Having a resident agent is mandatory when forming a limited liability company (LLC) in Maryland. Below we’ll explain what the resident agent is, their duties, and the requirements to be one.
What is a Maryland Resident Agent?
A resident agent (referred to as a registered agent in most states) is an individual or company that is chosen by the entity to receive important legal documents on behalf of the business. It’s a legal requirement for all LLCs in Maryland.
What does a Maryland Resident Agent do?
According to the Maryland Code § 4A-210, each LLC must appoint and maintain both a principal office in the state and a resident agent. The agent’s primary role is to accept service of process (legal notices, such as notification of a lawsuit) 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, notice of annual reports, and important correspondence from the state.
Who can be a Resident Agent in Maryland?
A resident agent in Maryland must be one of the following:
- An adult resident of Maryland;
- A Maryland corporation; or
- A Maryland limited liability company
The address of a Maryland resident agent must be an actual physical location and not a Post Office Box or mailbox service. A person authorized to designate a resident agent must file a signed statement with the Department of Assessment and Taxation confirming the appointment.
Should you be your own Maryland Resident Agent?
Although appointing yourself as the agent might seem easiest and least expensive option, many business owners prefer to instead use a registered agent service for the following reasons:
- Avoiding Embarrassment – If you serve as your own resident 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.
- Availability – A registered agent is required to be available at the principal address during normal business hours. This could be an issue for a business that doesn’t need to keep consistent office hours.
- Compliance Reminders – Registered agent services sometimes provide reminders on state requirements such as annual report filings, which helps keep your business compliant.
- Penalties and Fees – Not maintaining a current registered agent can get you in trouble with the state of Maryland, which could mean fines or even the dissolution of your LLC.
How is a Maryland Resident Agent appointed?
You’ll need to name your resident agent when you complete the official paperwork with the state to form your LLC, so you’ll need to decide who your resident agent or registered agent service will be before you begin that process. The agent will also need to sign the Articles of Organization when you file.