How to find a registered agent in Tennessee

Tennessee registered agent requirements

There are not many restrictions for registered agents in Tennessee, but some requirements do stand. They are as follows.

Hiring a Tennessee registered agent service

In order to be a legal commercial registered agent service in the state of Tennessee, a registered agent company must:

  • Be legally registered to conduct business in Tennessee
  • Have a physical Tennessee address (not a P.O. box address)
  • Be at their registered agent office address in Tennessee for all regular business hours throughout the year: Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm
  • Accept the registered agent appointment and being listed on the client’s Articles of Incorporation

Being your own registered agent

Business owners and other individuals who want to be registered agents in Tennessee must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be a Tennessee resident
  • Have a physical Tennessee address (not a P.O. box address)
  • Be at their registered agent office address in Tennessee for all regular business hours throughout the year: Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm
  • Accept the registered agent appointment and being listed on the client’s Articles of Incorporation

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

If you plan to incorporate your business in Tennessee and become a corporation or LLC (limited liability company), it is imperative that you have a registered agent. According to state law, all Tennessee businesses must have a registered agent listed on their Articles of Incorporation when they register their business.

A registered agent is a person or business entity that is appointed to a business as the recipient of that business’s important correspondence with the state, other business entities, and the court system. For example, a registered agent will accept service of process on behalf of a business. Other lawsuit documents and court and tax papers may be received by a registered agent as well.

The reason for having a registered agent is so that you can receive time-sensitive documents right away. This gives you time to review these documents and take appropriate action.

When you need a registered agent

As a business owner, it is your job to list who you’ve appointed to be your registered agent on your Articles of Organization (also known as Articles of Incorporation). Your Articles will be your formation documents when incorporating your business in Tennessee.

When filling out the registered agent section, be sure to include the full name of your chosen registered agent along with their contact information (registered agent office address and phone number). It is the duty of any registered agent to be at the designated registered agent office address (always located within the state) at all times during normal business hours.

Choosing your registered agent isn’t the only thing you’ll need to do when incorporating your business. You will also need to select a name for your new business, obtain an employer identification number (EIN), outline your corporate bylaws, hold your company’s first board meeting, and carry out several other actions as well.

Once you’ve completed your formation documents and are ready to incorporate your business, you will submit everything to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office along with the required filing fee. Keep in mind that there are also companies that can help with the formation process as it can be quite complicated.

Why use a registered agent service

As a new business in Tennessee, you have a choice between selecting a commercial registered agent company or yourself (or another individual) as your registered agent.

It’s not uncommon for new business owners to think that selecting themselves or another individual as a registered agent is the way to go. This choice can save you money, after all.

However, there are numerous reasons to reconsider this option and choose a commercial registered agent company instead.

Registered agent companies aren’t especially expensive.

Many business owners falsely think that registered agent companies are expensive to hire. In actuality, it only costs between $50 and $300 per year to hire a registered agent company in Tennessee.

You’ll stay more organized.

Registered agent companies can help you with more than just registered agent services. They can keep your business filings organized with an online account and help you with your state compliance needs.

You can keep your home life more private.

If you run a home-based business, you will need to use your home address as a registered agent address. P.O. box addresses do not work in this capacity. Doing this will mean that any person or company could find your home address immediately simply by searching the Tennessee Secretary of State website. Avoid this invasion of privacy, and put a commercial registered agent company’s address in the public record instead.

You’ll save time.

If you choose a registered agent company, you won’t need to stay physically in one place during normal business hours (as all registered agents need to do). This can free up your time for more important tasks. You’ll be able to travel as you please and won’t have to worry about the responsibility of being a registered agent.

You can expand your business with ease.

The majority of businesses hope to one day expand their customer or client base to other states. If you plan on doing business and selling your products or services out-of-state, however, you will need to find a registered agent in those states as well. You will also need to incorporate your business in those states. This is called foreign qualification.

Foreign qualification can be a complex process. Moreover, it can be difficult to find single registered agents in other states. You wouldn’t want to anyway as this would make the entire foreign qualification process far more difficult. It’s better to work with one company that has a registered agent presence in all 50 states.

Tennessee registered agent costs

Especially if you have just started your business, you may have a tight budget and be worried about how much a registered agent will cost. The good news is that if you decide to be your own registered agent, you don’t have to pay anything.

Unfortunately, being your own registered agent can take up a lot of your precious time. And as a business owner, you may want to spend that time doing something more productive for the growth of your business.

For this reason, it may be a good idea to hire a commercial registered agent service. Most registered agent companies in the State of Tennessee charge between is $50 and $300 per year. This annual fee takes care of basic registered agent services, and if you choose a higher tier of service, you can get additional perks as well. For example, some registered agent companies may assist their client companies with Annual Report filings, tax deadlines, business paperwork organization, and the incorporation process itself.

How to change your Tennessee registered agent

In order to change a registered agent in Tennessee, you will need to go to the Tennessee Department of State, Division of Business Services and obtain a Change of Registered Agent form. Fill out this form and submit it by mail or in person along with the necessary filing fee.

List of forms

We hope the following Tennessee government links and forms can assist you as you appoint a registered agent and incorporate your new business in Tennessee.

FAQs

What is a registered agent?

A registered agent is any business entity or individual that has been appointed to accept legal documents on behalf of your business. All states require that registered businesses have registered agents, and this includes Tennessee. Some registered agent companies offer additional services, such as incorporation services, as well.

Why does my Tennessee business need a registered agent?

The State of Tennessee wants to know that your business will be able to receive state mailings (tax forms, legal notices, etc.) and other critical correspondence (service of process, lawsuit information, etc.) in a timely manner. These documents require action on your part. Your registered agent will also help you stay compliant and in good standing with the state.

How do I appoint a Tennessee registered agent?

You will appoint your Tennessee registered agent on your Articles of Organization paperwork. This paperwork is to be filled out and filed when incorporating your business and forming your LLC (limited liability company) or corporation. You will need to include your appointed registered agent’s name and physical address in Tennessee.

What happens if I don’t have a registered agent in Tennessee?

Any registered business in Tennessee needs to have a registered agent. If you don’t have a registered agent, you can’t have an incorporated business. If you fail to maintain a registered agent, you will lose your good standing with the state, and penalties and legal actions may cause problems for your enterprise.

What is a statutory agent?

Statutory agent is just another term for registered agent. Resident agent is also frequently used. Basically, different states in the United States use different terms for this business role. Statutory, registered, and resident agents receive important business mail for LLCs, corporations, and other companies. All incorporated businesses must have a statutory agent.

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