Ready to start a business in Connecticut? For all of the entrepreneurs living in this southern New England state, we have a guide to help you establish a business, which includes selecting a registered agent.
A registered agent is a person or company that you select to receive important documents for the company. This isn’t someone who collects your mail, this person will receive legal documents and tax notices for the company. It’s an important role and one that every business owner should think about before setting up a company.
To help understand the role of a registered agent, including the possibility of selecting a registered agent service, this guide will provide answers to commonly asked questions. Since selecting a registered agent is tied to setting up a business, or an LLC, we’ll start there.
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How is an LLC formed in Connecticut?
To start an LLC in Connecticut, entrepreneurs need to file LLC formation paperwork. In the state of Connecticut, those papers are called Certificate of Organization. (In other states they’re referred to as Articles of Organization).
Before filing that paperwork, there are a few things business owners must do, which includes:
1. Naming the company
Every company needs a name. It’s usually one of the first things an entrepreneur decides. However, before settling on a name, it’s important to know that Connecticut has some rules that every owner has to follow.
For starters, the name can’t already be in use. In other words, if there’s another company in the state with the name that you want, you’ll need to come up with a new name. To check the availability of the company name, you can run a Business Registry Search on the Connecticut Secretary of State website.
In addition, there are several other rules that Connecticut has set out:
- The company name must include the words “Limited Liability Company” or “LLC.”
- The company name can’t include any government agency references (like FBI) that could confuse the public.
- Any claims that need substantiating will need further approval. A title that claims to be a financial institution or an academy, for example, will need to provide proof of these credentials.
2. Picking a registered agent
Part of your Certificate of Organization paperwork will require you to list a registered agent. A registered agent is someone who accepts legal documents for the company. You can be your own registered agent or pick another person or company.
This is an important role, so be sure to select someone who is trustworthy. This person or company should be able to contact you immediately as well.
3. Filing the Certificate of Organization
To form a Connecticut LLC you need to file a Certificate of Organization. The certificate will ask you to provide the name of your company, the name of the registered agent, list the services that the company provides, and the LLC organizer must sign or e-sign the document.
The document can be filed online with the secretary of state, or it can be mailed or handled in person.
There is a filing fee to file this paperwork with the state of $120.
4. Creating a company operating agreement
A business owner should take the time to create an operating agreement as well. The state doesn’t require this document, but business experts strongly advise it. This document outlines how the company will run.
It should outline rules, regulations, and provisions. It serves as a binding contract once the company opens and provides clarity on important things like investments, voting power, and allocations of profits and losses.
5. Obtaining an EIN
Your company needs to get an EIN to start running. An EIN, or an employee identification number, is issued by the IRS. It’s a nine-digit number that the government uses to identify tax accounts for your company. Think of it as your company’s social security number.
To get an EIN, simply go to the IRS website and in about five-minutes the number is issued to you online. It’s free to obtain.
The EIN is needed before a business can:
- Open bank accounts
- Hire employees
- Pay taxes
6. Filing an annual report
All Connecticut LLCs must file an annual report with the secretary of state. This report can be found on the secretary of state’s website. The report is meant to provide updates to the state. Even if nothing has changed, the report – and the fee – must be submitted each year. The fee is $20.
What is a Connecticut registered agent?
A Connecticut registered agent is a person or company that agrees to receive service of process notices, correspondence from the Secretary of State, and other official government notifications, usually tax forms and notice of lawsuits, on behalf of the LLC or corporation.
Do I really need a registered agent in Connecticut?
Yes. The state of Connecticut requires every LLC or corporation to list a registered agent on its formation paperwork. The registered agent serves as the point of contact and should be a person or a company that’s trusted and available during regular business hours to accept documentation if needed.
Can I be my own registered agent in Connecticut?
Yes. A business owner can be his or her own registered agent. Most entrepreneurs fill the role themselves. However, you can select a friend, another company, or even a registered agent service to take on the responsibility.
Who can be a registered agent in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, a registered agent can be yourself, another person, or another company in the state of Connecticut. Since another company can serve as a registered agent, that includes a registered agent service. A registered agent service can act as your company’s point of contact and forward notices to you.
Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service?
A registered agent service is beneficial to many owners. If you don’t want to serve as your own registered agent or aren’t comfortable with someone else filling this role, a service is ideal. Additional benefits of a registered agent service include:
- Convenience. With a registered agent service in charge of accepting official documents, it’s more convenient. You don’t have to feel as though you’re tied to a desk and can go about your day as usual. A registered agent service provides a convenience factor for many entrepreneurs.
- Peace of mind. With a registered agent service, a business owner knows that nothing will be missed. All documents will be received by a trusted company that will contact you when something comes in. Many companies have same-day scanning and mail forwarding services that provide peace of mind.
- Privacy. Some of the documents that a registered agent receives are best kept private. Service of process papers, for example, which is served when a company is sued, is something you’d probably like to keep confidential. To do so, it’s best that a registered agent service accepts the paperwork at an off-site location.
List of Connecticut registered agent services
There are dozens of registered agent services in every state. For a quick look at the services available in Connecticut, here’s a look at a few companies and their services:
- Incorp – With more than 200,000 clients worldwide, Incorp specializes in registered agent services. This service not only accepts documents but also keeps tabs on your company’s status with the state and can provide updates via an online portal. For a multi-year contract, the cost starts at $67 a year.
- Northwest Registered Agent – Northwest Registered Agent offers an online portal, real-time updates when mail is received, and pricing that remains the same each year. The company offers its services in several states and has years of experience in the field. It’s $125 a year for their services.
- Registered Agents Inc. – This company offers a secure online portal, digital notifications when notices are received, a team of people to offer support, and offices in every state. The cost for this service is $200 a year.
How much does a registered agent service cost in Connecticut?
Registered agent services are affordable, even for companies that are just starting out.
A registered agent service with mail forwarding services is usually $50 a year or less. For more advanced services like online accounts, same-day mail scans, email notifications, and reminders regarding annual reports, prices will increase. For these services expect to pay between $100-250 annually.
How does an owner select a registered agent in Connecticut?
To select a registered agent, the person or company is listed on the LLC formation documents that are filed with the state. The documents ask who the company’s registered agent is and what their address is.
Can a company change its registered agent?
Yes. To change the registered agent that’s associated with your company, you need to file a Change of Agent form with the Connecticut Secretary of State. The state charges $50 to make this change, which will be recorded within 3-5 business days. To expedite the process and have the change made in 24-hours, there’s an additional fee of $50.
What’s a statutory agent?
Depending on the state, a registered agent could be called something different like a statutory agent. The name varies by state. The name service of the process agent is also used, which describes the legal paperwork associated with lawsuits.
What’s a commercial registered agent?
Some states ask if the selected registered agent is commercial or non-commercial. A commercial registered agent service is a company that you pay to fill the role. A non-commercial registered agent is a person or company – who’s not paid – to be your company’s registered agent.