What is a Registered Agent for an LLC -
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Registered AgentA Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to receive legal documents and state notices on behalf of your LLC.

In some states, a Registered Agent may also be called a Statutory Agent, Resident Agent, or Agent for Service of Process. These mean the same thing.

What does a Registered Agent do?

Simply put, a Registered Agent is a “receiver” and a “forwarder” of important documents.

Note: These legal documents are called Service of Process.

What is Service of Process?

Delivery of legal documents related to a lawsuit is known as Service of Process.

Service of Process for an LLC includes items such as legal notices, complaints, summons, and/or subpoenas.

Your Registered Agent must agree to accept delivery of legal documents related to any lawsuits against your LLC at their Registered Office address.

Registered Agents must be available at the Registered Agent address during standard business hours to receive Service of Process on behalf of your LLC.

Then they forward the documents to the LLC Owners by mail and/or online.

Registered Agents exist because the courts need to have a reliable point of contact, and reliable street address where legal notices can be delivered in case your LLC is sued.

Many states also use your Registered Agent as a general point of contact for mailing you business & state tax notices, payment reminders, and other documents.

Special offer: Hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), and you'll get a free year of Registered Agent service.

(Why is Northwest the best? Read our Northwest Registered Agent review)

(And you can get 60% off when you hire Northwest. Check out Northwest Registered Agent discount to learn more.)

Legal Requirements for LLC Registered Agents

LLC Registered Agents are required by law to:

  • maintain a Registered Office (a physical address, not a PO box)
  • keep regular business hours
  • accept Service of Process on behalf of business entities
  • forward the documents to businesses right away
What is a Registered Office for an LLC?

A Registered Office is the physical address where your Registered Agent accepts Service of Process. You can think of your Registered Office as the “home base” for your Registered Agent.

The Registered Office must be a street address in the state where you formed your LLC. PO Boxes aren’t allowed.

This is because your LLC’s Registered Agent is required to be available during normal business hours at the Registered Office address in case Service of Process arrives.

Your Registered Office can be an actual business address, or it can be your home address, or even the business or home address of a friend or family member.

LLC Registered Agent: Form an LLC (6/11)

Do I need to use a Registered Agent for my LLC?

Yes, all 50 states require you to list a Registered Agent on your LLC formation paperwork in order to start an LLC. And after your LLC is formed, you must keep a Registered Agent for the life of your LLC.

This is simply the law in every state.

Unfortunately, many LLC formation companies trick you into hiring them as your Registered Agent. They use language like, “Your LLC is required to have a Registered Agent,” (without giving you the rest of the information).

Meaning, while your LLC is required to have a Registered Agent, they don’t tell you that you have other options outside of their company…

Like you being the Registered Agent for your LLC, or asking a friend or family member.

These companies hide this information in the fine print during the checkout process.

And most people don’t realize they are paying extra Registered Agent fees that are being automatically charged to their credit cards every year.

That said, you have a few choices for who can be the Registered Agent for your LLC.

Who can be your LLC’s Registered Agent?

You have 3 options for who can be your LLC’s Registered Agent:

  • You can be your own Registered Agent.
  • A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
  • You can hire a Registered Agent Service, also known as a Commercial Registered Agent.

Note: There are a couple of states that allow your LLC to serve as its own Registered Agent, but this is the exception to the rule. In 90% of the states your LLC can’t be the Registered Agent for itself.

Can I be my own Registered Agent?

Yes, you can be your own Registered Agent if you meet the state requirements.

That said, it’s important to know that a Registered Agent’s name and address are listed on public records.

If you want to save money, the best option is to be your LLC’s Registered Agent or ask a friend or family member (they need to have a physical street address in your LLC’s state).

If you want privacy (keeping your address off public records), the best option is to hire a Registered Agent Service.

Pro: Being your LLC’s Registered Agent will save you money.

Con: Your name and address will be on public record. And there are some risks to be aware of.

Risks of being your own Registered Agent

Besides the address privacy we mentioned, there are some additional risks.

They aren’t extremely likely to occur, but if they do, you could lose your liability protection. And the Secretary of State has the power to administratively shut down your LLC if you’re not in compliance with the state laws.

This can happen if you don’t continuously maintain a Registered Agent on file, or if the Secretary of State is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent.

Additionally, if a process server (the person who delivers court documents and notices of lawsuits) can’t reach your Registered Agent, a court case can happen without you and you might not even know about it.

Worse, the court could enter a default judgment against your LLC if you aren’t there to defend yourself.

What are the benefits of using a professional Registered Agent Service?

Registered Agent Services specialize in receiving legal mail for LLCs. They typically charge between $100-300 per year.

