In Texas, all corporations, LLCs, and limited partnerships are required to have a registered agent. This is something you’ll run into during the formation process (see our guide on how to start an LLC in Texas) before filing your Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State. This is a common requirement among most U.S. states.
A registered agent is an individual who is designated by a business to receive official legal documents on behalf of the business. These documents can include lawsuit papers, important notices, and subpoenas. These Texas registered agents receive such correspondence at a street address in Texas (it can’t be a PO box), which is referred to as the registered office.
State law requires all companies that operate in Texas to utilize a registered agent and office. Even if a business is organized in another state, but has operations in Texas, that business still needs to have a registered agent in Texas. The consequences of not complying with this law may include no longer being able to conduct business in Texas.
What does a registered agent do?
Texas registered agents are responsible for the following duties:
- They have a physical street address in Texas that is not a PO box, private mailbox, or mail service. In other words, mail delivery must be handed to a person.
- In addition to maintaining this street address, a person must be available to receive mail during regular business hours.
- The registered agent receives official mail on behalf of the business and then informs the business owner of any document received, forwarding them to the owner.
Some registered agents will offer other services, like document preparation and filing, or sending reminders when documentation and reports are due.
Who can be a registered agent in Texas?
One of the main details you need to know when looking for a registered agent in Texas is understanding that a registered agent has to be an individual, meaning in it can’t be an entity. So, your business can’t be your registered agent, but an employee or owner of the business can be, though there are a few reasons you might not want to do that (more on that soon).
For Texas, this individual must have a Texas address that mail can be sent to where a person is available during regular business hours to physically receive the mail. The reason this is so important has to do with how legal documentation is tracked, ensuring that it actually is received by the owner of the business.
Next, let’s talk through a few of the reasons you might not want to be your own registered agent.
Can I be my own Texas registered agent?
So technically, yes. As long as you, an individual, fit the basic requirements stated above, you can serve as your own Texas registered agent. There are, however, some specific practical reasons you might not want to.
Cons of being your own registered agent:
- You’re giving up some privacy when opting to be your own registered agent. In Texas, it’s required that the registered agent’s contact information is publicly available. This is especially inconvenient for someone who works from home.
- It might just not be practical if you’re running a business that operated in multiple states. Since the registered agent must have an address in the state of operation to receive official state mail, you’d have to have a physical address that’s manned by a person in every state your business operates.
- A registered agent is really committing themselves to a 9-5 workday, not leaving much room for flexibility. This is especially inconvenient for businesses that don’t operate during regular business hours, like a coffee shop or a construction company.
- Texas registered agents need to have a thorough understanding of state and federal regulations to ensure your business remains in compliance. If this is something you aren’t familiar with, you’ll need to do your research to costing your business.
Pros of being your own registered agent:
The pros of being your own registered agent include saving costs for hiring an outside registered agent, and also knowing immediately when documents are received. These are details you’ll have to weigh against the cons when deciding whether or not you’ll be your own registered agent.
So what are my options when choosing a registered agent?
Aside from designating yourself as the registered agent for your own business in Texas, you have two other options:
Friend or family member
If you have a friend or family member who is a resident of Texas and meets the registered agent requirements, you can designate them as your Texas registered agent. They would, however, need to be comfortable with their information being publicly listed.
Registered agent service
Registered agent services take registered agent responsibilities off of your plate. Reasons to work with a service rather than taking it on yourself or delegating to a friend or family member include:
- Not having to worry that regulations and requirements are being met
- Knowing that sensitive documents are being handled appropriately
- Making registered agents responsibilities something you simply don’t have to worry about
Final steps for choosing your Texas registered agent
Whoever you choose to be your registered agent, whether that’s a family member or friend, or a service, that individual will need to consent to serve as your registered agent. They can formally do so by filing an Acceptance of Appointment and Consent to Serve as Registered Agent (Form 401-A) either electronically or on written form.
Choosing a registered agent doesn’t have to be complicated. Opting to utilize a registered agent service takes the task off your plate, making it one less thing you have to deal with when starting, managing, and growing your business. Learn more here about how Swyft Filings can serve as your company’s Texas registered agent.