You’re looking to start your business in the Sunshine State with the warm weather and no state income tax. Before you get too ahead of yourself, however, you found out you need a registered agent to operate your LLC.
First, what is a registered agent? A Florida registered agent will be responsible for handling a business’ most private legal documents and ensuring that the business is aware of any pending lawsuits against it. As an LLC, failure to designate a registered agent can result in detrimental consequences, including the dissolution of your business. It can also damage the “good standing” you have with the state. You don’t want to start your business off on the wrong foot, so make sure you have a registered agent for your business.
You might be thinking that you can act as your own registered agent, but before you make that decision read on to learn about the 3 things every new entrepreneur should know about a Florida registered agent.
1. There are Requirements to Being a Registered Agent
The requirements for becoming a registered agent are generally these three rules:
- You must be available during normal business hours to receive service of process
- You must be able to forward service of process accepted on behalf of a business to the designated business
- Florida registered agents will receive other important documents like tax notifications and annual report reminders on behalf of the business entity and must be capable of forwarding those legal documents
These are the basic registered agent qualifications that you must meet in order to be a registered agent in Florida. Failure to abide by these hours and rules may result in missing important documents from the state and ensuing legal troubles.
It may seem like these are simple requirements to follow, but as someone running a new business, following these basic steps can become restrictive and difficult. You can’t end your days early because you have to be present at your registered agent address and receive any incoming deliveries. You must be comfortable with compliance rules and act on the service of process in a time-sensitive and appropriate manner. What else is there with being your own registered agent other than the rules?
2. Don’t Use Your Home Address for Your Florida LLC
The address you choose for your registered agent matters. While you can be your own registered agent and use your home address, it is highly recommended that you don’t if you value your time and want to avoid risks.
If you act as your own registered agent and use your home address, be warned that your personal information attached to your LLC will be on public record.
Sure, it’s free, easy, and fast to use your home address, but not only will you be compromising your privacy, but your professional business image will also be at risk as well. No one wants to be served legal papers in front of neighbors or customers by state officials. Imagine the neighborhood gossip. It would be embarrassing.
So, how do you get separation for more privacy from your home address? You might be thinking a PO Box is the solution.
3. You Can’t Use a PO Box for Your Florida Registered Agent
Your address must be a physical street address in the state in which your business is established. That means a PO box does not qualify as an address for your registered agent. Additionally, service of process must be physically handed to your assigned registered agent and this is another reason that a PO box will not work.
Who Can Be Your Registered Agent?
There are a few options you have when it comes to selecting who you want to act as your registered agent. Below the benefits and disadvantages are covered.
Be Your Own Registered Agent
If you didn’t realize you can be your own registered agent. Before you get too excited, you should know that this is NOT a good option. Adding the responsibilities of a registered agent on top of your multitude of other business duties will be a major headache. As mentioned above, registered agents must be available to receive mail every weekday during the hours. This can be limiting to your time. Say goodbye to going out on your lunch breaks or getting off work early for the weekend.
Even if you’re present at your registered agent’s address, the courier has the power to deem you unable to receive deliveries if you are busy with other matters. If you are busy handling calls with customers or are in a meeting with a client, you may miss important correspondence. This could put you at great risk with your business compliance.
You also need to think of your privacy and safety. All registered agent addresses are made available to the public and all those facts from #2. If you use your home address as your registered agent’s address, you will be granting everyone public access to your private details. That’s a big yikes!
Commercial Registered Agent
A commercial registered agent will take care of all of the above responsibilities for you. VPM offers a registered agent service that will handle your legal correspondence and notify you of important deliveries the same day they are received.
With this service, you will receive same-day access to your important legal services and service of process. You’ll never have to worry about missing deadlines or notifications, and instead can focus on your main work tasks. Plus, your privacy will be protected because your address will never make it to public record.
And the best part - VPM’s registered agent service is FREE
Florida Registered Agent FAQs
Q: What is the difference between a Florida registered agent and a Florida business address?
A: A registered agent is an LLC’s designated contact with the Secretary of State to accept service of process documents in case of a lawsuit. They also can receive other official government notifications, including tax forms and compliance information, on behalf of your LLC or corporation. It is required that all LLCs designate a registered agent in the state in which they conduct business. A business address, on the other hand, specifies your principal place of business. It is where your business is operating from, but it can also be an address where the business can officially be reached. Read more about the difference between a registered agent and a business address.
Q: Why do I need a Florida registered agent?
A: You’ll need a registered agent to file your Articles of Organization with the state of Florida, which is the document that forms your business.
In Florida, a registered agent is expected to be available to receive legal correspondence and other important documents, such as tax sheets and annual report reminders, on behalf of the business they serve. Registered agents must be available during regular business hours to receive such deliveries. There are certain address requirements that must be met in order to qualify to be a registered agent.
While you are legally allowed to act as your own registered agent, know that’s not what is good for you or your business. Not only are you subjecting your personal address to public record, but you will also be risking your business image and reputation. No one wants to be the topic of neighborhood gossip, especially if it’s about getting sued.
A PO box is not an acceptable form of address for registered agents. Because the registered agent address must be a physical street address, a post office mailbox does not make the cut. So, skip the thought of using a PO box and look for other options.
###Acting as your registered agent has many downsides.
Instead, it’s time that you look into a registered agent service. This service will provide you with a separate address to designate for your business and will take on the responsibilities that we have outlined above. This way, you can fully focus on your business needs without worrying about abiding by restrictive hours or missing important documents. A registered agent service takes care of all of your needs for you.
With a registered agent service, you can rest easy knowing that your privacy will remain protected and you’ll never have to deal with getting served in front of customers, which can be very damaging to your reputation. Instead, you can enjoy real-time notifications of communications from the state and leave the responsibility to your registered agent service.
Ready For Your Florida Registered Agent Service?
You’ll never have to worry about missing important correspondence when you run out to grab lunch or are in a meeting with a client, and your personal information and privacy will stay protected (keep your home address safe). Check out VPM’s FREE registered agent service to save over $100 or more a year.