How to Find the Best Registered Agent in Massachusetts
What is a Massachusetts resident agent?
A resident agent is also known as a registered or statutory agent in other states. The Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth defines a resent agent as a business entity or individual that accepts service of process and other official correspondence in the interest of a business.
According to Massachusetts General Law, all business organizations formed in Massachusetts must appoint and maintain a resident agent regardless of business structure.
It is the duty of a registered agent to accept legal documents and important documents, including:
- Articles of Organization – formation documents for a Massachusetts LLC
- Articles of Incorporation – corporations file the document upon formation
- Annual report fee– due on the anniversary of business formation each year
- Certificate of Good Standing – required to open business bank accounts in MA
- Massachusetts corporation excise tax – due the 5th day of the 3rd month after the end of the taxable year.
A resident agent is a physical street address
When you appoint an agent, you’re ensuring the Secretary of the Commonwealth that someone is physically available at a street address during normal business hours to receive official correspondence.
The added benefit of having a registered agent with a physical address is that you can list the service address as the business address to keep your personal one out of the public record.
An agent is your business’s point of contact
The appointed registered agent accepts time-sensitive legal notices such as summons from the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
You have thirty days to respond to a subpoena in Massachusetts.
Failure to respond to a summons can lead to default judgments, and the judge can deem the inaction a contempt of the court.
Your resident agent is an up-to-date compliance calendar
The annual report fee in Massachusetts is due on the anniversary of business formation every year.
A business that doesn’t submit the fee on time risks losing good standing in Massachusetts and can lose all liability protection.
Your appointed professional registered agent service will remind you when the annual report and other fees are due and help you file the proper documents.
Cost of a resident agent in Massachusetts
For no charge to your business, you can appoint yourself, a spouse, or someone else you know as a resident agent as long as the individual meets the registered agent requirements.
The Secretary of the Commonwealth requires a resident agent to be at least 18 and have a street address in Massachusetts.
An outside registered agent service can cost between $50 and $500, depending on your required services.
When to appoint a resident agent
When you submit business formation documents to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, you will provide the resident agent information.
Limited liability companies (LLC) in Massachusetts produce the resident agent name and address on the Articles of Organization.
Corporations use the Articles of Incorporation to appoint the resident agent.
According to Massachusetts state law, all businesses must appoint a resident agent regardless of structure.
Other business structures include:
- Sole proprietorships
How does a Massechusetts LLC appoint a resident agent?
File the Articles of Organization
You will download and complete the limited liability company certificate of organization form and submit it to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by mail or in person.
William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, Room 1717
Boston, MA 02108
Appoint your resident agent
Section 6 of the Massachusetts LLC certificate of organization form will ask you for resident agent information.
- registered agent name
- registered agent address
Pay your Massachusetts filing fees
The cost to file Massachusetts Articles of Organization is $500.
The Secretary of the Commonwealth does not offer any expedited business filing services.
The cost to file Articles of Organization in Massechusetts is $500.
How to change your registered/resident agent in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth requires you to notify the agency when there’s been a change in the registered agent or a registered office address.
Submit the statement of change of agent or office online
You will use the Massachusetts Corporations Online Filing System to submit the statement of change of registered agent or registered office online.
The Secretary of the Commonwealth doesn’t charge when you file the statement of change online.
Submit the statement of change of agent or office by mail or in person
You will download and complete the appropriate statement of change form and submit it by mail or in person to the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
The appointed registered agent must sign the statement of change to consent to the appointment.
Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth charges a $25 filing fee for statements filed by mail or in person.
It will take 1 to 5 business days for the Secretary of the Commonwealth to process the statement of change.
The cost to switch resident agents in Massechusetts is $25 if you file the statement of change in person or by mail.
How to resign as a resident agent in Massachusetts
You can complete the statement of the resignation of registered or resident agent and submit it to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth by mail or in person.
Or, you can use the Massachusetts Corporations Filing System to submit the resignation statement online.
The statement of resignation form will ask you to provide some information.
- registered agent name
- company name
- registered office address
- statement of resignation
Massachusetts does not charge for withdrawing consent to act as a resident agent when you file online. The charge for paper filings is $25.
Benefits of appointing a registered agent in Massachusetts
You aren’t risking asset protection
The Massachusetts annual report fee is due by the anniversary of the formation of the business.
If a company submits the fee late or not at all, it could lose good standing with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, which puts liability protection at risk.
An outside resident agent service will send notifications as due dates approach and aid you in filing the correct documents on time.
You decide whether a personal address becomes Massachusetts public record
Small business owners and entrepreneurs commonly work from a home address or a private office.
If you appoint yourself as a resident agent, the personal address is the business address and becomes searchable.
Anyone can search the Massachusetts Business Entity Search by:
- business entity name
- officer, director, or resident agent name
- ID number
- filing number
When you appoint an outside agent, you can use the service’s physical address as the business address and list it in the Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth database instead of your personal address.
You’re provided peace of mind
Law firms don’t have to notify you before sending a process server to your business.
According to Massachusetts state law, process servers include:
- the sheriff or deputy sheriff
- special sheriff
- anyone authorized by the law
- anyone specially appointed by the court
An appointed resident agent will accept sensitive legal documents, including subpoenas, on your behalf so that it is done discreetly so that you maintain a positive reputation.
You can work flexible office hours
Massachusetts law requires all resident agents to be available Monday through Friday during regular business hours to accept official correspondence from the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Appointing yourself means that you’re responsible for your availability during those hours.
But, appointing an outside resident agent allows you to come to the office when it works for you.
You have round-the-clock access to the certificate of good standing
When opening new business bank accounts, financial institutions will require that show proof of good standing with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Commercial registered agent services provide you with up-to-date certificates and formation documents online so you can do business quickly and efficiently.
You can form foreign LLCs in other states quickly
When you expand an LLC into different states, you must appoint a registered agent for the formation process.
If you have an outside agent already, you can begin the foreign LLC formation process as soon as you want, and it remains easy and accessible.
What is a resident agent for service of process in Massachusetts?
An agent’s purpose is to accept service of process, including subpoenas and summons. In Massachusetts, a resident agent for service of process and a registered agent are the same.
What happens to my active Massachusetts LLC if my resident agent resigns?
If you receive a copy of the statement of resignation from your current resident agent, you must immediately file the change of registered office or agent form with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth.
How do I search for a Massachusetts resident agent?
The easiest way to search for a resident agent in Massachusetts is to perform a name search using the Massachusetts Business Entity Search.
Is a resident agent a member of Massechusetts LLC?
You can appoint an LLC member as the registered agent for your Massachusetts business. But, an appointed outside registered agent isn’t a member of an LLC.
Do I hire a resident agent before or after I form a business in Massachusetts?
If you file formation documents without providing resident agent information, the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth will reject the documents.
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