One of the things you’ll need to determine before filing your paperwork to form a limited liability company (LLC) in Hawaii is who will serve as your registered agent. The state requires every LLC to have one, but what is a registered agent? What are their duties, and what are the requirements to be one?
What is a Hawaii Registered Agent?
A registered agent is an individual or company designated by the entity to receive important legal documents on behalf of the business.
What does a Hawaii Registered Agent do?
A registered agent is required by Hawaii Statute §428-107. The agent must be available during normal business hours to forward any service of process, notice, or demand pertaining to the entity to the appropriate individuals. The requirement is necessary because it ensures 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, a notice of annual reports, or important tax notifications.
Who can be a Resident Agent in Hawaii?
A Hawaii LLC or a foreign (out-of-state) LLC authorized to transact business in this state must appoint and continuously maintain a registered agent. That agent must also have a business address in the state. A registered agent in Hawaii can be:
- An individual who resides in the state;
- A domestic entity authorized to transact business in the state; or
- A foreign entity authorized to transact business in the state.
Can I be my own Hawaii Registered Agent?
You can legally serve as 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 Hawaii Registered Agent?
There’s definitely a downside to serving as your own registered agent, which is why there are so many registered agent services to perform that function for you. Below are some reasons to consider hiring a service to act as a registered agent.
- Availability – A registered agent needs to be available at the official registered agent address during normal business hours. This could be a challenge for a business that doesn’t need to keep consistent office hours, or if you often need to leave the office to meet with potential clients, etc.
- Compliance Reminders – Registered agent services provide reminders on the state requirements such as regular report filings. Remembering to file such things can be easily overlooked, which can cause you to lose your good standing with the state of Hawaii.
- Penalties and Fees – By not continuously maintaining a current registered agent, the LLC may be responsible for penalties and fees. Worse, the state could decide to dissolve your LLC altogether.
How is a Resident Agent Appointed in Hawaii?
You’ll need to name your registered agent when you complete the official paperwork with the state to form your LLC, so you’ll need to decide who your registered agent or registered agent service will be before you begin that process. Of course, you need to be sure to inform whomever you’re appointing and get their permission to serve in that role.