Hiring a Registered Agent service is a good idea if:

  • You want more privacy (keeping your address off public records).
  • You don’t have a physical address in the state.
  • You aren’t available during normal business hours.
  • You don’t want to deal with the paperwork and responsibilities.
  • You want help forming your LLC.

Registered Agent companies also offer LLC formation services, so they can form your LLC for you. And they can help with your LLC annual requirements.

Once hired, they will receive Service of Process on behalf of your LLC and then forward it to you by mail at any address you’d like. Most will also fax or email your documents if preferred.

If you need a Registered Agent Service, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).

Northwest will scan any mail that is sent to your LLC and upload it to your online account. They’ll also let you use their address throughout your entire LLC filing for added privacy (keeping your address off of public records).

Special offer: Hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), and you'll get a free year of Registered Agent service.

(Why is Northwest the best? Read our Northwest Registered Agent review)

What are the risks if my LLC doesn’t have a Registered Agent?

If your LLC doesn’t maintain a Registered Agent, you risk receiving fines, penalties, and administrative consequences. This includes loss of good standing with the state, and administrative dissolution.

Additionally, if your LLC becomes in a lawsuit and there is no Registered Agent to receive the legal notices, the court may rule in favor of the other party. This is called default judgment and it doesn’t matter if you don’t respond, or don’t know about the lawsuit at all.

This is why LLCs are required to have a Registered Agent at all times.

What happens if your Registered Agent information is not accurate?

If your LLC’s Registered Agent information isn’t accurate, you risk legal and financial consequences. This is because the courts will not be able to deliver Service of Process. So again, you risk default judgment from the courts.

Also, your LLC is still required to comply with the state’s requirements, even if you miss any government correspondence sent to your Registered Agent’s address. This can lead to your LLC no longer being in good standing with the state.

We recommend keeping your Registered Agent information up-to-date with the state to avoid these penalties.

How do I choose a Registered Agent?

Your Registered Agent choices depend on whether or not you have a street address located in the state where you are forming your LLC.

If you have a street address in the state, then you can be your own Registered Agent. This is the most convenient and least expensive option (it’s free!).

What if I don’t live in the same state where I form my LLC?

If you don’t have a street address in the state, then you can ask a friend or family member who does, or hire a Registered Agent Service. Choosing a friend or family member is also free, but it can be less convenient.

If you (or friends or family members) don’t have an address in the state, then you will need to hire a Registered Agent Service.

Click the links below to learn about Registered Agent rules in all 50 states:


Registered Agent Recap

Once you determine who your LLC’s Registered Agent will be, you will then list their name and address when you file your LLC Formation Documents with the state.

Don’t worry about being “locked in” to one Registered Agent…

If you ever need to change your Registered Agent (or Registered Office), you just need to file a simple form with your state and pay a small fee.

And if you need to hire a Registered Agent Service, you should use a reputable company… not companies that have to trick you into hiring them.

How to find reliable Registered Agents in all 50 states

You can find reliable Registered Agents for your LLC throughout the US by reading Best Registered Agent Services for your LLC.

What is a Registered Agent for an LLC FAQs

Do I need a Registered Agent for each of my LLCs?

All LLCs are required by law to keep a Registered Agent on file with the state. If you have multiple LLCs, they will each need a Registered Agent.

That said, most quality Registered Agent Services operate in every state in the US.

Does my state require a Registered Agent for an LLC?

Yes, all 50 states and the District of Columbia require all LLCs to have a Registered Agent in order to form an LLC.

And then you must also maintain a Registered Agent for the life of your LLC.

Can a Registered Agent sign on behalf of an LLC?

Yes, an LLC can sign for legal documents and state notices on behalf of your LLC.

That said, Registered Agents can’t sign any other paperwork or enter your LLC into contracts.

They are simply there to accept legal documents and send them to you in a timely manner.

Are Registered Agents liable?

No, Registered Agents aren’t liable in lawsuits against the LLC just by being the Registered Agent.

And being a Registered Agent doesn’t provide extra liability protection if an LLC Owner chooses to be the Registered Agent for their own LLC.

Are Registered Agents and virtual offices the same?

No, Registered Agents and virtual offices aren’t the same thing.

A Registered Agent is a person or company who receives and forwards Service of Process and state notices for your LLC. Registered Agents are required to have an address with a physical location in the state where you formed your LLC.

A virtual office is a service that provides a business with a physical location (business address) in a city, but they do not have to actually be located in that city.

Is a Registered Agent the same as the owner?

No, a Registered Agent isn’t the same as an LLC Owner (called an LLC Member).

