You’ve probably heard that every LLC needs a Registered Agent. But what does a Registered Agent do? And do you have to hire a company?
We wrote this lesson to help you easily understand Registered Agents and decide what’s the best choice for your small business.
What is a Utah Registered Agent?
A Utah Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail and notices on behalf of your Utah LLC.
Legal mail (called Service of Process) is sent if your LLC is involved in a lawsuit. Additionally, the state may send notices and reminders to your LLC’s Registered Agent.
Utah Registered Agents should generally be available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm), Monday through Friday.
And the Registered Agent for your LLC in Utah must have a physical street address in Utah. PO Box addresses aren’t allowed.
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.
Why do I need a Registered Agent in Utah?
A Registered Agent is required to form an LLC in Utah. The purpose of a Registered Agent is to accept notices from the courts and the state that are sent to a business entity.
Courts send legal documents (called Service of Process) if your LLC is involved in a lawsuit. Service of Process could include a subpoena, summons, or a complaint.
The court needs to have proof that your LLC received the legal document. This can be done through Certified Mail or a process server (a person delivering court and legal documents).
If your Registered Agent is served, they will send the legal document to you so you can follow the court’s instructions or hire an attorney.
The Utah Division of Corporations may send official notices (like stamped copies of documents you submit, or deadline notices) to your Registered Agent. The Registered Agent will also forward these notices to you.
Your LLC’s Registered Agent is a key component of how the court and legal systems work. By requiring all Utah LLCs to keep a Registered Agent on file with the state, the delivery of court documents can be properly tracked.
Can I be my own Registered Agent in Utah?
Yes, you can be your own Registered Agent in Utah.
You actually have 3 options for who can be your Utah Registered Agent:
- a friend or family member
- a Utah Registered Agent Service
You can save money by being your own Registered Agent, but there are some risks.
What are the risks?
The risks of being your own Utah Registered Agent are:
- missing an important notice from the state
- missing Service of Process (and potential legal consequences)
These issues are more likely to occur if you:
- move and forget to update your address with the Utah Division of Corporations
- aren’t available during normal business hours
- travel or leave town for extended periods of time
- don’t have a reliable address
- don’t keep up with your mail
Missing an important notice from the state
Your business needs to promptly receive all important notices sent by the Utah Division of Corporations or any other state agency.
Notices sent by state agencies often have actions that your LLC must take by a certain deadline.
And in some cases, there are penalties and fees if you miss those deadlines. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you have a reliable Registered Agent address to ensure you receive everything sent to your LLC.
There are two types of legal consequences for missing these deadlines: receiving a default judgment and being held in contempt of court.
If there is a lawsuit against your LLC, a process server will make multiple attempts to serve your LLC and deliver the court documents.
However, if they are unable to serve your LLC in person, Service of Process can be made through alternative methods (like Certified Mail). This can mean the court notices and/or documents were “delivered” to you, even if you didn’t physically receive them.
And as per Rule 55 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, the person suing your LLC can argue their case without you being there to defend your LLC. In these situations, the person suing your LLC usually wins and the court enters a default judgment against your company.
Contempt of Court
If there is a lawsuit that involves your LLC, the parties might serve your business with a subpoena. The subpoena might ask you to testify in a hearing, or to produce records.
As per Rule 45 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, if you don’t respond to the subpoena, you can be held in contempt of court. This can lead to fines, or the court can issue a bench warrant. This means the sheriff can come seize the records or force you to show up in court.
So should I be my own Registered Agent?
You certainly can. While these risks of being your own Registered Agent do exist, they don’t come up all that often. And you can save money by being your own Utah Registered Agent.
Having said that, hiring a Utah Registered Agent Service can provide additional benefits, such as address privacy.
Registered Agent Information is Public Record in Utah
While you (or a friend or family member) can be your LLC’s Registered Agent, you may not want to have a home address listed in the public records.
The information you enter in your LLC Certificate of Organization becomes public record with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code.
Not only is this information searchable by the public, but other websites download the state’s records and republish them on their own website. Then things begin to spread as other public record websites take that same information and list it on their website too (and the process repeats itself).
