3 Reasons to Consider Using a Registered Agent in California

California registered agents can help you in a lot of different ways. Such agents have a duty to file forms on your behalf. The filing deadline is typically more lenient than those found in your state, and liability protection from legal actions.

More importantly, a CA registered agent must legally bind you if you were sued or served with papers in CA.

3 Reasons Why Businesses Use a California Registered Agent Service?

1.  Businesses may have business accounts, assets, or other interests in multiple states. Because of this, they usually need to be represented by more than one agent in each of those states, with the ability to communicate with them all. California is no different for businesses that operate in multiple states.

However, as mentioned above, most corporate officers in California are willing to act as registered agents for your business on a pro-bono basis if it’s located in their county.

2.  If you are a business located in multiple states, the agent from each state needs to communicate with one another.

These businesses should consider using a CA registered agent service to share with their various state agents.

3.  Small businesses may decide to use a CA registered agent service because they don’t have the time, knowledge, or desire to be represented by a registered agent on their own.

Can I Be My Registered Agent In California?

In California, it is not recommended that you be your registered agent. If you choose to go this route, you’ll increase the time and cost of service for your company.

In addition, having multiple agents in one state can create a lot of paperwork and confusion for yourself and your clients.

The simple fact is that if a company is located in California, it should have an appointed corporate officer as its registered agent.

What does a California Registered Agent Do?

Using a C.A. registered agent service will allow you to do these things:

1.  Your business will have one central point of contact as your registered agent, which is essential if you need to communicate with multiple states simultaneously.

2.  As a California registered agent, you can legally serve legal documents on your client(s).

3.  Your business will not have to worry about the responsibility of forms at the correct time or facing penalties for late filings. Your CA registered agent service will take care of all of this on your behalf.

4.  With a California registered agent service, any state in which you have an interest, asset, or account can be represented by one point of contact.

4 Top California Registered Agent Services & Description

1. Zen Business

Zen Business is a full-service California registered agent service servicing clients in all fifty states and businesses around the world.

Zen Business is very easy to use. In addition, they have an extensive network of agents representing California businesses throughout the state.

Zen Business offers its clients many different services, including corporate inbox management, online filings and certificates, mailing documents, physical mailings, and more.

Pros of Zen Business

  • Great Features – Everything is easy to use and user-friendly.
  • Low Cost – Zen Business is one of the cheapest options out there. Most services charge an annual fee as high as $500 plus monthly payments for their services. Zen Business charges a flat rate of $99 per year or $8 per month to cover all of their services, including online filing and communication with registered California agents throughout the state of CA.
  • Large Network of California Agents – Zen Business has more agents in the state of CA than most other registered agent services. This means that regardless of where you need accept service of process, they will be able to fill the position for you.
  • Legal Forms – Zen Business includes an extensive library of corporate legal forms with its service of process. If you need to give any legal documents to your clients or business partners, this is an excellent solution for doing so without the hassle of printing them yourself.

Cons

  • No Physical Address – Zen Business does not have a physical business address for their office, which means that when you need to contact them, you have to do it over the phone or by email.
  • No Communication with the Client – Because Zen Business only uses registered agents (as opposed to their staff), they can’t communicate directly with California clients as a registered agent service. Zen Business is not for you if you own a business in California and want direct communication with your registered agent service of process.

2. Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent is much like Zen Business when it comes to protecting your California business. They have an extensive network of agents that covers all fifty states in the United States.

They also have an extensive library of legal forms included in their service of process, with unlimited online filing and mailing services.

Pros

  • Commercial Accounts – Registered Agent offers commercial accounts on their services. This is great for businesses that need multiple agents in various states.
  • Unlimited Communication – NWRA gets around this issue by allowing you to communicate directly with your registered agent service 24 hours a day, seven days a week using their online chat service, fax, or even email. You can contact them about anything at any time of the day and get an immediate response.
  • Legal Forms Included – Registered Agent offers unlimited legal forms with their service of process. This means that you can give any legal documents to your clients or partners without having to print them yourself.

Cons

  • Low Cost – The cost of their service is still meager, but not as low as Zen Business, or the other California registered agent services on this list. It costs $99 per year for their cheapest service of process, slightly more expensive than Zen Business.
  • No Physical Address – Like Zen Business, Northwest Registered Agent does not have a physical business address for their office, which means that when you need to contact them, you have to do it over the phone or by email.
  • No Communication with the Client – Because NWRA only uses registered agents (as opposed to their staff), they can’t communicate directly with California clients as a registered agent service.

