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Michigan Resident Agent: LLC Options & Requirements

Forming an LLC in Michigan is a big decision. Before filing the Articles of Organization, you will need to choose a resident agent (often referred to as registered agent in other states). 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 Michigan 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 Michigan.

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 Michigan to the LLC. Furthermore, the resident agent must be consistently available to carry out this responsibility without interruption.

Here’s what Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs specifically says:

“A resident agent and registered office must be included in the Articles of Organization. A resident agent is someone who is appointed by the company to receive any documents, notices, or demands served upon the company.”

 

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 Michigan or a corporation authorized for business in Michigan.
  • The agent must have a physical address in Michigan.
  • The agent must have a mailing address in Michigan.
  • An LLC cannot act as its own registered agent in Michigan. However, a member or manager can act as resident agent on behalf of the LLC.

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

Michigan Articles of Organization

 

Who can be a Resident Agent in Michigan?

The Alaska 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 Michigan.

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 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, it must be a business, professional, or non-profit corporation. It cannot be an LLC, LLP or LP. Resident 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 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 Michigan. 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 Michigan 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 Michigan 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 $50 Michigan 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 Michigan.

 

How to Change Your Michigan Resident Agent

If you need to change the current resident agent for your LLC, here’s how.

Let’s start with the designated change form since that’s the most common method. This is Form CSCL/CD-520, and you can find it on the LLC Forms page.

Once you’ve completed this form, you can submit it by mail or in person. For mail, address your form to:

Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau

Corporations Division

P.O. Box 30054

Lansing, Michigan 48909

If you’d rather take a trip to the LARA office and drop it off, you can do so at:

2501 Woodlake Circle

Okemos, Michigan 48864

No matter which option you choose, there is a required $5 fee, payable by check (made out to “State of Michigan”) or by card (if you deliver your form in person).

As stated above, you may also update your resident agent information on your Annual Statement, which must be filed no later than October 1 each year. Annual Statements are filed online for a fee of $20. Since you need to file your Annual Statement each year anyway, including your resident agent change there will save you money and paperwork.

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’re good to go. LARA usually processes forms 3-5 days after receipt, but if you need it sooner, you can fill out an “Expedited Service Request” for 1-hour, 2-hour, same day, or 24 hours service. The fees range from $50-1,000.

 

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 Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for more information about resident agents in the state of Michigan.

Give Them a Call

If you’d prefer to call, reach out to their Lansing office at (517) 241-6470.