This guide will outline what you need to know about changing a resident agent in Maryland and how to get started when you’re ready.
You formed your Maryland LLC. You did the paperwork. You started operating your business.
And now, for one reason or another, you need to change your resident agent. No worries, we’ve got you covered.
There are a number of reasons you might need to change your Maryland LLC’s registered agent. Maybe your designated registered agent moved out of state, left the company, or no longer wants the responsibility. Maybe you had assigned the job to yourself, and you no longer want your address on public record. Maybe (hopefully) your business has expanded so much that you no longer have time to handle the registered agent responsibilities.
Whatever your reason may be, changing a registered agent in Maryland might seem like a daunting task, with a mountain of paperwork and legal proceedings involved. However it’s actually quite simple, and this guide will help make the process quick and painless.
The state of Maryland has certain requirements for changing your LLC’s resident agent. Any LLC looking to change its agent must submit a digital or paper form, signed by one of its authorized members/managers and the new resident agent. This change will only go into effect once approved by the Department of Assessments and Taxation.
The most complete source of information on resident agent changes is on the form itself (“Resolution to Change Principal Office or Resident Agent”)
You can’t pick just anyone to be a resident agent for your LLC. The state of Maryland puts certain restrictions on who can serve as one. If you’re choosing or changing your resident agent, keep these requirements in mind. The resident agent in Maryland must:
* If your resident agent is a foreign business entity, it must be authorized to transact business in Maryland
In order to change your resident agent in Maryland, you can do so by submitting a “Resolution to Change Principal Office or Resident Agent” form or a request through the Maryland Business Express web portal.
Filing online is the far quicker method. Once you navigate to the Maryland Business Express site, here’s what to do:
Postal mail is also a reliable option. Download the form, complete it, and send it to:
State Department of Assessments and Taxation, Charter Division
301 W. Preston Street
8th Floor Baltimore, MD 21201‐2395
*You may hand deliver your form to this address as well, although you’ll automatically be charged the $50 expedited processing fee
The fee to change your resident agent is $25, plus a $50 fee if you want expedited processing. Online and walk-in filings are automatically charged the expedited fee and are processed within seven business days. Mailed filings without expedited processing can take up to eight weeks. Pay your fee via check, made payable to “State Department of Assessments and Taxation.” If filing online, you will need to pay with a card.
Making updates on your annual report or Articles of Organization is not a viable option for resident agent changes. You must file the appropriate online or paper form.
If you’re too busy, or if you’d feel more comfortable letting someone else take the reins, you have the option of hiring a company or individual to file your paperwork for you. It’s a great way to save time and stress.
Submit your form? Pay your fee? Then you’ve done your part! Kick back and wait to see your new resident agent on file.
Think of your resident agent as a mediator between you and the state of Maryland, the person or business entity that handles some of your most important paperwork.
In case you thought the resident agent was just a formality, look at the documents they handle:
A lot of important stuff. Which is why a reliable resident agent is essential to every Maryland business owner.
By handling high-priority and sensitive documents on your behalf, your resident agent takes care of your communications with the state, so you can spend more time building your business.
Plus, if you operate a Maryland small business from out of state, a trustworthy resident agent is especially important, as the state requires a local contact for your LLC. Having this contact ensures your company will receive and respond to time-sensitive documents, so you won’t miss filings and get hit with penalties.
If you’re unsure where to find a good Maryland resident agent, consider using a resident agent service. These companies provide you a reliable, professional resident agent so you can have peace of mind knowing you won’t ever miss a filing, tax deadline, or state correspondence.
Sure, you can jump online, search “registered agent service,” and get a ton of results. But the truth is that not all of these services are trustworthy. So, we’ve done some research for you. If you want to know you’re getting a top-quality registered agent, take a look at our comparison guide on the best rated registered agent services. Many of these providers can also form an LLC for you if you’re needing a fresh start. ZenBusiness is a very well known option.
There are numerous reasons you might need to give up your Maryland resident agent role, but only one way to resign.
Resident agents play an important role in the life of an LLC, handling sensitive legal and tax documents, so it’s essential that agents follow proper resignation procedures. Otherwise, you could leave your company with unplanned fines or penalties, and you could be individually liable.
Fortunately, for Maryland LLCs it is easy.
Follow these steps and the hardest part of your resignation won’t be the process itself, it’ll be saying “so long” to your former business.
There’s no legal requirement to give your LLC advance notice before submitting your resignation. You’re only required to send them a copy of your official resignation statement after sending it to the state. Regardless, it can be helpful for both you and them if you reach out to the company before resigning. This gives them time to plan their resident agent change so that they can avoid potential fines and penalties.
On your end, giving notice beforehand can help your resignation move quicker. You will remain on file as the LLC’s resident agent for ten days unless they appoint a replacement sooner. Helping the company create a succession plan can get you off the record right away.
Before you move on to your next business or project, you need to file a formal resignation with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. There is no standard form, so you’ll need to create your own. But don’t worry, there isn’t too much involved. Here’s the information you need to include:
That wasn’t so bad. And what’s even better is that there’s no filing fee, so put your checkbook away – you won’t need it. If you’re happy with your document, you can mail or hand-deliver it to:
State Department of Assessments and Taxation
301 W. Preston St, Room 801
Baltimore, MD 21201-2395
If your LLC already has a replacement lined up, your resignation will effective immediately. But if they do not, you will retain your agent duties for ten days after your statement is processed. Standard processing time is 4-6 weeks, but you can request expedited processing (seven business days) for a $50 fee.
When you put down your resident agent responsibilities, someone else has to pick them up, or your LLC will lose its good standing with the state. Help your LLC keep its momentum by carefully planning your transition.
This starts with finding a successor who’s ready to take over right away. Even a small gap in resident agent coverage can result in severe penalties. Any Maryland business entity that goes 30 days or more without a valid resident agent can be administratively dissolved by the state. Because the penalty is so severe, it’s a good idea to give your LLC plenty of time to find a new resident agent.
Anyone that the company appoints as your replacement must meet Maryland’s resident agent requirements. They must:
An owner or manager can serve as resident agent for their own LLC, but sometimes hiring a professional can save time and prevent stress.
We recommend using a resident agent service, which can take over resident agent duties, freeing up more time for the LLC’s managers to focus on running the business.
You do a lot for your Maryland LLC. You’re essentially the shield that protects it from fines, the filter that catches important documents, the conductor that keeps it on track with compliance.
Because you play such an important role, it’s crucial that you follow the resignation procedures exactly — and potentially provide a replacement agent for the business. Otherwise, you might find yourself and your LLC in hot water.
Follow this guide and you’ll be totally fine. Soon, you’ll be on to your next project, whether that’s starting a new business in Maryland or something completely different.
If you need a fresh start and would like to form a brand new LLC, there are plenty of services that can take care of this for you. ZenBusiness and LegalZoom are two very popular options.
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