North Carolina corporations are required by law to have a registered agent that resides in the state. But what is a registered agent? Simply put a mailbox or address for the company. The registered agent can be a member of the company or (more often) a third party; lawyer or service company. They registered agent’s purpose is to receive important tax and legal documents and they are also where the state will send the yearly renewal paperwork for the business entity’s charter. If you conduct business in more than one state, you will need to have a registered agent for each state. North Carolina corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) generally need a professional registered agent. Out of state companies and limited liability companies generally find that it is more convenient and reliable if they choose third-party registered agents to handle their North Carolina legal documents.
Some of the Documents that a registered Agent may receive include:
- Service of Process, including notification of a lawsuit or court summons
- State correspondence, such as annual reports or statements
- Tax documents
What are the functions of a registered agent?
There are 2 main functions of a registered agent.
- Receive the important state documents and notices regarding the business
- Forward all the documents received and notify the company about the states filing status and other important documents
Because a business entity can have a hard time keeping track of changes and due dates for each state, the role of the registered agent is incredibly important. If a company fails to receive these documents there could be expensive penalties and consequences. It could cause a state to revoke a business’s corporate or LLC legal status and possibly assess additional penalty fees on the entity.
Who can perform the function of a registered agent?
Different states have different requirements for registered agents. The most common requirement is that the agent must be a legal resident of the state in question. Examples of registered agents are:
- An officer of the corporation
- The corporations lawyer
- A member of an LLC
The most common registered agent is a third-party one. There are many advantages to a third-party registered agent, including:
- An address of public record that is listed in all official public documents.
- Change of address is much easier and less costly
- Freedom to travel for business or pleasure without the risk of a default judgment because of a missed lawsuit.
- Avoiding rumors in the event that SOPs are delivered.
Failure to properly maintain a registered agent can affect a company negatively. If a business is not notified in time of a summons to appear in court or to respond to a lawsuit, no one would appear to defend the company in trial. This is one of the most common reasons that business entities generally will utilize a third party as their registered agent.
At Fisher Stark, P.A. we serve as registered agents for numerous North Carolina ccorporations and limited liability companies. Our clients appreciate the ease for them and the manner in which we serve as registered agent. Like most registered agents we charge a small fee for this service. Our clients say that our being their registered agent saves them time, saves them money and allows them to focus on their business. If you have questions about your North Carolina corporation or need a business attorney, please feel free to give the attorneys at Fisher Stark a call.
We are proud to serve the communities of Western North Carolina including Asheville, Waynesville, Hendersonville, Brevard, Hickory, Morganton, Marion and Weaverville.
Last updated 7/5/2015