Having a registered agent is required by law when forming a limited liability company (LLC) in North Carolina. Below we’ll explain what the registered agent is, their duties, and the state’s requirements to be one.
What is a North Carolina Registered Agent?
A registered agent is an individual or company that’s designated by the LLC owners to receive important legal documents on behalf of the business. This position is necessary to ensure that the correct people within an LLC are notified in the event of time-sensitive events, which may include tax notices, service of process for lawsuits, garnishment notices against employees, or notice of annual reports.
Who can be a Resident Agent in North Carolina?
According to North Carolina statutes N.C.G.S. §§ 55D-30(a)(2), an LLC must continuously maintain in North Carolina a registered office (which may be the same as any of its places of business or any place where it conducts affairs) and registered agent. The registered agent must have a business office that is identical with the LLC’s registered office, and may be:
- an individual North Carolina resident;
- a North Carolina corporation, nonprofit corporation, or LLC; or
- a foreign (out-of-state) corporation, nonprofit corporation, or LLC authorized to transact business or conduct affairs in North Carolina.
Should you be your own North Carolina Registered Agent?
Although it may seem like the simplest and cheapest option is to be your own registered agent, there are some compelling reasons to instead use a registered agent service, such as:
- Availability – A registered agent needs to generally be available at the principal address during normal business hours. This makes it difficult to leave the office to run errands, meet up with potential clients, etc.
- Compliance Reminders – Some registered agent services (such as ZenBusiness) provide reminders of upcoming state requirements, such as filing annual report filings. Forgetting compliance obligations 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 administrative dissolution.
How is a Resident Agent Appointed in North Carolina?
You must name your registered agent when you complete the official paperwork with the state to form your LLC, so you 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.