Pretty soon your address is listed on many websites and people can easily find it by doing a Google search.
There is a solution, though, if you’d like to keep your address off of public records. We’ll discuss this below.
What’s the best Utah Registered Agent option to choose?
Choosing the best Utah Registered Agent option for your business depends on a few factors. Read all 3 options to help you decide.
Option #1 (You):
You can be your LLC Registered Agent in Utah if:
- you are a resident of Utah, and
- you have a physical street address in Utah.
You also should be comfortable with your address being listed on public records.
What do I need to do? There’s no extra form to file or extra fee to pay. Just enter your name and address in the Registered Agent fields of the Certificate of Organization. Once your LLC is formed, make sure you check your mail regularly.
Why choose this option? This is a good option to choose if you would like to save money (since you won’t need to hire a professional Registered Agent Service).
Option #2 (Friend or Family):
A friend or family member can be your Utah Registered Agent if:
- they are a resident of Utah, and
- they have a physical street address in Utah
They also should be comfortable with their address being listed on public records.
What do I need to do? There’s no extra form to file or extra fee to pay. Just enter their name and address in the Resident Agent fields of the Certificate of Organization. Once your LLC is formed, make sure your friend or family member checks their mail regularly.
Why choose this option? This is a good option to choose if you aren’t a resident of Utah, but want to save money (since you won’t need to hire a Utah Registered Agent Service).
Option #3 (Utah Registered Agent Service):
A Utah Registered Agent Service (aka Commercial Registered Agent) is a company that specializes in receiving mail and Service of Process for your LLC.
Utah Registered Agents usually charge $100 to $300 per year. After they receive mail for your LLC, they’ll forward it to you or upload it to your online account.
Why choose this option? This is a good option to choose if you:
- aren’t a resident of Utah
- don’t have a friend or family member’s Utah address to use, or
- don’t want your address listed on public records
If you’d like to hire a Registered Agent Service, the company we recommend is Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).
Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent is our personal recommendation (and the best Registered Agent Service we use) for a few reasons:
- They’ve been in business for over 20 years
- They have great customer service, and
- They let you use their address in your entire LLC filing (in order to keep yours off public record)
How to keep your address off public records:
Many filers in Utah start businesses from their homes. So you should be aware that the address on your LLC Certificate of Organization gets listed on public records, which anyone can find using the business entity search.
If you want to keep your address off public records, you can hire a Utah Registered Agent Service that will allow you to use their address throughout your Certificate of Organization.
Northwest Registered Agent offers this unique service at no additional cost.
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.
How Do I Appoint A Registered Agent In Utah?
You appoint your Registered Agent in Utah on your LLC formation paperwork (aka the Utah LLC Certificate of Organization).
If you will be your own Registered Agent, just enter your information in the Registered Agent fields.
If a friend or family member will be your Utah Registered Agent, check which address they would like you to use, and then enter their information in the fields.
If you’ll be hiring a Registered Agent Service like Northwest, hire them, then enter their information in the Registered Agent fields. Make sure to hire your Utah Registered Agent Service before entering their information in the form.
That’s it! There’s no additional form or paperwork to file to appoint your Registered Agent in Utah.
Note: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC (and be your Registered Agent), then they’ll take care of the entire Certificate of Organization.
Registered Agent FAQs
Yes, you can be your own Registered Agent in Utah if you are resident of the state and you have a physical street address.
Check out Can I be my own Registered Agent in Utah for more details. Or watch the video below:
You must appoint a Registered Agent when you file your Certificate of Organization. It doesn’t matter whether you are your own Registered Agent, using a friend or family member, or a Utah Registered Agent Service – it all goes in the same place on the form.
Is there any paperwork I need to do before choosing a Registered Agent?
No, you don’t need to file anything other than the Certificate of Organization (which forms your LLC).
Some states require a separate “Consent of Registered Agent” form, but Utah doesn’t.
Yes. Utah law requires Registered Agents to have a Utah street address. This can’t be a PO Box. It must be a physical street address in Utah.
