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Florida Registered Agent: LLC Options & Requirements

Forming an LLC in Florida is a big decision. Before filing the Articles of Organization, you will need to choose a registered agent. In this article, we’re going to walk through what the role of a registered agent is and what your options are as a business owner.

 

What is a Florida Registered Agent & is it Necessary?

Yes, a registered agent is legally required. A registered agent is an individual or service that acts as a go-between with the LLC and the state of Florida.

In short, the registered agent assumes statutory responsibilities. He/she must agree to receive and deliver any official communications such as tax or legal documents from the state of Florida to the LLC. Furthermore, the registered agent must be consistently available to carry out this responsibility without interruption.

Here’s what Florida statute 605 specifically says:

Florida statute 605

If an LLC does not assign or maintain a resident agent, the LLC is prohibited from either prosecuting or defending itself in a court action. It is also fined $5 per day of noncompliance up to $500.

 

What are the Requirements of a Registered Agent?

Aside from carrying out the statutory responsibilities defined above, a registered agent must meet the following requirements:

  • The agent must be an individual resident of the state of Florida or a corporation authorized for business in Florida.
  • The agent must have a physical address in Florida.
  • The agent must have a mailing address in Florida.
  • The agent must be 18 years of age.
  • An LLC cannot act as its own registered agent in However, a member or manager of the LLC can act as registered agent.

For reference, here is a screenshot of what information is required on the Florida Articles of Organization:

Florida Articles of Organization

 

Who can be a Registered Agent in Florida?

The Florida registered agent can be either an individual or a professional service. Here are the pros and cons of each option.

Individual

As mentioned above, if using an individual as your registered agent, the individual must be a resident of Florida.

This means that the individual cannot be in the process of establishing residency in another state, territory, or country or receiving benefits while claiming residency in another state, territory, or country.

Otherwise, the individual can be an attorney, accountant, or even a friend or family member. Simply add the person’s name and address to the Articles of Organization.

Pros

  • Convenience – Using someone you know saves the time of searching for a registered agent service. The individual is probably also someone that you trust.
  • Cost – The cost will likely be much lower than using a service, perhaps even free.

Cons

  • Inconvenience – The individual who acts as registered agent is required to be available without interruption. She/he may not put a hold on mail. This might make vacations a bit tricky.
  • Risk that documents are not delivered in timely manner – If using an attorney, for example, you may be risking that she/he is away from the office at the time of delivery. This leaves open the possibility that the document is put in other hands, possibly slowing the process. If using a friend or family member, you run the risk of having documents misplaced or even ignored. Personal and work lives often have many distractions. For example, if quarrelling with Aunt Louise over a late or missing tax document worries you, a registered agent service may be a better option.

 

Registered Agent Service

If a service is acting as registered agent, it must be a business, professional, or non-profit corporation. It cannot be an LLC, LLP or LP. Registered agent services provide this type of assistance. The service’s name and address must be included on the Articles of Organization.

Pros

  • Privacy – If documents regarding a sensitive issue such as a lawsuit are being delivered, the service provides a cushion of privacy between your business and the public. In addition, the address of the service, not your business (or family member or friend) is public record. This means that marketing materials or junk mail will be sent to the service, not to the LLC.
  • Reliability – The registered agent needs to be available during regular business hours – all business hours. Using a service might provide a measure of comfort knowing that important documents will not slip through the cracks (as long as you use a reputable service). After all, receiving and delivering important and time-sensitive documents is what the service is experienced doing.
  • Location – An LLC is not required to maintain a physical presence in the state of Florida. The LLC may also do business in various states. Many services have you covered by providing that presence in multiple or even 50 states.

Cons

  • Cost – Using a service is going to cost you more than using an individual. Still, having the peace of mind that important documents are being handled by a professional service may be worth it.
  • Unfamiliarity – Using an individual usually means using someone you know and trust. With an unknown entity there is always a risk of unsatisfactory service. Of course, this is what reviews are for!

Finding a registered agent that is the right fit for your LLC may be one of many tasks when setting up your LLC, but one that is essential to running your business efficiently.

 

How to get a Free Registered Agent

The most cost effective way to get a free registered agent in Florida is to use a professional LLC service that also offers a free registered agent service.

How it Works

Simply hire a service like IncFile and Northwest Registered Agent to form a Florida LLC. As part of their package, they’ll include a free registered agent service and list their address on the Articles of Organization instead of yours.

All you pay for is the $125 Florida state LLC formation fee + $49 or $79 service fee.

This will remove all registered agent responsibilities off your plate, take care of LLC formation paperwork and provide you with an online dashboard to keep track of things that come up in regard to your LLC in Florida.

 

How to Change Your Florida Registered Agent

If you need to change your current registered agent in Florida, here are your options.

The first is by updating your annual report. We recommend this method for three reasons: first, you can file it online, which cuts down processing time. Second, you need to file your annual report every year anyway, so it decreases your paperwork load. Third, the Florida Department of State prefers it.

Florida’s annual report is an online-only form. Go here to get started. The Division of Corporations also offers comprehensive filing instructions and an FAQ page specifically for the annual report. The filing fee for LLCs is $138.75, quite a bit steeper than the $25 fee for a Statement of Change. But because you’re filing an annual report every year, making the change there will save you from paying both fees. Payment options for the annual report include credit card, debit card, check or money order.

The filing window for your annual report is January 1 to March 1 each year. If your need for a new registered agent falls outside this window, you can file a Statement of Change of Registered Office or Registered Agent. Unfortunately, you don’t have the option to file this one online. So, download and complete the form, then mail it to:

Division of Corporations

P.O. Box 6327

Tallahassee, FL 32314

Live near Tallahassee? Feel free to submit your form in person. Deliver it to:

Clifton Building

2661 Executive Center Circle

Tallahassee, FL 32301

Florida uses a separate Statement of Change form for foreign LLCs, so double-check that you’re using the correct one. Both forms have a $25 fee, payable by check or money order. Make checks out to “Florida Department of State.”

There you have it. These are your only two options for changing a registered agent in Florida. Some states allow you to make the change by updating your Articles of Organization, but Florida does not.

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? Nice work. You’ll see your change take place soon. The Florida Department of State typically has quick processing times. Annual reports filed online are processed immediately. If you choose to pay by money order, it takes 3-5 days. Statements of Change take 3-5 days (longer during peak periods). Either way, you’ll have your new registered agent on file within the week.

 

Have Questions or Concerns?

If you’d like to talk to the state directly about your questions or concerns, it’s easy!

Visit Their Website

Visit the Division of Corporations for more information about registered agents in the state of Florida.

Give Them a Call

If you’d prefer to call, reach out to their Tallahassee office at (850)245-6052.