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Do You Need A Georgia Registered Agent?

Do You Need A Georgia Registered Agent?

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Do You Need A Georgia Registered Agent?

Do You Need A Georgia Registered Agent?

A Georgia registered agent acts as an official point of contact for a Georgia corporation, Limited Liability Company, Limited Liability Partnership, or Limited Partnership and is responsible for accepting important correspondence like service of process (lawsuits) or other legal notices.

Learn more about the registered agent, the requirements to be one, and more.

Georgia 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.

The primary responsibility of a registered agent in Georgia is to accept important legal notices and tax documents and then forward them to the appropriate person in the business.

Requirements to be a Registered Agent in Georgia

A registered agent in Georgia can be any resident of the state who is 18 years or older, a registered Georgia 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 Georgia. This can be your home address, the address of a family member, an accountant or attorney, the address of the business, or a Georgia 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. 

Common Questions About Georgia Registered Agents

Does Georgia require a registered agent?

A registered agent is required by the Georgia Secretary of State when filing a business entity such as a corporationLLC, LLP, and LP. 

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

The requirements for an entity to have a registered agent are formed under Georgia Code §14-11-209 (LLC) and §14-2-504 (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 choose a registered agent in Georgia?

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

What does a registered agent do for an LLC in Georgia?

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 additional services registered agents provide:

Timely 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 from 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.

Can you be your own registered agent in Georgia?

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

Should you be your own registered agent?

While most business owners decide to be the registered agent for the entity, there are a few reasons to consider hiring a registered agent service.

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 also the remote possibility of a vindictive litigant or upset customer showing up at your house.

Availability – Georgia 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.

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

How much does a Georgia 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.

Can you use a PO Box as a business address in Georgia?

No, a physical street address must be used for the business address. The state does allow a PO Box for an additional address to send mail from the Secretary of State.

How do you change a registered agent in Georgia?

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

A registered agent and/or office can be changed when filing the annual registration (or amended annual registration if the annual registration has already been filed).  This can be filed online, along with the filing fee, to the Georgia Secretary of State – Corporations Division.

After filing the form, be sure to update your LLC operating agreement or corporation bylaws with the new agent’s information.

Is a registered agent liable for the actions of the business?

The only liability a registered agent faces is from a lack of timely transmission of correspondence. If the registered agent is negligent in sending documents promptly, and the entity suffers a financial loss, the registered agent is responsible for paying those damages.

Do You Need A Georgia Registered Agent?

Do You Need A Georgia Registered Agent?

Greg Bouhl

Greg Bouhl

Welcome! My name is Greg Bouhl, and I am a serial entrepreneur, educator, business advisor, and investor.

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