- What Is a Tennessee Registered Agent?
- Why Tennessee Businesses Need a Registered Agent
- What Should I Look For When Choosing a Tennessee Registered Agent?
- How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
- What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Tennessee?
A registered agent is an essential part of the business establishment process in Tennessee and is required for any entity that wants to conduct operations in the state. Without a registered agent, you risk penalties, fines, or being involuntarily dissolved. That said, you may be wondering what exactly a registered agent is and how you can appoint one for your business.
Below, we will discuss everything you need to know about a Tennessee registered agent. We will cover the duties of a registered agent as well as information on who to appoint. We’ll also give you some things to consider when choosing a registered agent for your business.
What Is a Tennessee Registered Agent?
A Tennessee registered agent is an individual appointed to your business who acts as the contact between your business and the state or federal government. Your registered agent is responsible for collecting all notifications and mailed documents, including notice of lawsuits against your business, in addition to filing (or notifying you to file) ongoing compliance forms with the state.
In Tennessee, your registered agent can be any individual at least 18 years old and has a valid street address (although this address cannot be a P.O. box). This means you can appoint yourself, a close friend or family member, or another outside individual. It is important to note, however, that your registered agent should be available during business hours to accept documents and receive notices in a timely manner.
Another option is a registered agent service. You can appoint any Tennessee authorized business, such as our recommended provider ZenBusiness, as your agent. Many business owners find this a highly convenient option, as a registered agent service can take over the role of keeping your business compliant, receiving documents in real-time, and adding an extra level of privacy and discretion.
You should also know that while your business is operating in Tennessee, you are required to keep your registered agent’s information valid and up to date with the state. Failure to do so could result in penalties or your business falling out of good standing.
Why Tennessee Businesses Need a Registered Agent
Many Tennessee business owners choose to appoint a registered agent service to meet all their business needs and take the stress off their shoulders. There are many benefits a registered agent service can offer, the most important of which we discuss below.
Registered agents in Tennessee are required to be available during regular business hours. This means if you appoint yourself or a close family member as your agent, you need to ensure that you are always present at your listed address to receive mail or documents. This can, understandably, be quite stressful, especially if you need a more flexible schedule to run your business.
If you choose to use a registered agent service, they will have employees available during business hours. You can rest assured knowing that you won’t miss an important document and that you will meet the state’s requirements for availability. It also frees up your schedule to focus solely on operating your business.
Another benefit of using a registered agent service is compliance tracking. As your business stays in operation, the state often requires ongoing filing for your business to stay in good standing. If you act as your own registered agent, this can be difficult to stay organized, especially if you dedicate most of your time to keeping your business running.
A decent and reputable registered agent service will usually help by providing compliance tracking. This means they either notify you when state filing deadlines are approaching, or they file the necessary documents on your behalf to ensure your business always stays in good standing.
When establishing your business in Tennessee, you are required to put your registered agent’s name and address onto your formal business documents. This address will be used by state and federal agencies to contact you and may be listed on public business records. If you choose to act as your own registered agent (or use a family member), this means your personal address may be available for others to access.
Using a registered agent service can add an extra layer of privacy as you can put the service’s address down onto all business forms. This protects your address from going on public record and gives you greater peace of mind.
Part of a registered agent’s job is to accept documents, including notice of lawsuits against your business. When acting as your own agent, you may end up being served notices while customers are present during regular business hours; if a family member or friend is acting as your registered agent, they may receive this document, which you may want to prevent altogether.
A registered agent service can accept any notice of lawsuit discreetly and notify you about it or upload the document onto an online management system so you can deal with the notice privately.
As your business grows, you may be interested in expanding your operations to other states. This can be difficult to do when you act as your own registered agent, as you need to establish your business as a foreign LLC in your chosen state and appoint a local registered agent for it.
Many registered agent services have locations spread across the nation, making it easy to expand your business to those areas. Plus, many registered agent services offer consolidated billing, which makes it simple to grow your LLC.
One of the most convenient things about using a registered agent service is the benefit of online document storage. Most registered agent services will collect all your mail and notifications and upload them to an online dashboard. This allows you to access important documents whenever you need them without waiting or searching through stacks of paper.
What Should I Look For When Choosing a Tennessee Registered Agent?
No matter which type of registered agent you are considering appointing, there are several factors you should keep in mind when making your decision.
Professionalism and professional services are major factors in deciding on a registered agent. If you appoint yourself or a close individual as your agent, it is important to understand exactly what is required of the role. This helps you avoid any confusion or relationship breakdowns if your appointee is not prepared to be professional.
If you are considering a registered agent service, you need to look closely at whether the company markets itself professionally. A service with positive customer reviews and a solid base of professional registered agent services such as online document storage, compliance tracking, and expert advice may be the best choice.
Cost and Value
Cost and the value of any services is another consideration for choosing a registered agent. While acting as your own agent or appointing a friend or family member may cost you little to nothing, this may be difficult to maintain over time, especially as your business grows and you become busier.
A registered agent service may seem like a hefty investment upfront (most charge an annual fee), but the peace of mind it provides can make the investment worthwhile.
This factor only applies to a registered agent service, but it is important to consider. You may be better off choosing a company that has a national presence as opposed to only a few locations, as a large company can offer more opportunities for expansion into different states. A larger, more well-known company may also provide more reliable services and a better customer experience than a smaller, lesser-known company.
How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
Depending on the type of registered agent you appoint, you could pay nothing for your registered agent or several hundred dollars as a yearly fee. If you appoint yourself or a close individual, this will likely cost you nothing or next to nothing. Using a registered agent service is more expensive, as most services range between $99 and $300 per year, but the value you receive is often worth it.
What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, the best registered agent service is one that meets all your business needs and fits well within your budget. You can read more about selecting the best registered agent service for your budget and business type here. That said, we recommend ZenBusiness as one of the most helpful registered agent services out there.
When using ZenBusiness, you’ll have access to a host of benefits such as friendly customer service, expert support, online document management, and worry-free compliance — all for one low cost — so you can be sure your business stays in good standing.