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Do You Need A Florida Registered Agent?

Do You Need A Florida Registered Agent?

A Florida registered agent is an individual or an entity approved to transact business in the state that is appointed by a corporation or LLC for the purpose of accepting service of process, legal documents, and government notifications on behalf of the owners of the business. The registered agent is a legal requirement for any Florida corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or Limited Partnership.

Learn what the registered agent is, their job duties, and the requirements to be one.

Florida Registered Agent Overview

A registered agent (also referred to as a resident agent or statutory agent in some states) is a person or company that is designated to be the official point of contact between the government and your business entity.

Registered Agent Duties

The primary responsibility of a registered agent in Florida is to accept important legal notices and tax documents and then forward them to the appropriate person in the business. Every registered agent in Florida must maintain a physical office in the state and be available during regular business hours to ensure documents can be reliably delivered.

Not only is a registered agent required when forming an LLC or corporation, but you must maintain a registered agent to keep the entity in compliance. Besides the requirement of designating a registered agent at the time of formation, there are several other duties they help with:

  • Receiving Legal Notices – If the listed registered agent cannot receive legal notices, this lawsuit will still proceed. If a process server is unsuccessful in reaching the company’s registered agent, the court can proceed with the case. This could result in a judgment being placed against the business without the owners knowing.
  • Saving Penalties and Fees – By not maintaining a current registered agent, penalties and state fees can be levied against the entity and, in some cases, the owners too. Once an entity is no longer in good standing with the state, the owners may lose their liability protection and are at risk personally.
  • Protecting Against Entity Closure – Waiting too long to remedy the lack of a registered agent may result in the administrative closure or dissolving the entity.

Common Questions About Florida Registered Agents

Who can be Florida registered agent?

A registered agent in Florida can be any resident of the state who is 18 years or older, a registered Florida domestic business entity, or a foreign business entity authorized to do business in the state. An entity may not be its own agent.

The registered agent needs to have a physical street address (often referred to as a registered office or principal office) in the state of Florida. This can be your home address, the address of a family member, an accountant or attorney, the address of the business, or a Florida registered agent service. Any physical address in the state may be used, but PO Boxes and mail drop services are not acceptable since someone has to be available to sign for documents.

The agent will also need to be available to receive Service of Process on behalf of the business during normal business hours. Service of process refers to the delivery of legal documents, often a summons, subpoena, or lawsuit filed against a business entity. 

To complete the appointment of a registered agent in Florida, the agent must file a statement with the Department of State acknowledging that they are familiar with and accept the obligations of the position.

Can list myself as a registered agent in Florida?

Yes! Any individual, owner, member, officer, director, etc., of a business entity that meets the state of Florida’s registered agent requirements can be a registered agent.

What are the requirements for a Florida registered agent?

A registered agent is required by the Florida Department of State when filing for a business entity such as a corporation, Limited Liability Company, and Limited Partnership. 

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships do not need a registered agent.

The requirements for an entity to have a registered agent are formed under Florida Statutes Section 605.0113 (LLC) and Section 607.0501 (corporation), which mandate that registered entities will have and continuously maintain a registered agent and registered office within the state.  The agent must also be available during normal business hours to forward any service of process, notice, or demand pertaining to the entity to the appropriate individuals.  

How do you register as a registered agent in Florida?

The registered agent’s appointment is first made in the entity formation documents (Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation) but can be changed at any time.

Should you be your own Florida registered agent?

While many owners choose to be the company’s registered agent, there are a few reasons to hire a registered agent service instead:

Privacy – The address of the registered agent becomes public record and is available for anybody to see. This can be especially concerning if someone is doing business on the side, and they don’t want their employer to know about the business. Also, if the business is sued, the notice will be delivered to the address on file. This could mean employees, customers, or even neighbors witnessing the event. There is always the remote possibility of a vindictive litigant or upset customer showing up at your house.

Due Date Reminders – Registered agent services provide annual report reminders and updates on any state requirements.

Availability – Florida requires the registered agent to be available at the principal address during regular business hours. The biggest issue with availability, especially if a home address is used, is if the agent goes on vacation or is otherwise away for some period of time and can’t be reached.

If the Business Expands to Additional Locations – If the business has a physical presence in multiple states (offices, warehouses, employees, etc.), a foreign entity registration will often need to be filed with those states. A registered agent will need to be appointed with a physical address in each state.

How much does a Florida registered agent service cost?

If you act as your own registered agent, there is no cost.

Depending on the services provided, a commercial registered agent service typically costs between $100-$150 per year. Northwest Registered Agent is a popular service that charges $125 per year and offers several extras such as document scanning and mail forwarding and Harbor Compliance has a basic service starting at $99.

Some entity formation companies, like IncFile, includes registered agent service at no cost for the first year when you register your corporation or LLC with them.

How can a registered agent be changed in Florida?

If the registered agent changes, the entity is required to file a change of registered agent.

A registered agent can be changed by submitting the Statement of Change of Registered Office / Agent along with the filing fee to the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations.

Does a Florida sole proprietor need a registered agent?

Only entities registered with the Florida Department of State, such as corporations and LLCs, need to register a registered agent. Sole proprietorships and general partnerships do not.