3. Incfile

Incfile is another solid California registered agent service. One of Incfile’s primary selling points is that they have a physical business address for their office, as well as a toll-free number where you can contact them at any time of the day.

They also offer all of the other services you would expect from a California registered agent service, such as unlimited communication via email, fax, and live chat.

Pros

  • Affordable – Although the cost of Incfile is still not as low as Zen Business, it is still much more affordable than many of its competitors. It costs just $99 per year for all of its services, considerably less than most others on this list.
  • Physical Address – Incfile has a physical office available for you to visit to pick up documents or drop off legal forms.
  • Incfile Registration – Incfile also offers its registration service of process for your California business, which is a significant advantage over Zen Business and NWRA.

Cons

  • No Legal Forms – Although they offer legal forms for your business, they don’t offer as many legal forms as Zen Business or Northwest Registered Agent. This means that if you need to give any legal documents to your clients or partners, you will have to print them off yourself and send them with the service of process.

4. LegalZoom

LegalZoom is a very popular California registered agent service, with businesses in the United States and worldwide using them daily. They offer all of the other services you would expect from other registered agent services, including online filing and email communication.

Pros

  • Communication – LegalZoom offers live chat with registered agents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that you can always reach a registered agent for help with a legal question, and they’re always available to talk.
  • Online Filing – LegalZoom offers online document filing, which means that you don’t have to print anything out if it can be emailed or faxed instead.
  • Legal Forms Included – LegalZoom has a library of legal forms that you can use with your business, making legal documents much more accessible.
  • Affordable – The cost of LegalZoom is lower than most of its competitors. It costs just $69 per year for their services, which is a great deal compared to the others on this list.
  • Nationwide Coverage – LegalZoom has registered agents available in all 50 states, which means that you can use them anywhere you need to maintain your business registration or file any documents.

1. Why Do I Need A California Registered Agent?

A California registered agent service is essential to maintain your business registration in California. If your registered agent service is unavailable for any reason, then you risk having your business registration revoked, and your business shut down.

Even if you haven’t been using your services, if you don’t have a registered agent service available to inform the state that you are now using an alternate registered agent (like Zen Business), you could face the revocation of your business registration.

2. What do Do California Registered Agents do?

As a registered agent for California, you are responsible for handling all of the legal issues that may arise with your business.

However, your registered agent service only handles the issues that you need to handle, such as receiving and filing documents for your clients or sending out invoices to clients.

Your liability is limited to just this – your registered agent is not liable for anything else related to the business.

3. Possible Outcomes of Not Assigning a Registered Agent for Your California Corporation

In California, you must assign a registered agent to your business. If staff are not available to do so, it’s your company’s responsibility to move forward and get a CA registered agent so that your registered agent service can handle the time-consuming business of receiving and filing documents on behalf of your company.

The outcome for a company that doesn’t assign a CA registered agent is that their business registration could be revoked, which could ultimately result in the demise of your firm.

4. Why Assigning Yourself as the California Registered Agent for Your Corporation Might Be a Bad Idea

There is a common misconception that you can assign yourself as California registered agent for your company, simply because you are technically handling the business.

The problem with doing this is that you take on a lot of liability when assigning yourself as your own CA registered agent.

If any legal issues arise in relation to your business, those issues become your legal responsibility to handle.

5. Information on the California Secretary of State and CA Registered Agent Services

California’s Secretary of State is the main authority for registering businesses and conducting business in California, and they maintain a database of all activity for registered agents in their state.

Its website is a great resource for finding out more information about CA registered agent services and how to identify registered agent services and their contact statement of information.

You can find more information on the CA Secretary of State website.

6. Appoint an Agent When You Create Your California LLC

If you’ve already created your California LLC, you can still choose a registered agent service to act as the registered agent for your company.

If you don’t already have a business, or your California LLC is inactive, then you can still assign an agent to it by filing a Certificate of Assumed Name with the California Secretary of State.

7. What a CA Registered Agent Does

California registered agent receives documents sent to your business (for example, documents that you would send to a client) and turns them into the proper identity for your company.

8. Rules for California Registered Agents

  • A registered agent is the one that is in charge of all legal issues involving your business.
  • A CA registered agent’s responsibility is limited to receiving and filing documents. They are not liable for anything else related to the company.
  • There are services that can provide a registered agent service, which you should take advantage of if you don’t have any staff available to do so.
  • Your CA registered agent can be someone in your family. However, they must be a resident of state of California so that you can have you registered agent handle all legal issues for your business.

