- What is a Maryland Registered Agent?
- Why Businesses Need a Maryland Registered Agent
- What to Look For When Choosing a Maryland Registered Agent?
- How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
- What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Maryland?
Almost every business entity type (including domestic and foreign corporations or LLCs) in Maryland must appoint and maintain a registered agent while in operations. If you are a first-time business owner in the state, you may wonder what a Maryland registered agent is and why you need to appoint one.
To help clear things up, we’ve put together a guide detailing the role of a Maryland registered agent for your business. We’ll also give you information on what to look for when choosing a Maryland registered agent and the cost of one so you’re ready to make an informed decision for your business.
What is a Maryland Registered Agent?
A Maryland registered agent is an individual or authorized Maryland business responsible for receiving all documents and official communications for your company, including notice of a lawsuit. Maryland law dictates that every formal business in the state has appointed a registered agent (includong LLCs, corporations, and LLPs).
You can appoint any individual in Maryland as your registered agent, including yourself if you are over 18, or any business authorized to conduct operations in the state. Many business owners choose to appoint a commercial registered agent service, as they may provide additional benefits and peace of mind when handling documentation.
It is important to note that any registered agent you appoint must have a valid street address in Maryland that is not a P.O. box and must generally be available during regular business hours.
While your business is operating, you must keep your registered agent’s information up to date with the state of Maryland. This helps ensure that you receive all important communications and legal documentation and that your business stays in good standing with the state.
Why Businesses Need a Maryland Registered Agent
Many business owners and individuals choose to use a Maryland commercial registered agent service as this can offer certain benefits and an increased level of ease. We’ve listed some of the most important reasons to use a registered agent service below.
Flexibility and Availability
In Maryland, your registered agent must be available during all business hours. If you act as your own registered agent, this means that you need to be available to accept documents or notice of lawsuit almost every day of the week. This can, understandably, be tiring or even impossible in some cases, which is why using a registered agent service can be a good idea for many business owners.
A registered agent service will have employees and staff that can cover all business hours. This allows you to meet the state’s requirements, never miss a document, and it takes the stress off you personally as your registered agent service handles things for you.
With a registered agent service managing your documents, you can create a more flexible schedule for yourself and feel free to take off certain days without the worry of missing an important notice.
When you act as your own registered agent, your address will be published as part of your business’s information and will generally be required on any business document filed with the state. This can create an issue with privacy as your address is available for others to access through public records.
If you would rather maintain privacy around your address, a registered agent service is a prime choice. You can use the service’s address rather than your own as the service will be receiving all documents. This allows you to keep your own address off-record and away from the eyes of the public.
Occasionally, notices of lawsuit are served to registered agents. If you act as your own registered agent, this means you could potentially be served notice at your place of business in front of customers or employees. This can damage your reputation and may be a sensitive issue to deal with in front of others.
With a registered agent service, a notice of a lawsuit is sent to the agent and then discreetly passed to you. This allows you to deal with any documentation or important notices without the involvement of others in your business.
Businesses in Maryland are often required to meet many different filing deadlines and pay varying fees over the course of a year. This can be hard to keep track of if you are acting as your own registered agent; however, a registered agent service can generally keep a compliance calendar.
This allows the service to meet all filing deadlines for your business and notify you when certain fees or documents are due, keeping your business in good standing with the state and avoiding late fees.
Opportunity to Expand
If you ever decide that you want to expand your business into a different state, chances are you need to register as a foreign LLC; this likely requires a registered agent that has a valid state address. For anyone acting as their own registered agent, this can create difficulties, but if you are working with a registered agent service, this will be a much easier process.
Registered agent services are present in all 50 states. As you expand your business, you can pay your service to start working for you in different states as needed. If you are planning to expand your business or want the opportunity to do so, a commercial registered agent service can easily help.
Most reputable registered agent services will provide their customers with an online account. When documents are received, they will scan and upload the documents online. This allows you to access the document and review it quickly, and provides a safe space for you to access all documents received regarding your business.
If you act as your own registered agent, it takes more steps to get your documents uploaded online to track. Alternatively, if you choose not to digitize your business documents, you may end up with stacks of paper that are hard to keep track of.
What to Look For When Choosing a Maryland Registered Agent?
There are several things you should look for when choosing a Maryland registered agent. We list these factors below.
Any registered agent that you choose should be reputable and professional. It may be easier and cost less to use a friend or family member, but over time this may be difficult and confusing to maintain. Appointing yourself or an individual related to you may also lead to a breakdown in your relationship; this can be avoided if you use a Maryland registered agent service.
Registered agent services are completely professional and can handle all documents on your behalf, allowing you to run your business with less stress.
Cost and the value of services is another major point to consider when choosing a registered agent in Maryland. While appointing yourself or a related individual may be cheaper, it might be harder to keep up with your business and the duties of a registered agent.
Appointing a registered agent service may cost more, but the value that the service provides by saving you time and stress is often worth the investment.
If you are planning to appoint a Maryland registered agent service, you should carefully look into the business’s national reputation. A service that has many offices across the United States can attest to the quality of the registered agent’s service and allow you to expand your business into different states when the time comes.
It is important to evaluate which services are offered by any commercial registered agent before you invest in them. This includes online storage of important documents, customer service regarding questions, and whether the service will keep up with a compliance calendar on your behalf.
How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
The cost of a registered agent depends highly on the type that you are appointing. If you appoint yourself, a related individual, or a family member, the cost will be next to nothing.
If you elect to hire a registered agent service, you need to pay an annual cost that keeps the service working for you on a yearly basis. In Maryland, this can range between $50 and $300 per year, depending on the service you select and the benefits your business receives. Make sure to compare and contrast services closely before selecting one to ensure you make the right choice for your situation.
What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Maryland?
At the end of the day, the best Maryland registered agent service is one that meets all your business needs at a cost that is right for you. For a service that is sure to go above and beyond your expectations, we recommend ZenBusiness – this registered agent service provides expert support, online document management, and in-depth compliance tracking at one low annual cost so your business can thrive and you can work with less stress.