A Massachusetts Registered Agent or Massachusetts Registered Agent Service is required by law for every business entity in the state of Massachusetts. A registered agent is an individual or business entity that will accept legal papers (documents) on your behalf if it is sued. The registered agent or registered agent service must have a physical street address in Massachusetts and be available during regular business hours.
In my Massachusetts Registered Agent guide, I’ll walk you through the detailed process of when you should get a registered agent or registered agent service for your Massachusetts business, how to pick one, if they are required and how to change one if needed. Typically you’re getting a registered agent when you setup your Massachusetts LLC. Check out my guide on how to setup a Massachusetts LLC so you can make sure you’re following all the right steps in the process. If you are just looking for the professional service to help you – use Northwest Registered Agent or ZenBusiness.
Best Massachusetts Registered Agent Service
ZenBusiness will be the best option for setting up a registered agent service in Massachusetts. They can also help you with getting your LLC formed so if you’re looking for the best option, check them out today!
The best Massachusetts registered agent service is ZenBusiness. They are a national provider who provides LLC formation services and registered agent services for 1000s of business owners who need help getting setup.
As you embark on this journey of owning a business and figuring out what to do first you’re going to need to form your LLC, domestic LLC, foreign LLC or just straight up Limited Liability Company as we’ve talked about.
The other options are considering the use of a Massachusetts law firm who has registered agent services built into their offering or potentially being your own registered agent. Either of these options is technically something you can do but as we’ve talked about – the best option is using a national service like ZenBusiness.
They have been cleared by the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office to make sure they can help all the business owners that are looking for help in their business formation journey. You’ll have options to review other services but I would just recommend you stick with the best option and I feel that is the ZenBusiness team.
What is a Massachusetts Registered Agent?
A Massachusetts registered agent is no different than any other type of registered agent in any state. They are all required to do three primary things for you and your business:
- The first thing a registered agent must do is receive and forward documents. This includes everything from Tax notices to Court Summons if your business is being sued. Essentially, any type of notice that has to do with the state or federal government will come to your registered agent first and then they will either scan and email it to you or physically mail it to you depending on the preference that you set.
- The second thing a registered agent must do is maintain a current list of your business’ officers and directors. This is important because if something happens and someone needs to get in touch with the people who are running your company they will have a central place to go.
- The third and final thing that a registered agent must do is keep your company in good standing with the state. This includes making sure that you file your annual reports on time as well as any other filings that might be required.
Those are the three primary things that a registered agent must do but there are a few other things that they can do but when you’re thinking about your Massachusetts LLC, you need to make sure this is something you can continue to work through.
If you’re thinking about going to get a virtual mailbox or setup something at the UPS Store and act as if this is your ‘registered agent’, you’re going to be sorely mistaken and the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office may decide to dissolve your business because it’s clear that that is not a registered agent or a registered agent service – it’s just a mailbox service. Make sure you’re getting the right services setup so you can follow the appropriate laws in Massachusetts for this.
Why do I need a Massachusetts Registered Agent?
The main purpose of having a Massachusetts registered agent is to make sure you’re following the law (which requires it for every formed business). It’s also important to realize that in Massachusetts that you can use their business name lookup portal to actually see the registered agent’s name and registered agent’s address.
If you think about what this means long term, it can have some pretty massive impacts to you personally and professionally. The last thing you want is for someone to look up your home address and be able to start showing up randomly. The purpose of having a registered agent in place is to make sure you can have some legal coverage personally and be informed of legal matters – not deal with it in the face if someone just shows up.
The other thing to consider is that you will be required to always be at that physical street address in Massachusetts during business hours. This means that you’re going to need to have someone at that address which also means that vacations or taking a day off are out of the question if you’re not going to take it seriously.
When you look at it this way – the registered agent service is a low cost for what they provide and can make it easy for you to focus on building your business vs. worrying about all the legal matters day to day.
When should I obtain a Massachusetts Registered Agent?
The best time for you to obtain a Massachusetts registered agent or registered agent service is when you’re forming your business. It’s required to do so and if you for whatever reason don’t have one – you’re at risk of having your business dissolved. The Massachusetts Secretary of State will make sure that if there are legal matters that you’re served with and you don’t have a registered agent – you’re going to run into issues like this.
Another big topic to think about as you’re thinking through the registered agent service and when to get one is the annual compliance and deadlines you’re going to have for the business. A registered agent service will make sure you’re aware of what needs to happen for business compliance reasons. It’s the beginning of your LLC formation process and you need to get a registered agent in place to help you with this.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Massachusetts?
It is technically possible for you to be your own registered agent in Massachusetts but should you be? That’s the real question and what we talk about here. As I said before, it’s important to think through the ramifications of being your own registered agent. The long term effects of the following things that are required are important to think about:
- Being at the address on file during normal business hours
- Accepting legal paperwork and legal papers on your business’s behalf
- Having a physical address in Massachusetts – not a virtual mailbox or a UPS Store box
All of these things are required as a registered agent so if you’re thinking about doing this on your own – make sure you think through the impact here for your business.
How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?
The cost can range anywhere from doing it on your own at $0 up to $300/year depending on the type of service you’re thinking about. There are ramifications like we’ve talked about if you go the $0 route and do it on your own but typically if you land right in the middle – that’s the best place. Northwest Registered Agent will include the registered agent service for you for the first year as you’re forming your LLC with them. After that, I believe it’s typically around $125/year but check with them on the latest rates before committing. I wouldn’t look for a registered agent service on their own – I would tie it into the formation of your business.
How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In Massachusetts?
To elect your registered agent in Massachusetts there are a few things that need to happen but you need to fill out the LLC’s Certificate of Organization. You’ll also need to make sure the Certificate of Formation has been taken care of too.
How do I Elect A Registered Agent Online in Massachusetts?
The best way of making this happen is getting the form above filled out and filed with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the filing fee is $500. You’ll need to go through the online process and I believe the registered agent section is in Section 5 of the form you’re going to need to fill out.
How do I elect a registered agent by Mail, Fax or In Person in Massachusetts?
The best way to elect your registered agent by mail or in person is by getting the Certificate of Organization with the $500 filing fee filled out and submitted to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. Once you get into this, you’ll need to fill out the appropriate information in Page 1 so get to it!
The address you’ll need to go to and file in person is:
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, Room 1717
Boston, Massachusetts 02108-1512
How Do I Change My Registered Agent In Massachusetts?
To change your registered agent in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you’re going to need to find the Statement of Change of Registered Agent/Registered Office form and submit it. You can submit this online or you can do it by mail or in person.
If you want to download the PDF above and submit it in person you can do so and you’ll need to take it to this address:
Secretary of the Commonwealth, Corporations Division
One Ashburton Place, 17th floor
Boston, MA 02108-1512
Telephone: (617) 727-9640
Massachusetts Registered Agent FAQ
Does Massachusetts require a registered agent?
Yes, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires that all businesses have a registered agent on file.
Does registered agent mean owner?
No, the registered agent is not the same as the owner of the business. The registered agent is someone who is appointed to receive service of process and other legal documents on behalf of the business.
What is a registered agent service?
A registered agent service is a company that provides a physical address for your business to receive service of process and other legal documents. The registered agent service also forwards these documents on to you so you can take care of them in a timely manner.
Best Registered Agent
The best option for your registered agent service