South Dakota Registered Agent

Once you begin establishing your business in South Dakota, you will come across requirements for appointing a registered agent. Many individuals can feel overwhelmed by this process, especially if you are a first-time business owner, which is why we’re here to help.

In this article, we will discuss what a registered agent is and why your South Dakota business is required to have one. We will also go into detail about the differences between appointing yourself as a registered agent or investing in a registered agent business service so you can make a fully informed and confident decision about what is best for you.

What is a South Dakota Registered Agent?

In South Dakota, all businesses are required to appoint a registered agent. Your registered agent is an individual or an authorized business (such as a registered agent service) that acts as the designated contact point between your business and the state and federal government.

It is important to note that your registered agent is responsible for receiving official notifications on behalf of your business, and this may include notice of lawsuits, compliance-related business, or general federal and state contacts. From time to time, your registered agent may need to file certain South Dakota state compliance forms; they could also notify you that it is time to file these documents.

Any registered agent that you appoint in South Dakota must be at least 18 years old. You can appoint any individual including yourself, a close friend or family member, or another outside individual. However, keep in mind that any registered agent you appoint must have a valid South Dakota address that isn’t a P.O. Box and should be available to receive notices during regular business hours.

An alternative to appointing yourself or a close individual is to utilize a registered agent service. These are businesses authorized in South Dakota to act as the registered agent for your business and accept notices on your behalf. Many business owners in South Dakota choose to use a registered agent service as it can be more convenient than making sure you are available all the time; it may be more stress-free in general. You should note that you will likely have to spend more money appointing a registered agent service (as the service isn’t free) than you should if you appointed yourself or a close individual (this is free to do).

It is important to understand that if you fail or neglect to appoint a registered agent for your business, the state of South Dakota may deny your business’s establishment. They may also hand out fines and penalties or remove your business’s good standing status if you neglect to have a proper registered agent appointed during the operation of your business or if you don’t keep your registered agent’s information up to date.

Why Do Businesses Use a South Dakota Registered Agent Service?

If you are wondering whether to invest in a registered agent service for your business, there are things you should keep in mind. We list these below so you can understand the potential benefits of a registered agent service.

Compliance Tracking

Compliance tracking is essential for keeping your business running – missing deadlines or forgetting to file compliance documents is often met with penalties and fees by the state of South Dakota. In most cases, a registered agent service will provide you with a calendar of deadlines so you can ensure you meet compliance requirements. Sometimes, the service will file these important documents on your behalf, but they may also notify you to file.

This compliance tracking will save you significant stress compared to acting as your own registered agent (or if you appointed an individual close to you), as you would have to keep a strict record of when things are due.


The registered agent you appoint to your business must be available during regular business hours. When you act as your own registered agent or appoint a close individual, this can be a difficult thing to keep up with, as this may distract from running your business.

If you want a more flexible schedule, utilizing a registered agent service will help with this; it will have employees available during regular business hours to accept any communication allowing you to fully focus on running your business.

Document Storage

Document storage is another essential item for any South Dakota business that needs to keep track of its communications and important notices. When you or a close individual acts as a registered agent, you may have a hard time keeping up with paper notices and filing items correctly.

A registered agent service can be the solution to this problem as most services offer some type of document storage system. These systems are usually online and make it incredibly easy to access or view notices in real-time as they are received and uploaded by your registered agent service.


When you register your business with the state of South Dakota, you are required to put down your registered agent’s contact information in the formation paperwork. If you or another individual are acting as the registered agent, you will need to put down your personal addresses, creating a potential privacy issue.

On the other hand, if you are using a registered agent service, you will be able to put down the business’s address instead, protecting your personal information from public record or contact by others.


A registered agent’s job is to receive notices and important state or federal communication that include notice of lawsuits and tax information. If you are acting as your own registered agent, these documents may arrive in front of customers or employees, leading to questions about sensitive documents. The same goes when a close friend or family member is acting as your registered agent – they may have access to documents you’d prefer to keep discreet.

However, with a registered agent service, these documents will be delivered straight to the service and uploaded to an online document system or otherwise discretely communicated to you. This is preferable for many business owners who want to ensure their documents stay private.

Business Expansion

When you start looking into growing your business, a registered agent service will be able to provide you with growth opportunities, as many services have locations in different states. This type of expansion isn’t possible when you or a close individual act as a registered agent, as being a registered agent in a different state requires a valid street address in that locality.

Plus, many registered agent services offer discounted pricing if you choose to use their services to expand your business into different areas.

What to Look For When Choosing a South Dakota Registered Agent?

As you choose between using a registered agent service and appointing yourself or a close individual as a registered agent in South Dakota, there are a few things you should keep in mind.


No matter who you are appointing as your registered agent, you should always look out for professionalism. This means any individual (and even yourself) that acts as your registered agent should have a good understanding of what is expected of them in that position and has no trouble meeting the requirements.

If you decide to enlist a registered agent service, you should see how they treat their customers by perusing online reviews or other information about the company. You may also want to check if there is customer support available to help you access their services and answer any questions you have, as this makes an especially professional service.

Cost and Value

Your business’s budget should always be at the front of your mind, but you should also remember the value of your time and overall stress levels. While a registered agent service may be an upfront investment, it can save you time and stress as the service works to meet all of South Dakota’s registered agent requirements on your behalf.

That said, if you are running on a low budget and want to keep your business small initially, appointing yourself or a close individual as a registered agent can be very cost-effective and allow you to quickly get your business up and running.

Services Provided

This item applies more to any registered agent service you may decide to use, but it is also important to keep in mind. Different registered agent services offer a variety of included services such as online document storage, professional or legal advice, expansion opportunities into different states, or in-depth compliance tracking. The best registered agent service will be one that has all the included services you desire for your business.

How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?

Appointing a registered agent costs virtually nothing if you appoint yourself or a close individual. However, appointing a registered agent service can require an investment of between $50 and $300 depending on the service, but this is usually an annual cost. This cost may also vary depending on if you are using the registered agent service in more than one state and the overall included services that are provided.

Sometimes, registered agent services offer discount deals for committing to certain lengths with the service – this is something you will have to research once you’ve decided on a business to appoint.

What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in South Dakota?

The best registered agent service for your South Dakota business is one that fits your business’s needs and overall budget. Our recommended provider for this (and the best value choice!) is ZenBusiness.

ZenBusiness is a registered agent service that gives access to professional business establishment advice, online document management, compliance tracking, and accessible customer support. Plus, this all comes at a low annual cost so you can appoint a registered agent service that is beneficial for your business without breaking your budget.

Team BusinessNerd

Our team of legal experts and business professionals have years of experience and are dedicated to providing accurate and up-to-date information to our readers.

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