A Pennsylvania Registered Agent or Pennsylvania Registered Agent Service is required by law for every business entity in the state of Pennsylvania. A registered agent is an individual or business entity that agrees to accept legal papers on behalf of the business if it’s sued. The registered agent much have a physical address in Pennsylvania and be available during normal business hours.
In my Pennsylvania Registered Agent guide, I’ll walk you through the detailed process of why you should get a registered agent for your Pennsylvania business, how to pick one and whether you should use a professional service to help you.
Typically you get a registered agent service when you’re setting up your business entity in the beginning of your journey. That is most likely going to happen when you setup your LLC. I put together a guide on how to start a Pennsylvania LLC.
My recommendation is to always use ZenBusiness but you can also look at Northwest Registered Agent. I just think for the experience and price, it’s a much easier, lower cost and faster response time with ZenBusiness. As you’re going to be using this service year after year, I also want to make sure you’re getting the best and in my opinion that is ZenBusiness.
What is a Pennsylvania Registered Agent?
A Pennsylvania Registered agent is what I said earlier. It’s a business entity that will act on your behalf when you’re starting a LLC or if you’re spinning up any other type of individual or business entity. They are going to:
- Act as your legal entity that will accept legal papers on your behalf if you’re served.
- They will provide a physical address in Pennsylvania so you don’t have to use your personal or business location address. This is important because it’s required by law that you have a registered agent that resides in the state because it’s where all legal documents will go if you’re ever served with a lawsuit.
- They are going to be available during normal business hours to accept this paperwork if you’re served. The last thing you want is someone showing up to your home address with legal papers serving you with a lawsuit.
A registered agent gives you the cover you need to feel like you’ve got what you need and it is legally required to have one anyway.
Why do I need a Pennsylvania Registered Agent?
It’s the law but besides that it’s for all the reasons we’ve been talking about. You could try and be your own registered agent whether thats with your business or personal home address but I don’t recommend doing that.
If you act as your own Pennsylvania Registered Agent you may end up having legal papers show up at your house vs. just using the service you’re paying for. It’s not that expensive for what they provide and again – it’s the law.
When should I obtain a Pennsylvania Registered Agent?
As you’re starting your journey for setting up whatever type of business it is – you’ll need to start your registered agent service at the beginning too. It’s important that you have a registered agent or registered agent service tied to the individual or business entity from the beginning. If you try and do this after that fact with some kind of virtual mailbox or a service that is doing something shady with mail forwarding addresses – it’s not going to work.
Start with the right registered agent service which is Northwest Registered agent as your setting up your LLC. They typically will include the first year of service as a part of the LLC formation package.
If you’re looking for an alternative you can use Harbor Compliance or ZenBusiness but my recommendation is to always use Northwest when you can.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Pennsylvania?
Technically you can be your own registered agent but as we’ve talked about it’s not a good idea. I recommend using Northwest Registered Agent as the service of choice because they will include it for the first year.
If you’re set on doing this on your own just keep in mind that if your business is sued for whatever reason – you will always need to have someone at the address you use during normal business hours and they will come to serve papers.
Keep in mind that whatever address you use is going to be public record so it’s imperative that you are aware of this before deciding that the best option for your situation is to be your own registered agent.
How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?
The typically cost of hiring a Pennsylvania Registered Agent can range but typically between $100-$200 per year. You do want to compare services and again the top services I’d look at are:
- Northwest Registered Agent
- Harbor Compliance
There are other services but it gets overwhelming when you start adding in multiple options and it’s just not worth the time and energy. It’s important to think about using a commercial registered office provider because they will be able to help you with this process. If you’re looking for registered agent services it’s going to be important that you work through this.
Depending on what you’re looking to do here, I’d recommend getting a premium registered agent service that you can use for the long term. Once you have this registered agent service setup there is no reason to make a change. Make the decision early and just stick with it. You can also go look for a law firm in Pennsylvania that could help you with this but I’ve found the best option long term is to find a national partner who has done this year after year.
How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In Pennsylvania?
The process to elect a registered agent in Pennsylvania is actually pretty simple. All you need to do is file what’s called the Statement of Change with the Pennsylvania Department of State. This needs to be filed by the entity that is making the change and there is a filing fee associated with this. The current filing fee as of 2019 is $70.
I would recommend using a registered agent service to help you with this as they will file the paperwork for you and make sure it gets to the right people. The last thing you want is for your LLC to be dissolved because you didn’t have a registered agent on file.
To elect a registered agent in Pennsylvania all you need to do is:
- File the Statement of Change with the Department of State
- There is a $70 filing fee
- Use a registered agent service to help you with this
- The service will file the paperwork for you and make sure it gets to the right people
- This needs to be filed by the entity that is making the change
- Your LLC could be dissolved if you don’t have a registered agent on file
How Do I Change My Registered Agent In Pennsylvania?
You can go directly to the hub.business.pa.gov site and once you login, you’ll be able to do just what you’re looking for here. It’s a step that you should make sure is done correctly so follow the directions there. As a business owner you may decide to change your registered agent or switch to a registered agent service because the existing agent went out of business.
Does Pennsylvania require a registered agent?
Yes, all businesses in Pennsylvania are required to have a registered agent on file. You can either use a law firm, registered agent service or act as your own registered agent which is not recommended.
Does registered agent mean owner?
No, a registered agent is not the same thing as an owner. A registered agent is someone who is responsible for accepting service of process on behalf of the company. An owner is someone who owns shares in the company or has some form of ownership stake.
What is a registered agent service?
A registered agent service is a company that specializes in acting as the registered agent for businesses. This is their only line of business so they are typically very good at it.
Best Registered Agent
The best option for your registered agent service