Every Iowa LLC must appoint and maintain a registered agent in the state. This agent can be a person or a business entity. The primary role of the Iowa registered agent is to receive service of process on behalf of an LLC.
Service of process involves the delivery of legal documents like notice of a lawsuit. The agent should be available to receive these documents. This is why it’s necessary to have a physical address where process servers can deliver the documents.
The physical address that a registered agent maintains is called the registered office of the Iowa LLC. The agent may also serve as a general point of contact between the state and the LLC. Therefore, the agent can receive communication from the state, like tax notices or payment reminders.
When the registered agent receives a document on behalf of an LLC, it is their duty to deliver/forward the document to the LLC as soon as possible.
Requirements To Be An Iowa Registered Agent
Before appointing an Iowa registered agent, the LLC must consider if the person or business entity is fit for appointment. There are a few legal requirements that an agent must fulfill. Iowa has fairly straightforward and simple requirements, so it’s very likely that an LLC won’t have any trouble appointing a registered agent.
A person or a business entity can be the registered agent for an LLC. However, an LLC can’t be its own registered agent. The members of the LLC can be the registered agent. So yes, you can be the registered agent of your LLC. All of this assumes that the person or the business entity fulfills the legal requirements of being a registered agent.
- The registered agent must maintain a physical address in Iowa. This is the registered office of the LLC and where certified mail is delivered. Iowa doesn’t accept PO Box addresses or similar for this role.
- If the agent is a person, they should be an adult and capable of receiving legal documents.
- If a business entity serves as a registered agent, it should have permission to do business in Iowa and maintain an office in the state.
A business entity working as the registered agent is usually a commercial registered agent service. These are companies that provide their services as a registered agent for a fee.
Being Your Own Registered Agent For $0
Anyone who fulfills the (few) requirements can be the registered agent of your Iowa LLC. Companies often use these services. But there is an expense involved in hiring a commercial registered agent. It is possible to save that money and appoint yourself as the registered agent of your LLC.
You have plenty of choices in appointing a registered agent. For example:
- You could be your LLC’s registered agent.
- It is possible to appoint a family member or friend as the agent.
- You could hire a commercial registered agent.
Hiring a commercial agent would cost money, but the other options are cheaper. Keep in mind, this isn’t an exhaustive list. You could, for example, also appoint any person you trust to be the registered agent.
Whatever choice you make should provide a benefit for proper use as a registered agent. At the very least, your Iowa registered agent should fulfill a few responsibilities. These are:
- Maintain a registered office for the LLC.
- Be available at the registered office during normal business hours (9 am to 5 pm) in case service of process arrives.
- Receive service of process on behalf of the LLC and inform the company immediately.
- Receive any official communication from the state and inform the LLC.
Key points here are the availability and responsiveness of the agent. If you are the registered agent, you should be available during normal business hours and receive relevant documents. If you appoint someone else for the role, they should receive these documents and inform the LLC as soon as possible.
Possible Issues In Being Your Own Registered Agent
Being your own LLC’s registered agent is perfectly legal in Iowa. The same goes for appointing friends or family to that role. But there are some potential risks to be aware of. These aren’t some major problems. Rather, they are things that are part of being a registered agent.
Reliability is an important characteristic for your registered agent. And it is an aspect where individuals acting as registered agents may lag. People like to go on vacations or step outside with friends or family and so on.
It could be troublesome if service of process were to arrive while you’re away. The chances of this happening are low, but it’s a distinct possibility.
To be sure, there are ways and safeguards for such problems. In Iowa, if the process servers can’t reach the registered agent, they’ll try to deliver documents to the company’s secretary at the company’s principal address.
Another issue to consider is privacy. The details of the Iowa registered agent become part of the public record. That means they’re freely available to anyone willing to look for them. The lack of privacy may bother some people, who might not be comfortable being their own registered agent.
Hiring A Commercial Registered Agent In Iowa
Many companies choose to hire a business as their IA registered agent. The reason for this is the professional service and inherent reliability of hiring a commercial registered agent. There’s also an element of privacy since the address of the commercial registered agent is the one used on relevant documents.
Given the number of companies offering their services as registered agents in the state, pricing can vary considerably. You could expect to hire a registered agent for anything between $50-$300 annually. And even this range could vary depending on the agent and the services offered.
Whatever decision you make, don’t make it solely on price. See the reviews of the agents, and if possible, speak to their current and former clients. This will provide you with a good idea of their services. Remember, we want the agent to be professional and reliable. It helps if they’re cheap, but professionalism and reliability come first.
At the minimum, you should expect the following from your commercial registered agent:
- Professional service
How To Change The Iowa Registered Agent
Changing the registered agent for your Iowa LLC is fairly simple. You’ll have to file a form for the Statement of Change of Registered Office or Agent. There is no filing fee for this form and it can be submitted via mail, fax, or in-person.
Iowa requires that official forms be filed where they are provided. Relevant forms are available on the Business Entity Forms And Fees section of the Iowa Secretary of State website.
Using the statement of change is the best way to change your Iowa Registered Agent. However, there are a couple of alternate options available too.
You can also change the registered agent when filing the Biennial Report with the state. Another option is to change the agent by filing an amendment.