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Whether you intend to form a corporation or limited liability company in the US, you’ll need the services of an experienced registered agent.
Registered agents are third parties designated by you to collect legal notices, tax documents, and other official papers on your behalf. They are a must-have for business owners registering a corporation or an LLC in the United States.
In this review, we introduced what a registered agent is. We also highlighted some of the best registered agent services and their pros and cons.
What is a registered agent service?
A registered agent service is a service that acts as the designated point of contact for a company or organization for legal and tax-related correspondence. They are responsible for receiving and forwarding essential documents, such as lawsuits and notices from government agencies, to the appropriate party within the company.
Best Registered Agent Service Providers
- Northwest registered agent
- Inc Authority
- Harbor Compliance
- Rocket Lawyer
- Better Legal
Northwest Registered Agent is a company that provides professional registered agent services to businesses of all sizes. As a registered agent, the company acts as the designated point of contact for a company or organization for legal and tax-related correspondence. In addition, they are responsible for receiving and forwarding essential documents, such as lawsuits and notices from government agencies. This registered agent service—often dubbed the best—offers attractive perks like same-day local scans, virtual office services, and free digital mail forwarding.
Northwest offers users online access to important documents, mail forwarding, and business address services. Though more expensive than a few alternatives ($125/ year), Northwest registered agents provide benefits and rich features (like local business guide support and full-fledge mail scanning and support) that offer you the best value.
- They offer various services, including LLC formation services, corporations, and nonprofits in all 50 states.
- An excellent reputation for being reliable and responsive.
- They are available during standard business hours to accept crucial documents.
- A track record of forwarding legal and tax-related correspondence to the appropriate party within the company promptly.
- They offer compliance reminders, document filing, and more to inform you of laws, regulations, and fee changes.
- They have competitive rates and flexible payment options, so you can choose the best plan that works for you.
- Their prices may be slightly higher than other registered agent services.
Overall, Northwest Registered Agent is a good choice for businesses that want a reliable and responsive registered agent service. They offer various additional services to help businesses stay on top of their legal and tax obligations. They have a good reputation for being reliable and responsive.
Registered agent service at Northwest costs $125. However, If you’re looking to form an LLC with a registered agent, that will cost $225.
Incfile is a company that specializes in helping businesses with their incorporation and registered agent needs. They offer various services, including LLC formation, corporation formation, and registered agent services. They provide a simple and affordable way to start and maintain a business, and they help entrepreneurs take care of their legal and compliance needs.
Incfile offers several services for entrepreneurs, including forming an LLC, filing an S-Corp, filing taxes, and creating a corporate seal. Moreover, Incfile also allows you to keep tabs on important business documents. And yes, they send emails and SMS notifications designed to keep you in the loop on the status of your documents.
- Incfile is one of the most affordable business formation services, with prices starting at just $49. In contrast, the Registered Agent service is free for the first year, regardless of your chosen package.
- They have a user-friendly website that makes it easy to navigate and understand the process of starting a business.
- They offer online access to incorporation documents.
- They also have a lot of helpful resources on their website, such as guides and FAQs.
- Incfile does not offer as many additional services as other registered agent services.
- Incfile only offers LLCs and S-Corps, so other business structures like C-Corps won’t be available.
Overall, Incfile is an excellent option for businesses looking for an affordable and user-friendly way to start and maintain a business. They offer various services, including LLC formation, corporation formation, and registered agent services. The main limitation is that they do not provide as many additional services as other registered agent services.
You can get registered agent service for FREE with Incfile by subscribing to any package they offer. All you have to pay is the state fees. The registered agent service renewal after the first year is $119 annually.
ZenBusiness provides various services to help businesses with their incorporation and compliance needs. They offer LLC formation, corporation formation, registered agent services, and more. In addition, they strive to make starting and maintaining a business as easy and affordable as possible.
Though new to the market, this company has captured the hearts of many business owners and grown in popularity thanks to its affordability, transparency, and quality service. Like a typical registered service, ZenBusiness offers a business address, mail forwarding notifications from the Secretary of State, and service of process. They also help with annual report filing, website building, and LLC formation services. Plus, they offer worry-free compliance and excellent customer support.
- ZenBusiness offers many services, including LLC formation, corporation formation, and registered agent services.
- A user-friendly website that makes it easy to navigate and understand the process of starting a new business.
- They offer affordable prices for their services.
- It also provides other helpful services such as domain name registration, branding solutions, and business insurance.
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Customer support might not be as responsive as other companies, depending on the volume of requests.
- Registered agent service is an add-on.
- It doesn’t offer same-day document delivery.
