Is A Louisiana Registered Agent Necessary For Your Business?
All businesses registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State, such as a corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), must designate a registered agent to accept service of process and official documents on its behalf.
Learn who the registered agent is, their job duties, and the requirements to be one.
Registered Agent Basics
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 Louisiana corporation, LLC, or LLP business entity.
Sole proprietorships and general partnerships do not need a registered agent.
The primary responsibility of a registered agent in Louisiana is to accept important legal notices and tax documents and then forward them to the appropriate person in the business.
Why Louisiana Registered Agents Are Important
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 reasons have one:
- Not 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.
- Administrative Dissolution – In Louisiana, if the business doesn’t have a registered agent, the Secretary of State can dissolve the entity.
- 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 business owners may lose their liability protection and are at risk personally.
Common Questions About Louisiana Registered Agents
Does Louisiana require a registered agent?
What are the legal requirements for Louisiana registered agents?
A registered agent in Louisiana can be any resident of the state who is 18 years or older, a registered Louisiana domestic business entity, or a foreign business entity authorized transact 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 Louisiana. 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 to receive a legal notice.
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.
How do you elect a registered agent in Louisiana?
A registered agent is initially elected in the business formation documents, Articles of Organization (LLC), or Articles of Incorporation (corporation) but can be changed at any time by filing the Change of Registered Office and/or Change of Registered Agent Form to the Commercial Division of the Louisiana Secretary of State.
Should you be your own Louisiana registered agent?
Provided one of the members or officers lives in Louisiana, it is less expensive to act as your own agent rather than hiring a service. While this is the route many businesses take, there are a few reasons when hiring a registered agent service makes sense.
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 – Louisiana 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 Louisiana 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.
Can a registered agent be changed in Louisiana?
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 Change of Registered Office and/or Change of Registered Agent Form along with the filing fee to the Secretary of State.
After changing the registered agent, don’t forget to update your operating agreement or bylaws if you have them.