Appointing An Individual

In California, you must assign a registered agent to your business. If staff are not available to do so, it’s your company’s responsibility to move forward and get a CA registered agent so that your registered agent service in California can handle the time-consuming business of receiving and filing documents on behalf of your company.

The outcome for a company that doesn’t assign a CA registered agent is that their registration could be revoked, which could ultimately result in the demise of your firm.

Risks of being your own Registered Agent in California

There is a common misconception that you can assign yourself as California registered agent for your company, simply because you are technically handling the business.

The problem with doing this is that you take on a lot of liability when assigning yourself as your own company’s CA-registered agent for agent service in state of California.

If any legal issues arise in relation to your business, those issues become your legal responsibility to handle.

Additionally, if you are found to be the registered agent in state of California for your own organization, it could affect your personal and credit score.

Annual and biennial requirements for a business entity.

All of the major state insurance agencies are online portals where you can begin the process of obtaining a license.

All states have their own specific requirements, so it is important to start with your state statutes and regulations on doing business.

The minimum amount of insurance coverage required by most states is $1,000,000 for general liability claims. Some states require up to $2,500,000 per person/$5,000,000 per occurrence in coverage.

In addition to typical business limited liability insurance policies, most states require a business owner to carry worker’s compensation coverage. Worker’s compensation is often referred to as “injury and illness insurance”.

Most states require up to $2,500,000 per employee/$5,000,000 per occurrence in coverage.

In most states, the minimum amount of required commercial auto insurance is $750,000 for liability for injury or death and $1,250000 for property damage liability.

Choose the legal form of your business entity. There are a variety of forms, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The type of entity you choose must be appropriate for the kind of business you have chosen to conduct.

Choosing the right legal form is one of the most important decisions you will face when starting a business.

A California Business Address.

In state of California, all of the business records and state business entities are based on a physical location. A physical address is required to legally conduct business in the state.

The easiest way to find the physical business address for your organization is to use the Internet or your phone book. If you have already set up a registered agent for your company, you will find that statement of information on the California Secretary of State website.

The California Registered Agent is the only one that can serve the process. It is not possible for a private foreign corporation to register itself as its own registered agent for service notice to creditors or others who may wish to sue or otherwise follow up with a letter or other form of service of process on the corporation.

The California Registered Agent must be an individual, natural person, not an entity.

How do I request copies of filed business entity documents or a Certificate of Status or a Certificate of Filing?

If you want statement of information on the current status of your business, you can request a Certificate of Status from the CA Secretary of State.

It will give you all the information that is currently available on your business, including current officers and directors, addresses, and officer’s signatures. This is a free agent service in California.

How do I change the name and/or address of my agent for the service of process?

You can fill out and file the required forms which must be signed by an individual or authorized corporate officer listed on the agent’s oath/affirmation.

The forms are available at the California Secretary of State website. You can change your registered agent in California once yearly for a $20 fee.

If you want to terminate your registered agent, you will need to fill out and file a form CA0580-1 Rev. 11/12, available through the CA Secretary of State website, and pay a $20 fee.

Can I Use Your California Registered Office Address For Everything On My Business Filing?

It is not a requirement to have a separate physical address for the registered office of your business structure. You can file all documents online with our office, including your Articles of Organization and Certificate of Existence.

In order to get service of process by mail, you still need an actual physical address for the appropriate agencies in California.

The statement of information that you will need when you start your business varies depending on the type of business entity that you will be starting.

The most important thing you need to know is the address of your registered office.

Tax and accounting information.

Usually, it is a good idea to let the accountant or another business adviser handle the legal aspects of setting up a California business entity.

You may need to register with some of the state’s key agencies and consider your state’s Franchise tax requirements. We can help with all these issues.

You may not change your address at the California Secretary of State until you first file a Certificate of Change of Address Form with the California Franchise Tax Board.

Instructions for requesting this form are on the California Secretary of State website, under “More Information.”

Do I have to be in business in California?

No. Anyone can set up a business entity, regardless of where they live. However, if you do not live in California, you will need to appoint a registered agent for service of process at an address in California.

If you want to terminate your registered agent, you will need to fill out and file a form CA0580-1 Rev. 11/12, available through the California Secretary of State website, and pay a $20 fee.

How do I register a foreign (out–of–state or out–of–country) business entity in California?

This is the most complicated type of entity to set up. There are additional requirements, including a minimum amount of money in your California bank account and a registered agent in California.

However, you can register your foreign entity online. We can help.

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