Every LLC in Hawaii must appoint and maintain a Hawaii Registered Agent at all times. This is the official, appointed contact of a Hawaii LLC to receive service of process, official communication, tax notices, etc.
Service of process involves receiving legal documents like the notice of a lawsuit, summons, subpoenas, etc. The agent also acts as a point of contact between the LLC and the state. So the agent also receives communication from the state, including tax notices and payment reminders.
An LLC must appoint a registered agent before filing its articles of organization with the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Business Registration Division. The state won’t accept the articles in the absence of such an appointment. Failure to maintain a registered agent (RA) at all times can have legal and administrative repercussions.
Getting To Know The Hawaii Registered Agent Better
Legal Requirements For A Registered Agent In Hawaii
As an LLC appoints a registered agent, it should consider if the agent can fulfill the state’s legal requirements. These are fairly standard and easy to comply with. So, the Hawaii LLC can exercise a good deal of freedom when choosing its registered agent.
- The address of the registered agent must be a physical street address in Hawaii. The state doesn’t accept PO Box addresses or similar.
- If the agent is a person, he or she should be a resident of the state and capable of receiving legal documents.
- If the agent is a business, they must have permission to conduct business in the state.
Who Can Be Your Registered Agent In Hawaii
Once you see the requirements, you’ll notice that there are plenty of options to pick from. The most common options available are:
- You can be your own registered agent.
- Appoint a family member or friend as the registered agent.
- Hire a commercial registered agent.
For the sake of clarity, commercial registered agents are businesses that offer their services for a fee. Being your own registered agent (or asking friends or family to do it) can save you the money spent on the registered agent.
However, these options are best available for domestic LLCs (companies native to Hawaii). If you’re setting up a company from another state (foreign LLC), you may not have the luxury of appointing yourself or family/friends as registered agents. In this case, hiring a commercial agent is the best choice.
Responsibilities Of Your HI Registered Agent
The RA has an important role, so when you appoint one, consider how well-suited they are to handle responsibilities that come with the job. At the minimum, you can expect the registered agent to handle the following responsibilities.
- Maintain a physical address for the LLC. This is the registered office of the company where service of process arrives.
- Be available at the registered office during normal working hours (9 am to 5 pm).
- Receive service of process on behalf of the LLC and forward it to the company immediately.
- Receive any official communication from the state for the LLC and inform the company.
These are simple, yet very important considerations that a registered agent must handle. Their role is extremely important. Once process servers deliver legal documents to the RA, the court system believes that the LLC has been notified.
If the registered agent can’t be reached by the process servers, or if the agent fails to notify the LLC, a lawsuit may proceed against your company without you even knowing it!
This is why, when you hire a registered agent, consider their reliability and ability to provide professional service. Appointing a registered agent should be based solely on the agent’s ability to fulfill their role.
Hiring A Commercial Registered Agent For Your HI LLC
When you’re appointing an HI Registered Agent for your LLC, it’s best to consider all available options. Hiring a commercial registered agent can provide a good way to handle the requirements and get a professional and reliable service.
A search into commercial registered agents available in the state will give you several options. Pricing usually varies depending on the agents and the service. But most of the available agents fall in the range of $50-$200.
When you hire an agent, their ability to offer the following services is necessary. While the services can vary, at a minimum, you must consider their effectiveness on the following parameters.
- Professional Service: Commercial agents are likely to have a fully staffed office with well-trained staff. They should be able to handle receipt of service or process or other documents.
- Reliability: The agent should receive service of process and other documents and inform the LLC (or send the relevant documents to the LLC) as soon as possible.
- Privacy: Address and details of the registered agent become part of the public record. When you use a commercial registered agent, your own address should stay private.
- Discreet: Many LLCs may not want to receive service of process in front of clients, customers, or employees. Having a commercial registered agent means the service of process is delivered to the office of the RA. Additionally, the agent should forward these documents to the LLC discreetly and professionally.
- Convenience: Hiring a commercial registered agent should add to your convenience. With the agent managing service of process and other documents, you get more time and peace of mind to focus on your business.
Changing An LLC’s Hawaii Registered Agent
Changing your LLC’s Hawaii Registered Agent can be done by filing a paper form or online. You can file a Statement of Change of Registered Agent By Entity (Form X-7). If you’re using a non-commercial agent, you should look at Statement Of Change Of Noncommercial Registered Agent’s Business Address Or Name (Form X-8). For the sake of completing the process, Statement of Resignation of Registered Agent (Form X-9) may be used as well.
The forms mentioned above are relevant for domestic as well as foreign LLCs and available on the Business Forms section of the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. A dedicated section for Foreign LLC forms is also available on the same website.
To change your Hawaii Registered Agent online or perform other actions for your LLC, you can use the Hawaii Business Express website.