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Whether a business owner is forming a business corporation, nonprofit, or limited liability company (LLC) in New York, one of the first steps in the process will be choosing a registered agent (sometimes referred to as a statutory agent or resident agent) to have on public record with the New York Secretary of State.

To better understand how a registered agent fits in the process of starting a New York business, here’s a look at how an LLC is formed in New York.

What is a New York registered agent?

A registered agent is a trusted point of contact chosen by the business owner to accept any tax, legal documents, or service of process on behalf of a New York company.

However, unlike other states, New York businesses do not initially select their own registered agent. Instead, the New York Department of State (sometimes referred to as the Secretary of State or Division of Corporations) is always considered the default registered agent for any New York business.

Even though the New York Department of State serves as the initial registered agent, business owners will also be asked to list a physical address where all documents will be forward, or choose a secondary point of contact to have on public record. This is optional, but maybe the business owner, another individual, or registered agent service.

Read more:  What is a registered agent?

How does an owner select a registered agent in New York?

The business owner will list one as their second point of contact on their Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation (depending on whether they are forming a New York LLC or New York corporation).

Who can be a New York registered agent?

If a business entity chooses to have a registered agent besides the New York Secretary of State, they will need to fulfill the following requirements:

  1. They must have a registered office in the state of New York with a valid street address, as a P.O. box is not allowed
  2. They must be available during normal business hours on normal business days
  3. They must be willing to accept and forward all important legal documents or business documents to the business owner in a timely fashion

Individuals wishing to serve as registered agents must be at least 18 years old.

Can I be my own registered agent in New York?

Yes. While the New York Secretary of State will still always be the first to receive any legal documents, it will forward them to the point of contact that is listed on the Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation. This person is legally allowed to be the business owner themself in the state of New York.

If New York state is the registered agent, is a registered agent service necessary? 

In New York, a business owner can still choose a registered agent service as the secondary point of contact or registered agent if they do not want to fulfill this role themselves or choose another individual to do.

If a registered agent service is chosen, the state will forward all necessary documents to their listed business address, and the registered agent service will then be responsible for contacting the business owner.

What are the benefits of working with a registered agent service in New York?

Since the New York secretary of state is already considered the registered agent for every business, is there even a benefit to working with a professional registered agent? Yes. There are many, actually. Here’s a look at why some New York business owners opt for a registered agent service:

  • Experience. Some business owners may find dealing with legal notices or service of process complicated and therefore choose to have a registered agent service. Knowing they have experience in the field can give the business owner peace of mind that their business will remain in good standing with the state at all times.
  • Location. A business owner might be new to New York or live out of state and therefore does not yet have an office address or business address. If this is the case, they are able to use the registered agent’s address to fulfill this necessary requirement. This could be also beneficial if a business is based online.
  • Time. If a business owner travels a lot or has an unpredictable schedule, a registered agent service can guarantee they will be consistently available during normal business hours and business days, so there is always someone available to receive any business documents or other important notifications.
  • Privacy. The state may need to forward sensitive legal documents to the company, and some owners may prefer that the communication is handled offsite and discreetly told to the owner, as to not disrupt them doing business.

Read more:  Best Registered Agent Services

How much does a registered agent service cost in New York?

The cost of a registered agent service will vary. A company that simply forwards legal notices or notifies a business owner when documents arrive could cost as little as $50 a year.

However, for additional fees, some companies may offer more services such as filing annual reports, helping with general LLC formation, or handling the New York publication requirement. These services could cost upwards of $100-250. Business owners will also want to be aware of any additional filing fees or state fees that may accompany these services.

List of New York registered agent services 

Every state including New York has dozens of qualified registered agents. Below are three possibilities. All three of these companies are able to serve as a business entity’s secondary contact, after the New York Secretary of State. They can also provide additional business services as mentioned above.

  • 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.
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New York registered agent FAQs

Can a company change its registered agent?

While a business owner cannot remove the New York Department of State as the company’s default registered agent, they can change the secondary point of contact originally listed on their Articles of Organization at any time.

To do so, the business owner will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Fill out a Certificate of Change form outlining what the point of contact is changing (this could be the name, address, or switching from an individual to a registered agent service) and submit it to the state of New York Department of State by mail, fax, or in person.
  2. Pay a $30 filing fee

What is the difference between a statutory agent and a registered agent?

A statutory agent is the same as a registered agent. The name used may vary from state to state. While the most common title is often registered agent, the term agent for service of process or resident agent is also used if starting a new business in another state.

What is Service of Process?

This is the term for the legal process of informing a business entity that legal action is being taken against them, usually involving the business owner being sent legal documents.

What is the New York publication requirement? 

The New York publication requirement insists any newly formed New York LLC or corporation publish a copy of its Articles of Organization, or similar announcement, in two newspapers within a 120 day period following filing the formation documents. The newspapers will then issue an Affidavit of Publication which must be filed with the New York Department of State along with a Certificate of Publication and a filing fee of $50.

What’s a Biennial Statement? 

Every two years a New York business must file a Biennial statement in order to verify the following:

  1. The name and address of its chief executive officer (CEO)
  2. The address of its executive office
  3. The physical address of its registered agent/secondary point of contact
  4. The number of board member directors and how many are women
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