A Maryland Registered Agent is referred to as the Resident Agent. Practically, there is no difference between the terms, but states often use different terms. While most states use the term registered agent, many use Resident Agent and some others use Statutory Agent.
Naming conventions aside, the registered agent (or resident agent) has the primary role of receiving service of process on behalf of an LLC. Service of process generally includes the notice of a lawsuit, but it may also include other legal documents like summons, subpoenas, etc.
Legal documents like notices of lawsuits are usually delivered by process servers. For the court system to track the delivery and for the process to work smoothly, servers should be able to reliably deliver the documents. This is why the state mandates the appointment of resident agents.
Moreover, the resident agent for your Maryland LLC should maintain a physical street address where papers/documents can be served. It should be possible to deliver the service of process at this address.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Maryland (Resident Agent Maryland)
Yes, the state allows plenty of latitude in choosing a registered agent for your MD LLC. So, your overall choices for the Maryland Resident Agent are:
- You can be the resident agent of the LLC.
- It is possible to appoint your family members or friends to the role.
- Hire a commercial resident agent for your business.
There are plenty of options to find an appointment for a resident agent. Although keep in mind, there are some requirements for the agent to fulfill.
Who Can Be A Maryland Resident Agent
A Maryland resident agent can be a person or a business entity. To be eligible for appointment, they should fulfill the following conditions:
- A resident agent must have a physical street address in Maryland. The state doesn’t accept PO Box addresses or similar services. This address is the “registered office” where service of process is delivered.
- If the agent is a person, he or she should be an adult and legal resident of Maryland.
- A business entity working as the registered agent should have permission to do business in the state. Additionally, they must maintain an office/address in Maryland.
The business entity as resident agent usually refers to commercial resident agents. These are businesses that accept working as the resident agent for an LLC for a fee.
Maryland requires every LLC to appoint and maintain a resident agent in the state. The state will not accept the articles of organization if the appointment of a resident agent isn’t mentioned. Failure to maintain a resident agent can lead to loss of liability protection or legal action from the state.
The importance of a resident agent for an LLC is evident. However, before you appoint an agent, consider their capability of handling the responsibility of the role.
Responsibilities Of The Resident Agent
An MD Resident Agent should be up to perform the following tasks:
- Maintain a registered office for the LLC.
- Be available during normal business hours (9 am to 5 pm) in case service of process arrives.
- Receive service of process and quickly forward it to the LLC.
- Receive notices/communication from the state (e.g. tax notices) and forward them to the LLC.
In a way, the agent works as a point of contact between the state and your LLC. As such, several important documents and communication will flow through the agent. But it is important to remember that all communication to your LLC shouldn’t flow through the agent. Usually, it is best to keep their role limited to receiving service of process and notices from the state.
Being My Own Registered Agent – Things To Know
There are a couple of points to consider before you decide on being the resident agent of your LLC. The same points are valid if you choose to have family or friends take that role.
Maryland wants the resident agent to be available during normal business hours. That shouldn’t be a problem, but it can be tough for individuals to maintain this condition. You could be out on a vacation or otherwise unavailable when service of process arrives. While the chances of this happening are low, it’s still a risk to consider.
Another point that most people find troublesome is related to privacy. Details of the resident agent form part of the public record in Maryland. As such, the information will be freely available to anyone who looks for it.
And it isn’t just the state website/documents that will hold this information. Since it is freely available, several publications (websites, other businesses) might publish it too. If you’re not comfortable with this situation, you might have to reconsider being the resident agent.
Hiring A Commercial Resident Agent In Maryland
For many LLCs, the search for a resident agent usually ends with hiring a commercial resident agent. Foreign LLCs usually hire commercial agents simply because that is the best and most reliable option available. Even for domestic LLCs, it might be more convenient to hire an agent, rather than having friends or family take the role.
The pricing of commercial agents can vary depending on the commercial agent and the services they offer. Often, the prices are $100-$300 annually. You could save this money by being your own resident agent. However, there are benefits of appointing a commercial agent. These are:
- Professional Service: A commercial resident agent in MD is likely to have a fully staffed office. They’ll handle service of process (or other documents) professionally and quickly notify the LLC of such events.
- Convenience: It is usually more convenient to hire a resident agent rather than doing the job yourself.
- Discreet: The service of process (or notice of lawsuit) will be delivered to the office of the commercial resident agent. This avoids a potentially embarrassing situation where process servers visit the LLC and serve papers in front of clients, customers, or employees.
- Privacy: As already discussed, the address of the resident agent is public record. When you hire a commercial resident agent, you’ll use their address on all relevant documents. Therefore, your personal details remain private.
Changing The Maryland Resident Agent
Changing an LLC’s Maryland Registered Agent is fairly convenient and straightforward. The state makes it possible to change the resident agent online, or if you prefer paper filing, you can do it via mail, fax, or in-person.
To file online, you can submit a Resolution to Change Resident Agent through the Maryland BusinessExpress portal.
If you intend to file a paper form, you’ll have to download the form from the Departmental Forms & Applications section of the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation website. The form is a Resolution To Change Principal Office Or Resident Agent. This form must include the signature of the new resident agent, which indicates their consent for the role.
The filing fee for this form is $25 and it takes about 4-6 weeks to process.
An alternate way to change the Maryland Registered Agent is to file Articles of Amendment (paper form) for the MD LLC. This method might be overkill for simply changing the agent. The filing fee is $100 and the processing time for articles of amendment is 6-8 weeks.