A Tennessee Registered Agent is a person or business entity that agrees to receive service of process on behalf of your LLC. Appointing a registered agent is a legal necessity for all LLCs in Tennessee.
Without an agent, the state will not approve an LLC’s Articles of Organization. Failure to maintain a registered agent will invite legal action from the state.
A big reason for this is the importance of service of process. An LLC’s TN Registered Agent is primarily intended to ensure the receipt of service of process by an LLC. This includes legal documents like lawsuits, subpoenas, summons, etc.
An LLC’s Tennessee registered agent may also receive communication from the state. These include tax notices, payment reminders, and more. To put it simply, the registered agent is a point of contact between the LLC and the state.
Who Can Be The Registered Agent Of A Tennessee LLC?
Tennessee’s requirements for registered agents are simple and straightforward. This means that you’ll have plenty of options when selecting an agent for your LLC. Whether the agent is a person or a corporation, the following criteria must be met.
- The agent must have a physical street address in Tennessee where service of process can arrive. The state doesn’t allow the use of PO Box addresses or similar.
- If the agent is a business entity, they must have permission to do business in the state. This entity must have a physical office in Tennessee.
A business entity working as the registered agent is usually a Tennessee commercial registered agent. These businesses offer their services as registered agents in exchange for a fee.
Can I Be My Own Tennessee Registered Agent?
If you have a physical street address in the state, you can be the registered agent for your Tennessee LLC. Similarly, you could ask your friends or family members to take on the role.
In case you are a resident of Tennessee and are setting up a domestic LLC, there’s a good chance you qualify as the registered agent. However, if you’re setting up a foreign LLC and don’t live in the state (and don’t have friends/family there), you might have to consider hiring a commercial registered agent.
Whatever path you choose to take, make sure that the registered agent is capable of handling the role’s responsibilities.
Responsibilities Of A TN Registered Agent
The registered agent may not have a full time job with the company. However, their role and responsibilities can well go beyond simple working hours. As a critical part of the LLC, a registered agent must be capable of handling the following responsibilities:
- Maintain a physical street address (registered office) for the LLC at all times.
- Receive service of process on behalf of the LLC. The agent must ensure that the LLC is informed of the service of process quickly.
- Receive additional documents and reminders from the state. These should be delivered to the LLC.
- Be available during normal business hours (9 am to 5 pm) in case service of process arrives.
Is There A Risk In Being By Own Registered Agent In Tennessee?
You are unlikely to run into risks as the registered agent. However, whether it’s you or your friends/family, remember that complying with the registered agent requirements is necessary. Also consider the responsibility of the Tennessee registered agent and see if your friends, family, or yourself are indeed suited for the role.
Maintaining normal business hours all the time can be problematic for most individuals. Thus, there’s a risk that service of process arrives when you’re out on vacation or away from the office for a bit. This can cause serious problems for your business.
It’s also worth remembering that the details of any Tennessee registered agent form part of the public record. This means that the state will freely make available your details like name and address.
Many people aren’t quite comfortable with having their personal details and name being so freely available. Therefore, maintaining privacy may not always be possible. If this is a problem for you, consider looking into other options, like hiring commercial registered agents for Tennessee.
Commercial Registered Agent In Tennessee
A commercial registered agent in Tennessee is a business entity that agrees to act as your agent for a fee. Plenty of businesses across Tennessee offer their services. Pricing for these services can differ, depending on the offerings. However, you can expect the agent to be priced at more than $100 annually.
Some advantages of hiring a commercial agent are:
- Professional Service: A commercial registered agent knows and understands their role well. There’s a good chance a commercial agent has a fully-staffed office and is capable of receiving the service of process and taking the next steps.
- Convenient: Convenience is a key reason for hiring commercial agents. The agent should offer all the necessary requirements. For example, the agent might send you reminders and necessary forms to file your LLC’s annual report.
- Discreet: It’s better to receive process servers at the office of your registered agent. This ensures that the lawsuit isn’t delivered in your LLC’s office where employees or clients may see you get served and cause an embarrassing situation.
- Privacy: Since the filing will use the name of your commercial registered agent in Tennessee, your address details and other information remain off the public record.
How To Change My Tennessee Registered Agent?
To change your registered agent or update their details, you’ll have to file a Change of Registered Agent/Office form with the state. This form can be submitted via mail or in-person. The filing fee is $20.
If you’d like to move things along faster, it is possible to file for the change of registered agent online. The filing fee for this mode too is $20, but the state charges an additional service fee for forms submitted online. Credit and debit cards attract an additional 2.29% of the filing fee. Using e-checks costs $0.95 per transaction.