How Registered Agents Help
Your Business and You

See also: Developing a Business Idea

In the United States of America, every state requires that businesses which are formed within the state have a registered agent.

Delaware is no different, and businesses need to appoint a registered agent who acts as the point of contact between the state and business. Essentially, this registered agent receives important documentation on behalf of the business, such as service of process notices and tax documents.

This service is one of the most beneficial and time-saving elements of a business, especially for the business owner. It applies not only in the USA, but worldwide. Despite many differences, business owners across the world are faced with one aspect which is not only time-consuming, but also complicated: bureaucracy. 

What does a registered agent mean for you as a business owner? Well, despite the initial expense, you are then able to focus on the other essential elements of running a successful business without becoming bogged down by bureaucratic requirements and administration. The mark of a true leader is being able to recognize that one person simply cannot do everything that is required to run a successful business. Instead, delegation is required. Thus, even though the appointment of a registered agent is required by law, it also serves to ensure that the business runs as smoothly as possible.

What a Registered Agent Does

A registered agent provides a physical presence in Delaware so that they can accept service of process notices for an individual's business. A great registered agent service will provide more services than simply receiving and forwarding mail. Truly exceptional registered agent services will also assist a company with a number of other features such as company formations, bookkeeping, accounting, providing a virtual office, notify a business of lawsuits and judgements and accept legal documents on behalf of the business. The typical function of a registered agent is to accept tax documentation and mail and ensure that a business does not miss important information.

The Requirements a Registered Agent Must Fulfill

This individual or business entity is required to have a non-PO Box address and an office in the state of Delaware. Additionally, if the registered agent is an individual, they must be at least 18 years of age. The registered agent must also be available during business hours every business day of the year to receive documentation. For convenience the state of Delaware provides a list of registered agents within the state.

Benefits of a Registered Agent

  • Privacy

    Using a registered agent service means that a business can stay private as they will not need to have their address on public record. All registered agents' addresses become public record as they appear online for all to see. This often results in a great deal of spam mail. With a registered agent service a business can stay anonymous and let their registered agent face the public for them.

  • Discretion

    When a business is served with a lawsuit this is often conducted by law enforcement officers. This can be an undesirable circumstance for business owners who would prefer to have their legal matters handled in private. This is particularly undesirable if customers are in the place of business when the lawsuit is served.

  • Remain Compliant

    A registered agent service will help keep a business compliant by reminding them of important deadlines and documents which the business needs to fulfill. This will include the annual report which all businesses in Delaware will need to fill out as well as other important documentation. This can help a business avoid late fees and make sure that it remains in good standing with the state.

  • Additional Services

    Great registered agent services will also help a business with other things such as keeping copies of legal and corporate documents. This can be helpful when a business owner needs to focus on other important facets of managing their business. This can also be useful for keeping records of all documentation.

  • Flexibility

    Registered agent services provide flexibility in two important ways. First, they allow business owners to live outside of the state in which they have incorporated their business. Second, business owners can have the flexibility to not need to be present at their office every business day of the year.

Qualities of Good Registered Agents

When looking for a professional registered agent service there are many qualities that a business owner should look out for.

Compliance management is important because a registered agent service will give the business reminders for filing annual reports and other important deadlines for the business.

Document management is another important facet which registered agent services can help a business owner with. Having a registered agent service that is able to scan official documents enables you to access these documents remotely. This means that a business owner can access all their business mail as soon as it arrives without delay.

Availability is important because a registered agent must be reliable. They should be available during regular business hours to respond to the business either over the phone or via email. A registered agent service with national coverage allows a business to expand across the country without having to have multiple registered agents.

Consequences of Not Having a Registered Agent

Not having a registered agent means that a business can be dissolved as it is not compliant. Whether an individual appoints themselves or takes the recommended approach and uses a registered agent service, they will need to have a registered agent. This is essential for the formation and operation of the business. Every business owner, whether full or in part, should and has to operate using a registered agent.

It is recommended that entrepreneurs use a registered agent service because of all the benefits which these services provide. Additionally, the only downside of using a registered agent service is the small fee which they require each year. These fees tend to range from $50 to as much as $300 depending on the service provider and the level of service which they provide.

Final Thoughts

A Delaware registered agent is a requirement which all businesses need to fulfill and bring a number of benefits such as privacy, discretion, and flexibility. More than that, entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to think about how to optimize their business, expand it, and also how to ensure not only loyal customers, but also loyal employees.

About the Author

Article supplied by John Glover, MBA.