Choosing a Registered Agent in Massachusetts
Before filing your Certificate of Organization to form your Massachusetts LLC, you need to select a Registered Agent for your Limited Liability Company.
What is a Massachusetts Registered Agent?
A Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to receive Service of Process (legal documents) on behalf of your LLC in case your business entity gets involved in a lawsuit.
Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their Registered Agent service free for the 1st year.
Massachusetts Registered Agents also serve as a general point of contact for receiving business and tax notices, payment reminders, and other documents.
What are the requirements to be a Registered Agent?
Your Registered Agent must be at least 18 years old and have a physical street address in Massachusetts. PO Boxes are not allowed.
Your Registered Agent must also be available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm) in case Service of Process arrives. Service of Process for an LLC includes delivery of legal documents such as complaints, summons, and/or subpoenas.
Note: Most states use the term “Registered Agent”, but Massachusetts uses the term “Resident Agent”. They mean the same thing and we will use both of these terms interchangeably.
Who can be your Registered Agent in Massachusetts?
When forming an LLC in Massachusetts, you have 3 options:
- You can be your own Registered Agent.
- A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
- You can hire a professional Registered Agent Service (also called a Commercial Registered Agent).
Important: If your Massachusetts Registered Agent is going to be an individual (you, a friend, or a family member), that individual must be a resident of Massachusetts.
How do I know which Registered Agent to choose?
If you have a physical address located in Massachusetts (such as a home or office), and are available during regular business hours, you can be your own Registered Agent.
If you don’t have a physical address in Massachusetts, you can use a friend or family member’s address. They need to have a street address in Massachusetts and be available during business hours.
If you don’t have a street address in Massachusetts, and you don’t have a friend or family member’s address that you can use (or prefer not to), you can hire a Massachusetts Registered Agent Service.
Massachusetts Registered Agent Services offer more privacy and are usually a more reliable setup.
Massachusetts Registered Agent Service
If you need to hire a Registered Agent Service, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).
Why we recommend Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent is our personal recommendation (and the Registered Agent Service we use ourselves) because they’ve been in business for over 20 years, have great customer service, and they let you use their Registered Office street address in your entire LLC filing in order to keep your address off public record.
How to keep your address off public records:
Many filers in Massachusetts start businesses from their home. For this reason, it’s important to know that all addresses that are on your LLC’s Certificate of Organization get listed on public record and may appear in google searches.
If you were thinking of using your home address, but would rather keep it off public records, you can hire a Registered Agent that will allow you to use their business address throughout your Certificate of Organization.
Northwest Registered Agent provides this unique service at no additional cost. They offer Registered Agent services for $125 per year and they’ll let you use their address throughout your Certificate of Organization.
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.
Are there risks if you, a friend, or family member are your LLC’s Registered Agent?
In short, there are risks. They are not likely to occur, but if they do, you could lose your liability protection.
For example, if Massachusetts is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent, you may lose your good standing status, and the state has the authority to dissolve your LLC.
Additionally, if a process server is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent about a lawsuit (they’ll try a few times), a court case can proceed in your absence 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.
A few reasons a process server might not be able to reach your LLC’s Registered Agent:
- you, your friend, or family member are not there during business hours
- you/they are on vacation
- you moved and forgot to file a Change of Registered Agent with Massachusetts
Hiring a Commercial Registered Agent is a more reliable setup and gives you the freedom to take vacations and not worry about changing your Registered Agent address if you move.
Many Commercial Registered Agents will also help keep your Massachusetts LLC in compliance by sending you reminders of annual reporting requirements.
Massachusetts Registered Agent FAQs
You must appoint a Registered Agent on your LLC formation documents and maintain one as long as your LLC exists.
This allows Service of Process to be delivered and tracked, and keeps your LLC in good standing with the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Note: Some states refer to Registered Agents as a “Statutory Agent”. Massachusetts uses the term “Resident Agent”. These all mean the same thing and we’ll use them interchangeably.
If you want to hire a Massachusetts Registered Agent Service, it will cost between $100 and $300 per year.
Instead, it’s often better to google “Registered Agent in Massachusetts”, read reviews, and make phone calls to check if their services are a good match for your LLC.
However, we know that this can still be a headache, so we’ve reviewed the top Registered Agent Services in Massachusetts for you.
Check out the FAQ below to find the best Massachusetts Registered Agent Service for your LLC!
- Northwest Registered Agent
- Our #1 recommendation for privacy
- Harbor Compliance
- Rocket Lawyer
To learn more about how these companies compare against each other, check out Best Registered Agent Services.
Note: If you want to save money, you can be the Massachusetts Registered Agent for your LLC.
And serving as a Massachusetts Registered Agent doesn’t automatically make someone a Member of an LLC.
- If you file this form online, there is no filing fee (it’s free).
- If you file by mail, the filing fee is $25.
- have a street address in the state
- can be available at that address during normal business hours
- are a resident of Illinois
- are at least 18 years of age
- are comfortable with their address being public record
While they’re a well-recognized brand name, there are better options for half the price.
For example, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent because they cost less and offer address privacy. Check out our review of Northwest Registered Agent vs LegalZoom for a detailed comparison.
If you’re already using LegalZoom as your Massachusetts Registered Agent Service and would like to switch to another company, you can file a Change of Registered Agent form with the state to update this information.
Once you determine who will serve as your Massachusetts Registered Agent, you can continue to the next lesson: Massachusetts LLC Certificate of Organization.
If you need to hire a Registered Agent Service, please do so before going to the next step.
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