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What is a Registered Agent?

Updated: Apr 17, 2022

Incorporating your business at the Washington State Secretary of State website can be confusing and overwhelming. The list of questions the state asks includes what person or company shall act as your registered agent and where they are located. This post explains what a registered agent is and the requirements for one.

If you create your company in Washington State, the company must have a way to receive legal documents in the state. These documents include annual reports, notices and legal service of process. The registered agent is the person or entity you designate who can receive those documents.

That requires your company has a person or entity with a physical address in the state. Your company can do business all over the country and the world, but it still needs a registered agent in Washington State as long as the company remains incorporated here.

The registered agent can be an individual. That individual must have a physical address in Washington State. The mailing address may be different from the physical address. But the physical address cannot be a PO Box or a virtual address. You, someone else at your company or someone you know may serve as the registered agent. Whoever is the registered agent must consent to serving before you appoint them as the agent.

You can also use a commercial registered agent. A commercial registered agent is a company that provides registered agent services. Their prices vary, and you can find reviews and rankings of them online. Business owners sometimes use commercial registered agents if they do not want to list their personal residence as the registered agent address because the registered agent's address is public information. Other times, businesses use a commercial registered agent if they are incorporating the business in Washington, but do not have anyone in the state to serve as a registered agent.

The information provided on my blog is not legal advice and should not be relied on as legal advice. Anyone reviewing this post should use it as only a first step in understanding how the S-Corp election works. LLC members should consult with a lawyer before making any decisions.

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