Florida Registered Agent – Lowering Your Risk

Registered agents perform the service of being the state-designated representative for an out-of-state or foreign company.

When the agent receives certain documents on behalf of the company, he or she is required to forward them to and discuss them with, the company’s management.

The agent is also responsible for paying state taxes and fees due from the company.

Florida has registered agent requirements for corporations filed in the state, and non-resident foreign corporations that choose to transact business within the state.  

If you are a company that will be paying taxes on a commission or flat fee basis, an agent may not be necessary. The company’s owners can act as its representative(s) for these purposes.

Florida agents may charge a one-time filing fee of up to $100, but will generally be reimbursed by the company if it is required to pay additional fees or taxes.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Florida?

No. Agents may only represent a company if the agent has power of attorney to act on behalf of the company.  However, company owners may be able to represent the company on a limited basis.

If you are contemplating becoming your own registered agent for a Florida corporation, please consult a professional registered agent service in order to ensure that you do not take any legal mistakes that can cause problems down the road.

Who Can Be An Agent In Florida?

Registered agents may be the company’s principal owner or manager, or an individual who acts on behalf of the company.

 Individuals cannot carry out an agency appointment if they are related by blood or marriage.

Requirements:

  • Florida registered agents must reside in the state, or maintain a business address in Florida.
  • Florida registered agents are required to provide a physical address and telephone number within the state.
  • Florida’s registered agent requirements mandate that the business must be located in the county in which it is registered.
  • Registered agents are required to file an Affidavit of Acceptance of Appointment with the Division of Corporations within 5 days after accepting an appointment as an agent.
  • Registered agents are required to file an annual report with the Division of Corporations by May 1st, with a $50 filing fee. The annual report must include the name, address, and contact information of the company’s registered agent.

The Division of Corporations provides a form an agent may use to fulfill his or her responsibilities.

All registered agents in Florida must be bonded or insured to cover up to $100,000 in damages resulting from mistakes committed by registered agents as part of their duties.

Registered Agent Duties & Responsibilities

  1. Florida registered agents are required to file an Annual Statement of Information by June 30th, with a $50 filing fee. The Annual Statement includes information such as the number of letters opened, documents given, and payments made.
  2. Florida registered agents are required to maintain a minimum of 1,500 square feet of office space for their business
  3. Florida registered agents must provide the Division of Corporations with a list of all persons, partnerships or corporations they represent at least once per year.
  4. Florida registered agents must send all documents, forms and notices to the division within 10 days after they are received by the agent’s own client or any other person who has power of attorney.
  5. Florida registered agents are required to notify the office of any change in contact information within 15 days.
  6. All Florida registered agents must file an annual report that includes the name, address and contact information for their clients, as well as a list of documents received and sent to clients.

Florida registered agents are required to keep a register of all records, letters, checks and other documents received on behalf of the company.

Florida registered agents are required to forward documents to clients within 30 days of receipt.  If an agent is unable or unwilling to assist with a particular matter, they are required to notify the company and return the document within 10 business days.

Why Businesses Use a Florida Registered Agent Service

Companies that do not have a permanent residence or business address in Florida, and operate in the state on a more occasional basis must usually rely on an agent to fulfill the company’s obligations.  

Registered agents are also necessary for companies that need to register with the state and pay taxes, as well as those companies that will be paying fees to individuals who act on behalf of the company, such as brokers and attorneys.

Registered agent advantages

  • Companies that do not have a physical office in Florida can be represented by an agent who is available to respond to state correspondence on their behalf.
  • Florida registered agents are able to use the mail forwarding services of the US Postal Service, and forward registered mail to the company at no additional charge.
  • Registered agents are responsible for maintaining a record of communications from the company, and must inform the company if it is needed in court or if any other legal action has been taken.
  • Registered agents are able to pay certain state and local taxes on behalf of the company, and may also be required to pay any taxes due from the company.

Registered agent disadvantages

  • Companies that have a physical office in Florida, and are headquartered elsewhere, may be required to maintain a Florida address.
  • If a company is operating out of Florida with no permanent agent address in the state, it must typically use an agent who has an office there.
  • The US Postal Service no longer provides services for registered mail forwarding to companies that do not have physical addresses in the state.

How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?

Registered agents charge a variety of fees, so it is important to do your research in advance and find the best fit for your company.

