How to find a registered agent in North Carolina

North Carolina registered agent requirements

There are very few restrictions when it comes to being a registered agent in North Carolina. First, whoever you choose to be your registered agent needs to be a North Carolina resident. For commercial registered agent businesses, these businesses need to be registered to conduct business in North Carolina.

Individuals and businesses must also have a North Carolina street address. This is perhaps the most important requirement for North Carolina registered agents.

The street address needs to be a physical one. That is, it cannot be a P.O. box address.

At this address, your registered agent must be reliably present throughout the week and during normal business hours. This is so that they can actually carry out their job of receiving official correspondence on behalf of your business.

Recommended registered agent services

Northwest Registered Agent will scan all documents you receive for your business so that you can easily see them in your online account. There, you’ll have unlimited cloud storage as well as strong business data protection, and help from their friendly customer service staff when you need it. A yearly subscription for their registered agent services costs $125.

See the full Northwest review here.

ZenBusiness is one of the most popular registered agent services, and many say they’re the best. They can help you with the process of LLC formation while also becoming your registered agent, and the total fee is just $99 per year — a great price. ZenBusiness is known for its competitive pricing, excellent customer service, and easy-to-understand plans.

See the full ZenBusiness review here.

Incfile will include their registered agent services free for the first year when you purchase their LLC formation services. After that, you’ll pay $119 per year to keep them on as your registered agent. With Incfile, you can instantly see and access your business’s important documents and legal notices by using their convenient dashboard. So that you know instantly when your business receives new mail, you’ll also receive a direct SMS notification and an immediate email.

See the full Incfile review here.

Why you need a registered agent

When forming a new LLC (limited liability company) or corporation in North Carolina, one common question is: “What is a registered agent and why do I need one?” Here’s the answer.

Your business’s registered agent is a business entity or individual that agrees to accept official correspondence and legal documents on behalf of your business. For example, they may accept service of process documents for you. They may also accept official correspondence from the state, the court system, or even the public. This is a registered agent’s only job, but it is a critical one.

That’s because if you don’t have a registered agent and you don’t have a reliable address where you can be sent official document notifications, you may miss those documents, and this can lead to serious legal and financial ramifications.

When you need a registered agent

You need to have a registered agent at all times. It is impossible to incorporate your small business in the State of North Carolina without one because it is a requirement of incorporation. If you fail to maintain your registered agent after incorporating, you face heavy legal fines.

Selecting a registered agent is simply a matter of deciding whether you want to hire a professional company or be your own registered agent. The third option is to have a relative or even a friend be your registered agent.

Whenever you incorporate a business in North Carolina, there are multiple steps. One of these steps is to choose your registered agent. But you also need to choose a business name, organize your corporate bylaws, hold your first board meeting, obtain an employer identification number or EIN, and carry out several other steps before you are fully incorporated.

Why use a registered agent service

Not sure whether to be your own company’s registered agent or choose from the many North Carolina registered agent companies? While there are some select advantages to being your own registered agent or resident agent, there are certainly more benefits to hiring a commercial registered agent company.

More time

It takes a considerable amount of time to be your own registered agent. You will be tasked with being at your registered agent office address during the week, Monday through Friday, for all normal business hours. You need to be there in case any legal service of process or other important documents are directed to your business.

As a business owner, this will take up a lot (if not all) of your working time. Instead, let someone else take on this role. You’ll free up more of your own time to focus on improving and growing your North Carolina company.

More privacy

A company’s registered agent is their official representative for important correspondence. This means that their full name and address will be on the public record.

Naturally, if you take on this position yourself, your name and home address will be publicly available. Anyone who is looking for your business will be able to see where you live as well. Keep your personal information private, and let a commercial registered agent company use their business address.

Ensured compliance

One of the things all North Carolina LLCs and corporations must do is remain compliant at all times. This means meeting deadlines for tax payments, Annual Reports, and other business filings.

Your registered agent company can help your business stay compliant, ensuring you are in “good standing” with the Secretary of State and won’t have to pay serious fines or penalties.

North Carolina registered agent costs

If expenses are tight and you’re worried about the cost of a registered agent, don’t be too concerned.

Even the most expensive registered agent companies generally only charge around $300 or slightly more each year for their services. More often than not, a standard registered agent company will charge anywhere from $50 to $300 each year for their services.

Also, remember that you can be your own registered agent for no fee whatsoever. If you don’t want to pay a friend or family member to be your registered agent, you can also hire an individual for nothing as well.

Just keep in mind that being a registered agent for your business does come with a lot of responsibility. Don’t discount that it will take a lot of your energy and time to carry out this role.

Therefore, in the long run, it may actually be better to spend the money on a commercial registered agent company so that you can free up your time and energy for more important tasks related to your business.

How to change your North Carolina registered agent

In order to change your North Carolina registered agent, you’ll need to fill out a Statement of Change of Registered Agent form. This can then be filed with the North Carolina Secretary of State, Corporations Division.

The North Carolina Secretary of State charges a small filing fee, which can generally be paid by credit card or by personal check, business check, certified check, money order, or cash. If you decide to hire a registered agent company to be your new registered agent, they will often carry out this filing for you and pay the fee.

Follow the steps below when it comes time to change your registered agent in North Carolina:

  • Find a new registered agent. You can be your own agent, or you can hire a company to take on this role for you. Make sure whoever you appoint accepts the position and you obtain their contact information, including their physical address in North Carolina. This will become your registered agent address.

  • Let your old registered agent know you will be appointing a new registered agent. Get whatever documents or information you need from them to transition to your new agent.

  • Obtain the necessary paperwork (a Statement of Change of Registered Agent form) from the Secretary of State’s office.

  • Fill out the form and submit it to the North Carolina Secretary of State, Corporations Division.

  • Pay the filing fee.

List of forms

The following forms and government websites can help as you begin the incorporation process and select the individual or business entity you want to be your registered agent.

FAQs

Do I need a registered agent for my LLC in North Carolina?

Yes. In fact, if you already have an LLC or corporation in North Carolina, you already have a registered agent too. This is a position that must be filled when registering your business with the state and filling out your formation documents (Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation).

Can I be my own New Carolina registered agent?

Registered agents can be people or businesses. For example, you can select an employee to act as your business’s registered agent, or you can even be a registered agent yourself. Individuals must be residents of North Carolina, over the age of 18, and in possession of a physical street address in the state.

How do I change my registered agent in NC?

To change your registered agent in North Carolina, you will need to get a Statement of Change of Registered Agent form from the North Carolina Secretary of State. This document can be filed with the Secretary of State at any time for a filing fee. You can also request that your new registered agent perform the filing for you.

What does admin dissolved mean in NC?

Admin dissolved is a term that means an LLC, corporation, or other business entity has been stripped of its powers, rights, and authority. If the North Carolina Secretary of State administratively dissolves your corporation, you no longer have a right to conduct business in the state.

What’s the difference between a registered agent and a statutory agent?

There is no difference between a registered agent and statutory agent. Different states use different terms for the same role. Basically, both terms refer to a business entity or individual that receives service of process, tax documents, and other official correspondence on behalf of client businesses.

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