How to Find a Registered Agent in Louisiana (Step-by-Step Guide)
Recommended Louisiana registered agent services
Louisiana registered agent requirements
Whether you hire out your registered agent position to a company that offers this role as a service or you become your own company’s registered agent, there are certain requirements that must be followed.
All LLCs and corporations in the state of Louisiana must have a physical address as their registered agent office address. Only actual street addresses will be accepted. Your registered agent address cannot be a P.O. box.
Being your own registered agent
Individuals who want to be registered agents need to be over the age of 18. You may appoint yourself as your own registered agent. The individual needs to be a resident of Louisiana.
Hiring a registered agent service
Alternatively, you can ask someone you trust or an employee at your company to be a registered agent. If you choose to hire a commercial registered agent, they need to be registered to offer these services in the state.
Whoever is chosen as your registered agent needs to be available to accept legal documents, service of process, tax notifications, and other important business mail during regular business hours, Monday through Friday.
Why use a registered agent service
Selecting a registered agent is a major decision in the formation of your Louisiana business. Choosing the correct registered agent can mean the difference between remaining in good standing with the state and having to pay legal penalties and fines as a result of non-compliance.
For this reason, it’s wise to take your time and weigh all your options when making this decision. Most importantly, you’ll have to decide between electing a commercial registered agent company or an individual to be your registered agent. Some business owners consider acting as their own registered agents, for example.
While it can be argued that there are benefits to both options, the majority of serious Louisiana businesses choose to elect a professional company to act as their registered agent, and here’s why:
Registered agents need to be available at their designated office address during regular business hours throughout the week (Monday – Friday). This is often not possible (or convenient) for you do to yourself.
Particularly if this is your first business in Louisiana, you want more flexibility with your time. A professional registered agent company has no problem fulfilling this duty. In fact, this is one of the core services they offer.
A professional physical address
While it is possible to use your personal address as the address for your business, it’s not advised. If you do this, the address for your home will be on public record, so anyone can find it at any time.
To protect your privacy and ensure professionalism, it’s better to let your registered agent company use their address. Then, for example, if service of process needed to be delivered to your company (which is usually done by law enforcement), you could avoid this event occurring at your place of business.
Convenience and compliance
In general, having a reliable registered agent handling your legal documents, tax forms, and other important correspondence is superior to doing it yourself. It’s more convenient and takes the weight of this responsibility off your shoulders.
And while you don’t have to pay anything to be your own registered agent, even the annual fee that professional registered agent companies charge is well worth it. Your professional registered agent service will ensure you remain in good standing and compliant with the state, and you can put your focus on the areas of your small business operation that need your particular attention.
Louisiana registered agent costs
Want to know how much you should expect to pay for a registered agent service?
Costs vary, but ultimately, it will depend on what company you hire and which of their services you choose. Most registered agent services have tiered options to meet the business needs of a variety of businesses.
As a rule, annual charges are between $50 and $300. If you want services like due date reminders for your Annual Report and other business filings, it will cost more.
Being your own registered agent is free. Keep in mind, however, that this role comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility for your business. Often, it’s worth more to hire a registered agent service company that can take this responsibility off your shoulders.
How to change a registered agent in Louisiana
If you want to change your Louisiana registered agent, follow the steps below.
- Tell your old registered agent you are getting a new registered agent. It’s better to do this sooner rather than later. That’s because you’ll need time to make arrangements to switch over any files or documents you still have with your old registered agent.
- Choose who your new registered agent will be.
Keep in mind that in many cases, when you choose a registered agent service, you can stop here and let them do the rest. Commercial registered agents often file the necessary change of registered agent forms on behalf of their clients and take care of the fees as well.
If you plan to perform the filing on your own, move on to step three.
- Obtain a Notice of Change of Registered Agent form.
This document can be obtained by the Secretary of State of Louisiana. Fill it out and submit it to the Secretary of State along with the required filing fee. The fee is $25 whether submitting online, in person, or by fax.
Why you need a registered agent
Registered agents are required for all LLCs (limited liability companies) and corporations in Louisiana. In fact, all LLCs and corporations in the United States need to have registered agents.
The selection of your business’s registered agent is a critical element of the incorporation process. Furthermore, your registered agent will play a crucial role in the operation of your business.
The primary job of your registered agent is to accept mail on your company’s behalf. They don’t accept just any email, however. Their job is to handle official mail — for example, tax documents from the government, service of process notifications, and business filing forms.
Businesses in Louisiana can choose an individual or a business entity to be their registered agent. There are certain benefits to both, but most businesses go with a registered agent company as this option generally provides more flexibility and benefits.
When you need a registered agent
You likely won’t need to concern yourself with a registered agent until it actually comes time to file your Articles of Organization — also known as Articles of Incorporation.
This document is a critical element of the formation documents you’ll need to submit to the Louisiana Secretary of State office in Baton Rouge when forming your LLC or corporation. Your Articles of Organization will dictate the liabilities, rights, duties, and powers of your company — and every member of your company — as you continue to grow.
The first step in filing your Articles of Organization is to choose a business name. Select a short list of names, and then run these through the Louisiana Secretary of State business entity database to be sure the one you want has not already been taken by another company.
After this, it’s time to elect your registered agent. Include their contact information, most importantly their street address in Louisiana. This will be where the court system, the government, and anyone else will contact you moving forward.
Here are some links to useful websites and forms, all of which will help you navigate your way through the business formation process and choose your registered agent in Louisiana.
Do you have to have a registered agent in Louisiana?
Yes. Every corporation and LLC in the state of Louisiana needs a registered agent. You will choose who your registered agent will be during the process of incorporating your business. It will be a required listing in your Articles of Organization (also known as Articles of Incorporation).
How much does a registered agent cost?
The cost of a registered agent will vary, depending on what registered agent service company you choose, what services they offer, and how large your business is. As a rule, most LLCs and corporations in Louisiana should expect to pay in the range of $50 to $300 annually for professional registered agent services.
What’s the difference between a registered agent and a resident agent?
There is no difference between a registered agent and a resident agent. These are simply two different terms for the same role. They both refer to a business entity or individual that receives legal and government-related documents on behalf of a Louisiana corporation or LLC. Different states have different names for this position.
Is your registered agent address the same as your tax address?
No. A registered agent’s address is only to receive official documents such as legal service (if you are sued) and other correspondence from the state or the court. The business address you use on your tax documents is different.
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