Factors affecting the costs:

I. Fees are generally collected when a registered agent is retained by a business.  The initial fee will usually be for an indefinite amount of time, and most companies will use the same registered agent for the duration of their business’s existence.

 Regular maintenance fees may be charged to businesses that no longer require the services of the registered agent.

II. Registered agents may charge extra for their services but should provide a written disclaimer regarding any additional costs or fees that may arise.

III. Florida-managed registered agents usually charge fees in one of two ways: as a percentage of gross revenue, or for multiple services performed.  Fees are generally collected at the end of the month and will vary depending on a business’s targeted gross revenue.

 Fees are typically determined by the annual income of the business and range from 4% to 10%.  Some registered agents may charge flat-fee maintenance rates.

IV. Registered agents may also require an administrative fee for services related to maintaining records of communications from the state, such as legal mailings.

Numerous companies offer Florida’s registered agent service as a part of a comprehensive corporate package that includes other services, like formation and liability insurance.

Average costs for registered agent services vary widely depending on the company, location, and package that is selected.

 Basic packages begin at $50 per month, while packages that include formation, liability insurance, and other services can cost upwards of $300 per month.

Best Florida Registered Agent Service

Florida Managed Registered Agents offer business owners a full complement of services, along with affordable rates.  

These registered agents are based in Florida, provide a qualified response for all correspondence related to business affairs and are the only registered agents approved by the Division of Corporations.

This registered agent service includes a tax relief program that reduces or eliminates the state franchise tax through a single annual payment.  Business owners will also benefit from free electronic signature, online account access, no annual state report required and more.

Top 4 Best Registered Agent Online Services in Florida

1. ZenBusiness, LLC

A nationwide registered agent service, ZenBusiness offers Florida services including a business structure package, secure online storage, electronic signature, website user account access and more.

 ZenBusiness is the only registered agent service approved by the Division of Corporations.  

This registered agent service also provides comprehensive accounting and marketing support for several other services that can be purchased as a single bundle:

  • Franchise tax reduction
  • Federal and state income tax filing services
  • International company formation.  

ZenBusiness registered agents will respond within 24 hours to any company correspondence that is received from the state, and no maintenance fees are charged, making these online registered agent services a cost-effective choice for Florida companies.

2. Go Registered Agent, Inc.

Go Registered Agent offers online services including tax payment, unlimited incoming mail delivery and an official corporation certificate along with other registered agent-related services.  

This registered agent service provides online access to all corporate documents and services, which are available 24 hours a day.  

Go Registered Agent registered agents will respond within 48 hours to any company correspondence received from the state, and commercial clients will receive a 50% discount on any additional services purchased in addition to their registered agent package.  

The company is approved by the Florida Department of State as a Florida registered agent service.  This registered agent service also offers large discounts for nonprofit organizations and businesses with multiple locations.

3. RegsiteredTM UCC Registered Agent Service

RegsiteredTM UCC Registered Agent Service is a registered agent service for Florida LLCs and corporations.  This registered agent service includes an electronic signature, unlimited incoming mail delivery, free website maintenance and other services.

 Services are available on a pay-per-use basis, or clients can choose the company’s flat maintenance fee option.  

A company will also receive an official state corporation certificate by using this service.  This registered agent service is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

 RegsiteredTM UCC Registered Agent Service offers electronic signature for all specific company correspondence within 24 hours, and a 100% money-back guarantee on all services.

 A business owner can also choose to receive a personal registered agent service with this company.

4. Business Services Seminole

Business Services Seminole offers Florida businesses online incorporation services, including official state formation documents and registered agent services.  

This registered agent service offers electronic signature, online client account access and a full suite of other services.  

Company correspondence can be responded to within 24 hours, and client information is stored in a secured location.  

Business Services Seminole is also approved by the Florida Dept. of State as a registered agent service for Florida companies.

Services Offered By Florida Registered Agent Services

Registered agents provide a number of services for their clients. These services may include:

  • Serve as the point of contact between businesses in Florida and state agencies.
  • Serve as the point of contact between businesses and the courts system.
  • Pay state and local taxes, penalties and state fees on behalf of businesses.
  • Perform mail forwarding services to a company’s various locations.
  • Maintain detailed records of correspondence in the state on behalf of a company.
  • Provide physical addresses for companies registered in Florida.
  • Affidavits and other documents sent by companies to the state must be sent through the registered agent, who is responsible for submitting them on time and handling any communication with the state regarding these documents.
  • Returns of state documents to companies should also be sent through the registered agent, with the registered agent responsible for handling any correspondence from the state regarding these documents.
  • Registered agents are required to take every reasonable step to ensure that clients will not be negatively affected by any information communicated to them on behalf of a company.
  • Providing a physical address for a client is one way an agent can do this.

