How to Find the Best Registered Agent in Tennessee
What is a registered agent?
The Tennessee Secretary of State explains that a registered agent is a person or entity that receives service of process and official correspondence for a company.
You must appoint a registered agent in Tennessee because the Secretary of State needs to know that someone is physically available to accept legal notices and important documents that include:
- Articles of Organization – the Tennessee LLC formation documents
- Articles of Incorporation – the formation documents for a corporation
- Annual report fee – due the 1st day of the 4th month following the fiscal year
- Certificate of Good Standing – the document required to open business bank accounts
- Annual franchise tax – due by April 15
An appointed agent service is a physical presence in Tennessee
The Tennessee Secretary of State requires that a registered agent be physically present to accept documents and notices during normal business hours.
You can appoint a registered agent and use the service’s address as the business address to avoid being listed in the Secretary of State business entity search.
A registered agent is a go-between
The state of Tennessee needs you to have a point of contact so that you can receive time-sensitive documents that require a response, such as legal summons.
You have 21 days to respond to a subpoena in Tennessee or face default judgments and hefty monetary sanctions.
A registered agent receives those legal notices and scans them so you can access them quickly online and respond promptly to avoid
A professional registered agent is an annual fee reminder
The Tennessee Secretary of State expects you to submit the annual report by the 1st day of the 4th month after the fiscal year.
A business that fails to submit the fee on time can lose good standing in Tennessee, which means they also lose liability protection.
Commercial registered agent services provide business owners with a compliance calendar that tracks when the annual report and other fees are due and help you to file the proper paperwork.
Cost of a registered agent in Tennessee
The Tennessee Secretary of State requires that a registered agent be at least 18 and have a street address in the state.
You can appoint anyone as a registered agent as long as they meet the registered agent requirements, including:
- LLC member
A commercial registered agent service in Tennessee will cost a business between $50 and $500 a year.
When to appoint a registered agent
All businesses in Tennessee must appoint a registered agent upon business formation and provide the Secretary of State with the registered agent information on the formation documents.
A limited liability company in Tennessee will use the Articles of Organization to list the registered agent.
Corporations list the appointed registered agent on the Articles of Incorporation.
How does a Tennessee LLC appoint a registered agent?
File the Articles of Organization
You will complete the Articles of Organization form (form SS-4270) and submit it to the Tennessee Secretary of State by mail or in person.
Attn: Corporate Filing
312 Rosa L. Parks Ave.
Nashville, TN 37243
Or, you can use the Tennessee Secretary of State website to file the Articles of Organization online.
Appoint your registered agent
Section 4 of form SS-4270 will ask you to produce certain information.
- registered agent name
- registered agent address
Pay your Tennessee filing fees
The cost to file Articles of Organization in Tennessee depends on the number of LLC members. The Secretary of State charges $50 per member. The minimum price is $300, and the maximum is $3000.
The Tennessee Secretary of State doesn’t offer expedited business filing services.
The cost to file your LLC Articles of Organization in Tennessee is $50 per LLC member.
How to change your registered agent in Tennessee
A business must notify the Tennessee Secretary of State if you switch registered agents or if there is a registered office address change.
Submit the change of registered agent form online
You can use the Tennessee Secretary of State website to update registered agent information online.
Submit the change of registered agent form by mail or in person
You will complete the change of registered agent form and submit it by mail or in-person to the Tennessee Secretary of State.
The cost to switch registered agents in Tennessee is $20.
Submit the change of registered agent or address on the annual report fee
If the registered agent change happens near the annual report filing date, you can use that opportunity to update your Tennessee registered agent information.
Submit the change of registered agent using articles of amendment
Unless you have other business registration information to change, you should not use Tennessee articles of amendment to change registered agents.
How to resign as a registered agent in Tennessee
You will complete the statement of resignation of registered agent form and send a copy by certified mail to the company you’re withdrawing consent to act as a registered agent.
You will submit the original statement of resignation form to the Tennesse Secretary of State Division of Business Services by mail or in person.
The statement of resignation of registered agent form will ask for the following information:
- business name
- statement of resignation
- a statement verifying a copy has been sent to the company
The Tennessee Secretary of State charges $20 to resign as a registered agent.
Benefits of appointing a registered agent in Tennessee
You maintain good standing with Tennessee
To maintain asset protection, a business must remain in good standing with the Tennesse Secretary of State.
Failing to pay the annual fee and other dues can result in losing good standing and liability protection.
A commercial registered agent can help you keep track of due dates using a current compliance calendar and help you submit the correct paperwork and fees.
You have the power to keep personal addresses private
A Tennessee business owner may work from a home address or a private office.
If they’ve appointed themselves as the registered agent, that personal address is at risk of becoming public record and searchable using the Tennessee Business Search.
When you appoint an outside registered agent, you can keep your personal address out of the Tennessee Secretary of State database and list the service’s registered office address instead.
You provide yourself with peace of mind
A process server in Tennessee can come to your business office without notifying you first to serve legal documents, such as subpoenas.
An appointed registered agent service will accept sensitive documents away from your business so that you maintain a good reputation.
You’re meeting availability requirements
According to Tennessee state law, a registered agent must be physically available during regular business hours to accept official correspondence from the Secretary of State, law firms, and the Tennessee Department of Revenue.
If you’ve elected to serve as your own registered agent, you must be available during those normal business hours.
Professional registered agent services have staff available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, so you don’t have to be.
You have 24-hour-a-day access to the Certificate of Good Standing
Financial institutions in Tennessee will require a business owner to provide proof of good standing in Tennessee before allowing them to open a new business bank account or apply for business loans.
Most commercial registered agent service provides convenient access to the Certificate of Good Standing and other formation documents that make doing business convenient.
The foreign LLC formation process is more accessible
When you expand an LLC into a different state, you will be required to appoint a registered agent before you file formation documents.
A business that’s already appointed an outside registered agent can begin the foreign LLC formation in other states immediately.
Can you use a PO box for an LLC in Tennessee?
You can’t use a PO box on your Tennessee business registration. The Secretary of State requires that you list a physical street address on the Articles of Organization. You can use a PO box for mailing, shipping, and billing purposes.
Are there exceptions to appointing a registered agent in Tennessee?
General partnerships are the only business structure not required to appoint and maintain a registered agent in Tennessee.
What is a statutory agent?
Some states refer to a registered agent as a statutory agent, resident agent, or agent of service of process.
Can a registered agent sign on behalf of an LLC?
A registered agent can only sign for an LLC if they have prior official authorization.
What happens if I fall out of good standing in Tennessee?
A business has two months to become compliant and appoint a registered agent with the Tennessee Secretary of State before administration dissolution occurs.
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