One of the things you’ll need to determine before filing your paperwork to form a limited liability company (LLC) in Iowa 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 duties, and what are the requirements to be one?
What is an Iowa Registered Agent?
A registered agent is an individual or company designated by the business entity to receive important legal documents on behalf of the company.
What does an Iowa Registered Agent do?
Iowa Code Section 489.113 states that an LLC must designate and continuously maintain both a registered agent and registered office within the state. The registered agent’s main role is to receive Service of Process on behalf of the LLC. This position 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, or tax notifications.
Who can be a Registered Agent in Iowa?
A registered agent in Iowa can be any one of the following:
- An individual who resides in Iowa and whose business office is identical with the registered office.
- A domestic corporation, limited liability company, or not-for-profit domestic corporation whose business office is identical with the registered office.
- A foreign (out-of-state) corporation, foreign limited liability company, or not-for-profit foreign corporation authorized to transact business in Iowa, and whose business office is identical with the registered office.
Can I be my own Registered Agent in Iowa?
You can be your own agent, as long as you are a resident of the state and are fully available during business hours.
Should you be your own Iowa Registered Agent?
Many business owners prefer not to and instead use a registered agent service instead. There are multiple reasons to consider hiring a service to act as a registered agent, such as:
- 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 customers. That could be both embarrassing and bad for business.
- Availability – A registered agent needs to be available at the principal address during normal business hours. This could be a challenge for a business that doesn’t need to keep consistent office hours and business owners who don’t want to be obligated to stay at the office all day.
- Compliance Reminders – Registered agent services often provide reminders on upcoming state requirements, such as regularly required report filings. Remembering to file such reports can be easily overlooked otherwise.
- Penalties and Fees – By not continuously maintaining a current registered agent, the LLC could face penalties and fees, in addition to the potential for having the state of Iowa dissolve the business.