How to find a registered agent in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania registered agent requirements

Being your own registered agent

If you plan to be your own registered agent, you need to be at least 18 years or older and be a resident of the State of Pennsylvania. In addition, you need to have a non-P.O. box physical address in the state.

Finally, you must be at this non-P.O. box physical address in Pennsylvania from roughly 9am to 5pm every day, Monday through Friday, so that you can receive important documents for your business, if necessary. If you cannot fulfill these requirements, you cannot be your own registered agent.

Hiring a Pennsylvania registered agent service

If you plan to hire a Pennsylvania registered agent service, this company must take on the responsibility of accepting important business documents for your company. They must also be registered to conduct business in Pennsylvania and any other states where you operate.

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

A registered agent is a business entity or individual that agrees to accept important mail and legal notifications for an LLC or corporation in Pennsylvania. All incorporated businesses in the United States must have a registered agent.

State law in Pennsylvania requires this position be chosen by new businesses when they incorporate. You cannot be a business in good standing in Pennsylvania if you do not have an active registered agent. You can be your own registered agent (as a business owner), or you can select from a number of commercial registered agent companies.

Pennsylvania wants to know that all companies in the state have a registered agent so that important mail is sure to be received. For example, service of process is the action of letting an individual or business entity know that they have a lawsuit pending against them.

If your business is sued (or subpoenaed), you need to know this immediately so that you can take action and so that a default judgment is not made by the courts. This type of paperwork would go directly to your registered agent.

When you need a registered agent

Businesses in Pennsylvania are required to select a Pennsylvania registered agent when filling out their Articles of Organization. Articles of Organization (also known as Articles of Incorporation) are important documents that must be completed in order to incorporate your business in Pennsylvania.

There are multiple steps required when completing this document. For instance, you must first select a name for your business, and this involves running a name check with the Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s office. By doing a name search, you can be sure that your name is unique and no other business has it.

You also need to select at least one director for your Board of Directors and hold a board meeting for the first time. Finally, you will need to outline your Corporate Bylaws and obtain an employer identification number (also known as an EIN). This is all in addition to selecting your registered agent and including their name and address in your Articles.

Why use a registered agent service

Many new LLCs and corporations in Pennsylvania are curious as to the benefits of hiring a commercial registered agent over being their own registered agent. It may seem like being your own registered agent is the better choice because you can save money and don’t have to pay a large company.

However, the logic that is missing here is that if you plan on being your own registered agent, this position will take up a lot of your time and energy. That’s because the state requires that registered agents be reliably available at their registered agent office address throughout the week. This means during normal business hours (from roughly 9am to 5pm) from Monday through Friday.

Time

Naturally, as a busy business owner, this is usually when you need to be taking meetings, overseeing daily operations, and strategizing. Most business owners — especially new business owners — do not want to be stuck at a desk dealing with registered agent duties during the business day.

Grow

In the same vein, hiring a registered agent can make growing your business far easier. Most online businesses today want to offer their products and services in multiple states. All 50 states require registered agents for LLCs and corporations. This means that you need to find a registered agent in every state where you plan on selling your products or services. If you go with a large commercial registered agent company, they can take care of foreign qualification for you, including being your registered agent, in every state where you do business.

Privacy

Lastly, if you hire a registered agent company, you won’t have to list your home address as your business address. According to state law in Pennsylvania, registered agent addresses need to be on public record, and in all likelihood, you do not want your home address available publicly.

Pennsylvania registered agent costs

Most companies in Pennsylvania will pay between $50 and $300 a year for their registered agent services. There is a large range of prices because some registered agent companies offer additional services like notifications about upcoming tax deadlines or alerts about Annual Report due dates.

If you act as your own registered agent, you should not have to pay anything. If you hire a friend or family member for the position, you can choose to pay them or not. The State of Pennsylvania does not charge for registered agents.

How to change your Pennsylvania registered agent

Switching registered agents for your LLC (limited liability company) or corporation in Pennsylvania? In order to do this, you’ll need to obtain a Change of Registered Office form from the Pennsylvania Department of State, Corporations Bureau and Charitable Organizations.

Once you have the form and have filled it out, you can file it (along with a fee) by mail or online.

Here are the steps you’ll need to follow in order to change your registered agent in Pennsylvania.

  • Decide who your new registered agent will be. Ensure they are ready and willing to sign on and take on registered agent duties for you — whether they are a commercial registered agent or an individual.

  • Let your current registered agent know you’ll be electing someone new for this role.

  • Obtain the Change of Registered Office form. This form can be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State, Corporations Bureau.

  • Fill out the form with your new registered agent’s information. File the form with the Pennsylvania Department of State, Corporation Bureau.

  • Pay the filing fee. You’ll need to pay the filing fee unless you have your new registered agent perform this filing for you. This is often a service that commercial registered agents will offer their new clients, and they will often pay the fee as well.

List of forms

Use the links and government forms provided below to assist in the incorporation of your Pennsylvania business and the selection of a registered agent.

FAQs

Who can be a registered agent in Pennsylvania?

There are not many limits on who can become a registered agent in Pennsylvania. Individuals must be at least 18 years old or older. They must also have a physical address in Pennsylvania and be Pennsylvania residents. Companies must be registered to conduct business in Pennsylvania.

Are registered agents the same as virtual offices?

No, virtual offices and registered agents are different. A registered agent will use their office address as your company’s official address, but this is not the same as having a virtual office. For example, virtual offices may receive all of your mail while registered agents only receive important documents such as service of process and other correspondence from the state.

Can my spouse be my registered agent in Pennsylvania?

Yes, as long as your spouse is over the age of 18, is a resident of Pennsylvania, and has a physical address in Pennsylvania (that is not a P.O. box address), they can be your company’s registered agent. Make sure that they are prepared to handle the acceptance of important business mail for your company as well.

Can I be my own registered agent in Pennsylvania?

Yes. Business owners often choose to be their own registered agents when forming their business initially. This may work for the first few years of your business’s operations. However, many business owners choose to move to a commercial registered agent company over time and as their company grows. This gives them more time to manage the business.

What is a statutory agent compared to a registered agent?

You may hear the term statutory agent used interchangeably with registered agent and resident agent. All three of these terms mean basically the same thing: an individual or business entity that accepts service of process and other legal documents on behalf of an LLC or corporation. Different states use different terms.

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