Should You Get a New York Registered Agent?
Consider all of the people you interact with on a regular basis in order to run your New York LLC. Employees, business partners, banks, lawyers, and financial advisors are all likely to come to mind. What about the state, though? Although it may not be at the top of your priority list, running a successful New York LLC necessitates regular interaction with the state.
Formation documents, changes to business information, lawsuits, professional licenses, and Annual Reports – all of these (and more) necessitate collaboration with state agencies. The good news is that you don’t have to do it on your own.
The right New York registered agent service will ensure that your Limited Liability Company (LLC) meets all of its legal compliance deadlines with the State Division of Corporations and the New York Secretary of State, while also keeping all of your legal business documents and information secure.
If you choose the wrong New York registered agent, your information may end up in the hands of scammers or hackers, putting your business in New York at risk of lawsuits and legal action.
Let me introduce you to the registered agent. A registered agent in New York is a person or company who acts as an intermediary between your LLC and the state. They are an essential component of the success of any LLC. You must have a designated registered agent before filing your Articles of Organization. How? Why? Who? Continue reading to find out.
What is a New York Registered Agent, is it necessary?
An LLC cannot be formed or conduct business in New York unless a registered agent is on file with the Department of State. This is required by law, and the consequences can be severe. Having a registered agent does more than just keep you in good standing. It also serves an important purpose.
Consider your registered agent to be your state’s ambassador, handling all of your LLC’s important legal, tax, and compliance information. In a nutshell, the registered agent assumes statutory obligations. He or she must be available at all times to receive and deliver any official legal communications.
In most states, LLCs select an individual or business entity to serve as their registered agent; however, in New York, the Secretary of State serves as the agent for all businesses. “The secretary of state shall be the agent of every domestic LLC that has filed with the department of state articles of organization making such a designation,” according to the state’s LLC Act.
You may, however, appoint a secondary registered agent if you wish.
“In addition to the designation of the secretary of state, each domestic LLC or authorized foreign LLC may designate a registered agent upon whom process against th LLC may be served,” according to the LLC Act.
When you file your Articles of Organization, the Secretary of State is automatically designated as your LLC’s registered agent;
New York Registered Agents
A registered agent service is a company that specializes in acting as a registered agent for a wide range of businesses across the country, bringing a wealth of knowledge and dependability to the role.
What’s more, when you use a professional registered agent service, your home-based entrepreneurs’ personal addresses remain private. There are a lot of these businesses out there, and the majority of them make it very simple to hire them.
In the event of a lawsuit, a registered agent’s job is to receive service of process. In New York, the Secretary of State automatically serves as the registered agent. You may also appoint your own registered agent.
New York registered agents typically include some extra features that vary depending on the company you choose. In general, these services will often provide a compliance calendar to help you track your important filing deadlines, and you will always have access to their helpful customer support teams.
Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent is our top choice for the best registered agent in New York. They are number one because they have everything you need to meet all of your legal requirements and then some.
First and foremost, Northwest Registered Agent provides you with all of the essentials for only $125 per state per year (the second-cheapest price in the industry).
You’ll get your New York business address, they’ll keep your information and documents safe, they’ll draft your articles of organization, they’ll forward all mail sent to them on your behalf (including service of process), and they’ll notify you about upcoming compliance deadlines – such as reminding you when you need to file your corporation’s annual report.
They make certain that your company maintains a good standing with the New York Secretary of State.
But it is with their customer service that Northwest Registered Agent truly shines.
For starters, their contact information can be found at the top and bottom of every web page. When you contact their team, you will not be greeted by a chatbot or passed from one foreign support agent to the next for 20 minutes while they try to find someone who knows the answer.
Your call is answered by a local support agent, who is one of a group of ex-accountants, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners on hand to assist you.
And when you do get them on the phone, they don’t just answer your question and then hang up on you. Their performance metrics do not include how quickly they end the call or how many upsells they can persuade you to buy; they only care about one thing: your satisfaction. Every weekday during normal business hours, their customer service department is available for contact.
In an age when most businesses are attempting to cut costs from their operations, usually beginning with their support teams, it’s extremely refreshing to speak with a real person who knows what they’re talking about and cares that you get the answers you require.
Here are some more of the best things about Northwest Registered Agent:
- If you use them in more than ten states or as the registered agent for more than ten businesses, you will receive a $100 per year discount.
