In Florida, a registered agent is commonly referred to as a “Registered Agent for Service of Process”. The agent is an individual or business entity that is appointed to accept legal documents and service of process on behalf of a business. Their primary role is to ensure all documents are properly received and processed. They play a crucial role in facilitating communication between the business and legal or regulatory authorities.
What Is a Florida Registered Agent?
A Florida Registered Agent is a person or company that receives legal documents and official notices on behalf of a business registered in the state of Florida. The registered agent is always available at a specified address to receive official communication. They then deliver these documents to the company directors or members in a timely manner.
A Florida registered agent must have a physical street address in the state. This is known as the registered office, where legal documents can be received during regular business hours. Failing to maintain an active registered agent can lead to legal and administrative issues. Many businesses choose to use professional registered agent services to fulfill this vital role to ensure legal compliance and smooth communication with authorities.
What Does a Florida Registered Agent Do?
A Florida Registered Agent, also known as a Registered Agent for Service of Process, plays a crucial role in the legal and administrative operations of a business entity in Florida. Every Florida registered company must have a registered agent – it is a legal obligation. They serve as a point of contact between the business and the legal and regulatory authorities.
This ensures the business stays informed and in compliance with state laws and regulations. The role involves several responsibilities that must be met, let’s take a closer look.
1: Receipt of Legal Documents
The primary responsibility of a registered agent in the state of Florida is to receive legal documents and official notices on behalf of the business. This includes legal notices, lawsuits, tax documents, and all official government correspondence.
2: Timely Notification
They ensure that the business owners, (company directors, members, etc.), are informed of any legal actions or official notices received by forwarding these documents to the designated contact within the company. This must be done in a timely manner.
3: Registered Office
The agent must have a physical street address within the state of Florida where they can reliably receive documents during regular business hours. This location is known as the registered office. A PO box cannot be used.
Registered agents must comply with state regulations regarding their role and promptly update their information with the Florida Department of State. If any of their contact information changes, this must be promptly communicated to the Department of State.
What Are the Requirements?
To serve as a Florida Registered Agent, an individual or entity must meet specific criteria and requirements as set forth by the Department of State. Here are the key requirements a Florida Registered Agent must meet.
1: Physical Presence
A Florida registered agent must maintain a physical street address within the state of Florida where they can receive important legal documents and official notices during regular business hours. PO boxes are not acceptable. It must be a real, physical, street address.
2: Available During Regular Business Hours
The registered agent or their designated representative must be available to receive documents during regular business hours. Typically, this means they must be present at the specified address from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
3: Legal Age (18+)
If the registered agent is an individual they must be at least 18 years old.
4: Consent to Serve
The registered agent must consent to serve as an agent for the company. And, they must be aware of their responsibilities. Typically, consent to serve is documented in the articles of incorporation (for corporations) or the articles of organization (for LLCs).
5: Compliance & Communication
Registered agents must comply with state regulations and promptly update their contact information with the Florida Department of State if it changes. They must also promptly communicate all legal and official documents received to the appropriate company members.
How to Appoint a Florida Registered Agent
Appointing a registered agent in Florida is straightforward. However, it involves several steps to ensure compliance with state requirements. Let’s take a closer look at how to appoint a registered agent in Florida.
1: Choose a Registered Agent
First up, you need to choose a registered agent. You’ll need to select an individual or entity that meets your needs and satisfies the qualifications for a registered agent in Florida. Remember, the agent must have a physical address in the state and be available during regular business hours.
2: Company Formation
If you’re forming a new company such as an LLC or a corporation, you can appoint a registered agent during the formation process. All you have to do is provide the agent’s name and address in your articles of organization (for LLCs), or articles of incorporation (for corporations).
3: Existing Businesses
If your business is already established and you need to change or appoint a new registered agent, you can do so by filing the appropriate form with the Florida Department of State. The form to use depends on your type of business. LLCs complete the “Statement of Change of Registered Office or Registered Agent” (Form LLC 5). And, corporations use the “Statement of Change of Registered Office or Registered Agent” (Form CR2E047).
4: Form Submission & Filing Fee
Once your paperwork is in order, it’s time to file it with the Department of State and pay the appropriate filing fee. Forms can be submitted online through the Department of State’s website or by mail. Check the current fee schedule on the Florida Department of State’s website, as fees change over time.
Once your submission is processed and approved, you will receive confirmation from the Florida Department of State indicating that your registered agent appointment or change has been accepted.
Who Can Serve as a Florida Registered Agent?
A Florida Registered Agent can be either an individual or a business entity authorized to conduct business in the state of Florida. The agent must have a physical street address within Florida and be available during regular business hours to receive legal documents and official notices on behalf of the company.
A Florida registered agent can be an individual as long as they meet the residency and availability requirements of acting as a registered agent. This can be a company owner, manager, or any other person associated with the business
2: Business Entity
Businesses can also act as a Registered Agent for Service of Process. The business entity must also meet the residency and availability requirements of acting as an agent in the state of Florida.
3: Professional Registered Agent Service
Many businesses opt to use a professional registered agent service. These services specialize in acting as registered agents on behalf of a company. They provide all the services and experience of a registered agent for a small fee. Using a professional service helps ensure compliance and reliable document handling.
Can You Be a Registered Agent for Your Own Company?
Yes, you can serve as the registered agent for your own company in Florida. Many business owners choose to do so. You must have a physical address within the state and be available during regular business hours to receive legal documents and official notices. This option is particularly common for small businesses and sole proprietorships.
However, it’s essential to ensure that you meet all the requirements of a registered agent. To act as a registered agent (Registered Agent for Service of Process) you must have a physical address in Florida and be available during business hours, Monday to Friday. You must also be aged 18 years or older.
If you anticipate any challenges in meeting these requirements, you should consider employing the services of a professional registered agent – for a small fee. A professional registered agent service will help ensure compliance with state regulations and efficient handling of legal documents.
About the Author
Jason Roth: Editor in Chief
Jason is editor in chief at My LLC Guide. He holds a wealth of business management experience and has been advising companies on business formation issues for many years. Jason specializes in resource planning management, staff utilization, and productivity consulting.
He has worked predominantly in the west coast area where he graduated from the Marshall Business School at the University of South California. When he’s not working in his business advisory role, Jason likes to climb on his Indian Scout motorbike and enjoy the open road.