Prior to starting a limited liability company (LLC) in South Dakota, 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 a South Dakota Registered Agent?
The term registered agent refers to an individual or business that is designated by the LLC to receive important legal documents on behalf of the company. This position is essential to ensure that the correct people within an LLC are notified in person when there are time-sensitive events, such as service of process for lawsuits. The registered agent also receives important notices from the state, such as garnishment notices against employees, a notice of annual reports, and tax notifications.
Who can be a Registered Agent in South Dakota?
According to South Dakota law (SDS 7-20-16), a registered office must be an actual street address or rural route box number in the state.
Each LLC must have and continuously maintain a registered agent in the state. The agent may be either an individual resident in this state whose business office is identical with the registered office, or a domestic corporation or a foreign corporation authorized to do or engage in any business in this state, or a domestic limited liability company, or a domestic limited liability partnership, having a business office identical with such registered office.
Should you be your own South Dakota Registered Agent?
Although it may seem like the easiest option is to be your own registered agent, there are some compelling reasons to instead consider hiring a service to act as a registered agent. These include:
- 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.
- 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.
- Compliance Reminders – Some registered agent services (like ZenBusiness) provide reminders of upcoming state requirements, such as filing annual report filings. Forgetting compliance obligations can get you in trouble with the state.
How is a Registered Agent Appointed in South Dakota?
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.