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How to Get a Registered Agent in New York

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Carlos Serrano
Written byCarlos Serrano
Alexis Konovodoff
Edited byAlexis Konovodoff
Updated May 30, 2023

Following your dream of financial freedom by creating a limited liability company in the Big Apple isn’t as straightforward as some business owners believe. Companies must follow New York state law to obtain and keep their authorization to do business in the state. 

Unlike in other states, New York LLCs aren’t required to elect a registered agent to act as a point of contact for state and legal correspondence. However, if you still want to appoint a New York registered agent for the added benefits of privacy, organization, and compliance, this tutorial will show you how to find, elect, and change one. We’ll also discuss the benefits of a third-party agent.

Key Takeaways

  • New York is fairly unique because it doesn’t require companies to have a registered agent to act as a contact for legal correspondence with the state and other companies. 

  • Although it is easy to become your own registered agent in New York, the added responsibility and work can diminish the time you can devote to growing your business.

  • It can cost anywhere from $50 to $300 or more per year to hire and retain a third-party New York registered agent, but the price is worth it when considering all the benefits.

What Is a Registered Agent?

A registered agent, resident agent, or agent for service of process is an entity elected by your limited liability company (LLC) to serve as a point of contact for mail correspondence.[1] This agent must have a physical street address and keep regular business hours during which they can accept legal documents and notifications. 

A New York registered agent can be either a person or a company. For instance, your registered agent may be the individual or company that gets served when someone wants to sue your New York LLC. The agent must sign for the service of process and forward the documents to your company, so you can continue operating in good standing.

Registered Agent Responsibilities

Being a New York registered agent in good standing with the Secretary of State isn’t always easy. All agents have specific responsibilities to the state and their clients.[2] The two biggest duties are as follows:

  • Keep regular business hours to accept, sign, and forward legal documents and notifications

  • Archive relevant information about the companies they represent

Furthermore, New York registered agents often have additional responsibilities:

  • Make their business address available in the public record

  • Process and forward other business documents like annual reports and franchise tax

  • Obtain authorization to do business in New York for out-of-state and foreign business entities

  • Maintain good standing with the state

Choosing Your New York Registered Agent

When forming a limited liability company, corporation, nonprofit, or other business entity, choosing the right New York registered agent is essential. Having an experienced agent for service of process can ensure notifications and prevent businesses from missing deadlines or falling out of compliance.

New York Registered Agent Requirements

Before choosing a New York registered agent, it’s crucial to understand who can legally represent your company if appointed. According to the New York Limited Liability Company LAW (LLC), registered agents must be over 18 years old and be either:[2]

  • A state resident or someone with a business address in the state

  • A domestic or foreign LLC or corporation with authorization to do business in the state

These are essential New York statutes to fulfill if agents want to represent a New York LLC and handle their legal documents and communications. Of course, other requirements apply, and you may notice that they overlap with an agent’s responsibilities.

For instance, registered or resident agents must keep regular business hours and list their addresses in the public record with the Secretary of State. Both individuals and New York business entities representing an LLC must meet these legal criteria to maintain their good standing.

Agents who aren’t in good standing may be banned from serving as agents for service of process filing. And depending on state laws, being banned in one state can prevent them from being listed in the formation documents of companies in others states.

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Can I Be My Own New York Registered Agent?

In a way, using a New York registered agent means paying someone to deliver a service, so it’s tempting to serve as your own registered agent and cut back on expenses. Besides, it’s easy enough when you have an office address in the public record and already work during regular business hours.

That said, there are pros and cons to being your own registered agent.

Advantages of Being Your Own Registered Agent

  • Your legal documents don’t pass through multiple hands

  • Accounting and expense tracking is simpler

Disadvantages of Being Your Own Registered Agent

  • Managing an extra set of responsibilities can lower productivity

  • Building the skills needed to sort important documents from junk mail takes time

  • Keeping regular business hours is mandatory, meaning a flexible work schedule isn’t feasible

  • Listing your office or home address in the public record is detrimental to your privacy

Benefits of a Third-Party Registered Agent

The obvious solution for any New York business owner is to hire the best registered agent service for New York LLCs, such as Swyft Filings. These services can take a lot off your plate and handle your legal correspondence with the expertise your company needs.

1. More Privacy

Imagine being served with legal papers during a crucial negotiation or client meeting. Even if the suit is without merit, you’ll still have a lot of explaining to do.

Avoiding embarrassing situations is one of the main reasons to consider hiring a third-party registered agent. An outside point of contact ensures no service of process notifications show up at your office address. Your New York registered agent can conveniently forward or share your essential documents online.

Moreover, your address won’t be available to every individual or advertising company. Instead, the public record displays your registered agent’s contact information. So you won’t have to worry about managing junk mail at the office.

2. Scheduling Flexibility

Many companies want to implement a four-day workweek to benefit their employees’ productivity.[3] But you can’t do that while acting as your own registered agent. Registered or resident agents must be available during regular business hours for five business days.

Likewise, some businesses don’t operate on a regular, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule. Perhaps your company has a hybrid workplace environment. Maybe you work with business entities and individuals in different time zones and can’t keep your office open during the day. Again, a third-party New York registered agent service can accept legal documents on your behalf and help you enjoy scheduling flexibility.

It’s also worth noting that you can’t wiggle your way out of keeping regular business hours. Listing your home or office address as a registered office and failing to be available will cause you to lose your good standing with the New York Secretary of State.