In an LLC, the Owner (also called a Member) is the person who owns the business. That means they receive money from the LLC’s profits.
An LLC Registered Agent can be an Owner/Member. If you choose to be your own Registered Agent, you would be both the Registered Agent and a Member of the LLC.
But the Registered Agent doesn’t have to be an LLC Member.
Your LLC Registered Agent could be a friend or family member, or you can hire a Commercial Registered Agent (aka Registered Agent Service).
The Registered Agent is just the person listed in state records. And if legal documents need to be delivered to your LLC, they are sent to your Registered Agent.
A Registered Agent Service (aka Commercial Registered Agent) usually charges $100 to $300 per year.
Our favorite national Registered Agent Service is Northwest Registered Agent. They charge $125 per year, and we think their quality of service and extra features make that a great value. Northwest offers nationwide Registered Agent service, so you can use them for an LLC in any state.
If you choose to be your own Registered Agent, there’s no cost. And if a friend or family member will be your LLC Registered Agent, there is also no cost (they might only charge you for the postage to send you items delivered for your LLC).
Many people wonder if the person who’s listed as the LLC Registered Agent is liable if the LLC gets sued. Often people are worried about this if they list a friend or family member as their LLC Registered Agent (they wouldn’t want their friend or family member to get into trouble for helping out).
The good news is that simply being a Registered Agent in Utah doesn’t make that person liable for the LLC’s debt or liabilities. That means if the LLC were sued, the Registered Agent wouldn’t be involved.
Remember, a Registered Agent is just there to receive legal documents (Service of Process) and state notices on behalf of your LLC. Just receiving the legal document doesn’t involve the Registered Agent in the lawsuit. And they aren’t liable for anything beyond giving the legal documents to the LLC members.
In the event of a lawsuit, it is the legal entity (the LLC) that is being sued. Not the Registered Agent. And that’s also true if you’re acting as your own Registered Agent (or another LLC owner is the Registered Agent). You (or the other owners) wouldn’t be involved in the lawsuit; only the LLC itself gets sued.
Said another way, a Registered Agent receives legal documents that are sent to your LLC. Simply receiving these legal documents doesn’t mean the Registered Agent would be involved in a lawsuit.
You can change your Registered Agent at any time (and as many times as you need).
Typically, there are two ways to change your Registered Agent:
- File the LLC Registration Information Change Form with the Division of Corporations. The filing fee is $15.
- Update your Registered Agent online. The filing fee is $15.
- Change it on your Utah Annual Report (LLC Renewal) by entering your new Registered Agent information. There’s no additional fee (just the $20 Renewal fee).
Switching from yourself as Registered Agent to a Registered Agent Service
If you’ve been the Registered Agent for your LLC, and you’d like to switch to a Utah Registered Agent Service, the new company will usually file the paperwork for you. When you sign up for their services, the new company will ask if you’re changing Registered Agents.
For example, if you hire Northwest Registered Agent, they’ll file the change of Registered Agent paperwork for you.
Switching from your current Registered Agent Service
If you’re using a Utah Registered Agent Service, and you’d like to change to another company, or to being your own Registered Agent, there is one additional step.
First, file the Change of Registered Agent with the state. Then, contact the prior Registered Agent company and cancel their services.
Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Utah:
- Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
- Choose who will be your Utah Resident Agent
- File the Utah LLC Certificate of Organization
- Complete and sign an LLC Operating Agreement
- Get a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the IRS
- Open an LLC bank account
- Check whether you need a business or sales tax license in Utah
Next Step: Certificate of Organization
Once you determine who will serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent, you can then proceed to the next lesson: Utah LLC Certificate of Organization.
If you plan on hiring a Registered Agent Service, please do so before going to the next step. You will need their address for your Certificate of Organization.
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Utah LLC Act: Section 48-3a-111
Utah Model Registered Agents Act
Utah Division of Corporations: Domestic LLC
Utah Courts: How to Guide for Default Judgments
Utah Division of Corporations: Service of Process
Utah Division of Corporations: Commercial Registered Agent