How to Change Resident Agent in Massachusetts
You formed your Massachusetts LLC. You did the paperwork. You started operating your business. And now, for one reason or another, you need to change your resident agent. No worries, we’ve got you covered.
There are a number of reasons you might need to change your Massachusetts LLC’s resident agent. Maybe your designated resident 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 resident agent responsibilities.
Whatever your reason may be, changing a resident agent in Massachusetts 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.
The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth uses the term “resident agent” for LLCs and “registered agent” for corporations. These both refer to the same position and set of responsibilities.
What the State of Massachusetts Says about Changing a Resident Agent
The state of Massachusetts has certain requirements for changing your LLC’s resident agent. Any LLC looking to change its resident agent must submit a Statement of Change either digitally or on paper. Paper filings incur a $25 fee, but online filings do not.
The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s LLC Information page has additional instructions about resident agent changes, along with other necessary LLC documentation.
Who can be a Massachusetts Resident Agent
You can’t pick just anyone to be a resident agent for your LLC. The state of Massachusetts puts certain restrictions on who can serve as one. If you’re choosing or changing your resident agent, keep these requirements in mind. The resident agent in Massachusetts must:
- Be an individual Massachusetts resident or a business entity located in Massachusetts
- Have a Massachusetts street address (P.O. boxes are not allowed)
* If your resident agent is a foreign business entity, it must be authorized to transact business in Massachusetts.
How to Change Your Massachusetts Resident Agent
Your former Massachusetts resident agent is out the door, and your new one is lined up. Now you just need to put the change into action. You have two options.
The first option is through the Corporations Online Filing System. Going digital is the quickest, easiest, and cheapest route (remember, there is no fee to file online). Simply log in using your Customer ID Number and PIN (email the Secretary of the Commonwealth at firstname.lastname@example.org if you don’t have this info). Select the “change of resident agent” option from the list, and follow the instructions.
Your second option is to use a “Statement of Change of Resident Agent/Resident Office.” Your new agent will need to sign this form to give consent for the appointment. Use Adobe Acrobat or a similar program to type our your information, as the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office will not accept handwritten forms. After you’ve finished filling it out, mail it, along with your $25 payment, to:
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, Room 1717
Boston, Massachusetts 02108-1512
Are you a Bostonian? You can also hand deliver the form to the same address. Or, you can fax it to 617-624-3891. Walk-ins and faxes also require a $25 fee, and faxes need to include a Fax Voucher Cover Sheet.
Unfortunately, you can’t change your resident agent just by updating the information on your annual report or Certificate of Organization. You must use one of the methods outlined here.
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! For paper submissions, you should see your change within 3-5 business days. If you filed online, your document will be processed immediately.
Consider a Resident Agent Service
Think of your resident agent as a mediator between you and the state of Massachusetts, the person or business entity that handles some of your most important paperwork.
In case you thought the resident agent was just a formality, look at the documents they handle:
- service of process notices
- tax information
- and other Secretary of the Commonwealth correspondence.
A lot of important stuff. Which is why a reliable resident agent is essential to every Massachusetts business owner.
By handling high-priority and sensitive documents on your behalf, your resident agent takes care of your communications with the state, so you can spend more time building your business.
Plus, if you operate a Massachusetts small business from out of state, a trustworthy resident 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 Massachusetts resident agent, consider using a resident agent service. These companies provide you a reliable, professional resident 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 “resident 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 resident agent, take a look at our comparison guide on the top five resident agent services.