- Promises to never sell your personal information and to uphold their Privacy by Default guarantee.
- Offers one year of free registered agent service if you use their LLC formation service, which costs $225 ($125 per year beginning in the second year).
However, Northwest Registered Agent’s only disadvantage is the same as their primary strength: their customer service.
Sometimes in life, all you need is a quick answer to a quick question. Your plate is full, your customers are calling, and your paperwork is piling up, and all you want to know is one thing about one topic so you can start clearing it.
When you call Northwest Registered Agent, their customer service staff may ask you too many questions and keep you on the phone for longer than you want. They ask specific questions about your company and its situation in order to provide you with the best advice possible. But, while it is motivated by a desire to assist as many people as possible, it can occasionally be frustrating.
Overall, we believe Northwest Registered Agent is the best New York registered agent. They will ensure that you meet all of the New York Department of State’s legal obligations in accordance with the law, as well as provide you with online access to all of your important documents, all while keeping your personal information and assets safe. They are clearly the best option available for $125 per state per year.
LegalZoom is a reputable and well-known name in the business services industry. This is another popular option that does the same thing as the other services but costs $299 per year.
Aside from the standard services required of a registered agent in New York for your LLC, such as mail forwarding, a name and address, and accepting mail and service of process on behalf of your corporation during normal business hours, compliance alerts for filing annual reports so that your limited liability company remains in compliance with the New York Secretary of State are provided. LegalZoom also offers identity theft protection of up to $1 million.
While LegalZoom is not the cheapest service, it does have some advantages:
- The nation’s largest business service network
- Provides comprehensive legal services, allowing them to be your one-stop shop for both business and personal legal needs.
- Their basic business formation service costs $79 plus applicable state fees (a fair value)
Nevertheless, they charge $174 per state per year more than the Northwest Registered Agent for their services. They also specialize in legal document templates rather than registered agent services, and their customer service isn’t as knowledgeable or helpful as that of other companies.
Overall, LegalZoom is the company for your corporation if you’re looking for a large company with a reputable name or if you’re concerned about identity theft.
ZenBusiness is an LLC formation service that provides everything you’d expect from a New York registered agent service, but has two pricing tiers for some reason. The first tier costs $99 per state per year and includes everything offered by Northwest, with the exception of compliance alerts.
You must pay an additional $50 per state per year to gain access to their compliance alert system. This is most likely due to the fact that their primary focus is on New York LLC formation services rather than registered agent services, and as a result, they haven’t fully optimized their offering.
However, regardless of the reason, they are still more expensive than Northwest and do not provide the same level of support.
Zen Business offers a lower rate than Northwest Registered Agent, with an emphasis on making the process less stressful and a simpler-to-use website. You will receive excellent customer service as well as access to useful software that will allow you to track and file your company’s annual reports.
In a nutshell, here are some of our favorite aspects of Zen Business:
- A smaller company atmosphere provides you with more individualized attention than larger corporations.
- When you form your company with Zen Business, you get registered agent service for $39 plus state fees for the first year (this annual package normally costs $119).
- At $99 per year, it has one of the lowest à-la-carte registered agent prices.
If you use Zen Business to form your company, you will pay $39 plus $125/$200 in New York fees for the first year. Following that, your annual cost will be $119. If you only want the registered agent service, it costs $99 per year.
IncFile is one of the most well-known New York LLC and registered agent services, with rates starting at $119 per year. They provide basic services such as a name and address and mail forwarding.
They do not, however, provide anything extraordinary, such as alerts when you need to file compliance paperwork to meet deadlines for your New York LLC, or assistance with drafting your Articles of Organization, obtaining the Certificate of Publication, and the Certificate of Good Standing your corporation requires to stay in compliance with the New York Secretary of State.
In addition, if you haven’t started a business yet and would like a free registered agent service, they provide an excellent free New YorkLLC formation service.
They also charge $119 per year for the few services they do provide, making their services less appealing than Northwest’s.
Here are a few of our favorites for Incfile:
- The only service that provides free business formation services, as well as a free year of registered agent service.
- Customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with a 4.8 satisfaction rating across 13,500+ reviews.
In short, if you form your company with Incfile, you will owe nothing except the $125/$200 New York filing fee for the first year.
