Georgia Registered Agent

A Georgia Registered Agent for your LLC is a person or entity that receives legal documents and tax notifications on behalf of your company. Georgia requires that every LLC have a registered agent. The state will not accept the Articles of Organization unless a registered agent is mentioned.

Your LLC needs a registered agent primarily to receive service of process. This generally involves legal documents like lawsuits, complaints, subpoenas, etc. In many states, the Registered Agent also serves as a general point of contact between the state and the LLC. As such, your Registered Agent may also receive tax notifications and other reminders from the state.

These requirements make it very important (and legally necessary) to appoint and maintain a Registered Agent for your Georgia LLC.

Who Can Be A GA Registered Agent?

The requirements for a GA Registered Agent are fairly clear and straightforward. These are:

  • A Georgia Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Georgia. You cannot use PO Box addresses or similar services.
  • The registered agent can be an individual or business entity.
  • If the agent is an entity (whether foreign or domestic) they must be allowed to do business in Georgia and have a physical address in the state.

It’s worth noting that while this allows business entities to act as registered agents, an LLC cannot be its own registered agent. In most cases, these entities are commercial registered agents who provide their services in exchange for a fee.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Georgia

Yes, you can be your own registered agent in Georgia. Of course, this assumes you can fulfill the residency requirements (maintain a registered office). 

You could also ask your friends/family members to take on that role. This gives you a rather good set of options. Just remember, whoever you choose should be able to fulfill the responsibilities of a registered agent.

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Registered Agent?

Being a registered agent comes with a set of responsibilities. Since the agent’s primary role is to receive legal documents and notices, they cannot afford to be lax about their job. 

In a scenario where the agent is unavailable to receive the service of process (or fails to inform the LLC of the same), a court case might proceed against your company without you having any knowledge of it!

So, the agent should be in-tune with their responsibilities. These are:

  • Maintaining the LLC’s registered office where service of process can be delivered.
  • Being available during normal business hours (9 am to 5 pm).
  • Receive service of process on behalf of the LLC and forward it to the relevant person/department in the LLC as soon as possible.
  • Receive tax notices, reminders, or similar documents from the state.

A Registered Agent need not be a full-time employee of the company. By and large, their role is to be available if process servers arrive. As such, it can be convenient to appoint yourself or friends/family to this position. You may save some money doing this.

Are Their Risks To Appointing Friends/Family As My GA Registered Agent?

Technically, there is a non-zero risk, though the chances of anything untoward happening are very low. As noted above, there is a huge risk if the Registered Agent fails to receive the service of process or doesn’t forward it to the LLC.

The key is to maintain the registered office (the physical address of the registered agent) and being available during normal business hours. A friend or family member might be able to do this for a very long time. However, there might be a problem if they’re away on vacation or if they stepped out for something when process servers arrived.

Privacy is another thing to consider. The address and details of a registered agent form part of the public record. As such, this information will be available freely and easily. Many people aren’t quite comfortable with their personal details being available to the world. If you have such concerns, it’s worthwhile to look into other options.

Georgia LLC Commercial Registered Agents

Hiring commercial registered agents for Georgia LLCs is fairly popular. It can be a viable option for most LLCs and something to consider as worthwhile. Commercial agents charge a fee for their services. Usually, this is somewhere between $100-$300, but it can vary depending on the services and the agent you choose.

When you look for a commercial agent, you’ll find plenty of national and local agents offering their services. Local agents might be in a position to better assist you with the state or even county requirements. On the other hand, the national agents offer excellent resources and experience.

Most commercial agents offer more than just registered agent services. Some might offer assistance with filing the articles of organization for your Georgia LLC, while others may offer help with local permits and business licenses. The exact offerings can vary with the agent and services you choose.

Plus, there are some conventional advantages of hiring a commercial agent:

  • Professional: A commercial agent is very likely to be well-versed with the requirements of their role. Additionally, they’re likely to have a fully staffed office, which is better equipped to deal with the service of process. 
  • Privacy: The commercial agent will use their own address wherever necessary. So, there is greater privacy as your address won’t make it to public record.
  • Discreet: If service of process arrives, the agent will handle it and will forward it to the LLC discreetly. This can be more desirable than having process servers moving through your office and delivering papers in front of employees, clients, and customers.
  • Convenience: It’s often more convenient to hire a commercial agent than handling the responsibility yourself.

How To Change Registered Agent In Georgia

The only way to change your Registered Agent in Georgia is to file the change with the Georgia LLC Annual Registration. Filing the Annual Registration is a mandatory requirement for all LLCs in Georgia. You can add relevant changes, including the change of registered agent, while submitting the annual registration.

This process can be completed online. Generally, Georgia requires annual registration to be completed before April 1 every year. You can submit the Annual Registration without any changes. Or, if necessary, include changes like for your Georgia Registered Agent.