Managing Your Business

How to Get a Registered Agent in Texas

Every business must have a registered agent. Our service keeps your address private, receives all official documents, and keeps your business compliant.
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According to the Texas Business Organizations Code (BOC), every domestic or foreign filing entity in Texas must maintain a registered office in the state.[1] This office must contain a registered agent who is present during business hours and plays a crucial role in document processing.

But what is a Texas registered agent, and what is their specific role?

This guide answers those questions and explores what you need to do when choosing your agent.

Key Takeaways

  • A Texas registered agent handles and receives official documents on behalf of a business

  • All Texas business entity types, including LLCs and corporations, require a registered agent 

  • Texas registered agent services offer privacy, organization, and time-saving benefits 

  • You can change your registered agent online or by mail with the Texas Secretary of State

What Is a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is a business professional that a business entity, such as a limited liability company, designates to receive official documents. These documents include service of process and other legal paperwork. The registered agent receives these documents at their registered office.

Ultimately, the registered agent is responsible for handling important correspondence that keeps a company in good standing with its state. This agent is also responsible for notifying a member of the small business entity upon receipt of official documents. Typically, the agent notifies one of the following:

  • The business owners

  • A governance office

  • The corporate secretary

In many cases, the service a Texas LLC uses to file its certificate of incorporation also acts as its registered agent. 

Registered Agent Responsibilities

A Texas registered agent has several responsibilities it carries out on behalf of the small business it represents:

  • Accepting tax and legal documents from the government on behalf of the business

  • Processing franchise tax notifications

  • Receiving and forwarding deadline notices for Texas annual reports

  • Handling service of process documents related to lawsuits and other legal documents

  • Aiding a registered entity with relevant corporate filings

In short, a Texas registered agent acts as a company’s contact person and corporate liaison. To fulfill its duties, the agent must have a business address and maintain set business hours. The agent’s address must be in the public record and filed with the Texas Secretary of State.

In most cases, Texas does not allow a registered agent to use a P.O. box that is part of a message or commercial mail service. The only exception is if the commercial enterprise is the registered agent itself.

Choosing Your Texas Registered Agent

Selecting a Texas registered agent can be a challenge for any business entity. You need to understand the requirements to become an agent so you make the appropriate choice.

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Texas Registered Agent Requirements

There are several requirements an individual or business entity must meet to become a registered agent in Texas:

  • Be an individual Texas resident or a Texas business entity

  • Have a registered office on file with the Texas Secretary of State

  • Maintain a physical business address that is the same as its registered office address

  • Consent to their appointment as the registered agent

  • Be in good standing with the state

A registered agent must also have the expertise required to help entrepreneurs deal with the complexities of business formation. This includes understanding the state fees involved in setting up a business and aiding the entrepreneur with their formation documents.

For example, it costs $300 to set up a domestic limited liability company in Texas. This fee increases to $775 if you register an out-of-state business in Texas. Filings take between three and five days to complete. This is all information that your Texas registered agent must understand and communicate to you, the business owner.

Can I Be My Own Texas Registered Agent?

According to the Texas Secretary of State website, a business owner, officer, or employee may serve as the registered agent for an entity as long as they meet the above criteria.[2]

That said, these rules aren’t consistent across all American states. Some states allow you to designate yourself as your registered agent as long as you do the following:

  • Maintain an office address that others can send documents to

  • Keep normal business hours

  • Make your status as a registered agent a matter of public record, typically with your Secretary of State

Acting as your own registered agent will reduce costs, but there are several significant drawbacks. You must:

  • Remain in the office during general business hours to process documents

  • Deal with extra layers of organization on top of running your business

  • Be comfortable receiving confidential papers in a public setting

Benefits of a Professional Registered Agent Service

Some business owners find the prospect of acting as their own registered agent appealing. They get to save some money and can keep their processing of documents somewhat in-house. However, it also means dedicating much of your time toward a registered agent’s responsibilities. As such, it’s usually more beneficial to use a third-party agent.

The following are some benefits of contracting a Texas registered agent service.

1. Focus on Building Your Business

If you prefer to spend most of your time building your business, you likely need a third-party agent. Registered agents handle a lot of important documents and must meet labor-intensive compliance requirements. Having an outside source dealing with these issues allows you to focus on your company.

