Starting a business in Pennsylvania takes hard work and dedication. There’s also a lot to know about the various rules and regulations required to keep your business in good standing with the state. Our guide will tell you everything you need to know about registered agents in Pennsylvania.
Read on to learn more about what a registered agent is and how to find the best one for your Pennsylvania LLC.
What Is a Pennsylvania Registered Agent?
The state of Pennsylvania requires every formal business to have an appointed registered agent on file. This person will receive all of the business’s legal paperwork and correspondence from the state. In many cases, it will be things like compliance notices, tax information, and other legal forms. However, in the case of legal action taken against your business, the service of process also goes to whoever is your company’s registered agent.
Who Can Be a Registered Agent in Pennsylvania?
In the state of Pennsylvania, the business owner can serve as the registered agent, but that’s not the only option. The only requirements are that the elected person must be over 18 and have a primary street address (not a PO Box) in Pennsylvania. That means that a business owner can choose a family member, friend, or any member of your LLC to be your registered agent, as long as they meet that criteria.
Alternatively, many businesses owners choose to pay for a registered agent service.
Why Do Businesses Need a Pennsylvania Registered Agent?
When you form an LLC in Pennsylvania, you must meet a number of criteria and provide certain information. A registered agent’s name, address, and contact information is part of this information needed to start your company. The state government needs to know where to send all the information you need as a business owner and who to contact when it requires certain documents.
In a nutshell, businesses need a registered agent because they need someone who is always available to receive essential documents and legal summons on behalf of your LLC.
Benefits of Registered Agent Services
While it is doable to appoint your own inhouse registered agent, there are many advantages to hiring a registered agent service. Besides legal necessity, businesses utilize registered agent services for other reasons, here are just a few of the benefits registered agents provide LLCs.
Along with performing vital tasks for your business, registered agents can protect your privacy. If you list yourself as your company’s registered agent, that makes your home address part of the public record. This means that individuals and other companies looking to reach out to you will do so at your personal address. Many people aren’t comfortable with this. However, using a professional service or someone close to you who is willing to make their address public protects you.
Since many companies like to offer their services to businesses, plenty of junk mail will be sent to your company’s LLC. If you use your address, you can pick through this yourself, but if you want to save yourself a pile of mostly useless mail, a professional registered agent can sort through that for you and only pass on important documents.
Physical Address for Online Stores
Using your business’s address isn’t always an option. Some businesses are online only, with no physical storefront or office. Even if you do have a physical location, you may not want potentially sensitive documents delivered in front of your employees or clients, particularly in the case of court summons. If you are not in the office during all normal business hours, that can also complicate things, since registered agents are supposed to be available at all those times in case there are documents and packages that need to be signed for.
Document Scanning and Digital Storage
Whoever your registered agent is, they will be receiving all of your LLC’s official government correspondence, like your annual report. All tax forms will be sent to them first as well and any summons if your company is involved in a lawsuit.
To ensure there isn’t a delay in business owners receiving important, time-sensitive documents, many professional registered agents will scan your documents and send you a digital copy. This makes everything conveniently available as a PDF, which can streamline a lot of your work. With online storage, you won’t have to worry about having physical copies of your documents or carry around a flash drive. Instead, things can be easily pulled up and sent to involved parties as needed.
If you use a registered agent service, they will also perform some other useful tasks that will free you up to focus on your business. Foremost of these is maintaining a compliance calendar. They will remind you of when things like your annual reports or other filings are due throughout the year. They can also help you file them.
While it’s very common for companies with fewer than ten employees to simply have the business owner serve as the registered agent, most companies, particularly larger ones, prefer the flexibility and privacy afforded them by using a professional registered agent service.
What To Look For When Choosing a Pennsylvania Registered Agent?
If you’re about to register your LLC in Pennsylvania, you’ll need to first decide who to use as your registered agent. You may want to seriously consider using a professional service, but ultimately, there are many factors to consider in your decision.
While business owners can simply register themselves or another member of their LLC as the registered agent for no cost, a registered agent service does come with a fee. These fees vary, and if you hire a professional, you should choose one that fits your budget, but just picking the cheapest option isn’t always the best route.
You should consider the services that a professional registered agent offers to ensure you are getting the best value for your money. Collecting your legal paperwork is the bare minimum. Consider whether or not the service is providing digital copies of your documents for instant transfer, whether they will maintain your compliance calendar, and if they will help you with your yearly tax filings. These services add to the value of the registered agent and can determine whether or not it’s worth it for you. A good registered agent will also make it convenient for you to access your documents and communicate with them. That is essential for making this business relationship work.
As a business owner, you should be aware that your time is extremely valuable. So, saving time and inconvenience has its own value. Overloading your plate puts you at risk for burnout and can hurt your business, so choosing a registered agent can allow you to delegate some of the tedious but time-consuming busy work to someone else.
Of course, every business and every business owner has different needs and a different budget. You should carefully weigh all factors and look specifically at what each registered agent is offering to decide if they are worth it for you.
How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
Small businesses often operate on tight margins, so getting the most for your money is important. On the low end, prices start at around $50 per year and can go up to around $300. For those who already have their LLC registered, around $100 a year is about average in Pennsylvania.
Some services will also offer new businesses a special deal when forming their LLC. With these special offers, you can get your first year of registered agent services for free but may still need to pay an LLC formation fee and state fees. Costs will vary depending on the services offered, and some companies will lock you in with a contract for a designated period of time.
Listing your registered agent is part of your LLC application, and the process costs $125, paid to the Department of State. Changing your registered agent later, perhaps as your company grows, will incur a $5 processing fee.
What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Pennsylvania?
is our recommendation for their well-organized interface and low-cost options. While every person and every business has its own specific needs, we have a list of our favorite registered agent services
to help you compare them and see which one will work for you.
If you’re about to register your LLC in Pennsylvania, or if you already have a business that’s been experiencing growth, you should really consider a registered agent service. With so many concerns to juggle, delegating some of the time-consuming paperwork to someone else can be a weight off your shoulders. If you need an extra hand with the filings for your LLC, you should look into hiring a registered agent.
Starting a business is no simple task. You have a lot to manage, and you have to take risks every day. We hope this information helps you as you move forward with registering your LLC and helps you choose a registered agent that will give you peace of mind and help your business thrive.