Every LLC in Arkansas must appoint and maintain an Arkansas Registered Agent in the state. This agent is a person or business entity that agrees to receive service of process on behalf of the Arkansas LLC.
Service of process involves receiving legal documents like the notice of a lawsuit. Therefore, the agent must maintain a physical street address where service of process and certified mail can arrive.
The agent also serves as a general point of contact between the state and the LLC. So the agent may receive communication from the state including payment reminders, tax notices, and other documents.
Understanding The Arkansas Registered Agent Role And Requirements
Legal Requirements For A Registered Agent In AR
An LLC must appoint a registered agent before filing the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. In case the articles don’t include a registered agent, they won’t be accepted by the Secretary of State and the LLC won’t be formed.
Similarly, an AR LLC must maintain an agent in the state at all times. Failure to do this can result in legal as well as administrative issues.
The state only has a few basic requirements that need to be fulfilled for the appointment of a registered agent. These are fairly simple and straightforward.
- The registered agent must have a physical street address in Arkansas. This is the registered office of the LLC and cannot be a PO Box address or similar service.
- If the agent is a person, he or she must be an adult capable of receiving legal documents.
- If the agent is a business entity, they must have permission to conduct business in Arkansas.
Business entities working as registered agents are usually commercial registered agents. These are companies that offer their services as registered agents for a fee.
In light of the above information, you can consider the following for the role:
- You can be the registered agent for your Arkansas LLC.
- It is possible to appoint family members or friends for that role.
- You can hire a commercial registered agent.
Hiring a commercial registered agent can be necessary for those forming a foreign LLC in the state (not domestic to Arkansas). This may simply be necessitated by not knowing anyone in the state. Besides, acting as the registered agent in multiple states is simply not possible.
Of course, it isn’t just foreign companies that hire commercial agents. Domestic LLCs see plenty of use of hiring a commercial registered agent.
Responsibilities Of An Arkansas Registered Agent
Whether you choose to hire a commercial registered agent or save money and to do the job yourself, consider the agent’s fitness for the role. Being an AR registered agent has plenty of responsibilities, even if the agent isn’t (necessarily) a full-time employee of the company. At a minimum, the agent should be able to handle the following responsibilities:
- Maintain a registered office for the LLC. This must be a physical street address in Arkansas.
- Be available during normal business hours (9 am to 5 pm) at the registered office.
- Receive service of process if/when it arrives and immediately inform the LLC.
- Receive communication from the state and inform the LLC.
These are the bare minimum a registered agent must do. Once service of process is delivered to the agent, the court system assumes that the LLC has been notified. It is best that the agent inform the LLC of these developments as soon as possible.
This might also make you rethink being your own agent or appointing family/friends to that role. As individuals, being available at the registered office can be tough. You might be away on a vacation or be unavailable when service of process arrives. The chances of this happening are low, but it’s something to consider.
The address and details of a registered agent are part of the public record. This means if you (or family/friends) take on the role, their information will be easily available. Several businesses, websites, services, etc. collect and use these address details. There are obvious privacy implications.
If these scenarios don’t seem problematic, you can be your own registered agent and save some money. Alternatively, it might be better to hire a commercial registered agent, for these, as well as other benefits.
Hiring A Commercial Registered Agent In Arkansas
Arkansas has plenty of commercial registered agents offering their services. The exact cost of hiring a registered agent depends on the company and services on offer. As an example, some companies (commercial agents) also offer assistance in filing paperwork for forming an LLC. Others might just offer plain registered agent duties.
So, the plan and the service you choose will affect how much you pay for your registered agent. Generally speaking, most commercial registered agents are available in the cost bracket of $50 to $300 annually.
Whatever plan or service you choose, it is best to ensure that the agent meets at least the basic requirements of the role. Apart from the responsibilities already mentioned, you should expect more from your commercial registered agent.
- Professional and reliable service: Commercial agents usually have a fully staffed office. This way, they can ensure that service of process is received and handled professionally and with good care.
- Privacy: Since you’ll use the agent’s address for filings, your address can remain private.
- Convenience: Hiring an agent is more convenient than taking on the responsibility yourself.
- Discreet: For many companies, it may not be desirable to receive service of process in front of customers, employees, or clients. Since the office of a commercial agent is separate from that of the hiring LLC, this shouldn’t be a problem. Additionally, the agent should inform the company of receiving service of process in a discreet and professional fashion.
Changing Your LLC’s Arkansas Registered Agent
Changing the Arkansas Registered Agent is fairly convenient and straightforward. Any domestic or foreign LLC can file a Notice Of Change Of Registered Agent Information (Form DO-03). Once the form is filed with the Secretary of State, the form will be processed in a few days. There is no filing fee for this form. Arkansas doesn’t offer expedited processing.
This form can also be filed online using the Corporations Online Filing System. Arkansas SOS website makes these forms as well as online filing options available in the Business & Commercial Services section.