  • A Registered Agent doesn’t have any ownership rights in the LLC business entity, and isn’t entitled to any of the LLC’s profits.
  • An LLC Member does have ownership rights in the LLC, and is entitled to the LLC’s profits.

That said, an LLC Member can also be the company’s Registered Agent if they meet the state requirements.

For more information about LLC Members, please see Who can be LLC Members?

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz is the leading expert on LLC education, and has been teaching for 15 years. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
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.

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89 comments on “Registered Agent”

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

  1. Hi, Matt! I am so grateful to come across your website. I really appreciate how your site is extremely informative and very resourceful. I did a lot of research but I learned the most from your website with clear, straight forward, and up to date information. I have called all the registered agents listed. Hands down, Northwest is the best (thanks for the deal too.). I decided to setup my LLC with Northwest and happy to know I am able to speak with their customer service who cares about their client. Thank you Matt for your wonderful website!

    • Hey Amy! Wow, thank you so much for the kind words. I’m so glad to hear all that. You’re super welcome! We wish you lots of success :-)

  2. Matt you have very good insight into LLC…. can my registered agent be a mailbox store like UPS,FedEx , mailbox etc if there is staff present during regular business hours. The LLC will be formed in NY

    • Hey Marc, please see New York Registered Agent. New York is a “quirky” state in regards to the Registered Agent. Meaning, by default the New York Secretary of State is the agent of service of process (aka Registered Agent) for all LLCs. The New York LLC Articles of Organization just asks for an address for the Secretary of State to forward process (legal documents) to. This address can be in New York or out of state. It can be any mailbox rental store. It can even be a classic PO Box address. Said another way, it can be whatever you want ;) Hope that helps!

  3. Hi Matt, thanks for the quick response.

    I am forming in New Mexico. I wanted to confirm since I will be forming my LLC through NWRA, will they also create an Account on my behalf on the New Mexico Secretary of State Website ? So as to enable me upload the LLC Operating Agreement form.


    • Hi Prince, no, they don’t create an account for you with the New Mexico Secretary of State. You don’t need one. You don’t need to upload an Operating Agreement on the state’s website. The Operating Agreement is an “internal” document that you just keep with your business records. You don’t send it to the state.

  4. Hi Matt.

    I have found your site as an indispensable tool in helping form an LLC.

    I am a non-resident planning on forming an LLC using NWA from your referral link. On checkout, i didn’t include to pay for Operating Agreement, will i be able to upload my own drafted Operating Agreement on the Secretary of State Website ?

    And also by filing it through NWA will i be given my login details to the Secretary of State Website ?

    Finally, i am trying to find a contact email address to NWA.

    Thanks so much

  5. Hello. I have a question. If I was to list a friend or family member as the registered agent will I have to pay them? If so how much and at what rate?

    • Hi Tonya, there is no rule or law in place that says a friend or family member needs to be paid in order to be listed as your LLC’s Registered Agent. They certainly must agree (consent) to being your LLC’s Registered Agent though. However, if they want to charge you and you want to pay them, you certainly can. Nothing is preventing that. For most people, a friend or family members serving as their LLC’s Registered Agent doesn’t charge anything.

  6. Hi Matt,

    I’m pleased to have found your site, it’s very enlightening!!!

    I’m a non-US resident, planning to form an LLC and assign (probably) NW as the registered agent service. Does this mean that any correspondence, either from the government or other entity, will be gathered and forwarded to me?

    Also, when I invoice my customers, can I use the registered agent address as the legal address of the LLC in the invoice?


    • Hi Alejandro, thank you! You’ll need to email or call Northwest Registered Agent. We are not sure about using their address on invoices. Regarding correspondence, it depends on the how the Articles of Organization is filled out with the state (the form may also be called Certificate of Organization or Certificate of Formation). Meaning, in some states, you can list a different mailing address in addition to the Registered Agent’s address. If that’s something you want, you’ll be able to choose that option as you checkout on Northwest’s site. Alternatively, you can use Northwest Registered Agent’s address for the Registered Agent address, the business address (if applicable), and the mailing address (if applicable). Either way, we recommend looking through the state’s form ahead of time so you understand better. You can find those forms within our 50 state LLC guides. Hope that helps.

  7. Thank you so much for your timely and informative response! It was very helpful.

  8. Hey Matt,

    I’m forming a Wyoming LLC as a parent company and one in Georgia, my state of residence. I live in GA and am concerned about my anonymity within my LLC. Is my being my own registered agent in GA an issue for my anonymity? Will that type of thing be easily searchable?

