A Puerto Rico Registered Agent is a legally appointed official that serves as the general point of contact for your LLC.
A key responsibility of the Registered Agent (RA) is to receive service of process on behalf of your LLC. In this way, the agent acts as a point of contact between the court system and your LLC. Once legal documents are delivered to the RA, the court system assumes the LLC has been notified.
Service of process includes legal documents like the notice of a lawsuit, summons, etc. For these documents to be reliably delivered, the agent must maintain a physical address in PR.
Apart from legal documents, the agent may also receive communication from the state. These include things like tax notices and payment reminders. As such, the agent carries a huge responsibility and is pivotal for the working of the LLC.
It’s worth noting that Puerto Rico officially uses the term Resident Agent. This is essentially the same as the term Registered Agent used by most states in the USA. Some states also use the term Statutory Agent. Essentially, all these terms mean the same thing and represent the same role. As such, they may be used interchangeably.
Responsibilities And Legal Qualifications Of A Puerto Rico Registered Agent
When appointing a Puerto Rico Resident Agent, the LLC must ensure that the agent qualifies for the role. PR lays down a few requirements that must be fulfilled. These are fairly simple and straightforward and give plenty of freedom to the LLC in choosing its RA.
- The resident agent must have a physical street address in Puerto Rico. P.O. Box addresses and similar services aren’t accepted.
- If the agent is a person, she or he must be a legal resident of PR and capable of accepting legal documents.
- If the agent is a business, it must have permission to do business in PR.
Generally speaking, the businesses working as resident agents are usually represented by commercial registered agents. These are companies that offer services as professional resident agents in PR for a fee.
Fulfilling the above-listed requirements alone shouldn’t be enough for an LLC to appoint its resident agent. The key part of the decision-making is the ability of the agent to handle the responsibilities that are an essential part of the role.
At the minimum, an LLC’s resident agent in Puerto Rico should cover the following requirements.
- Maintain a physical address for the LLC. This is the registered office of the company where service of process and certified mail are delivered.
- Be available during normal working hours (9 am to 5 pm).
- Accept service of process if/when it arrives and immediately notify the LLC.
- Receive any communication from the government and inform the business.
There is an implied element of time sensitivity to the role of the RA. Ideally, the business wants to be informed of the receipt of the LLC as quickly as possible. There can be major issues if the RA fails to notify the LLC in a timely manner.
Who Can Be Your LLC’s Resident Agent In Puerto Rico?
You Can Be Your Own Registered Agent In Puerto Rico
Once you’ve got the hang of the legal requirements and responsibilities of a resident agent, it’s time to decide whom to pick for the role. Theoretically, there could be several options, but the following are the most common choices for LLCs.
- You can be your own registered agent.
- Appoint a family member or friend.
- Hire a commercial resident agent.
Hiring a commercial agent usually costs money. However, you can be your own agent (or appoint family/friends) for $0. The monetary savings are often an encouragement to take on the role yourself. Besides, by appointing yourself or friends/family to the role, you can have someone whom you consider truly trustworthy.
Before you take the plunge, consider the professionalism and reliability of your resident agent.
Individuals can have trouble being reliably available during normal business hours. People like to go on vacations, take time off, run errands, or have other responsibilities. If service of process arrives while you’re away, things could get troublesome. The chances of this happening are low, but it is a real possibility anyway.
Privacy is another aspect to consider. The details of the RA on file with the government become part of the public record. This means the information will be freely available to anyone who looks for it.
If you think you can handle the privacy and reliability aspects of this role, it could be a good fit. Although these reasons, along with the convenience and professionalism on offer, encourage LLCs to hire commercial resident agents.
Hiring A Commercial Resident Agent
Hiring a commercial registered agent is a very attractive prospect for most LLCs. Most domestic and foreign LLCs choose this route because of the reliability, convenience, and professionalism offered.
Additionally, foreign LLCs also veer towards commercial agents because they generally don’t have the same options as domestic LLCs. If you’re setting up a foreign LLC in PR, you may not have a physical address in PR to be your own resident agent. Besides, you may not know anyone trustworthy enough to appoint them as the agent. So the obvious choice is a commercial agent.
Several businesses in Puerto Rico offer their services as commercial agents. Pricing usually varies depending on the agent and services, but it usually lies within the range of $100 to $300. When hiring a commercial agent, you should expect better, quicker, and professional services. In short, expect more from a commercial agent. A commercial agent should offer the following services at the least:
- Professional Service
- Discreet Service
Before you hire a commercial agent, it is best to do your due diligence in ensuring that the Puerto Rico Registered Agent is the right fit for your requirements. A quick turnaround time for intimation of service of process or other documents can be very effective. It might be a good idea to look for reviews for the commercial agent or speak to their current and previous clients.