Is An Indiana Registered Agent Necessary For Your Business?
Starting a business is exciting, but it also comes with challenges. One of the first challenges an entrepreneur faces is appointing a registered agent before forming an Indiana corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), or Limited Partnership (LP).
Learn what a registered agent is, the requirements to be one, how to appoint one, and more.
Indiana 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 a corporation, LLC, LLP, or LP in the state of Indiana.
Sole proprietorships and general partnerships do not need a registered agent.
The requirements for an entity to have a registered agent are formed under Indiana Code 23-18-2-10 (LLC) and IC 23-1-24 (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.
The reason for having one makes sense. If a business is owned by one individual, it’s easy to determine who should be notified in the event of an annual report renewal, lawsuit, or tax notice. However, if a business has several owners, members, or partners, it would be difficult to determine who the correct contact is. By requiring a central point of contact, there is no question that time-sensitive documents are going to the right person in a timely manner.
Common Questions About Indiana Registered Agents
What is required of a registered agent in Indiana?
The primary responsibility of a registered agent in Indiana is to accept important legal notices and tax documents and then forward them to the appropriate person in the business.
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.
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 and could eventually see the state dissolve the entity.
Who can be a registered agent for an LLC in Indiana?
A registered agent in Indiana can be any resident of the state who is 18 years or older, a registered Indiana 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 Indiana. This can be your home address, the address of a family member, an accountant or attorney, the address of the business, or a professional 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.
The registered agent must provide written consent to the Indiana Secretary of State in order to fully comply with the legal statutes.
Should you be your own Indiana registered agent?
Any individual, business owner, LLC member, officer, director, etc., of a business entity that meets the state of Indiana’s registered agent requirements can be a registered agent. While many owners are the registered agent for the business, there are several who don’t want to for a variety of reasons, which include:
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 – Indiana 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.
Due Date Reminders – Registered agent services provide annual report reminders and updates on any state requirements.
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 an Indiana registered agent service 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 to appoint someone as the registered agent in Indiana?
This appointment is first made in the business formation documents (Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation) but can be changed at any time by filing the Statement of Change of Registered Agent form.
How can a registered agent be changed in Indiana?
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 Agent form along with the filing fee to the Indiana Secretary of State Business Services Division.
After filing the form, the LLC operating agreement or corporation’s bylaws should be updated with the new registered agent’s information.