    • If you are going to be the Georgia Registered Agent for your LLC, then that will be listed on public record. However, just because a person is a Registered Agent doesn’t mean they are an LLC Member (owner). So if someone looks at the records for your Georgia LLC, they’ll see your name and your address listed as the Registered Agent… but they won’t know that you’re the owner. I’m not sure if you consider that “private” enough though. If you don’t want your name publicly attached to your Georgia LLC, then listing yourself as the Registered Agent wouldn’t make much sense. Additionally, you’ll likely want to hire someone to form your LLC (so they sign as the LLC Organizer) and/or hire a Registered Agent company. Hope that helps.

  9. Hi Matt,

    You have excellent advice as I have seen in the comments. My wife and I are on the cusp of forming our very first LLC. Being that we are in a community property state (WA), we understand we are eligible to be treated as a sole proprietorship and not as a partnership as it pertains to taxes and the dreaded 1065 earlier tax filing requirements. When and where in this LLC formation process do we make the election to be treated as a sole proprietor and not a partnership?

    • Thank you so much! You are correct, an LLC formed in Washington state that is owned by a husband and wife can elect to be taxed as a Sole Proprietorship instead of a Partnership. This special tax treatment is granted by the IRS and it is referred to as a Qualified Joint Venture (← click the link to see the 5 requirements).

      You would form the Washington LLC the “normal way” (by filing the Washington LLC Certificate of Formation), however, in your LLC Operating Agreement, you can list the owner as John and Mary Doe, 100% owner (instead of John Doe 50% and Mary Doe 50%… however, that is actually not required… and it’s not how the Qualified Joint Venture election is made… since property acquired by one spouse in a community property state is the property of the other spouse).

      The “real election” takes place in the way you obtain your EIN Number for the LLC (see the “Husband & Wife LLCs in Community Property States” section). During the EIN Online Application, you will enter “2” for the number of Members, select “Washington” for location of the business, and then click “Continue”. On the next page, the IRS will ask you if the Members are husband and wife. You’ll answer “Yes”. Then on the next page, the IRS will ask if you want your LLC taxed as a Single-Member LLC or a Multi-Member LLC. You’ll select “We elect to be taxed as a Single-Member LLC”… and that is how you’ll make the Qualified Joint Venture election!

      Tip: Don’t be alarmed when you see your EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575). It will just list one of the spouses at the top and it’ll say “SOLE MBR” (sole member). That is correct and it’s not an error. The IRS just lists the spouse who is the EIN Responsible Party for the LLC. Hope that helps!

      • Thank you so much Matt. This is a huge help and has alleviated much of my stress. Amazing how that seemingly simple information is nearly impossible to find. You may have just gotten yourself a long term customer.

        One more question if I may. We are toying with a basic-named LLC (ie ABC Enterprises) as opposed to a name that is very specific. We are thinking of creating a DBA more indicative of what we sell in the event we ever want to do more market segmentation with parallel branding along the same product type by adding other DBAs later. Are these DBAs declared anywhere on the LLC forms or just in our standard State Business License application?

        • You’re very welcome! Happy to hear we can alleviate that stress. It’s a subject matter than can be hard to understand… and frankly, most people don’t put in the time and effort to make it more easily digestible. I think your idea behind generic LLC name + DBAs (called Trade Names in Washington) is very smart. It gives you a stable LLC name, but flexible branding and marketing. No, the Trade Names are not listed anywhere on the Certificate of Formation or Initial Report.

          After your Washington LLC is approved however, you then need to obtain a State Business License. This registers your LLC with all (or some) of the following: Department of Revenue, Department of Labor & Industries, and/or Employment Security Department. The State Business License Application can be filed for online via MyDOR (“My Department of Revenue”). As you are registering your LLC for the State Business License, you’ll be able to “attach” Trade Names to your LLC for $5 per Trade Name. You can find more details here: Washington LLC Business License. Look for the “Trade Name Registration” section. Hope that helps :)

  10. If my LLC’s Registered Agent is myself but I need to update the address, how would I go about doing that? My LLC was formed in Maryland. Thank you!

    • Hi Rob, in Maryland, they refer to the Registered Agent as the Resident Agent. Please visit this page: Maryland SDAT: Departmental Forms & Applications. Look for this form: “Resident Agent Change of Address form”. This is for when you are just changing the address of the Resident Agent (which in this case is you), but you are not changing the Resident Agent. For others reading this, if you need to change both the Resident Agent and the Resident Agent’s address, the form to use would be the “Change Principal Office or Resident Agent form and instructions”. Hope that helps.

  11. Hi,
    Hey, if I use NW as the registered agent (I am in Colorado), for my LLC:

    1.- Can I still deduct from my taxes the office space in my home where I conduct my business?
    2.- What address should I use (or show) in my invoices/receipts? my home address or the registered agent address?

    The only reason I would use a registered agent is to avoid making my address viewable to the public).

