April 18, 2024

Everything You Need to Know About Registered Agents

With Firstbase since:

Registered agents are one of the most fundamental compliance requirements for US businesses. No matter what state you incorporate in or what type of business you create, you'll need to appoint a registered agent in order to keep your company running legally.

That said, most founders don't understand what registered agents do or why they need one. In this article, we'll explain the role of a registered agent and some easy ways to connect with one. Note that we provide registered agent services in all 50 states through Firstbase Agent.

What Is a Registered Agent?

Registered agents act as a company's official point of contact. Tax forms, legal notices, and other key documents are delivered directly to the registered agent rather than the standard business address.

A registered agent can be either an individual or a business, but they must be available at the listed address during business hours. If the registered agent is an individual, they must be at least 18 years old — there may be other specific requirements depending on your state. A business cannot be its own registered agent.

Keep in mind that your registered agent must be located in the state where the business is registered. This means that while you can serve as your own registered agent, you can only do so in your home state.

The US requires businesses to register separately in each state where they operate. For example, if you live and work in California but have your company incorporated in Delaware, you'll need a registered agent in both states. If you ever expand your business to new states through foreign qualification, you'll need to find additional registered agents in those states.

Since the registered agent must be located in-state, this requirement can cause trouble for foreign founders. With Firstbase Agent, you can access a registered agent in all 50 states and easily keep your business running smoothly with our built-in compliance tools.

Do Registered Agents Provide Compliance Guidance?

Despite the word ‘Agent’, the job of the registered agent is not to provide tailored business guidance. Their sole responsibility is to receive tax forms, legal notices, and other key documents from the state and forward them to the business' responsible party.

That being said, keep reading to see why Firstbase Agent offers so much more than your typical registered agent service.

Why Firstbase Agent?

On top of connecting business owners to registered agents in all 50 states, Firstbase Agent also comes with some other critical features.

Agent users receive email notifications each time a registered agent receives documents on behalf of their business. All relevant documents are posted in the Firstbase dashboard, making it easy to stay in front of any compliance issues.

We'll also send you advance notice for upcoming deadlines so that you don't fall out of compliance. Our team can even help you file for foreign qualification if you decide to bring your company to new states.

What If I Already Have a Registered Agent?

Most of our founders use Agent to manage their ongoing compliance and expand to new states. However, we also work with founders who want to switch from their existing registered agent service. If you're looking for a new registered agent service, get in touch with our team to discuss the details.

Filing requirements can be complicated when you change to a new registered agent, especially if you want to switch your registered agent in multiple states. Our team can help you keep track of those obligations and seamlessly transition to Firstbase Agent.

What If I Don't Have an Active Registered Agent?

As a business owner, it’s critical to keep information about your registered agent up to date. If the government has inaccurate information, you won’t be able to receive essential documents such as tax forms and legal notices.

The state where you operate may also levy additional penalties against your business. You could be hit with significant fines or lose your business license altogether. That’s why it’s important to follow all regulations and quickly notify state governments of any changes.

What About Filing Requirements?

Filing requirements are another complex issue for businesses that operate in multiple states. For example, most states require annual or biennial reports with up-to-date data such as the name, address, and details about the registered agent. Some states also require businesses to file franchise tax reports.

Unfortunately, filing deadlines vary between states. Some states set individual deadlines for each business based on when it was formed, while others have the same deadline for every business.

Staying on top of filing requirements is complicated for companies working in many states. Furthermore, missing even one deadline could result in severe problems for your company.

With Agent, Firstbase will monitor your company's filing obligations and ensure you know what you need to do to stay compliant. We can also file your annual reports and/or franchise tax reports for an additional fee.


While registered agents and other compliance rules can be tricky, it's important to stay on top of all compliance obligations. Even a small misstep could lead to fines, business interruptions, and other costly consequences. Our Ongoing Compliance Guide has all the info you need to navigate the US compliance landscape.

Whether you have an existing company and registered agent or you're starting from scratch, our team is here to help. Hit the link below to start your incorporation, or contact us today to switch your current registered agent to Firstbase Agent. We can't wait to see what you achieve with Firstbase!

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