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If you’re considering starting a new business in Texas, we’re here to help. One of the first things a business owner will need to do is select a registered agent to have on public record with the Texas Secretary of State. If you’re not sure what a registered agent is, this guide will provide the basic knowledge you’ll need and answer many commonly asked questions.

However, selecting a registered agent is just one piece of setting up a Texas LLC. To learn more about forming a limited liability company (LLC), click here.

What is a Texas registered agent?

A Texas registered agent is an individual, company, or professional service that receives any legal mail, legal notices, or legal documents (such as service of process) on behalf of a business entity. They will also be tasked with handling varying state matters like annual reports, franchise tax, and certificates of good standing. These documents, which are usually sensitive in nature, are usually delivered in person or by certified mail. Since confidentiality is important here, the person or company selected for this role must be trustworthy and reliable.

Read more:  What is a registered agent?

How does an owner select a registered agent in Texas?

A business owner officially selects a registered agent by listing the person or company name as well as their contact information on the company’s formation documents, or certificate of formation. State law also requires the selected party to consent to this role and sign a form stating such. Failure to prove consent can result in potential state fees or other legal issues with the state. You will need to mail the formation documents and consent form to the Secretary of State’s office in Austin or file online using sosdirect. Should a business ever need to select a new registered agent, these documents will need to be updated.

What are the registered agent requirements in Texas? 

The business owner themselves, or another individual, like an employee or friend can be the company’s registered agent. Another company, like a registered agent service, can also fill this role. Regardless of which route a business owner chooses, a Texas registered agent must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Be an adult 18 years or older
  2. The agent’s address (which will be used as the registered office) must be a physical street address in Texas, not a P.O. box or virtual office
  3. Consistently be available during regular business hours on normal business days (Monday through Friday)

Can I be my own registered agent in Texas?

Yes. A Texas business owner can be listed as their company’s registered agent. It’s common for the owner to serve in this role, especially if they want to save money, but it’s also important to consider the other options that can fill the role as well.

Why would a business entity choose to work with a professional registered agent service?

A professional registered agent service is a paid company that will perform the role of the registered agent for your business. For a fee, the company is listed on public record as your registered agent, accepts legal documents as needed, and quickly notifies the owner of all deliveries or service of process. For some business owners, having a registered agent service is ideal. Here are the benefits of such a service:

  • Convenience. Some business owners may travel often or don’t have daytime availability for other reasons. If that is the case, it can be beneficial to use this kind of service, as they are guaranteed to be available during normal business hours to collect any documents that might arrive. These services also often provide users with an online account that safely and securely stores all business filings and documents in one place.
  • Peace of mind. For some business owners, having a service collect and handle legal documents provides peace of mind. The owner knows nothing will get missed and that they will be notified immediately if something important arrives.
  • Privacy. Since some of the documents sent to a registered agent are sensitive, having them sent to an offsite location, instead of their business address, is best for retaining the privacy of some business owners.
  • A registered office. Not every business owner has a physical address in Texas to list as their registered office. By using a registered agent service, you’ll be able to use the agent’s business address as your registered office to easily satisfy this state requirement.

Read more:  Best Registered Agent Services

How much does a registered agent service cost in Texas?

The cost of a registered agent service will vary in Texas. The cost depends on the services you’d like to take advantage of. For basic services, like document scanning, mail forwarding, and immediate notification, the cost can be as little as $50-75 a year. For more assistance, like help filing annual reports with the state or with handling franchise tax, the cost will likely hover between $100-200.

List of registered agent services

There are several registered agent services in Texas. To find one that suits your company, a simple Google search will produce a long list of reputable registered agent services, as the Texas Secretary of State cannot provide a list. To give you an idea of the kinds of services (and prices) that are out there, here’s a list of three possibilities to start with:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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Texas registered agent FAQs

What is a registered office?

All Texas businesses are required to have a registered office. This must be a physical address in Texas, open during business hours, where the company’s registered agent can be reached by a process server should a lawsuit be filed against the company. This registered office is also where the Office of the Secretary of State will mail any other correspondence. The registered office address may be the same as the business entity’s address.

Do I really need a registered agent in Texas?

Yes. All states, including the State of Texas, require your LLC or other business entity type to always have a registered agent on public record. Unlike some other states, the Texas Secretary of State will not serve as your registered agent.

What is the penalty for not having a registered agent in Texas? 

If a company fails to maintain a registered agent they risk facing termination of their business entity.

Can a company change its registered agent?

Yes. If a company is selecting a new registered agent or they need to change their current registered agent’s information, it can be done by filing a statement of change with the state. The filing fee for this is $15.

What’s a statutory agent?

A statutory agent is the same as a registered agent. Different states have different names. The terms resident agent and service of process agent are also used, although most states use the title registered agent.

What’s a commercial registered agent?

When filling out formation paperwork, you might be asked if the appointed registered agent is commercial or non-commercial. The definition of a commercial registered agent is a registered agent service, a non-commercial agent is a person or company that you’ve appointed to do the job but isn’t paid to do so.

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