ZenBusiness offers affordable rates for a registered agent service, which is as low as $99 or $149 when combined with compliance (annual cost).
ZenBusiness is an excellent option for businesses looking for an affordable and user-friendly way to start and maintain a business. They offer LLC formation, corporation formation, and registered agent services. However, the main limitation is that customer support may not be as responsive as other companies, depending on the volume of requests.
Inc Authority is a business formation and document filing services company that assists entrepreneurs and small business owners form their companies.
Inc Authority is perfect for individuals looking to form a new business on a tight budget, as its registered agent service costs nothing for an entire year.
In addition to its affordability, Inc Authority offers free services like tax consultations, business name verification, s-election document filing, digital storage and delivery, entity formation within the state, free business checking accounts, etc.
- They offer free registered agent services for a year.
- Excellent customer service.
- Inc Authority has a team of experienced professionals knowledgeable in forming companies and can provide expert advice and guidance.
- Inc Authority offers services tailored to the business’s needs, including forming LLCs, corporations, and nonprofits.
- They provide access to many resources and information to help entrepreneurs make informed business decisions.
- More expensive compared to other providers after the first year.
- They offer few services and features for their expensive price tag.
- Inc Authority’s services are limited to company formation and document filing and do not include ongoing legal support or representation.
While Inc Authority offers users free registered agent service for the first year, they usually charge $179 for subsequent years, making them one of this list’s most expensive service providers.
In conclusion, Inc Authority is the best option for individuals looking for a registered agent service that offers quality legal assistance. However, it’s more expensive than other service providers after the first year.
#5 Legal Zoom
LegalZoom is a leading online legal document preparation service that provides business formation services for LLCs, S Corps, C Corps, nonprofits, and registered agent services. They also offer a wide range of services such as DBA/Business Names, Entity Name Availability Checks, Entity Name Reservation, Trademark Registration, and more.
It was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Glendale, California.
- LegalZoom offers more ongoing legal services than other LLC formation companies.
- Registered agent service includes business data protection and a compliance calendar.
- If you’re switching your registered agent, they’ll handle the paperwork with your state and cover any fees.
- They offer competitive pricing compared to traditional lawyer fees.
- LegalZoom’s website is easy to navigate, making it simple for users to access the necessary services and resources.
- LegalZoom offers support from a network of legal professionals.
- Live chat and phone customer support are available.
- It is more expensive compared to other LLC formation companies.
LegalZoom packages range from $79 to $349 (plus state filing fee), with the option to include extra services.
Overall, LegalZoom is a convenient and affordable option for individuals and small businesses who need help with legal document preparation. However, it is vital to consider the platform’s limitations and seek additional legal assistance.
#6 Harbor Compliance
Harbor Compliance is a compliance management company that helps businesses navigate regulatory compliance’s complex and ever-changing landscape. It suits customers looking for a registered agent with an affordable and transparent pricing structure.
Like most registered agent services, they offer a physical address in the state where you operate, free digital mail forwarding, and privacy protection.
- Harbor Compliance offers services tailored to the business’s needs, including state-specific compliance solutions and ongoing compliance support.
- A comprehensive platform that helps businesses manage all aspects of regulatory compliance, including licenses, permits, and tax registrations.
- Offers 5-10% discount on subscriptions of 2+ years.
- Fewer services are added to the formation package.
- Some regulators may not recognize compliance management services provided by Harbor Compliance.
Harbor Compliance’s annual rate for registered agent service is $89 to $99 per state.
In conclusion, Harbor Compliance is an expert in compliance. They provide a comprehensive and cost-effective solution for businesses that need a registered agent with considerable expertise and experience. However, you may consider other options, as Harbor Compliance offers fewer services.
#7 Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer is a popular legal service that provides individuals and businesses with online legal document creation. The company’s mission is to make legal services more accessible and affordable. In addition, they offer a wide range of legal and registered agent services.
- Comprehensive legal advice and services.
- They offer a variety of customizable legal documents, from contracts and agreements to court forms, which can be created and signed electronically.
- Customer service is unavailable on weekends.
Rocket Lawyer registered agent service costs $149,99 per year. You can purchase registered agent services as a standalone service or get it included with a discount on other legal services.
As a registered agent service that charges more than Northwest Registered Agent ($149,99 per year), you expect them to offer more sophisticated services than their counterpart. Sadly, they don’t, making them expensive, especially for business owners with a tight budget. But even at that, they remain one of the best providers in the registered agent industry.
#8 Better Legal
Better Legal is a legal services company that provides online document creation, virtual legal advice, and access to a network of independent attorneys. Better Legal is another provider you should consider when seeking a registered agent service. They provide LLC formation services. Plus, they can help with business filing and annual reports.
