There are a number of reasons you might need to change your Montana 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 Montana 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 Montana has certain requirements for changing your LLC’s registered agent. To make a registered agent change, an LLC must file a “Statement of Change – Registered Office, Agent or Both” with the Secretary of State’s Office. You may also update your registered agent’s information on your Annual Report.
The Montana Secretary of State website has only general information about registered agents, but their state Code, Section 35-7-108 provides a little more insight.
You can’t pick just anyone to be a registered agent for your LLC. The state of Montana puts certain restrictions on who can serve as one. If you’re choosing or changing your registered agent, keep these requirements in mind. The registered agent in Montana must:
* If your registered agent is a foreign business entity, it must be authorized to transact business in Montana
In order to change your registered agent in Montana, you have two options: you can file a “Statement of Change – Registered Office, Agent or Both,” or you can make the change on your Annual Report when that time of year rolls around.
Let’s start with the form. You can submit it online any time (the Secretary of State no longer accepts paper forms). Navigate to the Online Business Filing System to get started. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create an account. After you’ve logged in, find the appropriate form and follow the onscreen instructions from there. Here’s the bonus: this form is free to file!
Every Montana business is required to submit an Annual Report by April 15 each year. If your need for a new registered agent falls between January 1 and April 15, you can cut down on paperwork by simply updating your registered agent information on the report. You can file your Annual Report through the Online Business Filing System as well. The fee is $35, which you can pay via card at the end of the process.
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.
But if you do hire some outside help, know that only individuals with “authority” are allowed to file documents on behalf of the LLC. This means managers, members, etc. So, if you’d like someone else to maintain your paperwork, you’ll need to grant them authority. See how here.
Submit your form? Pay your fee? Then you’re all set! Standard processing time for the Montana Secretary of State is 3-7 business days, but it could be longer during peak filing season for Annual Reports.
Think of your registered agent as a mediator between you and the state of Montana, the person or business entity that handles some of your most important paperwork.
In case you thought the registered agent was just a formality, look at the documents they handle:
A lot of important stuff. Which is why a reliable registered agent is essential to every Montana business owner.
By handling high-priority and sensitive documents on your behalf, your registered agent takes care of your communications with the state, so you can spend more time building your business.
Plus, if you operate a Montana small business from out of state, a trustworthy registered 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 Montana registered agent, consider using a registered agent service. These companies provide you a reliable, professional registered 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 top registered agent services. Many of these providers can also form an LLC for you if you’re needing a fresh start. ZenBusiness and LegalZoom are two very well known options.
There are numerous reasons you might need to give up your Montana registered agent role, but only one way to resign.
Registered 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 Montana 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.
Because registered agent duties are important, your LLC will appreciate notice of your resignation. However, Montana state law doesn’t require you to inform your company until after you’ve submitted your official resignation with the Secretary of State (Montana Code 35-7-111). But it’s often more beneficial for everyone involved if you let them know ahead of time. This will give the LLC more time to plan for a registered agent change so that they won’t get hit with fines and penalties.
On your end, it will get your name off the books sooner. After the state processes your resignation, you retain registered agent duties for 31 days unless your LLC appoints a replacement sooner. So if they have a successor lined up and ready to go, the state can transfer your responsibilities right away.
You may be thinking ahead to your next job, business, or project, but you can’t move on from your current one until you’ve sent the Secretary of State your resignation. There’s no official resignation document, so you’ll need to create your own. But don’t worry, there are only a few requirements for it. When drafting your statement of resignation, you must include:
There’s no fee to resign and you can submit your document by mail, in person, or online. For postal mail, send it to:
Montana Secretary of State
Business Services/Corporation Unit
PO Box 202801
Helena, MT 596020-2801
If you live near Helena, hand-deliver it as part of your daily errands at the State Capitol, Room 260 at 1301 6th Ave, Helena, MT 59620.
Trying to save paper? Submitting it online is an option too. You’ll just need to create a Montana ePass account. Once you’re logged in, you can access your LLC’s official filings.
And don’t forget: as soon as you submit your resignation to the state, you must promptly send a copy to your LLC as well.
The Secretary of State’s standard processing time is 2-5 business days, but if you need it filed right away, you can pay $20 for priority handling (24-hour processing) or $100 for expedited handling (one-hour processing). The resignation will take effect 31 days after it’s filed unless your company appoints a replacement sooner. So don’t skip town just yet, because you may retain your registered agent duties for up to a month after you resign.
When you put down your registered 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 registered agent coverage can result in severe penalties. Any business entity that goes 60 days or more without a valid registered agent on record can be administratively dissolved by the state, prohibiting it from conducting business in Montana. So, your LLC will need to designate a successor soon after you’ve moved on.
Regardless of who they choose, the new agent must meet Montana’s registered agent requirements. As a reminder, they must:
Some LLCs choose to assign one of their individual members as registered agent. This is allowed, but sometimes it’s better to outsource those responsibilities to a professional service.
We recommend using a registered agent service, which can take over registered agent duties, freeing up more time for the LLC’s managers to focus on running the business.
You do a lot for your Montana 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 Montana 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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