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To set up a business in Massachusetts, entrepreneurs need to file official paperwork with the state and select a registered agent. The process to legally establish a business in the state isn’t difficult, but if you’re not familiar with the process – it can be a bit confusing.

Entrepreneurs have to accomplish a few things before filling out the LLC formation paperwork, like selecting a company name and picking a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or company that accepts official documents for your company. The person or company that holds this position should be trustworthy and reliable. This person will likely receive sensitive documents that might pertain to your company’s financial or legal situation, so it’s important to be selective.

To help new business owners set up a Massachusetts LLC and select a qualified registered agent, this guide answers frequently asked questions on the topic.

What is a Massachusetts registered agent?

A Massachusetts registered agent is a person or company that accepts documents, some of which are sensitive in nature, for a company. The documents could include tax notices, government correspondence, or documents served during a lawsuit.

Read more:  What is a registered agent?

How does an owner select a registered agent in Massachusetts?

The owner lists the registered agent on the Certificate of Organization. The person or company’s name and address are needed.

Who can be a registered agent in Massachusetts? 

In Massachusetts, a registered agent can be any resident or company in the state with a physical street address. A P.O. box isn’t allowed. The person or company should be available during regular business hours as well, to accept mail and documents that are delivered in person. An individual must be a minimum of 18 years old.

Can I be my own registered agent in Massachusetts?

Yes. An owner can be the company’s registered agent. It’s common for the owner or another employee to serve in this role. However, there are other choices, including hiring a registered agent service to collect the documents for the company and notify the owner when they arrive.

Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service? 

Wondering why someone would hire a registered agent service as opposed to assigning the job to the owner or an employee. Here’s a look at why some owners decide to hire this out:

  • Peace of mind. The documents that a registered agent receives are important, and for some owners, it provides peace of mind knowing that a reputable company is handling this task.
  • Availability. Not every owner is available during regular business hours. Some owners work from the company office, so being the company’s registered agent makes sense. Others, however, travel or have frequent offsite meetings that prevent them from staying in one location during the day. For busy, on-the-go owners, a registered agent service is easier.
  • Privacy. If your company is sued, the registered agent is “served” with the papers. While no company plans to get sued, if it does happen some owners prefer that it be handled offsite for privacy reasons.

Read more:  Best Registered Agent Services

How much does a registered agent service cost in Massachusetts?

The cost of a registered agent service will vary. Cost depends on how involved you want the company to be. If you simply want the company to serve as your registered agent and notify you of any documents that come in, it’s a fairly affordable situation. Expect to pay roughly $50 a year. For more involved services, like help filing annual reports and access to file storage, expect to pay $100-250 a year.

List of Massachusetts registered agent services 

There are many qualified registered agent services in Massachusetts to choose from. Each one offers different features and varying pricing. To give you an idea of what’s out there, here’s a look at several possible choices. Each of these companies also offers a-la-carte business services that may come in handy at a later date.

  • Northwest Registered Agent is one of the most recognized names in the registered agent business. The company has decades of experience and local offices scattered across the U.S. to serve small businesses like yours. The cost for a registered agent service is comparable to others. Business owners can also take advantage of additional services like report filing.
  • ZenBusiness is fairly new to the market, but it’s grown a strong following. Business owners love the affordable rates for a registered agent service, which are as low as $99 per year. The company also offers worry-free compliance to help business owners file the necessary reports on time.
  • Harbor Compliance is a great fit for organizations that register in multiple states and for those who don’t want to pay excessive service fees. With their network and electronic document delivery, they help ensure your business never misses a legal notification.

Massachusetts registered agent FAQs

Do I really need a registered agent in Massachusetts?

Yes. The State of Massachusetts requires all LLCs to list a registered agent on its Certificate of Organization.

Can a company change its registered agent?

Yes. To do so, you must submit a Statement of Change of Registered Agent form to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. There is a $25 filing fee.

What’s a statutory agent?

A statutory agent is another name for a registered agent. The title varies by state. In Arizona, for example, the term statutory agent is used, while other states like Massachusetts use the title registered agent. Registered agent is the most common title.

What’s a commercial registered agent? 

A commercial agent is a registered agent service. Since you’re paying the company to fill this role, it’s considered commercial. If a person, like an owner or another employee, is serving as the company’s registered agent, they’re considered non-commercial agents.