April 7

South Dakota Registered Agent

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A South Dakota Registered Agent or South Dakota Registered Agent Service is required by law for every business entity in the state of South Dakota. 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 South Dakota and be available during regular business hours.

In my South Dakota 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 South Dakota 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 North Carolina LLC. Check out my guide on how to setup a South Dakota 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 South Dakota Registered Agent Service

ZenBusiness will be the best option for setting up a registered agent service in South Dakota.  They can also help you with getting your LLC formed so if you’re looking for the best option, check them out today!

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The best option for your South Dakota registered agent is going to be ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent. These are the two best services you’re going to find for your business in South Dakota. Both of these services do a fantastic job helping you form your LLC and include the first year of your registered agent when forming an LLC.

They help 1000s of business owners on a monthly basis and it’s important to realize the volume is a big piece of why they are able to offer such great service. With the number of business owners working with them, they are able to provide the best possible service you’d expect from a registered agent service like this.

The other piece that’s important to keep in mind as you choose your registered agent service is the connection to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office. By having a registered agent service that has built a relationship there it’s going to be much easier for you to feel comfortable and confident in your choice.

What is a South Dakota Registered Agent?

A South Dakota registered agent is no different than that of a registered agent in California or Washington. A registered agent is going to do most of the same thing no matter the state they are associated. The traditional things that a registered agent is going to provide to you as a business owner are:

  1. Receive and forward important tax documents
  2. File annual reports
  3. Serve as a point of contact for the state
  4. Be available during regular business hours
  5. Have a physical address in South Dakota

There are some states that will have additional requirements, but those are typically going to be on an as needed basis. When you think about building your business vs. spending time doing the above – it’s worth it to just use a registered agent service that works with 1000s of business owners to provide this type of service.

You’re not going to be able to solve this by going to the UPS Store and getting a ‘fake’ PO Box where it shows a physical address but it’s really just a glorified PO Box. If you want to go get a virtual mailbox service or a PO Box for your business, that’s fine and you should. If you’re thinking this is a solution for a registered agent, I’m sorry to tell you that won’t work.

If you do that the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office is going to dissolve your business once they determine that you’re doing that.

Why do I need a South Dakota Registered Agent?

The purpose of a registered agent is not to make your life more difficult and add another law in the way of you setting up your business. The entire purpose of it is to make sure you’re legally protected and have a way of making sure you get the legal notifications needed for your business.

It’s legally required to have a registered agent inform you of any service of process documentation and be available during normal business hours. If the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office wanted to just allow anyone to accept that – we wouldn’t have any rules or laws.

The other thing you need to keep in mind is that because it’s important for someone to be able to find your registered agent associated to the business entity – it’s searchable and in the public record. This means that if someone goes to the South Dakota business name search portal, they will be able to find your registered agent’s name and registered agent’s address. If you think about the long term effects of what this means for you and your business – it’s important to get setup the right way up front. Do you really want your home address and your name showing up in the public record associated to your business entity?

Anyone can legally show up at your house during normal business hours and serve legal papers to you and your business and that’s really not what the purpose should be here.

When should I obtain a South Dakota Registered Agent?

The best time to obtain a South Dakota registered agent is when you’re forming your Limited Liability Company. At that time you’re going to need to elect the registered agent information and make sure it’s accurate in order to form your business.

If you just use a national provider like ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent, it’s going to make your life much easier because they will typically include the first year of the registered agent service when you form your business with them.

I would highly recommend doing this from the beginning and if you don’t – you probably don’t have a business because it’s required to have a registered agent with the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office for any and all business entities associated to the state.

You can also try and be your own registered agent but I really don’t recommend that. There isn’t a good reason to do so.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In South Dakota?

Yes. Technically you can be your own registered agent but like we’ve been talking about, it’s not the best solution and can cause you more harm than good in the long run. It might seem like the most cost effective thing to do as you’re trying to bootstrap your business before you see any revenue.

Remember the items that a South Dakota registered agent is going to be responsible for are:

  1. Having a physical street address in South Dakota
  2. Be available during regular business hours
  3. Accept service of process (legal paperwork) on behalf of your business
  4. File annual reports & make sure your business in compliant

You can be your own registered agent but the amount of effort and time is going to make it more painful than what it’s worth. You’d have to find a physical location (not your home) and be there during normal business hours all the time. This means that you couldn’t enjoy any family vacations without having someone else being at that location. The cost of finding a location and making sure someone is there all the time is just not worth it. The annual cost may seem like just another added expense but it’s better than the alternative.

How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?

A registered agent costs anywhere from $0 (being your own registered agent) to a few hundred dollars per year. It really depends on how you go about getting this setup and there are three main ways of getting a registered agent associated to your business that have three different costs. The registered agent options in South Dakota are:

  1. Be your own registered agent (not recommended)
  2. Find a law firm in South Dakota that offers registered agent services (not recommended)
  3. Use ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent (recommended)

By using a service like ZenBusiness your going to be getting the service you need to have a successful configuration of a registered agent for your business and not have to worry about what the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office is going to do.

Typically you’re going to get the first year of the registered agent service included as you form your LLC with them.

How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In South Dakota?

In order to elect a registered agent in South Dakota you’ll need to do so while you’re forming your LLC. Typically that means you’ll need to complete your LLC’s Articles of Organization. This document is the way that the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office is going to recognize your business as legitimate and real!

The link above goes directly to the Domestic Limited Liability Company PDF you’ll need to fill out and has a $165 filing fee.

If you are going to be forming a different type of business, go to the Business Services section of the sdsos.gov site and you’ll be able to find all the business registration forms you’ll need.

How Do I Elect A Registered Agent Online in South Dakota?

To elect a registered agent online, you’ll need to fill out the Articles of Organization electronically and that requires you to setup an account on the Form or Register a New Business section of the sosenterprise.sd.gov site.

Through this process you’ll be able to registered online and make sure your business is setup the right way.

How Do I Elect A Registered Agent by Mail, Fax or In Person in South Dakota?

If you want to fill out the Articles of Organization and registered agent by mail or in person you can fill out it out, print it and either mail or take it to:

Secretary of State

Office 500 E Capitol Ave

Pierre, SD 57501

(605)773-4845

I would recommend doing this via online rather than in person because it’s faster but it’s your choice and your business!

How Do I Change My Registered Agent In South Dakota?

To change your registered agent in South Dakota, you’ll need to fill out the Commercial Registered Agent Change of Name or Address form and include the $10 filing fee.

If you want to fill this out and take it into the Secretary of State’s office address you can do so and I would recommend doing that if you’d like to make sure it’s hand delivered. If not, you can use your online account created earlier to change it electronically.

South Dakota Registered Agent FAQ

Does South Dakota require a registered agent?

Yes. It’s required to have a registered agent in South Dakota.

Does registered agent mean owner?

No. A registered agent is not an owner.

What is a registered agent service?

A registered agent service is a business that agrees to accept legal documents and correspondence on behalf of your business.

How much does it cost to have a registered agent?

It can cost anywhere from $0-$500 per year. The price really depends on the company you use for your registered agent service and how many businesses you have.

Best Registered Agent

The best option for your registered agent service


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