Every LLC in the state must appoint an Ohio Registered Agent (better known as statutory agent in the state). Appointing the statutory agent is a major requirement. The state will not allow the creation of an LLC until a statutory agent is appointed.
The primary function of the statutory agent is to receive service of process on behalf of the Ohio LLC. This involves legal documents like lawsuits, summons, subpoenas, etc. The registered agent is also the primary point of contact between the Ohio Secretary of State and the LLC. As such, tax notices and compliance information from the state are sent to the statutory agent (registered agent).
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Ohio?
Short answer: yes, provided you have a physical street address in Ohio.
Generally speaking, the requirements for a statutory agent in Ohio are fairly simple and straightforward. These are:
- The statutory agent must be qualified to receive legal documents (an adult).
- If a person, the agent should have a physical street address in Ohio.
- If an entity, they must be allowed to do business in the state and maintain a physical office address in Ohio.
As we see, there are plenty of options to pick from for appointing/electing a statutory agent. An additional expectation is that the registered agent would be available during normal business hours (9 am to 5 pm). That way, they’ll be available if service of process arrives.
If you feel like it, the statutory agent of your Ohio LLC could be:
- A friend or family member.
- You can hire a commercial registered/statutory agent.
Of course, this assumes the residency and address requirements are fulfilled. Generally, most people choose to go with commercial registered agents (hiring business entities as statutory agents).
A unique trait of Ohio’s Statutory Agent requirements is that it allows the use of PO Box addresses or similar services. Almost all other states mandate a physical street address for the agent and will reject applications if a PO Box address is used.
Appointing A Statutory Agent
Ohio requires statutory agents to explicitly accept their role and position. The Ohio Articles of Incorporation include space for a statutory agent to provide their acceptance of appointment. Adding a signature and other relevant information is required for hiring a statutory agent.
A physical signature is necessary if you’re filing the form via postal mail. When filing the form online, the statutory agent simply typing in their name qualifies as a signature.
Hiring A Commercial Statutory Agent In Ohio
Often, hiring a commercial registered agent in Ohio makes better sense. The service comes at a price, but it is often more convenient than having your friends, family, or yourself take that role. Pricing can vary, but most commercial statutory agent services in Ohio cost between $100-$300 annually.
Many commercial agents also offer additional services, which can impact the total cost. If you go for an Ohio registered agent search, you’ll likely find several local and national options. Look for reviews and consider carefully before you choose to hire an agent.
There are several advantages of hiring a commercial registered agent. These include:
- Privacy: The details of every Ohio Statutory Agent on file are a matter of public record. Many people may not be thrilled at having their address and contact details so easily available. Hiring a commercial agent means they’ll register their own business address, thus providing you some privacy.
- Discreet: it might be better for a third party to receive the service of process. Many businesses may not want process servers entering their office to deliver the documents.
- Professional Service: A commercial statutory agent is likely to have a fully staffed office. They’ll likely receive service of process without a hitch and forward it to your LLC quickly.
- Convenience: More often than not, it’s just more convenient to hire a commercial agent rather than trying to DIY the process by yourself.
How To Change My Registered Agent In Ohio
Change of a statutory agent in Ohio can be accomplished by filing relevant forms with the Secretary of State. This requires filing Form #521 for statutory agent update. If a physical form is submitted, the agent must add their signature.
You can also submit the change request online. The filing fee for this form is $25. If you’re filing online, you can complete the payment through a credit card. To file the Ohio registered agent update through postal mail, you’ll have to include a check or money order for payment. These should be made payable to “Ohio Secretary of State”.
The usual processing time for these forms is 3-7 business days. However, that can depend on the volume of filings delivered to the government office. Ohio also offers expedited filing if you wish to speed things up.
Ohio Registered Agent expedited filing is available in several tiers and requires extra payment above the filing fee.
- Expedite Service 1: Costs $100, the form will be processed in 2 business days.
- Expedite Service 2: Costs $200 and the form is processed within one business day. The service is only available to walk-in customers.
- Expedite Service 3: Costs $300. This offers same-day filing, processed within four hours. The service is available only to walk-in customers, provided they deliver the form to the client service center before 1 pm.