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To launch a Montana business, entrepreneurs need to do two things first: select a registered agent and file formation paperwork. This is true for any business entity type, whether you are forming a limited liability company (LLC), Montana corporation, or a non-profit.

For those who are new to the business world, your LLC formation paperwork is simply a document that’s filed with the Montana Secretary of State to legally establish a business. The entire document, which is called Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation, is a page or two long and can be submitted online. These documents are where you will list your selected registered agent, officially putting it on public record.

We’ll explore who can and can’t be a registered agent in a later section, as well as many other frequently asked questions regarding registered agents. To further assist new business owners as they launch their company, find more information about starting a Montana LLC here.

What is a Montana registered agent?

A Montana registered agent is a point of contact, either a person or company, that receives documents on behalf of your company. The documents are usually sensitive in nature and may include legal documents such as service of process, tax notifications, and other business documents. A registered agent is selected by the business owner and must be listed on the company’s LLC formation paperwork, as mentioned above.

Read more:  What is a registered agent?

How does an owner select a registered agent in Montana?

The business owner simply lists the registered agent’s name and agent’s address (this address will become the registered office for the business) on the Articles of Organization when completing their business filing with the Montana Secretary of State. If the registered agent changes, a statement of change form must be filed with the state.

Who can be a registered agent in Montana? 

A Montana registered agent could be the owner, but it can also be a friend, coworker, or neighbor. A registered agent can be another Montana company too, which includes a registered agent service. A registered agent service is a professional company that serves as your company’s registered agent for a fee.

The requirements that must be followed are:

  • The agent must have a Montana street address, must be a physical address, not a P.O. box
  • If the agent is a company it must be in good standing with the state and also have a physical office address
  • The person or company must be available during all normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Can I be my own registered agent in Montana?

Yes. A business owner can serve as the company’s registered agent in Montana. It’s common for an owner to do this, especially when a company is first starting. However, the owner may choose to select a different person or company for a variety of reasons.

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

A registered agent service will collect and organize important legal documents on behalf of your company for an annual fee. Some owners opt for a service for different reasons. To explore why an entrepreneur might go this route, here’s a look at the benefits of using a registered agent service as opposed to doing the job yourself:

  • Availability.  Since an agent must be at the registered office address during normal business hours, some business owners find it easier to have a service fill this role. Between meetings, travel, or juggling other responsibilities, some owners just aren’t available during the day to receive documents as needed.
  • Peace of mind. Appointing a registered agent gives the owner peace of mind knowing that documents are always collected and nothing is missed. The service will contact the owner as soon as any documents are received.
  • Privacy. The documents being delivered to a registered agent can be private, but sometimes, the delivery can create a spectacle. If your company is being sued, for example, the sight of a process server handing you papers and saying, “you’ve been served,” is best left to an off-site registered agent service.
  • Time savings. Registered agents will take the time to fill out your forms. Even if you have the knowledge and experience to fill out confusing or lengthy forms, using a professional service can save you time. Most services also offer an online account where you can easily and quickly access any documents you might need.

Read more:  Best Registered Agent Services

How much does a registered agent service cost in Montana?

A registered agent service can be as little as $50 a year (plus any additional state fees). For this amount, you’ll likely get basic features like mail forwarding. More advanced offerings do exist. For companies looking for online accounts, same-day document scans, and report reminders, the cost could increase to $100-200 a year.

List of Montana registered agent services 

Montana has dozens of registered agent services available, but to give you an idea of what’s out there here’s a look at three different options. Each of these companies offers additional services that might come in handy along the way.

  • 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.

Montana registered agent FAQs

Do I really need a registered agent in Montana?

Yes. Montana state law requires all businesses to keep a valid registered agent on file with the state.

Can a company change its registered agent?

Yes. You can file a Change of Registered Agent form with the Secretary of State or you can wait and make the change when you file the annual report. If you decide to file a change form, there is no filing fee.

What’s a statutory agent?

A statutory agent is another term for a registered agent. The name varies by state. Some states also use resident agent or service of process agent, since the agent is responsible for accepting documents served during a lawsuit.

What’s a commercial registered agent?

A commercial agent usually refers to a registered agent service. If you’re asked whether or not you have a commercial or non-commercial agent, the answer is commercial if you have a service and non-commercial if you or an employee fill the role.