What is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is an individual or company that all LLCs and corporations are required to list when they set up their business. Registered agents are responsible for receiving all legal correspondence such as lawsuits and litigation, or state and federal communication on behalf of the LLC or the corporation. Registered agents must be located in the state that the business is registered in, are required to have a physical address (no PO boxes), and must be available during normal business hours.
What does a Registered Agent do?
Simply put, a registered agent has to be available to accept legal documents (also known as service of process) on behalf of your business. That said, the role of the registered agent can be much more important than that.
They must be physically present at the listed location during business hours to accept service of process documents and ensure they get to the correct person within the business in a timely manner. Many state and legal documents are time sensitive and require immediate attention. Failure to do this could mean serious consequences.
Additionally, many registered agents offer other services like mail handling, bookkeeping and accounting, as well as being able to keep track of and store all your documents. By entrusting this role to one person or company, you ensure your legal and tax documents are received and you can be sure you won’t miss important information or deadlines about filing, taxes, lawsuits, or judgements.
Do you need a Registered Agent in New Mexico?
Most states require LLCs and corporations to list a registered agent when they file their initial formation papers with the state. The registered agent can be someone within your company, a family member or spouse, yourself, or even your business in the state of New Mexico (note that not all states allow the registered company’s business to be listed as the registered agent).
However, there are a number of benefits to hiring and listing a professional registered agent (or a company) that is not affiliated with your company in any other way.
Since all legal correspondence is time sensitive, states have come up with the registered agent requirement to ensure documents are received immediately and that will be acted upon in a timely manner. If you miss these important deadlines your company may face legal or financial penalties.
Benefits of a Registered Agent
Here are a few advantages of a registered agent in New Mexico.
The name and address of your listed registered agent on your business filing will be public knowledge for anyone to find. This means if you list yourself or a family member, your name and physical address will be available for anyone to find. Using a professional agent can shield you from this and protect your privacy. In the case of being served a lawsuit, this can also prevent a potentially embarrassing situation if you are served in front of family and friends.
If you run an ecommerce business, work non-standard hours, or travel a lot, you may not be able to provide a physical address that you know you’ll be at Monday through Friday during business hours. Hiring a registered agent will give you peace of mind that any important communication will be handled by professionals.
When you hire a registered agent you know that their address will stay the same and there will always be someone there to receive correspondence. If you or a member of your company are the registered agent, there is a chance you won’t always be present. Also, if there is a chance that your physical address might change (either by a personal move or an office move), or if your appointed agent might stop working for your company, you will have to update this with the state each time it changes. In New Mexico the charge for each change is $25 for corporations and $20 for LLCs.
Many professional registered agents offer additional business services which can make it convenient and cost effective to bundle along with the standard agent duties.
How to Choose a Registered Agent
The requirements for being a registered agent in New Mexico are fairly simple: you must be over the age of 18, have a physical address in the state the company is registered in (not a PO box), and be physically present during normal business hours. Though many people meet the criteria to be a registered agent, it is worth taking the time to find a reputable agent that you can count on.
A good registered agent will have a track record of dependability. Read reviews and ask around to other in-state businesses for recommendations. If you choose to use someone within your business or family (or even yourself), you’ll want to make sure they are reliable with deadlines and will be able to get you the physical paperwork or scanned documents the same day they are received.
They should also be well organized and sure they will stay at the same physical location for the foreseeable future. A professional registered agent will cost between $100 to $300 a year and many businesses feel this is worth it for the privacy and peace of mind that come with it.
What happens If you don’t
have a registered agent
By law, all LLCs and corporations are required to have a current registered agent listed with the state. Sole proprietorships are exempt from this requirement. If it is discovered that your registered agent is somehow unreachable, you risk losing the good standing of your business.
You will likely be contacted by the state if this happens, and if it continues to be a problem the state could dissolve your corporation or LLC if you fail to comply.