One of the things you’ll need to determine before filing your paperwork to form a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Florida is who will serve as your registered agent. The state requires all LLCs to have one, but what is a registered agent? What are their job duties, and what are the requirements to be one?
What is a Florida Registered Agent?
A registered agent is an individual or company a business designates to receive important legal documents on behalf of the business. It’s a legal requirement in Florida to have and maintain one.
What does a Florida Registered Agent do?
The rules regarding appointment of registered agents are found in the Florida Statutes Section 605.0113. An LLC must name and maintain both a registered agent and a registered office, which may be the same as its place of business. Their primary role is to ensure that the correct people within an LLC are notified in the event of time-sensitive events, such as service of process for lawsuits, garnishment notices against employees, or important tax notices. In addition, the registered office must be a physical street address and not a P.O. Box or mailbox service.
Who can be a Registered Agent in Florida?
A registered agent in Florida must be one of the following:
- An individual who resides in this state and whose business address is identical to the address of the registered office.
- Another domestic entity that is an authorized entity and whose business address is identical to the address of the registered office.
- A foreign (out-of-state) entity authorized to transact business in Florida that is an authorized entity and whose business address is identical to the address of the registered office.
Each registered agent and each successor agent must also file a statement in writing with the Department of State, in the form and manner prescribed by their office. They must affirm that they are accepting the appointment as a registered agent while simultaneously being designated as the registered agent. The statement of acceptance must provide that the registered agent is familiar with and accepts the obligations of that position.
Can I be my own Registered Agent in Florida?
You can be your own agent, as long as you are a resident of the state and are generally available during business hours.
Should you be your own Florida Registered Agent?
There are several good reasons to consider hiring a service to act as a registered agent, such as:
- Availability – A registered agent needs to generally be available at the principal address during normal business hours. This denies you the freedom to leave the office for meetings with clients, vacation, sick days, etc.
- Reminders for Compliance – Registered agent services often provide reminders on upcoming state requirements for compliance, such as required reports. It’s easy to forget these and fall out of good graces with the state.
- Penalties and Fees – Not continuously maintaining a current registered agent, could expose the LLC to penalties and fees, in addition to the potential for administrative dissolution (i.e., the state dissolving your business).
How is a Florida Registered Agent appointed?
You will need to designate a registered agent or registered agent service prior to filling out your Articles of Organization. Listing the agent in this document makes it official.