You formed your Georgia LLC. You did the paperwork. You started operating your business. And now, for one reason or another, you need to change your registered agent. No worries, we’ve got you covered.
There are a number of reasons you might need to change your Georgia LLC’s registered agent. Maybe your designated registered agent moved out of state, left the company, or no longer wants the responsibility. Maybe you had assigned the job to yourself, and you no longer want your address on public record. Maybe (hopefully) your business has expanded so much that you no longer have time to handle the registered agent responsibilities.
Whatever your reason may be, changing a registered agent in Georgia might seem like a daunting task, with a mountain of paperwork and legal proceedings involved. However it’s actually quite simple, and this guide will help make the process quick and painless.
What the State of Georgia Says about changing a Registered Agent
The state of Georgia has certain requirements for changing your LLC’s registered agent. The only way to make this change is by filing or amending your Annual Registration (same as an annual report). There is no separate form for a registered agent change.
Each year, you’re required to file your Annual Registration online or by mail between January 1 and April 1. To change your registered agent after you’ve already submitted your Annual Registration, simply file it again with the necessary changes and pay another fee.
The Secretary of State’s Commonly Asked Questions page, Annual Registration user guide, and Georgia Code, Sec. 14-11-209 all provide additional insight.
Who can be a Georgia Registered Agent
You can’t pick just anyone to be a registered agent for your LLC. The state of Georgia puts certain restrictions on who can serve as one. If you’re choosing or changing your registered agent, keep these requirements in mind. The registered agent in Georgia must:
- Be an individual Georgia resident or a business entity located in Georgia
- Have a Georgia street address (P.O. boxes are not allowed)
* If your registered agent is a foreign business entity, it must be authorized to transact business in Georgia
How to Change Your Georgia Registered Agent
Since the Annual Registration is the primary vehicle for LLC changes in Georgia, this is what you’ll need to change your registered agent. The state requires all LLCs to file an Annual Registration each year, but for changes that fall outside the January 1 – April 1 filing window, you’re welcome to file as many registrations as you’d like to make additional changes.
Filing online through the Secretary of State’s eCorp system is the only way to do it. But have no fear; the state provides a step-by-step set of instructions (with photos!) for how to file on eCorp. Follow that document exactly and you’ll have no issues. They even offer a mobile app for Apple and Android so you can make changes to your LLC on the go.
For quick reference, here’s the information you’ll need to have on hand:
- Your LLC name (or control number)
- Your name
- A valid email address
- The name and address of your new registered agent
- Principal Office mailing address
- Payment information
There is a $50 fee to file an Annual Registration. You’ll need to pay this fee each time you file a new form. Payment options include Visa, Mastercard, America Express, and Discover.
You cannot successfully change your registered agent by updating your Articles of Organization. Some states allow this, but the only option in Georgia is on your Annual Registration.
If you’re too busy, or if you’d feel more comfortable letting someone else take the reins, you have the option of hiring a company or individual to file your paperwork for you. It’s a great way to save time and stress.
Submit your form? Pay your fee? You’re good to go! Processing times for the Secretary of State are usually around 5-7 days, although they can increase as high as 12 during peak filing times. Or, you can pay an extra $50 fee for 2-day expedited processing.
Consider a Registered Agent Service
Think of your registered agent as a mediator between you and the state of Georgia, the person or business entity that handles some of your most important paperwork.
In case you thought the registered agent was just a formality, look at the documents they handle:
- service of process notices
- tax information
- and other Secretary of State correspondence.
A lot of important stuff. Which is why a reliable registered agent is essential to every Georgia business owner.
By handling high-priority and sensitive documents on your behalf, your registered agent takes care of your communications with the state, so you can spend more time building your business.
Plus, if you operate a Georgia small business from out of state, a trustworthy registered agent is especially important, as the state requires a local contact for your LLC. Having this contact ensures your company will receive and respond to time-sensitive documents, so you won’t miss filings and get hit with penalties.
If you’re unsure where to find a good Georgia registered agent, consider using a registered agent service. These companies provide you a reliable, professional registered agent so you can have peace of mind knowing you won’t ever miss a filing, tax deadline, or state correspondence.
Sure, you can jump online, search “registered agent service,” and get a ton of results. But the truth is that not all of these services are trustworthy. So, we’ve done some research for you. If you want to know you’re getting a top-quality registered agent, take a look at our comparison guide on the top five registered agent services.