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How to Become a Registered Agent in New York

In dealing with our PR clients, especially from the music industry, a lot of them asked us if we know much about the use of registered agents. Below we’d like to share some insights that will help those who need a registered agent in New York:

All limited liability companies and corporations are required to maintain a registered agent. This is true of every state including New York. The registered agent is an individual or business entity who receives important documentation on behalf of the business. The registered agent then forwards these documents to the business. A registered agent must be available during normal business hours to receive legal documents. Additionally, a registered agent must have an address in the state where the business is incorporated and this address is not allowed to be a PO Box. 

While this may seem to be an unnecessary or burdensome requirement it is actually very important for the operation of a business. The registered agent provides the state with a means of contacting the business at any time. This is particularly important if a business is ever sued. Without a registered agent a business may miss the fact that it is involved in a legal proceeding and this legal proceeding could progress through the court system without the knowledge of the business. This is a deeply undesirable situation and will leave a business in a compromised situation when it comes to their ability to defend themselves. 

Eligibility to Become a New York Registered Agent 

The New York Department of State requires that a registered agent be an individual resident of New York or a company which provides registered agent services. A business entity cannot serve as its own registered agent but the owner of the company or an employee of the company can serve as the company’s registered agent. This can include any individual who is in some way affiliated with the company as long as they have an address in the state which is not a PO Box. 

These requirements are straightforward and registered agents do not even need to be 18 to be able to perform this service. Being a registered agent seems like a simple task which the owner of a business can perform but there are certain advantages and disadvantages to this practice. The biggest advantage of being an owner and a registered agent is saving on the yearly cost of using a service for this requirement. However there are more disadvantages than advantages to this practice. The registered agent’s address becomes a matter of public record which means that anyone can access this address. This often leads to spam mail and other unwanted correspondence. Additionally, the business owner will need to be physically present at the address which they have specified from Monday to Friday every week from nine to five. This can be a tremendous inconvenience especially for business owners who need to travel for their business. 

It is also possible that a friend or family member may act as a business’s registered agent. However, this can lead to issues because of inexperience. Additionally, this places the burden on the friend or family member to disclose their address to the public and be constantly available for delivery of documentation. A lawyer or an accountant can also perform this service for a business owner but this tends to be more expensive than enlisting the services of a registered agent company. 

How to Assign a Registered Agent in New York 

The registered agent of an LLC or a corporation is assigned when the company is formed. For LLCs the registered agent is assigned when the LLC files its Articles of Organization. For corporations the registered agent is assigned when the corporation files its Certificate of Incorporation. Both of these processes can be conducted online or by mail. If a business wishes to change its registered agent it may do so by filing a certificate of change form for either an LLC or a corporation. This process is straightforward and requires a small filing fee of $30. 

For more information on how to become a registered agent, Incorporation Guru has many helpful resources. 

Final Thoughts 

A registered agent is a required formality for any LLC or corporation in New York or any other state. This individual or business must have a street address in New York and they must be available during business hours to receive documentation on behalf of the company. In order to become a registered agent the individual or business must be assigned this function when the business is established. This can be changed later through a relatively straightforward process and the payment of a small fee. 

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