Any South Dakota LLC needs to appoint and continuously maintain a South Dakota Registered Agent. Appointing and maintaining this agent is mandatory by law. The SD Secretary of State will not accept an LLC’s Articles of Organization unless a Registered Agent (RA) is designated.
The primary role of the RA is to receive service of process on behalf of the LLC. Service of process involves legal documents like the notice of a lawsuit, summons, subpoenas, etc. These need to be delivered at a physical address, so the agent must maintain such an address.
Additionally, the state may also send communication like tax notices and payment reminders for the LLC to the registered agent. Certified mail may often require a physical address.
Understanding The Requirements And Responsibilities Of A South Dakota Registered Agent
South Dakota requires that a registered agent fulfill the following requirements before being appointed. These are straightforward and are more concerned with the proper implementation of the duties of the agent. A person or business can work as the registered agent, provided they satisfy these requirements.
- The agent must maintain a physical street address in South Dakota. This can’t be a PO Box address or similar service.
- If the agent is a person, he or she must be a resident of the state and capable of receiving legal documents.
- A business functioning as the agent must have permission to conduct business in the state.
It’s also worth noting that while many businesses qualify to work as the registered agent, most businesses in this specific niche provide commercial registered agent services.
As we see, these rules leave plenty of scope for the LLC to exercise its own judgment and choice in appointing a registered agent.
But there’s more to think before you pick your RA. Simply fulfilling the requirements isn’t enough. The RA you choose should be dependable and competent enough to handle the responsibilities of the role. You could consider this as the key to making the choice.
- The agent must maintain a physical address for the LLC. This is the registered office of the LLC and where service of process is delivered.
- Be available at the registered office during normal business hours (9 am to 5 pm).
- Receive service of process if/when it arrives and immediately inform the LLC.
- Inform the LLC of any communication received from the state and/or other agencies.
The responsibilities of a registered agent are often time-bound. The LLC should get notified of any service of process immediately as delays can cause huge problems. The same also applies to official communication from the state.
Who Can Be Your South Dakota Registered Agent?
When appointing a registered agent, you’ll find plenty of options available. However, most LLCs choose the following options:
- You can be your own registered agent.
- Appoint family members or friends.
- Hire a commercial registered agent.
Being your own registered agent or appointing family or friends can bring monetary benefits. This is because you can be your own registered agent in South Dakota for $0. Similarly, hiring a commercial registered agent can also be useful, simply because of the reliability and professional service.
It should be noted that the options listed here are most relevant for domestic LLCs. If you’re setting up a foreign LLC in South Dakota (an out-of-state LLC), some of these options might be unavailable. For example, you may not have a physical address in SD, so that rules out being your own agent. Similarly, you may not know anyone trustworthy enough in the state to be the RA.
In these cases, hiring a commercial registered agent is the most convenient route to take.
Whether you have a domestic or foreign LLC, there are more aspects beyond the monetary to consider when taking the DIY route to being a registered agent.
Reliability is one concern. As we know, the agent must be available at the registered office during normal working hours. This can be difficult for individuals. You might be on a vacation, running errands, or otherwise unavailable when service of process arrives. The chances of this happening are low, but it’s something to consider.
Privacy is another consideration. The details of a registered agent form part of the public record. This means they’re freely available to anyone. Many people may not be comfortable with their details being so freely available.
If you believe these issues can be handled, taking the DIY route might be worthwhile.
Hiring A Commercial Registered Agent In South Dakota
Your LLC’s search for a dependable registered agent might take you to look into commercial registered agents. You can do an internet search or look for references. Another option is to look at the list of commercial registered agents maintained at the South Dakota Secretary of State website.
Whatever route you choose, don’t forget to do your own due diligence and suitability of the agent to your requirements. Looking for reviews of the agent or speaking to present and past clients is helpful.
Several registered agents offer their services in the state. The cost of hiring an agent varies depending on the services and the agent. But most of the agents are available for hire in the range of $50 to $250 annually. The choice of an agent should not be a purely monetary decision.
Dependability of the agent and their ability to handle the LLC’s requirements can be the top priorities. It is okay to expect more from your commercial registered agent. At the very least, you should expect the agent to have the following qualities.
- Professional Service
- Discreet Service
Changing Your Registered Agent In South Dakota
To change your LLC’s South Dakota Registered Agent, you’ll have to file the “Statement of Change of Registered Office or Registered Agent or Both” with the SD SOS. This form carries a filing fee of $25. The state also offers the option to file this change online. When filing online, the fee is lower because the $15 paper filing fee is waived.
Another useful form for this scenario is the “Statement of Resignation of Registered Agent (Commercial or Noncommercial)”. There is no filing fee for this form. All these forms are available on the Secretary of State website. You might have to look for the relevant sections depending on the type of LLC and whether it is foreign or domestic.