- Same-day business filing
- Better Legal provides 24/7 customer support.
- Free business bank account
- A single package, just like Northwest Registered Agent
- The business formation package is expensive
- Relatively new in the space
BetterLegal charges $90 per year for registered agent services, while business formation costs $299. It is a very affordable choice if you only use the company as a registered agent and not for business filing.
While we recommend BetterLegal for companies with a large budget, we wouldn’t say likewise for those with a tight budget. This is due to their flat fee, meaning you may have to pay more than you need.
Best Registered Agent Service Overall
Our recommended registered agent service is Northwest Registered Agent due to their excellent customer service, customer reviews, and pricing.
On carefully reviewing Northwest Registered Agent, we found that it offers an average number of services and features at a lower price than its top competitors like LegalZoom and Inc Authority.
Northwest will set up your LLC for only $39 + state fees and provide you with registered agent service free for the first year. After that, you renew for $125 yearly.
What’s more, Northwest operates in all 50 states, making it easy for you to expand your reach nationwide.
Benefits of Using a Registered Agent Service
A registered agent service provides several benefits for businesses, including:
- Legal Compliance: A registered agent helps businesses meet their legal obligations by accepting important legal and tax documents on behalf of the company.
- Privacy: Getting a registered agent will ensure your personal information is confidential and out of public records.
- Professionalism: A registered agent presents a professional image for a business by receiving and handling legal documents promptly and efficiently.
- Reliability: A registered agent service guarantees that critical legal documents are received and handled even if the business owner is unavailable.
- Convenience: A registered agent service eliminates the need for a business owner to constantly monitor their mailbox and be present to receive legal documents.
- National Coverage: A registered agent service with a nationwide presence allows businesses to have a registered agent in any state where they conduct business.
In conclusion, a registered agent service can provide businesses with increased privacy, professionalism, reliability, convenience, and legal compliance.
Registered Agent Service FAQ
Do I need a registered agent service?
Every company must have a registered agent by law. This is so that there is always a reliable point of contact for legal and tax-related correspondence.
Who can be a registered agent?
A registered agent can be an individual or a company entity authorized to do business in the state where the company or organization is incorporated or registered.
What are the responsibilities of a registered agent service?
The responsibilities of a registered agent service include:
- Receiving and forwarding legal and tax-related correspondence, such as lawsuits and notices from government agencies, to the appropriate party within the company.
- Notifying the business of any legal action against it.
- Being available during normal business hours to receive important documents.
- Filing annual reports and other required documents with state agencies. (Annual reports service is optional with some registered agent service providers, and the service cost may vary from one provider to another.)
What types of documents are typically handled by a Registered Agent?
A Registered Agent typically handles documents such as summons, complaints, service of process, tax forms, and other legal documents. Having a Registered Agent ensures that the appropriate parties receive official documents promptly.
Can a Registered Agent receive mail for my company?
A registered agent service can receive mail and forward it to your address. However, a registered agent can only receive your business mail and government correspondence.
Can I be my own registered agent?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent for your business if you have a physical address in the state where the business is registered.
What happens if I don’t have a registered agent?
If a business fails to appoint a registered agent, it may face penalties and fines from the state.
How do I choose a registered agent service?
When choosing a registered agent service, it is crucial to consider these factors:
- Location and availability
- Reliability and reputation
- Additional services offered
How much does a registered agent service cost?
The cost of hiring a registered agent service can vary depending on the provider, but it ranges from $50 to $300 per year.
How do you update or change a registered agent service?
Updating or changing a registered agent service is a relatively simple process. First, you will need to contact the registered agent service provider and ask them to file a change of registered agent form with the Secretary of State’s office. This form must include the name and address of the new registered agent. The form may vary slightly depending on the state in which you are located. The Secretary of State’s office must process the application and issue a confirmation once the amendment has been submitted. Once this is complete, the new registered agent is effective. Companies can change registered agents whenever they wish. However, most states require a filing fee to change the registered agent.
How much does it cost to change my registered agent?
Depending on the number of states your LLC is registered to do business in, changing agents can cost anywhere between $0 and $50 per state.
What is the difference between a registered agent, agent for service of process, and resident agent?
They all mean the same thing, as they perform the same duties. It all depends on the state and how they use the words. A registered agent may also be called a statutory agent.
What is the “service of process”?
The service of process is when someone gives you a legal notice. This notice tells you to take action, such as stop doing something or go to court. You must do what the notice says.
Hiring the right registered agent service will protect your personal information, privacy, and legal assets.
Our review was based on several factors, including but not limited to pricing, customer support, ease of use, customers’ reviews, and features.
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