2. Access Physically Available Agents

A registered agent acts as a point of contact for your business and must maintain regular business hours. Furthermore, they must be residents of the state in which your company operates. Using a third-party agent means you always have access to somebody who’s in good standing with the Texas Secretary of State and understands the requirements of the role.

3. Use the Power of Organization

The best Texas registered agents do far more than receive and forward important documents. Your agent will sift through the mail so your business doesn’t get bogged down in junk mail. They’ll also ensure you receive the documents you need in a timely fashion, giving you more time to meet deadlines and ensure compliance with the state.

4. Gain More Privacy

One of the key drawbacks of acting as your own registered agent is that unwelcome guests may arrive at your business premises. Such guests may serve legal paperwork, such as lawsuits, which can be uncomfortable to receive publicly. For example, imagine having a client in the office when you’re served with papers.

A third-party registered agent offers privacy to your business. They’ll receive these documents on your behalf and deliver them discreetly.

5. Keep Your Address Private

A registered agent’s office address is a matter of public record. Anybody can access it, including marketers and unwanted visitors. If you work from home, you likely don’t want to receive magazines or marketing letters on top of important governmental documents.

With a third-party agent, you have a layer of protection between your business address and the public business address. The agent’s office serves as the point of contact for everything from essential documentation to marketing materials.

Ultimately, having an in-house registered agent comes with more drawbacks than benefits. If you’re considering a third party, our registered agent service makes it easy to maintain your privacy, so you get more time to focus on your business.

How to Set Up Your Texas Registered Agent

You’re required to elect a Texas registered agent when filing your certificate of formation for a Texas LLC or corporation. New business owners have several options available when selecting an agent. Texas businesses can also change their registered agent at any time.

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Electing a Texas Registered Agent

When you’re ready to elect your Texas registered agent, we can handle all the filing hassle on your behalf and fulfill your registered agent requirement. Otherwise, you can elect a Texas registered agent online or by mail by filing your certificate of formation with the Texas Secretary of State.

Online Nomination

You can file for a Texas LLC or corporation online via the Texas Secretary of State website with a $300 state fee.[3] During the formation, you will need to nominate a registered agent to act on behalf of your business.

There are three crucial steps to this process:

  1. Include the registered agent’s name and contact information in your articles of incorporation

  2. Have the registered agent complete Form 401-A 

  3. File your certificate of formation[4]

Form 401-A acts as the registered agent’s consent to act on behalf of your business. State rules say you must have a copy of this form on file with your business records. Many business owners also submit this form to the Texas Secretary of State, giving them extra proof that they’re complying with state rules.

Electing an Agent by Mail

You may choose to elect your registered agent by mail. In this case, there are several more steps to follow:

  1. Download the Certificate of Formation form from the Texas Secretary of State’s website[5]

  2. Complete the form’s required fields for your Texas LLC

  3. Complete Article 2, which asks for your registered agent’s name and contact information

  4. Have your registered agent complete Form 401-A to give their consent to act on your behalf[4]

  5. Create duplicate copies of each document for your records

  6. Send the documents to the Texas Secretary of State

You can mail your forms to the following address:

P.O. Box 13697

Austin, Texas 78711-3697

Alternatively, you can deliver the forms in person at the James Earl Rudder Office Building, located at:

1019 Brazos

Austin, Texas 78701

Note that the $300 state filing fee still applies when electing an agent via mail.

Electing an Agent for a Texas Nonprofit

The steps to elect a registered agent change slightly if you’re forming a nonprofit in Texas. Instead of the certificate of formation mentioned above, you must complete Form 202 – Nonprofit Certificate of Formation either online or by printing it out and completing it physically. Your registered agent’s name and contact details are required in Article 2 of this form.[6]

Beyond that, the process of filing for a nonprofit is the same as for other business entities. Your registered agent must still provide consent via Form 401-A.[4] You also have to pay the state fees, though nonprofits pay $25 rather than $300.

Changing a Texas Registered Agent

Your Texas LLC may need to change its registered agent for various reasons. The agent may withdraw their consent, move out of Texas, or simply no longer wish to represent your business.

