What Is A Registered Agent?
If you’ve registered a corporation at any point, you’ve probably noticed that you have to designate a registered agent. In fact, you may have had a registered agent for many years, and maybe not even have known who it was or what your registered agent is even supposed to do for you.
What Does a Registered Agent Do?
Every company in Florida must have a registered agent (RA). You need an RA–even if your business is outside of Florida, so long as you do business in Florida or own real estate in Florida. You will designate your RA in your Articles of Incorporation, which are filed with the state.
Your RA is the person or company that you have designated to accept papers, letters, or documents on your behalf–whatever is sent to you. This may include tax notices, or official business papers. The registered agent’s receipt of documents is considered to be your receipt of the documents.
The RA’s duties come into play primarily when you are served with lawsuits; in certain situations a process server can serve your RA, and you are presumed to have been served. This makes it important to have an RA that you know and communicate with.
Requirements for an RA
Your RA must have a street address in Florida, and the RA’s business office (the address registered with the state) must be staffed during normal business hours–you can’t have an empty office as your RA. The address will be in the public records, filed with, and searchable in the records of, the Florida Department of Corporations.
So long as they meet the requirements and are willing to do what an RA is supposed to do, anybody can be your RA. The RA will have to sign with the state, acknowledging that he or she is your RA.
Your RA can, but doesn’t have to be an officer or owner of your company (the RA can also be an employee, but that may not be such a good idea). Remember that if your RA works for or with you, in your office, the RA will be served with any lawsuits filed against your company–you may not want that information in public, having your RA served right in your office.
Charges, Changes, and Services
An RA sometimes charges you for services, but doesn’t have to. Some companies are “professional RAs,” which may conduct other services, like reminding you about corporate renewals or preserving important corporate documents for you. Often, accountants or attorneys will serve as RAs.
You can change your RA–but you’ll need to record the change with the state, and there may be a small fee involved with the change. Additionally, you likely will need approval by your Board of Directors, or corporate officers, to make that change.
Call the West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig today for help with your corporate decisions.