Registered Agents Maryland: Do You Need One?

A Maryland registered agent is an individual or a business entity authorized to do some form of business in the state.

The main role of a registered agent is to receive legal documents and communications on behalf of their client/customer.

Registered agents are required by law in most states, including Maryland, Oregon, Florida, and many others.

In Maryland, many companies use a full-service Maryland company formation firm to take care of all aspects of their business registration requirements, including:

  • choosing a name
  • signing up for federal tax identification numbers
  • opening bank accounts
  • appointing agents who will be legally responsible for receiving legal documents at the statutory address, you created on your Articles of Incorporation filing with the State of Maryland’s Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Registered Agent Requirements In Maryland

  1. To change a registered agent or appoint a new one, you must fill out the appropriate forms with the Secretary of State’s Office.
  2. You can find this form titled “Statement by Foreign LLC Filling Authority to Change Registered Agent” on the Department of Assessments and Taxation website.
  3. The Statement should be filed at least 15 days before changing your registered agent.
  4. Additionally, if you are willing to accept service of process on behalf of your business entity, you should check box number 3 on page 1 of this document to indicate that your company is willing to act as an agent for receiving legal documents.

Compliance with Laws

A registered agent can make sure that your business is compliant with any laws required by the state where they operate from. A responsible registered agent will work with you to understand the filing requirements in your state.

A registered agent is required by law to forward any official paperwork, including court summonses and subpoenas, within a certain time frame. Your registered agent must fulfill this duty correctly, or it can affect your business.

If you’re not sure if you should appoint a registered agent service, contact us through our contact form for more information about how we can help protect your business.

Registered agent duties

Registered agents have a legal duty to keep their clients updated with valid information such as any change of physical street address.

This is why you will notice that many registered agent companies or individuals will ask customers to confirm their current address, change of address, and other important contact details regularly.

Failure to maintain accurate records could fail your company to receive important documents such as tax forms, franchise and property tax bills, and more.

The registered agent must:

  • Accept service of process on behalf of the business
  • Keep current records of address and contact information for your business file
  • Receive tax forms and other important communications from the stat
  • Respond to official inquiries from the state within 15 days of receiving them
  • Forward important notifications, summons, and other documents

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in Maryland?

No. The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation requires that any company wishing to appoint an agent file this statement with the agency before allowing your company to act as its own registered agent.

If you want to appoint a registered agent, you may search for one online at the DSAT website or hire a service provider such as LegalZoom.

Can I Hire a Registered Agent from outside of Maryland?

Yes, most states allow companies from outside of the state to be appointed if they reside in a reciprocal state.

Most full-service business incorporation firms will offer out-of-state registered agents services for this reason.

As long as there is reciprocity between your home state and Maryland, you can appoint a registered agent from outside of the state.

Is a Registered Agent Liable?

No. A registered agent is not liable for the activities of their client/customer.

This is why they are required by law to accept any legal documents on behalf of the company they represent.

Should I Use a Professional Registered Agent Service?

Yes. If you are operating an entity in Maryland, it is advisable that you appoint a registered agent service to handle receiving documents on your behalf.

Appointing a registered agent is required by law. It can be beneficial to help protect the privacy of your personal information and provide extra security against any intrusion into your business affairs.

Advantages

  • You won’t have to reveal your personal mailing address
  • You will not be required to sign for important mail like court summonses or other official documents that could affect the status of your business.
  • Any documents sent to you by representatives will be shared with the company, allowing both parties concerned.
  • The registered agent service will keep records of all communications received on behalf of their client/customer and can help track any official paperwork which needs to be forwarded on

Disadvantages

  • If you are operating a sole proprietorship, it may be difficult to appoint someone outside of Maryland as your registered agent because legitimate interests must be represented in the state where the activity occurs.
  • A full-service company formation business should be able to appoint a registered agent for your entity in Maryland and provide a Maryland registered office address within the state to allow both privacy and security.
  • Registered agent service is also beneficial to business entities that conduct activities throughout other states or countries while still operating from a single location. It’s important to note that there must be reciprocity between all states where you wish to conduct business.

Best Maryland Registered Agent Services

ZenBusiness Registered Agent Services LLC

ZenBusiness Registered Agent Services is a USA-based registered agent service working with clients throughout the United States.