    • Hi Carlos, yes, you can still deduct office space in your home. Technically, you can use whichever address you’d like. This is not going to affect the liability protection of your LLC or your taxes. However, we recommend using your home address because Northwest Registered Agent doesn’t want to receive too much miscellaneous mail for your LLC (besides official, state, or legal notices). Hope that helps.

  12. hi is there any company recommneded by you could supply the physcial address for LLC own by Foreigner rather than a mails address – certain bank required a physical add not just virutal PO box add.

  13. Hi Matt,
    Great tutorials that you’ve put together on your website. I really wish I had found your website a year ago. It’s very informative, easy to understand, and very helpful. Thank you very much and God Bless for what you are doing!

    I started my own consulting business last year (end of 2017/beginning 2018) & filed with the state where I live as a DBA. I did not request for an EIN from the Feds, so I had opened a business bank account with my ss# and thats how my clients pay me; direct deposit into my account.

    After reading info from your website about the pros and cons with LLC vs DBAs as well as the pros and cons of filing taxes under an S-Corp, I’ve decided that this year, I want to change to an LLC & file taxes as S-Corp, however I didn’t want to change my business name, so I just filed for my LLC, using the same fictitious name as I had under my DBA. Once I get approved by the state, I will then request for an EIN from the FEDS.

    Anwyay, my potential dilemmas: Now I completed a job for a client late last year & sent an invoice (in December 2018 to be exact) under my DBA but I haven’t gotten paid yet (they have a net 60 I believe). My questions are:

    1. Do I have to file 2 separate taxes; one for my lastest fore-mentioned revenue from my DBA and the 2nd for future revenues collected under what would hopefully be my LLC?

    2. If so I really don’t want to file two separate taxes for 2019. So I was wondering, even though my initial quote and invoice to my client late last year was under my DBA, if I get them to hold off payment until I get approval for my newly formed LLC company, & then have them pay the bill to my LLC as opposed to my DBA, would that solve that tax issue? If not what can I do to rectify this issue

    3. Also, a couple of my clients have my business bank account info for payment purposes, as well as payments I make to vendors so I want to use the same business bank account that I had for my DBA for my LLC. Can I do that? If so what steps do I have to take to make this happen?


    • Hey Joe, thank you so much for the kind words! This is a great conversation to have with an accountant (see how to find an accountant). I imagine you’ll have two Schedule Cs. One will show the Sole Proprietor/DBA income and the other will show the LLC (taxed as a Sole Proprietorship) income. There may be another way to approach it, but we’re not sure. You won’t file 2 separate tax returns… since the LLC is taxed in its default status (LLC taxed as Sole Proprietorship), all taxes/income will reported as a part of your 1040 federal return. It’s not a good idea to use the same bank account. That’s a personal business bank account for yourself. The LLC is a separate entity and it’s best to treat it as such. Hope that helps.

  14. Hi! I live in Louisiana and I am in the process of setting up my LLC. I found your tutorials very helpful and easy to understand. But I still have a couple of questions. I saw that the IRS ask you for and address to send tax papers , but then I read that the registered agent will get tax papers as well besides of other documents. How about if the LLC has two members and one provides and address to the IRS and other is the registered agent. Who is gonna get the tax papers at the end?

    • Hey Dayana, great question. We added some clarity to this page. It’s “state tax notices”, not federal tax notices. The address you use when you apply for your LLC’s EIN Number is where the IRS will mail correspondence. Hope that helps!

  15. I am setting up an LLC in Texas( where I live), and am filing the form on my own. And I am the registered agent for my entity. So do I have to attach letter of consent while filing the form. And what are the documents should I attach or enclose while filing the form online.Please help me .

    thanks in advance.

    • Hi Sangeetha, yes, you should sign the Consent to Serve as Registered Agent form. If you file by mail, you’ll want to send it along with your Certificate of Formation. If you file online, it’s optional. If you check out our Texas LLC Certificate of Formation page in about 1-2 weeks time, you’ll find online filing instructions. We’re updating all Texas information this week. Hope that helps.

      • Thank u so much for the quick response.i am looking forward for the page update.

        So, certification of formation(form 405) and operational agreement are enough?

        I read somewhere, operational agreement is also optional for Texas.Is it so?

        Then what else should i file when i file online.

        Thanks in advance.

        • Hi Sangeetha, the page linked above is now updated. Most of the info you need will be in our Texas pages.

          • HI Matt,

            Thank u so much..It helped me a lot ..I want to let u know that I registered my LLC and got approval..without ur site, It would be confusing…ur toturial was very easy to understand…thank u so much for the help..I definitely like to do donation.


