- What is a Louisiana Registered Agent?
- Why Do Businesses Use a Louisiana Registered Agent Service?
- What to Look For When Choosing a Louisiana Registered Agent?
- How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
- What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Louisiana?
When you establish a business in Louisiana, you will eventually come across references for appointing a registered agent as part of the process. Many new business owners are unfamiliar with this term and feel overwhelmed as they try to meet state requirements for it. Fortunately, we’re here to help you understand this process and tell you everything you need to know about choosing and appointing a registered agent in Louisiana.
Below, we discuss what a registered agent is and the state-specific rules that you need to be aware of in Louisiana. Then, we provide important information about the differences between using a registered agent service or appointing a separate individual to act as your agent. We hope this article will help you make an informed decision about appointing a registered agent for your business.
What is a Louisiana Registered Agent?
In Louisiana, a registered agent is an individual or a business authorized to conduct business in the state that is appointed to act as a contact point between your company and the state and federal government. The registered agent that you appoint is responsible for receiving and accepting official notices on behalf of your business, including lawsuits, court rulings, and federal or state compliance business (such as tax information and annual report filing). Depending on your needs and what you trust your registered agent to do, they may also file certain compliance forms with the state or notify you when it is time to file these documents.
Any registered agent you appoint in Louisiana must be at least 18 years or older; they can be an individual such as yourself, a close friend or family member, or an outside individual. The main requirement is that your appointee has a valid Louisiana street address that isn’t a P.O. box.
It is also important to note that any registered agent you appoint must be available during all regular business hours to accept notices on time. This may be difficult when you appoint yourself, a friend, or a family member, as this greatly interferes with your ability to conduct a free schedule while running your business. This requirement is also why some business owners invest in a registered agent service instead of acting as their own agent.
Any registered agent service you use in Louisiana will perform the same duties as an individual, the most important of which is accepting notices on your behalf and getting these to you as soon as possible. Many business owners choose to use a registered agent service due to their convenience and because it is a less stressful way of meeting Louisiana’s requirements. However, a registered agent service does cost more upfront than appointing yourself or an individual, as your agent usually requires an annual cost.
You should be aware that failing or neglecting to appoint a registered agent may result in the state of Louisiana denying your business establishment or the right to operate. You could also potentially receive fines, penalties, or a drop in good standing status if you fail to have a registered agent at any point or if you don’t keep your appointed registered agent’s information up to date with the state.
Information about filing to appoint, change, or update your registered agent’s information can be found on the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website.
Why Do Businesses Use a Louisiana Registered Agent Service?
As mentioned above, using a registered agent service in Louisiana may be more convenient and beneficial for businesses in certain cases. Below, we list the ways a registered agent service may help you out.
When it comes to keeping your business running smoothly, ongoing compliance with the state is necessary; if you miss deadlines or fail to file certain documents, such as annual reports, you can be charged penalties or fees from the state, something that no business owner wants to deal with.
A registered agent service will generally work with you to provide a calendar of state-specific deadlines. They will either file on your behalf or notify you when it is time to file, something that saves you the stress of having to remember each deadline yourself.
As discussed above, any registered agent that you use for your Louisiana business needs to be available during all regular business hours. If you or a close individual acting as a registered agent, this can be difficult to keep up with and limit your scheduling flexibility. This may also distract you from properly running your business.
If you elect to use a registered agent service, you generally have a more flexible schedule. This is because the service will have employees available during regular business hours, allowing you to meet the state’s requirements and freeing up your own schedule for more important business-related matters.
Most registered agent services offer a document storage system when you invest in them. These systems are typically online and make it easy to access and refer to important notices on demand. An online document storage system also makes it easy to be notified of important items in real-time and is preferable for most people over keeping track of any paper document that you receive when acting as your own registered agent.
Privacy and Discretion
When establishing your business with the state of Louisiana you will be prompted to put down the agent’s contact information and name on the formation paperwork. This may become public notice as the registered agent will need to be contacted to receive notices from the state and federal government. If you use your information or a close individual’s, this may result in a lack of privacy. Using a registered agent service allows you to put down their information instead, adding an extra layer of privacy to your business.
Additionally, your business may receive notices of lawsuit or other sensitive documents that need to be treated with the utmost discretion. Acting as your own registered agent may result in these documents being delivered in front of customers or employees. Therefore, appointing a close individual as your registered agent can result in people being involved in these issues that you would prefer not to know. A registered agent service will receive these sensitive documents on your behalf and notify you of them discretely, so you can choose how to handle them.
When you grow your business, you most likely need to register your business as a foreign business in other states. You cannot appoint yourself or a close individual as the registered agent in those states because you need a valid address for those areas. If you are using a reputable registered agent service, they typically have locations in other states that you can expand your business with, making it easy to expand your presence.
You should also note that most registered agent services offer discounted or package pricing if you want to expand your operations and continue to use their services in other states.
What to Look For When Choosing a Louisiana Registered Agent?
As you search for a registered agent, there are things you need to keep in mind, whether you are appointing yourself, a close individual, or a dedicated registered agent service.
Professionalism and Customer Support
Professionalism is incredibly important when you appoint a registered agent, regardless of who it is. Any individual you select, including friends and family members, should have a good understanding of their role as a registered agent and carry out their responsibilities without issues.
Additionally, if you decide to use a registered agent service, you should check if any customer support staff is available. If it is, use other customer reviews to determine if they maintain their professionalism and have a positive reputation.
Cost and Value
Your business’s budget is one of the most important things to keep in mind when selecting a registered agent. However, you should also consider the value of a service and what benefits it might offer. A registered agent service does have an upfront cost and an annual renewal cost, but it also frees up time for you to run your business and take the stress off your shoulders.
That said, if you are starting off small and want to keep costs as low as possible, it doesn’t require any investment to appoint yourself or a close individual as a registered agent. This may be a good way to get started before you increase your business’s operations.
This item typically applies more to a registered agent service than an individual, but it is essential to keep in mind as you decide between specific registered agent services. You should always keep an eye out for things such as a document storage and access systems, customer support, professional advice and counseling, expansion opportunities into different states, and any compliance tracking. This helps you pick the best registered agent service for your business.
How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
The cost for a registered agent in Louisiana varies depending on whether you appoint yourself or a close individual. Appointing an individual instead of a service costs little to nothing, whereas investing in a registered agent service costs between $99 and $300 annually. This price also depends on the service you use, the items included, and any discounts or specials offered by the company when you sign up.
What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Louisiana?
When it comes to the best registered agent service in Louisiana, the best agent is one that fulfills all your business’s needs and works well with your budget. Our top recommended and best value choice for a registered agent service in Louisiana is ZenBusiness.
ZenBusiness can provide you with access to expert advice, online document management systems, worry-free compliance tracking, and friendly customer support. Plus, this all comes at one low annual cost, making it a budget-friendly choice.