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Maryland Resident Agent: LLC Options & Requirements

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

 

What is a Maryland Resident Agent & is it Necessary?

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

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

Here’s what the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation specifically says:

Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation

If an LLC does not assign a resident agent, the state will reject the LLC’s Articles of Organization.

 

What are the Requirements of a Resident Agent?

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

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

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

Maryland Articles of Organization

 

Who can be a Resident Agent in Maryland?

The Maryland resident 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 resident agent, the individual must be a resident of Maryland.

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. The resident agent will also need to sign the Articles of Organization.

Pros

  • Convenience – Using someone you know saves the time of searching for a resident 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 resident 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 resident agent service may be a better option.

 

Resident Agent Service

If a service is acting as resident agent, 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 resident 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 Maryland. 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 resident 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 Resident Agent

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

How it Works

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

All you pay for is the $100 Maryland state LLC formation fee + $49 or $79 service fee.

This will remove all resident 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 Maryland.

 

How to Change Your Maryland Resident Agent

If you need to change your existing resident agent in Maryland, you can do so by submitting a “Resolution to Change Principal Office or Resident Agent” form or a request through the Maryland Business Express web portal.

Filing online is the far quicker method. Once you navigate to the Maryland Business Express site, here’s what to do:

  1. Log in (or create an account if you don’t have one)
  2. Select “Change Resident Agent/Principal Office”
  3. Search for your business name
  4. Find your LLC in the results and click the “Change Resident Agent/Principal Office” button
  5. Follow the onscreen directions to input your information
  6. Pay your fee

Postal mail is also a reliable option. Download the form, complete it, and send it to:

State Department of Assessments and Taxation, Charter Division

301 W. Preston Street

8th Floor Baltimore, MD 21201‐2395

*You may hand deliver your form to this address as well, although you’ll automatically be charged the $50 expedited processing fee

The fee to change your resident agent is $25, plus a $50 fee if you want expedited processing. Online and walk-in filings are automatically charged the expedited fee and are processed within seven business days. Mailed filings without expedited processing can take up to eight weeks. Pay your fee via check, made payable to “State Department of Assessments and Taxation.” If filing online, you will need to pay with a card.

Making updates on your annual report or Articles of Organization is not a viable option for resident agent changes. You must file the appropriate online or paper form.

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? Then you’ve done your part! Kick back and wait to see your new resident agent on file.

 

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 Business Resources page of Maryland.gov for more information about resident agents in the state of Maryland.

Give Them a Call

If you’d prefer to call, reach out to their Baltimore office at (410) 767-1184. If outside the Baltimore area, call (888) 246-5941.