            • Hi Sangeetha, we’re very happy to hear that :) You’re very welcome. And thank you!

  16. Hey Matt,

    Quick question. I want to list myself – the sole member of my LLC – as the registered agent. Can the registered agent’s office address be the same address listed for the LLC? I’m just getting started and I don’t have commercial office space just yet so I’m currently using my home address. Is this ok?


    • Hey Lourdes, yes, you can list your address for the Registered Agent address. And that address can also be the address for your LLC (location, mailing, etc). I recommend going to our homepage, clicking on your state, then clicking on “Registered Agent”. You’ll find more specific information that way. Hope that helps!

  17. Hey Matt. Trying to form an llc. Currently myself and one other person own three rental properties and are now going to try to flip a property. We are going to have to pay transfer tax on our current rental properties in order to feed them into the llc. We would like for the flip property to be owned by the llc when we close on the property. We close in three weeks. Is there any way to expedite the process in order to make sure I can have the llc for the closing? We hate to have to pay transfer taxes a second time in order to have this deeded in the llc, if it can’t be formed before the closing. The property is in PA and we also live in PA. Any insight on this? Is there a quick way to form an llc?

    • Hey Mike, I don’t recall the PA stuff off the top of my head, but there is an expedited filing process. Call Corporations Bureau (717-787-1057) during the week and they should be able to explain it. Hope that helps.

  18. Can’t thank you enough for this amazing resource! I’ve found everything to be so clear, easy to follow and thorough. I’m sharing your site with new business owners confused about the process of forming an LLC and am certain they’ll find it as valuable as I do. I’ll definitely be making a donation to support your work. :) Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    • Kimberly! Wow, thank you so much for your lovely comment. It means a lot. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    • Oh man, Kimberly could not have said it better. You are truly a blessing helping us with this information. I always do a lot of research and at the end they charge a lot of money for information. The videos is straight to the point and not long winded. I love all the knowledge you are giving us for free and being straight up without all the bullshit. Your channel is truly the best and I will definitely forward you to my friends and family that is starting their business.

      • Wanda, you rock! Thank you for such an awesome comment. Yes, no bullshit is definitely our M.O. ;) We want to provide the very best information and empower people to learn about LLCs and file themselves. I’m so glad that our site has been so helpful for you. And thank you so much for sharing our site with friends and family. I appreciate you!

  19. Hi Matt,

    Really great work you are doing here to help entrepreneurs across all business types. Thanks for your hard work. Do you have advice applicable to Americans working as consultants abroad?? In this particular case the consultant (me) would satisfy the requirement of not residing in the US for more than 330 days and would like to enjoy the tax relief available. However, setting up a bank account and company in the local jurisdiction is not immediately possible. My first thought is to establish and LLC in a low cost jurisdiction in the US (Wyoming, etc) but am worried the corporate status would affect ability to claim foreign earned income deduction.

    I appreciate any suggestions you may have!!

    • Hi George, thanks so much! You’re very welcome. While we don’t think the LLC formation will effect the foreign earned income exclusion, this is not an area we deal with. We strongly recommend speaking with a few accountants who work with those residing abroad. If you’d like to share any findings through, we’d love to hear what you come up with. Thank you for your understanding.

  20. Hi Matt, thanks for all that you do here. The articles saved me about $700 in registering my LLC.

    I want to ask something that’s off this discussion. Its about trademark. I need to legal guidance on how to go about trademark registration. Do you offer the service or know anyone/firm who does?

    • Hey Drian, fantastic! You’re very welcome. We don’t have any specific recommendations at this time for hiring a trademark lawyer, however, you could use our “knights of the roundtable” strategy as discussed in our how to find an accountant article. That may help. Thanks again.

  21. Before looking at your website, I bought my LLC through IncAuthority who is processing the paperwork as a Registered Agent. Now they are telling me that I need an Ownership Certificate in addition to all the other forms. Do I need this Ownership Certficate?

    • Hi Judy, I’m going to assume they mean an LLC Membership Certificate. Membership Certificates are not required when forming an LLC since membership interests are spelled out in the LLC Operating Agreement. Membership Certificates are just fancy pieces of paper which reflect the information already in the Operating Agreement. If you want to see what they look like, you can download them for free here: LLC Membership Certificate. Hope that helps!

  22. Hi there,

    I had a Delaware LLC that was based in California. The company was acquired, and now all that is left is a holding company that owns some of the stock left over from the acquisition. We technically have no operations in California, but I live in California. 1) Do I still need a registered agent?, and 2) Do I need one for both Delaware and California? The holding company address is now my home address in CA.

