How to Find a Registered Agent in Massachusetts (Step-by-Step Guide)
Recommended Massachusetts registered agent services
Massachusetts registered agent requirements
Most anyone who is over the age of 18 and a resident of Massachusetts can be a registered agent. There are not many requirements beyond this for the position.
Still, there are a few you need to know. They are as follows:
Being your own registered agent
If you plan to be your own registered agent, you must be over the age of 18 and have an in-state address. You must be a resident of the State of Massachusetts as well.
If you have an address in the state, it cannot be a P.O. box address. It must be a street address so that you can physically be there throughout the week during normal business hours.
Hiring a Massachusetts registered agent service
Aside from being your own agent or having a family member or worker fill the position, the other option is to hire a Massachusetts registered agent service.
There are several large companies that offer registered agent services in the State of Massachusetts. These are often nationwide companies, so not only can they help you register your business in Massachusetts, but they can also help you incorporate your business in other states. Hiring a large company to be your registered agent is the best way to go about things if you plan to grow your business and sell your goods or services in other states.
If you plan on hiring a Massachusetts resident agent service, they must be licensed to do business in the state. They must also accept the appointment of being your registered agent and freely have their contact information listed in your formation documents.
Furthermore, they need to have a physical street address in Massachusetts that is not a P.O box address. Finally, they must be at this registered office address consistently — every week on weekdays — in order to receive service of process and other important documents on your LLC’s behalf.
Why use a registered agent service
Registered agent companies provide a number of benefits to their clients.
First, they offer privacy. You don’t want service of process to be carried out in front of your employees or clients, nor do you want it to be delivered to your home. Hire a registered agent service company so that you can use their official street address to receive sensitive information such as this. Remember that if you use your home address, it will be on public record.
Second, registered agent companies will support your business as you grow. If you want to incorporate in other states, larger registered agent companies will be able to help you do that with a seamless process.
Finally, enjoy flexible hours by hiring out this position to a larger company. You won’t need to commit to regular business hours at your physical street address in Massachusetts. That’s what the business address and location of your registered agent company will be for.
Massachusetts registered agent costs
No matter the state, registered agent costs are generally between $50 and $300 — payable every year to your registered agent service company. If you are your own registered agent, it’s free. The State of Massachusetts does not charge for registered agents, but they do require that you include your registered agent in your Articles of Organization.
Some business owners may hear that they don’t have to pay anything if they act as their own registered agent. This may lead them to take the position on themselves. However, it’s worth noting that there are costs to being your own registered agent as well. They just may not look like costs at first glance.
Namely, being a registered agent comes with a lot of responsibility. It also takes a lot of time. When you are just starting out with your business entity, you don’t have time, and you shouldn’t have to be dividing your responsibility to your business.
Furthermore, some of the responsibility of being your own registered agent involves accepting very important legal service documents — possibly even documents related to being sued or subpoenaed. When this happens, if you do not act right away, you could face dire consequences.
Failing to receive and act on service of process (paperwork that is delivered to you if you’re being sued or subpoenaed) could result in the court going with a default judgment. Or, you may have to pay hefty fines.
This often means that it’s better to leave your registered agent service responsibilities to a professional company that knows what they’re doing.
How to change a registered agent in Massachusetts
Changing your Massachusetts resident agent (registered agent) is as simple as filing of a Statement of Change of Registered Agent form and submitting it to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth(Secretary of State). In many situations, your new registered agent service will do this for you. There is a fee associated with this business filing, and your new agent may even pay the fee as well.
Some small business owners wish to perform this filing themselves, however. In that case, follow these steps:
- Obtain a Statement of Change of Registered Agent form from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth.
- Complete the form, including the name and point of contact information for your new registered agent.
- Submit the completed form and the filing fee to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth.
- Pay the filing fee. This is usually payable by credit card.
Why you need a registered agent
A Massachusetts registered agent is a company or a resident of the state of Massachusetts. A registered agent must accept important official and legal documents on your business’s behalf and forward them to you right away after they are received.
Registered agents are required in all U.S. states. Every Massachusetts limited liability company (LLC) and corporation needs to have one.
Basically, your registered agent is like your company’s official address for official documents. If the courts, the government, or the public needs to contact you, they will look for your registered agent’s address and use that to get in touch.
For this reason, the position of registered agent is critical. It’s important to choose a trustworthy registered agent who you know will be at their listed physical address during all normal business hours. That way, they will be available right away in the event that you receive any documents that are time-sensitive and important to your business.
When you need a registered agent
You will need to choose your registered agent during the incorporation process. Massachusetts requires that any business wanting to incorporate and become a legitimate LLC or corporation in the state go through the incorporation process. The most important document in this process is called the Articles of Organization — also known as the Articles of Incorporation.
This document first requires you to choose a business name. It’s critical that you make sure your business name is available and hasn’t been taken by another company. Therefore, always do an entity search in Massachusetts to make sure that there aren’t any other established businesses that already have the name you want for your company.
After that’s done, you can choose your registered agent and complete the rest of your Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation. Once that’s complete, you can then submit your business filing and formation documents and wait to hear from the Secretary of the Commonwealth in Massachusetts.
Several other steps will need to take place in order for you to incorporate your business fully in the State of Massachusetts. You will need to hold your first board meaning, choose your corporate bylaws, obtain an employer identification number (EIN), and carry out several other steps that are critical to the process.
We hope the following links and forms can help as you navigate the incorporation of your new business in Massachusetts.
Who can be a Massachusetts registered agent?
You have various options. Many businesses choose to hire a professional registered agent company, which provides numerous benefits. Additionally, you may choose to appoint yourself as a registered agent. You can also select another individual as long as they are a Massachusetts resident, over the age of 18, and have a physical address in the state.
How do I appoint myself as my registered agent?
If you would like to act as your business’s own registered agent, simply include your name and contact information on your Articles of Incorporation (or Articles of Organization). Many entrepreneurs will act as their own registered agents as they start their business and will transition to a professional registered agent service as their business starts to grow.
What are the duties of a resident agent?
Registered agents — sometimes referred to as statutory agents or resident agents — are tasked with accepting legal notifications, service of process documents, and other critical communications from the government on behalf of a corporation or LLC. Certain resident agent companies will also provide additional filing and business organization services.
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