How to Find a Registered Agent in Florida (Step-by-Step Guide)
Recommended Florida registered agent services
Florida registered agent requirements
Although almost anyone can be a registered agent, there are still some requirements that must be met. These are as follows:
Being your own registered agent
- Maintain a physical street address in Florida. Just about any address will work, but P.O. boxes are not accepted in this case.
- Have regular availability. It is necessary that the individual be available to accept service of process and other legal notices during typical business hours. This is a year-round requirement.
- Be over the age of 18. Registered agents must be adults over the age of 18.
Hiring a Florida registered agent service
There are no particular requirements when it comes to hiring a commercial Florida registered agent service. Some states stipulate certain requirements, but in Florida, the state recognizes commercial services in basically the same way they recognize individuals acting as registered agents.
Why use a registered agent service
Every business owner knows what’s best for their company. For some, being their own registered agent is the way to go. On the other hand, some companies may benefit more from hiring a professional registered agent.
More often than not, the latter is true. Here are the top reasons to consider hiring a Florida registered agent service to be your registered agent:
You can travel as you please and don’t need to maintain regular business hours.
Registered agent services keep consistent normal business hours year-round. But if you decide to be your own registered agent, keeping business hours for yourself may not be so easy.
Registered agents need to be consistently available to receive service of process mail and other important documents. If you don’t plan on being at your listed registered office address year-round, Monday through Friday, and during regular hours, it’s probably a good idea to hire professionals to be your registered agent.
You can keep legal matters separated from your business.
For the most part, whenever a business is delivered service of process papers, which generally means they’re being sued, law enforcement is usually the entity delivering these papers. If you have a storefront or another brick and mortar location listed as your business address with the Florida Department of State (same as Secretary of State), this means that law enforcement will come during business hours to deliver these papers.
Most business owners don’t want this to happen. Keeping legal matters separate from your actual business is important, no matter the situation. Fortunately, a professional registered agent service will be able to accept any important documents, including service of process, that are sent to your business address.
Many of these services also offer online mail forwarding. With online mail forwarding, your legal notices and other important documents will be put into an online account where you can have immediate access to them.
You can keep your privacy.
In addition to ensuring that legal documents are kept separate from your small business, a hired registered agent service can also ensure your home address remains distinct from your business registered office address.
This is an issue for many entrepreneurs because when you’re just starting out, you may think that listing your home address as your business address makes no difference. The problem is that, if you decide to act as your own registered agent, you need to list your home address publicly when you file your Articles of Organization.
This means that, at any time, someone could look up your home address in the public records, possibly compromising the privacy of you and your family.
You’ll always be compliant.
Especially when you’re just starting out with your Florida limited liability company or corporation, you may not be familiar with compliance requirements. Both state and federal governments demand that specific deadlines and regulations be met for all businesses. A professional registered agent service can ensure that your Florida business remains compliant with these regulations. In turn, this means you’ll remain in good standing with the government. You’ll also avoid paying excessive government fees and penalties.
Other reasons to hire a professional registered service agent
There are numerous other reasons why a commercial registered agent service is a good idea as opposed to acting as your own registered agent:
- You’ll receive less junk mail and keep your important mail more organized.
- You’ll save time when it comes to business filings with the Secretary of State.
- You’ll be able to incorporate your Florida business in other states with more ease.
- You’ll be able to change your address at any time and not have to worry about changing your registered agent information as well.
- You’ll be able to put your focus on the improvement and growth of your small business.
- A registered agent service be able to help you carry out other corporate filings such as filing your annual report. Or, at the very least, they can offer you annual report reminders.
Florida registered agent costs
If you would like to hire a qualified professional service to act as your Florida company’s registered agent, you will need to pay an annual fee. This fee may be anywhere from $50 to $300, depending on what company you go with and what your particular business needs are.
As a side note, if you decide to be your own registered agent, there is no fee for this service.
How to change a registered agent in Florida
Changing your Florida LLC registered agent’s name and registered agent address is a relatively simple process.
- You must file a basic statement of change form and send a cover letter to the state.
- Address these documents to the Department of State Registration Section, Florida Division of Corporations. Also include the filing fee, which will vary depending on what type of business you have (nonprofit organizations may have different fees).
Sometimes, your new registered agent will take care of filing your change of registered agent documents for you.
Why you need a registered agent
Having a registered agent is required when incorporating your business in the state of Florida. It is a role you must fill in order to establish your LLC or corporation and remain in good standing with the state.
You can hire a professional registered agent service. Or, you can designate an employee to be your registered agent. Alternatively, you can be your own registered agent.
The main role of the registered agent is to receive service of process notifications on behalf of your business. This includes tax documents, legal documents, and other mail.
Your registered agent can be a business entity or an individual. Their physical street address will be used as your business’s mailing address.
When you need a registered agent
Listing your registered agent is a required step when filing your Articles of Organization (or Articles of Incorporation) and submitting your state fees to the Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations (Sunbiz).
The first part of the formation process when incorporating your Florida LLC (limited liability company) or corporation in Florida is to select a name for your new business. It must be a name that hasn’t already been used. You can find out whether your chosen name has already been taken by examining the public record name search via the state of Florida’s Department of State website.
After choosing a name, you need to select a registered agent and list their regular business hours and physical address on your formation documents. From there, you can create your business’s Operating Agreement, submit your Certificate of Formation, and apply to get an EIN, or employer identification number.
Use the following list of links and forms to help you incorporate your business in Florida. The Florida Division of Corporations website is called Sunbiz.
How do I hire a registered agent in Florida?
There are numerous registered agent services available in the state of Florida. You’ll want to take a look at their prices, extended services, past experiences of other customers, customer support options, and reviews.
Should you be your own Florida registered agent?
This depends. If you have the time and would like to save some money, you might consider being your own registered agent. On the other hand, hiring out this service to a professional company is not exorbitantly expensive. A professional service can also allow you more flexibility when it comes to availability and ensures your business is always compliant.
Can I be my own statutory agent?
Yes, you can act as your own statutory (registered) agent. You must be 18 or older. You must have your registered agent address (not a P.O. box) in Florida, and you must be consistently available during regular hours on business days in order to receive important government mail and service of process documents on behalf of your business.
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