Harbor Compliance is the best option if you don’t need the level of customer support offered by Northwest and want to save $26 per year.
Another full-service New York registered agent service is Pros Harbor Compliance. They provide everything you need to ensure your company complies with the New York Department of State’s legal requirements, such as a New York business address, personal information protection, mail scanning and uploading (including service of process), and compliance alerts for filing deadlines.
While Harbor Compliance offers everything you need in terms of a New York registered agent service, they aren’t particularly good at anything. Their signup forms are adequate but not exceptional, and their customer service is courteous but not exceptional.
They provide everything you need to run and maintain your New York business while saving you $26 per year.
Rocket Lawyer’s registered agent services are essentially a low-cost knockoff of LegalZoom’s. Unfortunately, they are not significantly less expensive. Their annual fee is $149. Their service offerings aren’t as extensive as those of Northwest Registered Agent, but you’ll still get a name and address, and they’ll handle legal notices and service of process.
Sundoc Filings is yet another New York registered agent service that overcharges and underdelivers. While you will have a name and address, and they will accept legal documents and service of process, you will not receive notifications about your corporation’s compliance filing deadlines. They also charge $159 per year for the few services they offer.
While InCorp provides services similar to Northwest Registered Agent and at the same price as Harbor Compliance, there is a reason they are so far down the list.
Their computer system is a frustrating, confusing nightmare to use. They have spent no time or money making it easier for their customers, and attempting to work around it will simply waste your valuable time.
Swyft Filings, like many of the other registered agents on this list, offers the bare minimum of services, such as a name and address, accepts service of process on your behalf, and charges $149 per year for them.
Because CSC Global is a premium agent service, you will receive the business address you require for your New York LLC. They will also cover any costs incurred if you are required to pay a state filing fee to change your address from another state.
They do, however, charge $299 per state per year, which is obviously much higher than everyone else on my list.
Registered Agents Inc
Although Registered Agents Inc. is the only registered agent in New York on the list that specializes solely in registered agent services and provides all of the services you would expect, they charge $200 per state per year.
Jumpstart Filings provides the bare minimum of services but charges $129 per year for them. As a result, one of the other agents on this list is probably a better choice for your New York LLC.
What are the Qualifications for a Registered Agent?
There are few restrictions on who you can appoint as a secondary agent in New York, but they are non-negotiable. Your agent must:
- Be a New York resident or a business entity authorized to conduct business in the state.
- Have a physical address in New York (P.O. boxes are not allowed)
- Have a New York mailing address
If you meet these requirements and don’t mind the extra responsibilities, you can even appoint yourself.
When you’ve identified potential candidates for a second registered agent, go over each one to ensure that they meet these requirements. If they do, you’re all set! Otherwise, you’ll have to keep looking.
What does a Registered Agent do?
A registered agent performs a number of minor tasks that add up to a larger and more important role. They act as a bridge between your company and the state in which you do business.
To begin with, a registered agent must serve as the designated recipient of any tax or legal documents sent by the state of New York. In the event of a legal matter, the registered agent must be physically present to receive hand-delivered service of process (SOP) paperwork pertaining to legal action taken against your company.
Following the handoff, the registered agent must effectively report this delivery to your company and forward the documents to you.
For the intake and delivery of these documents, the registered agent and the business they represent should have a previously agreed-upon order of operations. For example, they should decide whether the documents will be delivered to the business by fax, mail, or email from the registered agent.
Ongoing New York Business Compliance
The registered agent is also responsible for ensuring that your company stays current and in compliance with all state-mandated ongoing maintenance filings. Each state has its own set of rules governing which maintenance filings are required, which typically refer to annual reports and/or franchise tax payments.
These rules are subject to change at any time, so the registered agent must keep up to date to ensure that your business remains in good standing with the state and avoids fines or business dissolution.
In the state of New York, all business entities are required to file biennial reports with the New York Department of State. This report is due every other year by the end of the month in which your business was registered.
You can file your report online, but there is a $9 fee for doing so. In order to maintain good standing with the state, your registered agent should be aware of the deadline and assist you in filing your annual report.
In order to maintain good standing with the state, your registered agent should be aware of the deadline and assist you in filing your annual report.
Why Do Businesses Use a New York Registered Agent Service?
