You can technically be your own Registered Agent in New York, but there’s no reason to be.
This is because New York is very different from all the other states:
The New York Secretary of State is automatically the Agent for Service of Process (aka Registered Agent) for all LLCs.
There’s no form to fill out or special box to check when you form your LLC. This is just how New York State has decided to do things.
(Unfortunately, most Commercial Registered Agents and LLC filing companies hide this information.)
Note: Some states call the Registered Agent a Resident Agent or Statutory Agent. New York calls it the Agent for Service of Process. These all mean the same thing.
What’s the purpose of an Agent for Service of Process (aka Registered Agent)?
The purpose of a Registered Agent is to receive Service of Process if your LLC is involved in a lawsuit.
Service of Process is the delivery of legal mail, like a complaint or subpoena.
This means that if your business is sued, legal documents will be sent to the New York Secretary of State. Then the New York Secretary of State will forward the documents to you in the mail.
However, you can list a second Registered Agent (like a Commercial Registered Agent) in your LLC filing. There are two benefits to doing this:
- To save money on the New York LLC publication requirement
- To keep your address off public records
How to use a Commercial Registered Agent to save money on the New York LLC publication requirement
New York requires all LLCs to publish 2 newspaper ads within 120 days of formation.
A Commercial Registered Agent won’t publish the ads for you. However, you can use their office address on your LLC paperwork to publish your ads in affordable counties (like Albany County).
For example, if your LLC is located in one of the five boroughs of New York City, the newspaper publication requirements can cost around $1,000. But by using a Commercial Registered Agent address in a more affordable county, you can save a lot of money.
For step-by-step instructions on publishing your LLC ads, see our free guide on New York LLC publication requirements.
Note: If you’re located in a county where publication is affordable, you don’t need to use this strategy.
How to use a Commercial Registered Agent to keep your address off public records
You can use a Commercial Registered Agent to keep your address off public records.
The company we recommend below (Northwest Registered Agent) can be used to both keep your address off public records and to save money on the publication requirement.
Note: If you’re not concerned about this and you’re located in a county where publication is affordable, then you don’t need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent in New York. This will save you money.
Our recommendation for a New York Registered Agent
We recommend Northwest Registered Agent.
They’ve been in business for over 20 years and have excellent customer service. They’re also the service we use for our own LLCs.
Northwest’s address is located in Albany County. And Albany County has the cheapest newspaper publication fees in the state.
So if you hire Northwest to be your Registered Agent, they’ll let you use their address on your LLC filing so you can publish your ads in Albany.
After you finish publishing your ads, you can continue using their address (to keep your address off public records). Or you can update the LLC’s address to be your own address.
In addition to Registered Agent services, Northwest can also form your LLC.
Special discount for LLC University® readers
Northwest usually charges $100 + state fees to form a New York LLC. But they offer a special price (60% off) for LLC University® readers.
Check out our free New York Registered Agent lesson for more detailed explanations and requirements. And if you’d like to list a second Registered Agent, we’ll guide you through your options and how to choose a Registered Agent.
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.