  • They are one of the few Registered Agents who are experienced in working with international companies.
  • They offer a simple online process to appoint them as your registered agent service, allowing you to appoint an alternative agent within 15 days if required.
  • Their pricing starts at $50/year for US incorporation and $75/year for US LLC formation.
  • ZenBusiness provides an address within Maryland that is serviced 7 days per week.
  • They work with clients all year round, ensuring responsiveness throughout any situation (including holidays).
  • Corporate documents are scanned using state of the art equipment and sent electronically or by mail to ensure safe receipt.
  • Their secure website allows you to track all official documents received on behalf of their client/customer.
  • ZenBusiness offers a number of other services, including registered office addresses, virtual office solutions, the formation of domestic and foreign LLCs, etc.

Sole Proprietorship

If you are running a single-member LLC or sole proprietorship that doesn’t require an address, then ZenBusiness Registered Agent Services is the right choice for you.

A full-service company formation business should be able to appoint a registered agent for your entity in Maryland and provide an address within the state to allow both privacy and security.

LegalZoom Registered Agent Services

LegalZoom offers different types of registered agent services depending on your needs. They range from a simple registered agent service to a full-service company formation.

The LegalZoom basic registered agent service costs $50/year and includes:

  • Confirmation of receipts of your annual reports
  • Forwarding up to 10 important documents per year
  • A generic address within the state where a mailbox can be rented for an additional fee

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent is a full-service registered agent service that provides support to entrepreneurs and their businesses.

They offer an incorporation package for $99 for new companies and $49 for existing clients.

All of their services include:

  • A professional address within Maryland
  • Unlimited document receipt/delivery
  • 24-hour access to online account dashboard
  • Your first year’s fee included in the price (normally $50)
  • No contract is required, only requiring 30 days’ notice before you cancel your subscription. There are no additional taxes or fees on top of those already charged by the state government as well as the company formation business itself!
  • Their staff are experts in the area of business formation and can help you through any stage of company formation or management.
  • An official registered agent service is required for all legal purposes, especially if your business is conducting activities outside of Maryland.

How to Elect a Registered Agent in Maryland?

To elect a registered agent partner, you can simply create an account with the service your business chooses.

An initial fee will be charged to cover the first year of services, and from there on out, you’ll have access to all of their features at a cost that is usually less than $50/year!

  1. If you’re making an association or partnership, then it’s important to appoint a registered agent as a representative for each other.
  2. When setting up a limited liability company, sole proprietorship, or any other legal entity for that matter, it may be required by law. If so, then depending on how large your organization will grow and if you plan to expand throughout other states or even countries, appointing a registered agent in Maryland could also be beneficial.
  3. A registered agent service can also provide a professional address and will forward any documents that you receive.

You may wish to appoint an individual to be your company’s representative or simply appoint a full-service registered agent service to handle the administrative side of things.

How to Change Your Registered Agent in Maryland?

To change a registered agent, you have the option of either appointing a new one completely or simply updating your current representative.

  • You must file an amendment with the state to update any changes made to your registered agent service details.
  • Without altering your existing registered agent service, changes to Board members, company officers, or even company names can be made.
  • If you do not appoint another service, it may result in termination by default, requiring you to send mail directly to the State Division of Corporations.
  • The first step is filling out and filing the appropriate paperwork with the State Division of Corporations.
  • Alongside this form should be paid for any applicable fees associated (usually under $100).
  • Once filed, it will take around 1-2 weeks for approval and a few extra days to receive all of your documents from the state.

The information required by the State Division of Corporations varies but typically includes:

  1. Registered agent’s name
  2. Registered agent address
  3. Company name and jurisdiction of formation

How much does a Maryland registered agent cost?

The cost of registered agent services in Maryland can vary depending on your needs. You may wish to appoint an individual as the representative for your business, or you may choose to go with a full-service registered agent partner where they’ll take care of all aspects for you.

It’s important that you thoroughly check out any company offering such services and ensure it is reputable and trustworthy before proceeding so as not to risk having your association terminated by default!

Some companies charge $50/year, while others might be around $100 for quality services.

How much does it cost to change my registered agent?

Updating an existing registered agent can be done without any fees associated.

If you choose to appoint a new service, though, there may be applicable costs depending on the company you select.

Does registered agent mean owner?

