Maryland Registered Agent

Deal alert! Our favorite company, Northwest, is forming LLCs for $39 (60% off!) See details below.

Maryland LLC Registered Agent

Quick Start Guide
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Maryland.

Detailed Lessons:

1. Name Search
2. Registered Agent ← you are here
3. Filing Forms

 

Maryland LLC Costs:
Maryland state fee: $100 (by mail) or $150 (online)
Annual report: $300

Need to save time?
Hire a professional to form your LLC in Maryland:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

Note: Most states use the term “Registered Agent”, but Maryland uses the term “Resident Agent”. They both mean the same thing and we may use these terms interchangeably.

Video Transcript:

The following information is provided for educational purposes only and in no way constitutes legal, tax, or financial advice. For legal, tax, or financial advice specific to your business needs, we encourage you to consult with a licensed attorney and/or CPA in your State. The following information is copyright protected. No part of this Lesson may be redistributed, copied, modified or adapted without prior written consent of the author. In this video, we will discuss the Registered Office and the Registered Agent. The Registered Office and the Registered Agent are required for your LLC Formation Documents. Once you figure out who your LLC’s Registered Agent will be, you will then be able to complete your LLC Formation Documents which we discuss in the next Lesson. Again, your LLC is required to list a Registered Office and a Registered Agent within your LLC Formation Documents. The Registered Office must be a street address (it cannot be a PO Box) located in the State where your LLC is formed. A Registered Agent is a person or a company who agrees to accept legal mail and important documents on behalf of your LLC. In Maryland, they use the term “Resident Agent”, but this means the same thing as Registered Agent. For our purposes, we will refer to it as Registered Agent. The Registered Agent is located at the Registered Office and is generally available during normal business hours. As we mentioned, a Registered Agent can be a person or a company who has an address in the State where your LLC is formed. You can serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent. However, your LLC cannot serve as its own Registered Agent. For individuals who have an address in the State, it is common that they serve as the LLC’s Registered Agent. Having said that, the individual person you choose as the Registered Agent does not need to be a member of the LLC. It can be a friend or family member, or, frankly, anyone you know who agrees to accept Service of Process on behalf of your LLC. The only requirement is that they have an address in the State and that they are at least 18 years of age. “Service of Process” is the delivery of legal mail and important documents sent from the State or a law firm to your LLC. Important documents from the State can include items such as certificates, notices, and copies of Formation Documents. Legal documents can include items such as subpoenas and/or complaints for legal action. Whoever agrees to be your LLC’s Registered Agent (aka Resident Agent) must sign your LLC Formation Documents. If you intend to be the Registered Agent for your LLC, you basically “appoint yourself” and will sign where indicated in your LLC Formation Documents. If you have someone else serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent, you will need to have them sign your LLC Formation Documents confirming that they agree to be your LLC’s Registered Agent. You cannot submit your LLC Formation Documents until you have the signature of your Registered Agent, even if it’s just you. The purpose of the Registered Agent and Registered Office is to be a “point of contact” for the State and to accept Service of Process for your LLC. You (or someone you know) can be your LLC’s Registered Agent, so long as you or they have an address in the State. If you don’t have an address in the State that you can use, or you don’t want to serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent, you should hire a Commercial Registered Agent. A Commercial Registered Agent will receive Service of Process on behalf of your LLC and then forward it to you at any address you like. Many Commercial Registered Agents will also fax or email Service of Process if needed. Again, a Commercial Registered Agent is a company that specializes in receiving Service of Process on behalf of businesses nationwide. They typically charge between $100-300 per year. If you decide to use a Commercial Registered Agent, we recommend a company called Northwest Registered Agent. They’ve been in the business for more than 2 decades and they have a solid reputation. Their fees are among the most affordable, and their support is top notch. We’ve joined forces with them in order to provide Registered Agent services nationwide to our clients. There is information below this video where you can find instructions on how to sign up for their services. If you or someone you know will serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent, you can then proceed to the next Lesson. If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, please see the information below this video. Once you’ve signed up with Northwest Registered Agent, you will then receive their address to use in your LLC Formation Documents. If you have any questions about their services, you will also find their phone number listed below this video. Again, once you sign up for their services and obtain their address, you can then proceed to the next Lesson. And that concludes this video.

Who can be the Resident Agent for your Maryland LLC?

Before filing your Articles of Organization with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (discussed in the next lesson), you need to choose a Resident Agent for your Maryland LLC.

A Maryland Resident Agent is a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail (known as “service of process”) on behalf of your Maryland LLC in case your business is sued.

The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation will also use your Resident Agent’s address as your LLC’s point of contact for official notices sent to your business.

As per section 4A-210 of the Maryland Corporations Code, your LLC’s Resident Agent must have a physical street address located in the state of Maryland. A Maryland Resident Agent address can’t be a PO Box address.

Your Maryland Resident Agent should generally be available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm) in case Service of Process arrives. Service of Process includes the delivery of legal documents such as complaints, summons, and subpoenas.

Your LLC’s Resident Agent is a key component to how the court and legal systems work. By requiring all Maryland LLCs to have (and continuously maintain) a Resident Agent on file with the state, the delivery of legal mail and court documents can be tracked and accounted for within the state.

This is similar to how ‘certified mail return receipt’ works, but in the legal world, this is how process servers – (people delivering legal documents) – create a record that something was delivered.

Can I be my own Resident Agent in Maryland?

Yes, you can be your Maryland LLC’s Resident Agent, as long as you have a street address located in the state.

Actually, you have 3 options when forming an LLC in Maryland:

Option 1: You can be your LLC’s Resident Agent in Maryland (are there risks?)

