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Next up is Northwest Registered Agent, a company that offers personalized customer support. Northwest no longer provides free mail forwarding service with its resident agent offering, which used to be a cornerstone of its service. However, it still has plenty of intriguing attributes.
How does Northwest Registered Agent stack up to the competition?
Northwest Registered Agent’s calling card is its personalized customer support. Instead of outsourcing its support network to a generic call center with questionably trained representatives, Northwest keeps its support team in-house.
Northwest offers a year of resident agent service in Maryland with any business formation service purchase. However, at $225, the price point for this package is higher than most competitors, especially when compared to the free LLC formation package we offer at ZenBusiness.
We appreciate Northwest’s volume discounts for resident agent service, although these are only applicable for larger companies that operate in several states. They’ll slash your rate from $125 to $100 annually if you require service in at least five states. In addition, they receive strong customer reviews and offer free ongoing compliance reminders.
Overall, if you prioritize personalized customer support, Northwest’s advantages may outweigh its disadvantages. That said, if affordability is your priority, you might want to look elsewhere.
Like ZenBusiness, IncFile offers a free business formation service. IncFile provides resident agent service at an annual rate of $119, which is a solidly competitive price point.
With more than 30,000 reviews available online, IncFile maintains high average rating scores, making them a popular pick for resident agent service in Maryland.
However, one drawback of using IncFile is how they can be rather relentless with upsell attempts. IncFile has plenty of add-on features available, and it will certainly remind you of that fact several times as you work your way through their order form. It can also take IncFile a while to respond to customer support messages, especially via email.
Overall, IncFile is a good option for resident agent service, albeit without some of the bells and whistles you’ll find with some competitors.
Rocket Lawyer is one of the industry’s biggest names, with millions of customers served and a robust advertising budget that gets its name out. Rocket Lawyer’s pricing is a bit high, but if you’re looking for ongoing legal assistance, it has an interesting offer.
Rocket Lawyer has a few thousand reviews available, with mostly positive scores. While its resident agent pricing doesn’t jump off the page, subscribers to Rocket Lawyer’s $39.99/month legal services program receive 25% off resident agent service, making its pricing for this service a bit more competitive.
We don’t have any major complaints about Rocket Lawyer’s support network, as its representatives are responsive and helpful. Rocket Lawyer offers extended support availability from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every weekday. If you’re willing to spend a bit more in exchange for a company with tons of experience, or if you’re interested in Rocket Lawyer’s legal services subscription, they could be worth a look.
LegalZoom is similar to Rocket Lawyer in that it’s a company with millions of customers served and offers advanced legal services. However, LegalZoom has an unfortunately high price point of $299 for Maryland resident agent service. You can get your first year for $249 if you add it to a business formation package, but even that isn’t a great deal.
We are impressed by LegalZoom’s 100% satisfaction guarantee, which is nearly identical to the ZenBusiness refund policy. Also, they have extended support hours, with 14 hours per day of weekday availability and nine hours on weekends, too.
That said, LegalZoom’s high price tag for resident agent service is a problem. Seeing as this company also excludes valuable features from its business formation packages, the other options in this guide all have better value propositions than LegalZoom.
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Every business entity in the state of Maryland is required to have a resident agent. In fact, you will not be allowed to finish the formation process for your company until you designate your resident agent.
One quick note: most states refer to this position as a registered agent. Maryland, however, refers to them as resident agents. That’s just a semantic choice; don’t let it throw you off.
The most important aspect of this role is receiving document deliveries from the state government and process servers, then alerting your business of the delivery before forwarding the documents to you. The role of the resident agent is so important because it establishes a point of contact for your business with the state and others so that they have a reliable place to get in touch with an official representative of your company at any time.
Unlike some states, Maryland does not provide a comprehensive (or even partial) list of resident agents in the state. You’ll need to do your own research to find your agent. Thankfully, that’s where this guide comes in.