    • Hi Dennis, I don’t fully understand how your company (or companies) were setup or sold, but it sounds like like you had a Delaware LLC that was registered as a Foreign LLC to do business in California. If that’s correct, then yes, both the Domestic LLC in Delaware and the Foreign LLC registration in California need to maintain a Registered Agent in each state. Hope that helps.

  23. Hi Marc. I was reading this page and noticed your question about why so many people recommend Northwest. I’d like to point out a few things about your comment:

    1. Northwest is A+ rated with the BBB. The BBB charges about $2,000 a year to be “accredited” and there’s simply no real reason to pay anything that kind of money.
    2. Northwest is unique in that there are no up-sells or data dumps. Your info stays there and you get no marketing done to you.
    3. Reviews. It’s actually really hard without an extensive borderline harassment of your clients to get lots and lots of good reviews. If you look up someone like LegalZoom, you can see hundreds upon hundreds of bad reviews, but while this looks bad, when someone is generally mad, they’re willing to spend an hour bashing you anywhere that will let them. When you do a great job, you’re a seamless, behind the scenes, exchange. Not in the forefront of peoples minds and that’s really hard to get big amounts of positive reviews. Yes, good reviews happen and there’s about 100 or so good reviews of Northwest on the various reviews website, but I think it’s a real testament to Northwests dedication to customer service that there aren’t a lot of bad reviews. When you see websites that are having 1000’s of reviews, those are bought. You can easily go out and pay review services to consistently post good reviews about your company. Northwest doesn’t do this.
    4. Northwest is Just Not Annoying. 100% refund if you’re not happy. Same day service. It’s just easy to recommend someone when decade after decade, you get reliable, no-nonsense service. Northwest is the 3rd largest registered agent service and that didn’t happen overnight with getting 1000’s of fake good reviews. It happened by showing up to work every day and fighting to take care of the clients as best as you can.

  24. Hello Matt,

    Thank you for this page I found it highly informative! You are doing a great service!

    I am at the crossroads of starting my first llc and have done extensive research of the Registered Agent Services available but have yet to chose one, I prefer to use a service as opposed to using myself.

    Why do you reccomend Northwest? I’ve seen many LLC advice pages reccomend them yet they are not accredited by the BBB and have very few customer reviews online (another LLC advice page who reviews various companies was also vexed by their lack of customer reviews online). A part of me is suspicious that perhaps Northwest is paying many of these sites to reccomend them, or maybe even some of these sites are fronted by Northwest themselves. You seem legitimate so I feel comfortable asking you directly, has Northwest approached you to reccomend them or do you have any affiliation to them? If not (I’m assuming not :) ) why do you feel they are better than the others? I am earnestly seeking a reliable registered agent service but I need to clear my concerns before committing.

    Thank you Matt and keep up this amazing service!!

    • Hey Marc, apologies for the slow reply. We get hundreds of comments/questions, so just catching up. First, thank you for your nice comment! As to some of your concerns about the BBB accreditation and reviews, it seems Tom from Northwest jumped in to answer some of those (which is pretty cool… since we didn’t message Northwest about this page or your comment). No, Northwest did not approach us to recommend them. In fact, it’s the opposite. I reached out to them to set up an affiliate relationship. So while we are compensated to recommend them (via affiliate marketing), if you and I were hanging out in person, I would still recommend them. I’ve been personally using and recommending Northwest for 8+ years. The majority of companies in the registered agent space are shady with subpar business practices. They mislead consumers into hiring them, sell your data to 3rd parties, upsell, have hidden fees, make it hard to cancel services, and are hard to get a hold of by phone (and if you do, you’re speaking with a sales rep who knows little about the details). Northwest doesn’t have sales reps. Just customer support. And the whole team at Northwest can answer just about any question you throw at them. I think they provide the most value in the space. I feel that LLC University® and Northwest are the closest aligned in terms of values and company culture, which is why I’m proud to recommend them (whether you click our affiliate link or just google them and go directly to their website). Thanks for your thoughtful question. Hope that helps!

  25. Hi Matt

    I am opening an LLC, for online marketing in Florida. i am currently living in California, however i would be moving out in a little over a year back to Florida. I put my mom’s house as the address for the LLC, can i put her as my register agent as well. she would be home most of the time, but not all the time during normal business hours. can that be a problem?

    Thank you for your response!

  26. Matt Horwitz 2 thumbs up how to get a LLC Excellent answer you have a great website videos

  27. Hello Matt
    Great Job
    Quick Q.Is it alright to use a UPS Store as a Certified Agent in creating LLcs?
    Best to you.

    • Hi Ninan, it depends on the state where your forming your LLC. Some states allow it, some states don’t allow it, and other state laws are completely silent. There isn’t a simple black and white answer to this one.