In these cases, you must file a Change of Registered Agent form with the Texas Secretary of State. Thankfully, the process is fairly simple as it’s considered an amendment to your existing certificate of formation. In other words, you don’t have to file a new certificate of formation when changing your Texas registered agent.[5]

If you want to change registered agents, we can fill out the paperwork, file on your behalf, and fulfill your business’s registered agent duties. Alternatively, if you would like to file the amendment yourself, you only have to download or access Form 401 and follow these steps[7]:

  1. Check which form applies to your change (typically Form 401)

  2. Complete Form 401 while noting any special requirements

  3. Create a duplicate copy of the form for your records

  4. Send your completed Form 401 to the TX Secretary of State by mail or online at SOS Direct[8]

  5. Pay the $15 state filing fee

  6. If you fax your papers, you must also complete Form 807 to complete your payment[9]

  7. Pay your registration fee, which varies based on how quickly you want to enact the change

Processing of these forms can take up to two weeks. However, you can pay an additional $25 for an expedited application. In this case, you’ll need to include a contact phone number and a cover letter explaining your wish to expedite the process. If you pay for an expedited application, the process should conclude by the end of the following business day.

FAQs

Who can be a Texas registered agent?

Any employee or business owner can be a Texas registered agent as long as they’re over the age of 18, live in Texas, and have a registered street address in the state. In most cases, you cannot use a P.O. box as a registered agent’s address.

How much does a registered agent in Texas cost?

Prices for a registered agent vary depending on where you buy your Texas registered agent services. At Swyft Filings, prices start at $149. 

How can I change my registered agent in Texas?

You can change a registered agent in Texas by completing Form 401 and filing it with the Texas Secretary of State. You’ll also need to include your new agent’s consent form.

How can I find a registered agent in Texas?

There are several ways to find Texas registered agent services, including via a telephone directory or online. You may also find third-party companies willing to act as your business’s registered agent.

What is a Texas registered office?

A registered office is a physical address where your registered agent can receive correspondence on behalf of your company. It must operate during normal business hours.

What’s the difference between a registered agent and a resident agent or statutory agent?

Statutory agent is another term used to describe a registered agent. Many also use resident agent as a synonym for a registered agent. However, resident agent can refer to any entity that does not own a property but is authorized to act on its behalf.

What is a registered agent service?

A registered agent service is a third party that fulfills the registered agent requirements on behalf of the business. Swyft Filings offers a reliable registered agent service that maintains your privacy, provides immediate access to vital documents, and gives you more time to focus on your business.


Bibliography

  1. Texas Constitution and Statutes. “Business Organizations Code: Chapter 5. Names of Entities; Registered Agents and Registered Offices.” Accessed November 30, 2022.

  2. Texas Secretary of State. “Registered Agent FAQs - Who can be a registered agent?” Accessed November 30, 2022.

  3. Texas Secretary of State. “SOS Direct.” Accessed November 30, 2022.

  4. Texas Secretary of State. “Form 401-A—General Information Acceptance of Appointment and Consent to Serve as Registered Agent.” Accessed November 30, 2022.

  5. Texas Secretary of State. “Form 205—Certificate of Formation—Limited Liability Company.” Accessed November 30, 2022.

  6. Texas Secretary of State. “Form 202—Certificate of Formation – Nonprofit Corporation.” Accessed November 30, 2022.

  7. Texas Secretary of State. “Form 401—Change of Registered Agent/Office.” Accessed November 30, 2022.

  8. Texas Secretary of State. “Instructions for Filing a Statement of Change of Registered Agent or Office (Form 401).” Accessed November 30, 2022.

  9. Texas Secretary of State. “Secretary of State Payment Form.” Accessed November 30, 2022.

Originally published on October 26, 2022, and last edited on January 25, 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for answers? You came to the right place. To learn more about our company mission and culture, click the link below.

How much does it cost to form a Corporation or LLC?

Swyft Filings charges only $49 + state filing fees to incorporate your business. Filing fees vary from state to state. If you have a question about a specific state, feel free to email or contact us at 877-777-0450.

After completing my order, will I have to pay additional fees to your company?

No. For business filings, you paid the total price for your order at the time you placed it. 

However, if you signed up for the Swyft Filings Registered Agent Service, you will be charged for this service when the state grants your company a Certificate of Formation. This recurring fee will be automatically charged to your account for each period the service is active unless you change your Registered Agent with the State or dissolve your company.

When will my order be processed?

Orders are processed as they are received. However, clients that select Express Processing or Same Day Processing will have their orders processed before Standard Processing orders.

How long does the incorporation process take?

Incorporation times vary from state to state. Feel free to contact us by email or at 877-777-0450 for information on specific state processing times.

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