Before you form a limited liability company (LLC) in Illinois, you’ll need to appoint a registered agent. But what is a registered agent? What are they required to do, and who can be one?
What is an Illinois Registered Agent?
An Illinois registered agent is an individual or company who is the central point of contact to receive important legal documents and state correspondence for a business.
What does an Illinois Registered Agent do?
A registered agent must be available during normal business hours to accept any service of process, notice, or demand pertaining to the business and forward it to the appropriate individuals within the LLC. This position is necessary because it helps 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, and important tax notices.
Who can be a Registered Agent in Illinois?
Illinois Statute 180/1-35 states that all LLCs must appoint and then continuously maintain a registered agent and registered office. A registered agent may be: An individual resident of the Illinois; another individual permitted to do business in the state; a domestic business entity; or a foreign (out-of-state) business entity permitted to do business in Illinois. They must also:
- Have a physical address (often referred to as a registered office or principal office). This can be the actual address of the business, the home address of an owner, or even the address of a friend or family member. P.O. boxes or mailbox services are not acceptable.
- Be available to receive Service of Process on behalf of the business during normal business hours. Service of process refers to the delivery of legal documents, such as a lawsuit filed against the business entity.
Can I be my own Illinois Registered Agent?
You can be your own agent provided you’re a resident of Illinois and are fully available during all business hours.
Should you be your own Illinois Registered Agent?
No. Below are some reasons why:
- Availability – A registered agent needs to generally be available at the principal address during normal business hours. This could be a challenge for a business that doesn’t keep consistent office hours.
- Avoiding Embarrassment – If you serve as your own registered agent and a lawsuit is filed against the business, you could have papers served to you at your office in front of clients. Obviously, that could be bad for business.
- Compliance Reminders – Registered agent services sometimes provide reminders on the state requirements such as regular report filings. Forgetting these can get you in trouble with the state.
- Penalties and Fees – By not continuously maintaining a current registered agent, the LLC may be responsible for penalties and fees, in addition to the potential for having the state dissolve your business.
How is a Registered Agent appointed in Illinois?
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.
Can a Registered Agent be Changed?
A registered agent can be changed by submitting Form BCA 5.10/5.20 – Statement of Change of Registered Agent and/or Registered Office and paying a filing fee to the Secretary of State. However, we can do this for you on your behalf as well.