  28. we asked the swyft filing to apply for LLc and we selected someone to our agent but they selected their company or agent and not willing to change it or giving us run around. can you help me that which form do i to fill to change my agent.

    • Hi Rajwant, bummer to hear about that. In what state did you form an LLC?

      • Thanks Matts for your replay. it was in California and I read and watched your video and learned that when file first article of organization you can update your info. You have very detailed and helpful step by step lesson.

        • Hey Rajwant, you’re welcome. Just to correct you, it’s the California LLC’s Statement of Information (not Articles of Organization). The first Statement of Information is due within 90 days of the LLC effective date. Then the Statement of Information is due every 2 years. Hope that helps :)

  29. Hey Matt!!!!!
    Can I use the same address as my business for my registered agent address?

    • Troy, what’s up!!! Yup, you can use the business address for the Registered Agent address (as long as it’s a street address). Hope that helps.

    • Hey Eric, each state has different laws around this and many states are silent on the matter. I recommend getting in touch with your Secretary of State. At some point we’ll research this, but it’ll be quite an undertaking. Thanks for your understanding.

  30. Hi Matt

    With an online retail business that is just setting getting started, do i have to setup the llc in the state I live in (ny) and will I have to pay taxes on it if the business does not have any sales?

    • Hi Sean, yes, when starting an online business that you run from home, you should form the LLC in your home state, so a New York LLC is the route to go. If you don’t have income, you likely won’t pay any taxes, but you may still have to submit a filing (sometimes called a “zeroed out filing” or an “informational return”). And those returns may need to be filed at the federal, state, and local level. After your LLC is formed, we recommend speaking with an accountant to make sure all your reporting is done properly. Hope that helps.

  31. I own four corporations in California, 1-C and 3-S ) for tax and lawsuit protection, I would like to create a Holding Company (or LLC ) what are your thoughts.

    • Hi Alread, thanks for reaching out, but something like this is not what we do… especially based on brief information. I recommend speaking with both a CPA and a lawyer as there are dozens of things to consider. Apologies we couldn’t be more specific, but it’s really not possible in this case. Thank you for understanding.

  32. Hello,

    My friend is trying to give me their LLC. What exactly do I need to do in order to transfer it to my name and change the name of the LLC?

    • Hi Sarah, it generally goes like this: prepare Assignment of Membership Interest Agreement, amend Operating Agreement, amend Articles of Organization (if applicable), change LLC EIN responsible party with IRS, update state Department of Revenue (or equivalent), and update bank. An LLC change is typically done by filing an Amendment. Hope that helps.

  33. Hi Matt,

    My question is I do have a street address where my online business will be based out of but the occupants both work during normal business hours. Can I still use myself as the registered agent for my business?

    • Hi Kia, can you expand upon what you mean by “occupants”? Do you mean that you have tenants at the address? Are you accessible at the address? And in what state are you forming an LLC? Then I’ll be better able to assist. Thanks.

  34. for a rental property , we are planning to open a LLC. is it recommended to use our personal address on the LLC or to open a PO Box ?

    • Hi Harika, which state are you referring to and which address field in the filing form? There are usually multiple address fields. However, unless you’re filing in Ohio, you cannot use a PO Box address for your Registered Agent address.

  35. I live in California, but own rental real estate out of state (Texas and Washington states). I’ve been thinking of opening up an LLC and transfer ownership in the LLC names. But I am not sure whether I should open in Texas or Washington (or in my home state of California)? Only reason against California is the $800 minimum tax that I don’t want to pay for years with no income. What do you think I should do?

    • Hi Ali, you’ll want to form the LLC where the property is located, since that is where you’re legally doing business. So that’d be an LLC in Texas as well as an LLC in Washington. You can own those LLCs yourself, or you could setup a parent LLC, which is common among real estate investors. A common choice is a Wyoming LLC for the parent company as this provides what’s known as charging order protection. We don’t have an article on this just yet, but we will soon. Thanks.

  36. Hi Matt,

    I am loving your site–very helpful for a first-time LLC about to form. My question related to this article is: Can I list my apartment leasing office as my registered agent? My business is a service with no particular location, and I am concerned about privacy in listing my apartment address. The leasing office is open during regular hours and receives my mail anyway. What do you think? Thanks!

    • Hi Ellen, thank you for your comment! How permanent is the leasing office address? Will they be around for years to come? I’d also ask them if they’re okay with it. If they’ll sign for you (or notify you if a process server arrives). It’s a bit gray, and I’m not saying yes… but you’re likely okay with this setup.

      • Thanks for the reply! They did agree to do it and signed, so it will be interesting to see if the paperwork comes back okay. I filed yesterday. Fingers crossed :)

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