Option 2: A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Resident Agent.

Option 3: You can hire a Maryland Resident Agent Company, also known as a Commercial Resident Agent or Commercial Registered Agent.

Resident Agent Information is Public Record in Maryland

While you do have the option for yourself (or your LLC) to be the Resident Agent (or use a friend or family member), you may not want to have your address listed on public records.

The information you enter in your Articles of Organization becomes public record with the Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Not only is this information searchable by the public, but it may also appear in google searches.

There is a solution though (see below) if you’d like to keep your address off public records.

What’s the best Resident Agent option to choose?

Option #1 (You):

If you have a street address located in Maryland, are available during business hours, and don’t mind your address being on public records, then you can be your LLC’s Resident Agent.

Option #2 (Friend or Family):

If you don’t have a street address located in Maryland, but you have a friend or family member who does, they can be your LLC’s Resident Agent. They’ll need to be available during business hours and they shouldn’t mind having their address being listed on public records.

Option #3 (Resident Agent Service):

If you don’t have a street address in Maryland (or you’d rather not use it for this purpose), you can hire a Resident Agent Company in Maryland.

Maryland Resident Agent Service

Note: The terms “Resident Agent Company” and “Commercial Resident Agent” mean the same thing.

A Maryland Resident Agent Company specializes in receiving Service of Process (legal mail) on behalf of your LLC.

Most Resident Agent Services in Maryland cost between $100 and $300 per year.

The Resident Agent Company we recommend in Maryland is Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).

Why we recommend Northwest Resident Agent

Northwest Registered Agent is our personal recommendation (and the service we use) because they’ve been in business for over 20 years, have great customer service, and they let you use their address in your entire LLC filing in order to keep your address off public records.

How to keep your address off public records:

Many filers in Maryland start businesses from their home. For this reason, it’s important to know that all addresses that are on your Articles of Organization get listed on public records and may appear in google searches.

If you want to keep your address off of public records, you can hire a Resident Agent that will allow you to use their address as your LLC’s address. The only company that allows this is Northwest Registered Agent. They offer Resident Agent services for $125 per year and they’ll let you use their address throughout your entire LLC Filing.

Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded into your online account.

Special discounted pricing for LLC University® readers

Northwest usually charges $100 + state fees to form an LLC. However, we’ve negotiated a discounted rate (60% off) for LLC University® readers.

Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your Maryland LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their resident agent services free for the 1st year.

(to learn more about Northwest, check out our Northwest Registered Agent review)

Risks of being your own Resident Agent in Maryland

As mentioned above, you can be your own Resident Agent in Maryland.

Besides the address privacy we mentioned, are there any risks to being your own Resident Agent?

In short, there are risks. They are not extremely likely to occur, but if they do, you could lose your liability protection and the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation has the power to administratively shut down your Maryland LLC if you’re not in compliance with state laws.

This can happen if you don’t “continuously maintain” (always have) a Resident Agent on file, or if the Department of Assessments and Taxation is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Resident Agent.

Additionally, if a process server (a person who serves court documents and notices of lawsuits) is unsuccessful in reaching your Maryland Resident Agent (or is unsuccessful in serving your LLC through the Department of Assessments and Taxation), a court case can proceed in your absence and you might not even know about it.

A few reasons a process server might not be able to reach your Maryland LLC’s Resident Agent:

  • you, your friend, or family member are not there during business hours
  • you/they are on vacation or out of town
  • you/they moved and you forgot to file a Change of Resident Agent with the state

Next Step: Articles of Organization

After you’ve decided who will serve as your LLC’s Resident Agent, you can then proceed to the next Lesson: Maryland LLC Articles of Organization.

If you plan on hiring a Maryland Resident Agent Company (a Commercial Resident Agent), please do so before going to the next step. You’ll need their address for your Articles of Organization.

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.
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.

6 Comments

  1. Jose November 28, 2016

    How do I setup anonymity for my LLC and does Maryland allow it?
    i’m looking into real estate should I setup as sole propiertor or s? i have no property yet.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz November 28, 2016

      Hey Jose, with the MD Articles of Organization, using a Commercial Registered Agent will shield your address. If you file yourself, you should also use a friend’s address in #7 (“Filing party’s return address”). If you need help filing, or prefer for someone else to file for you, just let us know. We can file for you, or recommend other services companies. Luckily the MD forms don’t reveal member info (unlike other states).

      reply
  2. ian December 12, 2016

    so where is your ” Vig ” coming from?
    just curious, Are you still in the keystone state?
    do love philly used to live for many yrs in Cheltenham,
    do miss the steak sammy w hot peppers on da grill….
    not to mention all the other great things bout del val.
    no smart phone here so don’t expect a quick turn around
    ian

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz December 12, 2016

      Hey Ian, what’s up. What do you mean by “vig”? No longer in the Keystone state man… too cold for me lol. I live in Florida now.

      reply
  3. Pat August 12, 2018

    Trying to find res agent for business in Md

    Owner of lmultiple office buildings not listerd Prior RA is there

    How can I find out the correct person?

    Thanks

    Pat

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz August 16, 2018

      Hi Pat, if you’re not successful in finding the Registered Agent through the Secretary of State’s records, we recommend getting in touch with companies that offer service of process services. They will know more about how to serve an entity and finding the correct person if the state’s records don’t reflect reality. It’s not something we get too involved in. Hope that helps.

      reply

Leave a comment or question

Comments are temporarily disabled: LLCU has grown a lot in the past year. And while we've been able to answer thousands of questions, we've had to hit pause for a little bit as the number of questions has grown substantially. We are making some changes internally at our company in order to be able to provide the best services possible. We appreaciate your understanding while we make those changes. Thank you.