3. Increased Productivity

Being a registered agent comes with great responsibility. Some LLCs and corporations may receive legal correspondence daily. If you’re a small business owner, managing your own legal documents, notifications, and other paperwork should be the last thing on your mind.

Business owners and employees must work on the business to meet the company’s financial goals. Sorting through mountains of junk mail and processing and deciphering legal documents isn’t easy. It’s time-consuming and takes away from other business operations.

A third-party registered agent service can easily handle legal notices, notify you of important mail, and even serve in an advisory capacity.

4. Save Money in the Long Run

New York registered agents may cost anywhere from $50 to $300 or more per year. You may get the first year for free if you buy LLC formation or incorporation services.

But even paying $300 is worth it if you can avoid paying more state fees and penalties for missed deadlines and restore your good standing.

In addition, naming a registered agent that isn’t the New York Secretary of State can save you money on the mandatory publication requirement. That’s an additional fee imposed by the state of New York.

5. Build a Nationwide Business

You can’t incorporate a company on a federal level. If you want to do business in any state, you need authorization from the Secretary of State. So, imagine having a Michigan LLC that wants to do business in New York. Opening a new office branch is less efficient than having a professional registered agent with a registered office authorized to transact in New York.

You can meet New York statutes by naming a New York registered agent service in your business documents. It can cost around $1,500 to list your business name in the paper after the incorporation, but electing a resident agent in another state significantly lowers that cost.

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How To Set Up Your New York Registered Agent

Entrepreneurs, nonprofit CEOs, and other small business owners must know how to appoint a New York registered agent when branching out to a new state, forming a New York LLC, or switching agents.

Electing a New York Registered Agent

The easiest way to elect a New York registered agent is to name one in your Articles of Organization form. We’ll complete your LLC formation paperwork on your behalf and fulfill your registered agent requirements. Alternatively, you can form an LLC online on the New York Department of State website.

Note that this will require a $200 filing fee.[4]

Changing a New York Registered Agent

Sometimes you’ll end up separating from your registered agent. Maybe you want to work with someone more affordable or more experienced. Regardless, the day may come when you’ll want to change New York registered agents.

To do this, you must pay $30 in state fees for corporations, LLCs, limited liability partnerships, and other business entities. Nonprofits only pay a $20 filing fee to the New York Secretary of State.[5] The good news is that the process is straightforward.

If you’re ready to change your registered agent, we can fill out and file the paperwork for you while serving as your new agent. Otherwise, you can complete and file a Certificate of Change form with the New York Department of State, Division of Corporations, State Records, and Uniform Commercial Code. 

Each business entity has a custom form. You must attach a credit card authorization form for the payment when filing.

Contact Information for Changing Your New York Registered Agent

You can contact the New York Department of State, Division of Corporations, State Records, and Uniform Commercial Code at the following address:

One Commerce Plaza

99 Washington Ave.

Albany, NY 12231-0001

Alternatively, you can fax your Certificate of Change at (518) 474-1418.

Why Choose Swyft Filings as Your Registered Agent
  • Avoid Penalties: Stay in good standing while gaining a secure portal to print and access your documents at all times.

  • Protect Your Privacy: We go on record with the government so you don’t have to, meaning any legal actions are served to us, not your home or business.

  • Stay Flexible: We are always available at a physical address during business hours, so you never miss an official notice.

Get My Registered Agent

FAQs

Who can be a New York registered agent?

Legal state residents or people authorized to do business in New York may serve as registered agents. Domestic and foreign corporations and LLCs can also be points of contact for service of process legal documents for other business entities.

How much does a registered agent in New York cost?

New York registered agent services can cost as little as $50 or over $300 per year. The cost always depends on the service provider you choose, their expertise, and the service package. Agents that offer advisory services or perform more duties may be more expensive. Swyft Filings has a $149 flat fee per year.

How can I change my registered agent in New York?

Changing your registered agent requires completing and filing a Certificate of Change form with the proper authorities. In this case, you must send your request to the New York Department of State, Division of Corporations, State Records, and Uniform Commercial Code and pay $20 or $30 in state filing fees.

How can I find a registered agent in New York?

You can look for authorized registered agents in good standing on the New York Department of State website. Alternatively, you can ask business partners and others for recommendations or deep dive on Google to find a service provider you like.

What is a New York registered office?

A registered office is a registered agent’s address in the public record. It’s the physical address used to receive legal documents on behalf of clients during regular business hours. It can be a home or office address, but it can’t be a P.O. Box or mailing service.

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

Registered agent is a popular term for a company’s authorized mail forwarding point of contact for service of process notifications. However, other terms like resident agent or statutory agent are used across the country. No matter which you hear, they all refer to the same position or role.

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. The New York State Senate. “Section 305 Registered agent for service of process.” Accessed on December 19, 2022.

  2. The New York State Senate. “Section 302 Registered agent for service of process.” Accessed on December 19, 2022.

  3. CNET. “More Companies Are Adopting 4-Day Workweeks. Here's How to Pitch One to Your Boss.” Accessed on December 19, 2022.

  4. New York State. “Limited Liability Company (Domestic) Articles of Organization (DOS 1336).” Accessed on December 19, 2022.

  5. New York State. “Certificate of Change for Domestic Limited Liability Companies.” Accessed on December 19, 2022.

Originally published on March 20, 2023, and last edited on May 30, 2023.

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