Many businesses in New York choose to use a registered agent service for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of the most important:
Reduced Publication Costs
Newly formed New York LLC is required to publish a notice of formation in local newspapers. If the primary address is in New York City, publication can cost around $1,500 or more.
A registered agent service located outside of the city allows New York LLC to use the registered agent’s address as the principal address, lowering the cost of publication significantly.
A registered agent service keeps a compliance calendar and will notify you when annual reports or other filings are due, as well as assist you in filing them.
This helps you avoid fines and keeps your company in good standing, both of which are necessary to maintain your limited liability protection.
If you do not respond quickly to service of process, legal complications, fees, or other issues may arise. A registered agent will scan your documents, upload them to the internet, and notify you when they are ready.
If you work from home or a private office as your own registered agent, your address will be publicly available on the New York Corporation and Business Entity Database.
If your privacy is important to you, a registered agent service will use their own address instead of yours.
Receiving service of process for a lawsuit at your place of business can be a sensitive matter to have in front of your employees and clients.
To avoid this problem, a registered agent will accept service of process and other documents at their office and deliver them to you discreetly online.
If you are your own registered agent, you must be available during all normal business hours, every day of the year.
Registered agent services have physical offices and staff to cover those hours, allowing them to be available during those times.
Hiring a registered agent service allows you to be more flexible with your working hours and locations. So go ahead and take a vacation, work from home or the office, or travel the world knowing they’ll be there to collect your paperwork.
Online Data Storage
A good registered agent service will scan your documents as soon as they arrive, storing a digital copy of all your business documents and any service of process on a user-friendly dashboard.
If you used a New York LLC formation service, you will most likely also use them as a registered agent. This means a copy of your formation documents will be available online as well.
Having all of this information, available as PDFs, is extremely useful when doing things for your business, such as opening a business bank account, applying for a business credit card, applying for small business loans, and many other things that require a copy of your documents.
If you intend to expand your business into other states, such as by hiring an out-of-state employee or opening a new sales office, you must have a registered agent for your foreign LLC or other entity.
The majority of registered agent services are available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Simply pay a small fee for the new state in which you operate, and they will deliver all of your documents to the same online dashboard.
Do I Need a Registered Agent in New York?
With a few exceptions, yes. Most businesses and nonprofits formed or registered in New York must maintain a physical registered agent in the state at all times. This includes maintaining the agent’s contact information with the New York Department of State – Division of Corporations, State Records, and Uniform Commercial Code.
This is known as “maintaining” a registered agent, and it assists your company in remaining in good standing.
What exactly is the service of process?
The procedure of serving legal notice on a party, usually a defendant, is known as service of process. Notices are typically accompanied by court documents such as summons or a lawsuit. The registered agent receives service of process.
If you are served with a lawsuit, you will only have a limited amount of time to respond, so it is critical that you have a dependable New York registered agent.
What If I Want to Change My Registered Agent in New York?
While the role of the registered agent is critical for any American business entity, it can always be changed, and the rules for changing your agent differ depending on which state your business operates in.
To change registered agents in New York, business entities must file a Certificate of Change form. The forms differ depending on whether the entity is domestic or foreign, and there is a $30 filing fee. Forms can be mailed, faxed, or hand-delivered.
Is a registered agent the same as a company’s owner?
No. A registered agent maintains certain paperwork and accepts official correspondence on behalf of the company, but this is not the same as being an owner. The individual owner of a business, on the other hand, may also serve as the company’s registered agent.
What is the cost of a registered agent in New York?
The price of a registered agent in New York varies. A company that simply forwards notices or notifies the owner when documents arrive will most likely cost less than $50 per year.
However, some businesses provide more services and, as a result, charge a higher price. Some New York registered agents also handle annual reports and compliance issues. These registered agent services can cost between $100 and $250.
The role of a registered agent in New York is critical to your company’s compliance and legal standing. This position requires dealing with seemingly simple tasks, but if they are handled incorrectly, they can cost you a significant amount of money in fines, and the state may even dissolve your business.
While you can always change your New York registered agent later, we believe it is critical to choose the right registered agent for your business from the start. You should also monitor your compliance status to ensure that nothing goes wrong along the way.
Starting a business correctly doesn’t have to be difficult. With over 15 years of experience consulting new businesses and start ups, Matthew is probably the best person to help you set a strong foundation for your business.