Each state has its own rules and regulations surrounding resident agents. For the most part, these laws are fairly similar, but it’s always worth taking a look to see what Maryland requires.
In Maryland, we’ll need to take a look at the Corporations and Associations Chapter of the Maryland Code, which says:
All of the companies we discussed above meet these regulations and are options for Maryland resident agent service. When you’ve made your choice, you can indicate your resident agent’s name and address on your Articles of Organization.
As you’ve probably noticed, the resident agent services we’ve listed here serve businesses across the country. But if you Google “Maryland Resident Agent,” you’ll probably see results for local services, too. These can be local entrepreneurs with a knack for clerical tasks, offices dedicated to serving businesses in their counties, or statewide companies.
On one hand, using a local service can have its advantages. Some will be cheaper than nationwide firms (but not always!). And each state has its own nuances for business compliance requirements, Maryland included. A resident agent service that services Maryland alone may have detailed knowledge about those requirements. Granted, most national services do an excellent job of understanding local requirements. But they might not give you the same “homegrown Maryland” feeling as a local agent service.
That said, national businesses like ZenBusiness give you streamlined solutions. Let’s say you’re using a local Maryland-only resident agent service, but it’s time to add locations in Delaware. You could search for an additional agent that services Delaware businesses. But that’s going to require a lot of additional paperwork, including new receipts, new automatic payments, more emails…you get the idea. But if you’re using a national service, you can cut down the “new” paperwork and focus on what really matters: growing your business.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you, and there’s no “wrong” answer. The most important thing is that you appoint one so you can run a compliant Maryland business.
The role of a Maryland resident agent is critical to your company’s compliance and legal standing. This position requires dealing with seemingly simple tasks, yet if they’re handled incorrectly, they could cost you a considerable amount of money in fines and could even potentially see the state dissolve your business.
While you can always change your resident agent down the line, we think it’s essential to pick the right resident agent for your business starting at the formation phase. You should also keep an eye on your compliance standing to ensure nothing goes awry along the way.
With ZenBusiness, you can purchase reliable resident agent service at an affordable rate, leaving this role in the hands of experts while you focus on growing your business.
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FAQs About Maryland’s Best Resident Agent Services
In Maryland, there aren’t many complicated requirements for resident agent eligibility. Any individual or business entity authorized to conduct business in the state can serve as your company’s resident agent. The only requirements are that they have a permanent address in Maryland and that your company itself can’t serve as its own resident agent (although you or one of your co-owners may assume this role individually).
Unlike most states, Maryland also requires that individual resident agents be at least 18 years old. We recommend that you pick a responsible individual you trust or one of the services listed above. If the resident agent does not fulfill their duties completely and accurately, it can cause unnecessary hassle for a business. Most responsible adults can fill this role easily, but we do recommend careful consideration while you make this appointment.
Yes. If your resident agent is an individual, that person must live in Maryland. If your agent is a business entity, that company must either be a domestic Maryland business or one with the authority to conduct business in the state.
Maryland keeps the process of changing your resident agent pretty simple. All you have to do is download the Resolution to Change Principal Office and/or Resident Agent form, fill it out, and submit it to the Department of Assessments and Taxation. Include the $25 filing fee, and you’re set to go. For more information, see our Maryland change of resident agent page.
If your resident agent chooses to resign and no longer serves as your agent, they will notify you. They are also required by law to notify the Department of Assessments and Taxation by writing a letter of resignation. There is no fee for the resignation, and Maryland does not require an official form, but it’s an essential step if your agent resigns.
Unless you choose to expedite your filings, Maryland only charges $25 for the process of changing your resident agent. File correctly, and that’s all you’ll have to pay. However, if you file late (causing a lapse in your resident agent coverage), you may incur additional penalties and fees, so we highly recommend filing this as soon as your agent resigns.
The best place to learn more about forming a Maryland LLC is our step-by-step guide. You might also be interested in checking out our list of the best Maryland LLC formation services.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
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