Tennessee Registered Agent

Andrew C. McGuire

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

In my Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee LLC. Check out my guide on how to setup a Tennessee 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 Tennessee Registered Agent Service

ZenBusiness will be the best option for setting up a registered agent service in Tennessee.  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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As you embark on determining what the best Tennessee registered agent service is going to be for you, it’s important to understand that my recommendation is ZenBusiness. They are a national provider that will include the registered agent service during your LLC formation process with them. They will also have a great price for the service they provide. There are other options ranging from being your own registered agent or using a Tennessee law firm who has services they can provide to you for this.

Northwest Registered Agent has been cleared by the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office and will operate as they need to in the state.

Whether you’re looking for a new registered agent service that operates in Tennessee or you’re looking to change your registered agent service – ZenBusiness is the right place for you to start.

I have been using a registered agent service based out of Oregon where my LLC has been formed and I love what they do. You’ll have options to review but as you start out and build your domestic LLC, foreign LLC or just a standard Limited Liability Company – you’ll need a registered agent service like ZenBusiness to get you started.

What is a Tennessee Registered Agent?

A Tennessee Registered Agent is no different than that of any other state that operates. They are all required to do three primary things for you and your business:

  1. They have to have a physical address in the state of Tennessee where they can receive legal documents during regular business hours.
  2. They are required to be available during regular business hours to accept any legal papers served against your company.
  3. They have to forward any legal papers they receive on to you in a timely manner.

A Tennessee Registered Agent can be an individual or a business entity that has been appointed by you to accept service of process (legal papers) on your behalf if your company is sued.

Sometimes you’ll have this temptation to use some type of PO Box or a mailbox service like a UPS Store as your registered agent address but that’s not legal. You need to have a service that will accept legal papers on your behalf and that’s not what the FedEx or UPS Store will do. They are a mailing service that is open during normal business hours but not associated to your business. Even if you get a mailbox at that location, it doesn’t count. You need a registered agent service to accept legal papers on your behalf.

Why do I need a Tennessee Registered Agent?

We got into this a little bit in the previous section but the biggest reason is that you legally need a registered agent associated to any legal business entity that’s formed in Tennessee.

It’s also important to realize that in Tennessee you’ll have the registered agent’s name and registered agent’s address associated to the public record. This means that if you went to search the Tennessee Secretary of State’s business name portal (found here) that you’ll be able to see whatever you decide is your registered agent to show up in the public record file. The implications of this are pretty large if you spend time really thinking about what this means.

This means that if you act as your own registered agent, you’re going to see your name and address on file publicly. This also means that if you’re going to act as your own registered agent that you’ll need to be at that business address during normal business hours too.

I would highly recommend thinking about using a Tennessee registered agent service to help you with this. If you don’t, you’re going to have your physically mailing address on file at public record and will have legal documents sent to that address.

When should I obtain a Tennessee Registered Agent?

It’s important to recognize the easiest thing to do is setup a Tennessee registered agent as you’re going through the business formation process. If you don’t do that, your business may be dissolved by the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office. Whether you’re going to setup a domestic LLC, foreign LLC or any any other type of business entity – you’re going to need a registered agent associated to it.

You should use a Tennessee registered agent service and get that associated to your business as you’re forming it in the beginning stages of your business journey. If you use Northwest Registered Agent, they will help you by including that first year of your registered agent service with the LLC formation you need to do too.

Another major thing you’ll need to keep track of is the annual compliance you’re going to be responsible for related to your business entity. There are compliance deadlines on an annual basis that you’ll want to figure out in the beginning of your LLC formation process.

You’ll have help from your Tennessee registered agent service with this but realize that you are responsible for making sure this gets done.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Tennessee?

Yes it is possible to be your own Tennessee registered agent like we’ve talked about but like we’ve also talked about – it’s not a good idea. Being your own Tennessee registered agent will require you to have your Tennessee registered agent’s name and address in the public record.

If you play this out and think about it long term some of the biggest challenges you’ll need to deal with are:

  1. Being at the address provided during normal business hours
  2. Accepting legal paperwork / legal papers on the business’s behalf.
  3. Having a physical address in Tennessee – not a virtual mailbox but an actual business address

How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?

The good news is that a Tennessee registered agent service is going to be pretty inexpensive. You’re looking at around $100 per year for the service but the first year will almost always be free when you setup an LLC or incorporate your business with the help of an online business formation company.

If you want to do this on your own there is no monetary cost but like we’ve talked about there are plenty of other costs associated to do this on your own so be careful with making the decision to be your own registered agent.

How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In Tennessee?

As you’re looking through the process of electing a registered agent in Tennessee you’re going to need to follow the standard process the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office provides to you.

The first thing you’ll need to do is pull down the appropriate paperwork to get filled out and filed in person or you can most likely do this through their web portal too.

You can download what you need from tn.bear.tn.gov/New Biz (direct link). This will help you get your LLC documents downloaded for the process but remember to follow what the official page tells you to do.

How Do I Change My Registered Agent In Tennessee?

To change your registered agent in Tennessee it’s pretty simple. You’ll need to complete a Certificate of Change form and send it into the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office and include the filing fee.

You can do that through the Registered Agent Change portal here. Here is a direct link to the PDF form off of the Tennessee government site.

Once you’ve filled out the PDF form, you’ll need to mail it back directly to:

Tennessee Secretary of State

ATTN: Corporate Filing

312 Rosa L. Parks Ave FL 6

There are a few other pieces of information you’ll need to fill out and follow which are:

Control Number:

  1. Entity Name
  2. Registered Agent Change
  3. Current Registered Agent
  4. New Registered Agent

Check out the form link above for the details on each of these items so you can fill it out correctly.

There is also a $20 filing fee for the change which you can include when sending the form back into the appropriate location.

Tennessee Registered Agent FAQ

Does Tennessee require a registered agent?

Yes. You can act as your own, find a Tennessee law firm that offers those services or find a larger regional/national provider that can do this for you.

Does registered agent mean owner?

No. An owner is someone that owns a portion of your business – it’s not an agent that does the services we’ve talked about.

What is a registered agent service?

A registered agent service is a professional that provides an address for your business, accepts legal documents on your behalf and forwards them to you.

Best Registered Agent

The best option for your registered agent service