In Missouri, a registered agent is required for every business. It is possible for a business owner to be their own registered agent, so long as they understand and can comply with the requirements. However, it’s not always a good idea for business owners to be their own registered agent. Read below to learn more about the requirements and whether or not being your own registered agent is a good idea.
What is a Registered Agent?
At its most basic, a registered agent is someone who can handle all service of processes and official notifications on behalf of a business. The registered agent also handles other business as needed, including compliance reminders, handling complaints, and more. In the state of Missouri, there are certain requirements for someone to become a registered agent, but anyone who can handle all of the requirements and is a legal adult is able to be the registered agent. This does mean that business owners are able to be their own registered agent, but this might be a duty best handled by someone else.
What’s Required to be a Registered Agent?
A registered agent in Missouri must be at least 18 years old and must adhere to the following. They do not have to be the business owner, nor do they need to have any certifications or other legal standing to be a registered agent. As long as someone can handle the following duties, they’re able to be the registered agent for a business.
The registered agent must have a physical address where they can be reached. This cannot be a retail store, a post office box, or another alternative address. An office space, including a home office, is sufficient for the physical address. The registered agent must not only be able to receive mail at the address but be available there during regular business hours to receive legal documents or other paperwork as needed.
The registered agent must be in the office and available to receive legal or other documents during regular business hours, typically between 9 am and 5 pm on weekdays. These hours can vary if needed, but availability during the day on weekdays is required to ensure the registered agent can receive paperwork on the business’s behalf when needed.
Acceptance of Service of Process
The registered agent needs to be able to accept any service of process for the business. A service of process is the procedure by which a party to a lawsuit receives the documentation letting them know they are involved in a lawsuit. Typically, the person or party named in a lawsuit is served personally, but in the case of a business, the registered agent can receive the service of process on the business’s behalf.
Accept Official Notices
The registered agent for a business needs to be able to accept official notices and other paperwork or documents for the business. This can include tax documents, annual reports, complaints from customers, and more. It is important for the registered agent to be able to easily pass on the documents to the business owner when they arrive.
How to Become a Registered Agent
Business owners can appoint themselves or another trusted person as the registered agent for the business. To do this, they’ll need to form the LLC for the business using the Missouri Secretary of State’s website. There is a filing fee required for filling out this form. After this is complete, the website will display the information needed to appoint a registered agent for the business.
The registered agent can be changed at any time after the initial appointment. Once the business owner has hired a new registered agent, they can complete a Statement of Change of Agent form for Missouri. This form can’t be filled out online, and it will take several days to be signed by the Secretary of State. The form will require information such as the business name, the registered office address, the new address if changing, the name of the current and new registered agents, a signature and consent form, and the signature of whoever is filing the form. There is a fee for this form, but the cost is minimal.
Is Being Your Own Registered Agent a Good Idea?
A business owner can be the registered agent for their business, and there are times when this works out well. Business owners who work in the office or from home may have the availability to receive documents for the business and can use their own address or the office address for any official duties as the registered agent. It is not against Missouri law for a business owner to be their own registered agent; it simply doesn’t work out well in all situations. If business owners travel frequently, can’t be disturbed during work hours, work alternative hours like weekends, or simply want more privacy and do not want their address listed as the registered agent address, it may be a better idea to hire someone else to be the registered agent.
Alternative Options for a Registered Agent
There are two main alternative options for a registered agent – hiring someone to handle the job or working with a service. Since anyone can be a registered agent, the business owner can have an employee handle the job or a friend or family member they can trust to do the job right. If this isn’t possible or they’d like to make sure the job is professionally handled, hiring a service is a good idea. A registered agent service is already set up to handle the tasks needed and can keep in close contact with the business owner when needed to forward documents and other information.
Benefits of a Registered Agent Service
Today’s business owners are often incredibly busy, so working with a registered agent service may be a great idea. There are actually numerous benefits to doing this, which include the following.
Business owners who work from home may not want everyone to know their home address. If there is a disgruntled customer, for instance, the business owner won’t want the customer to show up at their private residence. It’s much better for the business owner to keep their address private, but an address is needed for the registered agent. Instead of being a registered agent and having to publicly list their address, by working with a service, the business owner’s address remains private, allowing the business owner to stay anonymous.
Avoid Junk Mail
Junk mail will show up and need to be handled, but it doesn’t have to be handled by the business owner. While it might not seem like a huge task, one of the things a registered agent service can handle is going through the mail received by the business to get rid of any junk mail. The business owner won’t have to think about it or worry about missing something important while they’re going through and throwing away any junk mail.
Keep Crucial Deadlines
It can be hard to keep up with all deadlines, but non-compliance can mean late fees, missed opportunities, and more. If a deadline for a lawsuit is missed, for instance, the business owner may automatically lose the case. Instead, a registered agent service can help provide reminders for crucial deadlines, ensuring the business owner doesn’t miss any of them.
How embarrassing would it be for a Sheriff’s deputy to show up at the door with the paperwork for a lawsuit? If the business owner works from home, this might not be a big deal. If they’re working in an office or meeting with clients at the time, this can be embarrassing for the business, no matter if the lawsuit has merit or not. It simply doesn’t look good for a business to be served legal paperwork. By working with a registered agent service, business owners can avoid this embarrassment completely, as the service can accept the documents on the owner’s behalf.
Stay in Compliance
Remaining in compliance is something the business owner needs to do, but keeping up with deadlines, compliance issues that need to be handled, and inspections or other actions can be hard. Instead of the business owner trying to stay in compliance along with all of their other duties, they can have the registered agent service act on their behalf and handle anything that needs to be done. The business owner won’t have to worry about missing compliance deadlines or failing to file paperwork.
Though a business owner can be their own registered agent, this isn’t always a good idea. It’s not always going to be as easy as expected to be a registered agent, and there are numerous reasons, like privacy, why it might be good to look into alternative options. If you’re in need of a registered agent for your business, Missouri Registered Agent Services can help.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business management operations.