
Qualities to Look for in a Registered Agent
When choosing a registered agent there are a few qualities to look for. You will first off want to choose a professional service with experience. This will ensure you can allow them to take the wheel and take care of you, ensuring you get your money’s worth.
You should also consider value, not price. Some registered agent’s services can be less expensive, but this does not mean that they are as good of quality. Especially if you are looking for a nationwide provider in case you hope to form in more states than just Florida. Finally, you want to look for additional service offerings. This is essential if you are looking to get the most for your investment.
Assigning Yourself as a Registered Agent
You can assign yourself as your own registered agent, but you can only do so if you live in the state of Florida. The only alternative you may have is if you have someone in the state of Florida willing to receive correspondence for you, but that is a bit risky if you, yourself, are not there.
What Happens If You Don’t Have a Registered Agent in Florida?
If your corporation or LLC does not have a registered agent then you will not be in compliance in the state of Florida. Your business will be dissolved and you will need to re-register with the state. It is best to avoid this.