How to Find a Registered Agent in South Dakota (Step-by-Step Guide)

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by Team
Last updated: July 2nd, 2024
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South Dakota registered agent requirements

Certain requirements are in place for registered agents (individuals or commercial enterprises) in South Dakota. These requirements are as follows according to the registered agent type.

Hiring a South Dakota registered agent service

All commercial registered agents in South Dakota must:

  • Have a physical in-state address in order to accept service of process, legal documents, etc. for their client businesses (no P.O. boxes)
  • Keep regular business hours at this address
  • Be registered to do business legally in South Dakota
  • Accept the appointment of registered agent

Being your own registered agent

If you are an individual who wants to be a South Dakota registered agent, you must:

  • Have a physical in-state address in order to accept service of process, legal documents, etc. for their client businesses (no P.O. boxes)
  • Keep regular business hours at this address
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a legal South Dakota resident
  • Accept the appointment of registered agent

Why use a registered agent service

Although it may be tempting to choose yourself as a registered agent, it’s far better to choose a registered agent service. Here are a few reasons why:

  • You won’t have to expose your home address to the world.

All registered agent addresses are on the public record. If you have a home-based business and you appoint yourself registered agent, you will need to list your home address (you can’t use P.O. box addresses), and it will be on the public record. This isn’t ideal for most people who don’t want their private address exposed to the public.

  • It frees up your time.

You are a business owner, and as such, you need to focus on growing your company and advancing your business needs. A commercial registered agent company will be able to represent your business and receive important mail on your behalf so that you don’t have to worry about this aspect of your enterprise.

  • You’ll get assistance with organization and business filings.

Many commercial registered agent companies offer additional services. For example, a registered agent company can help you file your Annual Report, assist with tax deadlines, and keep you in good standing with the state.

  • It’s easier to grow your business.

Want to incorporate your business in another state? Most large registered agent companies have offices in other states and can do this for you.

South Dakota registered agent costs

If you are going to hire a registered agent company in South Dakota, you can expect to pay between $50 a year and $300 a year for their services.

Individuals do not have to charge anything for registered agent services. Therefore, if you act as your own registered agent, there are no fees (state or otherwise). The same goes for if you appoint an employee or someone else to be your registered agent. You may choose to pay an individual registered agent if you please.

A good way to save some money on registered agent costs when you are just beginning in the business world is to find a registered agent company that also offers formation services. The company will charge you for their formation services and help you incorporate your business. But they might also give you free registered agent services for your first year of operation.

How to change a registered agent in South Dakota

Changing your South Dakota registered agent is something that you will do with the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office. You will need to obtain a document called the Statement of Change of Registered Agent form, fill it out, and file it with the Secretary of State.

When switching from an individual registered agent to a commercial registered agent company (or from company to company), ask your new registered agent if they will help you with the change of agent form. It’s not uncommon for commercial registered agent companies to file this paperwork on behalf of new clients and pay the filing fee as well.

If you prefer to make the change on your own, however, you can follow these steps:

  • Obtain a Statement of Change of Registered Agent form from the South Dakota Secretary of State.
  • Complete the form with your new registered agent information. Don’t forget to tell your old registered agent that you’re changing agents.
  • Submit the form to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office.
  • Pay the filing fee (a credit card payment is generally accepted).

Why you need a registered agent

All businesses that are registered with the state need to have a registered agent. This is a position that can be filled by a business entity, or the business owner themselves can be their own registered agent. If you like, you can also select another individual (such as an employee at your company, a close family member, a spouse, or a reliable friend) to be your registered agent.

Essentially, your registered agent needs to be someone who is prepared and willing to accept important legal documents on behalf of your new LLC (limited liability company) or corporation in South Dakota. It’s an important job and one that needs to be taken seriously.

Your registered agent needs to be at their in-state address (not a P.O. box) during all normal business hours throughout the week so that they can accept critical business correspondence on your behalf. Any business that fails to appoint or maintain a registered agent in South Dakota risks losing their good standing and may have to pay penalties as a result.

Having a registered agent is also good because you can be sure you’ll receive important business mail in a timely manner. Things like lawsuit paperwork needs to be received as soon as possible and acted upon. Otherwise, a default judgment might result in serious legal troubles for yourself and your business.

When you need a registered agent

Registered agents are required for all South Dakota businesses, so they are necessary to appoint right away when you are incorporating your business.

During the formation process, you will need to fill out a document called your Articles of Incorporation. This document may also be called the Articles of Organization. It is actually a set of forms that make up the formation documents for your business. Here, is where you will choose your business name, outline your corporate bylaws, list your board members, and, of course, appoint your registered agent.

Your Articles of Incorporation must be submitted to the South Dakota Secretary of State before your business can be accepted as a new LLC or corporation. You also must pay the necessary filing fees and do several other things, like obtain an employer identification number (EIN), before your company has been officially formed.

Useful links

Take a look at the list of government links and forms below. These should assist you as you register your new LLC or corporation in South Dakota and select a registered agent.


What does a South Dakota registered agent do?

A South Dakota registered agent is appointed to receive critical correspondence for your business, such as service of process, tax notices, and other legal- and government-related notifications. Registered agents in South Dakota can be individuals or commercial businesses that specialize in registered agent services.

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

A registered agent is the same thing as a resident agent. Another term that is commonly used is statutory agent. All of these terms refer to a business entity or individual that is appointed to accept business documents and important legal and tax notifications on behalf of a client’s business. Different states use different terms.

How do I choose a name for my newly incorporated business?

Most importantly, you need to make sure that no other company has the company name you’ve chosen. You also must avoid even accidental confusion of your company with another company. And finally, you cannot mislead the public in any way with your company name.

Why do I need a registered agent in South Dakota?

All South Dakota businesses need to have a registered agent so that the state can be sure that legal paperwork reaches them in a timely manner. Registered agents are required to be at their physical and state address during normal business hours so that the state can contact them (and they can respond on your behalf) whenever they need to.

Can my South Dakota business be sued if I don’t have a registered agent?

Yes. Even if you do not have a registered agent, your business can still be sued. Keep in mind, however, that a registered agent is a requirement for any business in South Dakota. You need one to let you know that you have been served papers and are being sued.

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