The registered agent does not necessarily denote ownership, and it only means that the individual has been appointed as a representative for your business by you.

Can anyone be a registered agent?

No, a registered agent needs to be a person who is over the age of 18 and is an active legal resident of Maryland.

It is not possible for a business or company to appoint themselves as their own representative, nor can an individual represent multiple companies.

What is the service of process?

Once you’ve appointed someone as your registered agent, they will be required to accept and sign for any documents or notices that are served to your company. This is called service of process and must be completed within a certain amount of time, typically 10 days. The representative has to file an affidavit with the State Division of Corporations.

It’s important that you check out your designated registered agent carefully before appointing them so that when service of process is needed, you’ll have peace of mind in knowing that this vital task is being handled promptly and professionally.

A service of process agent is someone who has been appointed to receive documents for your business. This is not the same as a registered agent but rather an additional designation.

What is a statutory agent?

A statutory agent is someone who a company has appointed to be their legal representative in the case of any actions, claims, or lawsuits that may arise.

This person must be an active Maryland resident and often hold additional qualifications, such as a licensed attorney.

What is a resident agent?

A resident agent is a term used to describe an individual who has been appointed as the registered agent for a business entity that operates or will operate in a state other than where they reside.

This person must maintain a physical presence in the state of registration and be available during normal business hours.

What is an outside agency?

An outside agency isn’t directly affiliated with your company but provides services on your behalf, like banking, payroll, or payment processing.

Since these companies are third parties, you’ll need to ensure that their service complies with all relevant rules and regulations.

What’s a commercial registered agent?

A commercial registered agent is a term used to describe a licensed and bonded individual who has met the qualifications and rules required by Maryland Business Express for service of process.

This means that they’ll be able to accept documents or notices on your behalf, ensuring that these are filed within the proper amount of time.

What’s official communication?

Official communication includes legal documents such as summonses, complaints, subpoenas, and more.

It also includes other items such as customer complaint responses or other notifications that may be related to pending litigation or litigation that has previously been undertaken

Why Businesses Use a Maryland Registered Agent Service

Businesses choose to appoint a registered agent service for many different reasons. A few includes:

  • An outside agency can also be your registered agent
  • There are a variety of other tasks that you might require help with, such as setting up a bank account or processing payroll, all of which could fall under the designation of official communication.
  • Depending on what type of business entity you’ve established, there may be additional requirements and regulations that apply to your company’s registered agent service.

What types of businesses are required to have Maryland resident agents?

In general, most businesses are required to have a resident agent in the state of Maryland. The only exceptions include foreign corporations that do not maintain an office or registered agent within Maryland and public service companies such as utility or transportation companies.

What is the penalty if you don’t appoint a Maryland resident agent service?

If you fail to appoint a resident agent, you may be subject to certain penalties such as fines and court costs. This also applies to reserving your company name or other actions related to filings with the State Division of Corporations.

You could either establish your business entity in another state so that you can appoint someone else there instead of appointing an individual in Maryland, or you can hire a commercial registered agent.

What Happens If My Maryland Registered Agent Doesn’t Fulfill Their Responsibilities?

 If your business entity’s Maryland resident agent fails to fulfill their responsibilities, you could face serious consequences such as fines and penalties. In extreme cases, the state could seize your company. In order to avoid this, it’s recommended that you appoint a commercial registered agent as your resident agent.

What types of companies do not need an MD registered agent?

In general, businesses that are required to have a resident agent may also choose to designate a commercial registered agent. However, there aren’t any specific types or classifications of corporations or LLCs that would fall under the designated exceptions and therefore wouldn’t be required to appoint an individual in Maryland as their resident agent.

This also applies to foreign corporations that don’t maintain an office or place of business in Maryland.

How long does the designation last?

The designation will remain in effect for as long as your company continues its legal status with the State of Maryland. This means that if you terminate the designation at any time, you will no longer be required to have an MD registered agent unless you re-establish once again

There are no additional or separate fees to pay when appointing a commercial registered agent. The only fee you’ll see is the price associated with filing documents with the state.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many reasons why businesses choose to appoint a commercial registered agent service. If your business is required to have one in Maryland, it’s important that you choose someone who will be able to meet your requirements and expectations.

By hiring an outside agency, you’ll receive help with proper communication so that all notifications or summonses are sent out properly and on time every time!

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