How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In Florida?

To elect a Florida registered agent, you must be a company or limited liability company (LLC) with its principal office in Florida.

 The registered agent service will be provided to you by one of the registered agents listed here at no charge: https://www.floridambsa.com/registered-agent-service-provider

Florida has no requirement for the verification of the authority of an agent who exercises power and control over a business in the state. However, many registered agents require that customers verify their authority before they will provide any service.

The Secretary of State’s Division of Corporations will accept copies of the articles of organization and/or other verifiable documents as verification.

Business owners should take the time to research registered agent services before selecting one.

 Contracts should include detailed information about a company’s rights and responsibilities, along with the costs for any services that are not covered by the registered agent.

Electing a Registered Agent Online

Florida’s Division of Corporations provides an online service for businesses to self-select a registered agent.  

This can be done by going to the Division of Corporations website, then choosing “Elect registered agent online” under the “Registered Agent Services” heading.

The Florida Secretary of State maintains records regarding the formation and dissolution of corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and more in Florida.  

Records are maintained for both foreign and domestic companies.  

Information can also be found on registered agents, UCC filings and trademarks in Florida.  For more information, visit the Division of Corporations website at http://www.sunbiz.org/

Electing a Registered Agent by Mail

Registered agents are required to send all registered agent correspondence and company documents to the state through registered mail.  

To elect your registered agent by mail, complete a Declaration and Articles of Association (Form G-160) and send it to the Division of Corporations at:

Office of the Florida Secretary of State

Division of Corporations

5050 Century Blvd, Suite 300

Tallahassee FL 32399-1400

How Do I Change My Registered Agent In Florida?

Changing a registered agent in Florida is a simple process.  However, it must be done through official channels, meaning that a company must go through the Division of Corporations.  

This can be done by notifying the state in writing every time that a registered agent is changed or resigned.

 A new registered agent may be appointed at any time, including after an old one has resigned or been removed.

Florida provides specific legal requirements for changing a registered agent online and by mail.

As mentioned previously, online changes must be made through the Division of Corporations website.  For more information, go to http://www.sunbiz.org/

Changing a registered agent by mail can be done by a company or LLC that has its principal office in Florida.

 To change a registered agent, the company or LLC must submit the documents to the Division of Corporations.

List of documents:

  1. Letter instructing the Division of Corporations to change its registered agent.  This should be addressed to: Office of the Florida Secretary of State, Division of Corporations, 5050 Century Blvd, Suite 300, Tallahassee FL 32399-1400
  2. Completed Declaration and Articles of Association (Form G-160).  This form is available at http://www.sunbiz.org/
  3. For each company or LLC, a document containing the name, street address, city and state of the principal office of the company.  The document must be signed by an officer of the company or CEO of the LLC.  This form is available at http://www.sunbiz.org/
  4. For each business entity or LLC, a document containing all some information about its principals and registered agent.  This document must be signed by an officer of the company or CEO of the LLC.  This form is available at http://www.sunbiz.org/
  5. A notarized letter from the company that signed the Declaration and Articles of Association (Form G-160) verifying that a new registered agent has been elected in writing and sent to the Florida Division of Corporations.  This form is available at http://www.sunbiz.org/
  6. Withdrawal of registered agent (Form G-164).  This form is available at http://www.sunbiz.org/
  7. A registered agent who needs to resign as the registered agent for a company or LLC must submit a notarized letter to the Division of Corporations verifying that he will no longer act as the registered agent.  This letter must include a statement that the change has been communicated to the company or LLC.  If this cannot be verified, then the company or LLC must submit a notarized letter withdrawing the registered agent.  This form is available at http://www.sunbiz.org/

There is no cost to withdraw a registered agent in Florida.

Do I need a registered agent in Florida?

Business owners should take the time to research registered agent services before selecting one.  

Contracts should include detailed information about a company’s rights and responsibilities, along with the costs for any services that are not covered by the registered agent.

What does “service of process” mean?

Service of process is the process by which a court can force someone else to do certain things.  The most common way that service of process is used is when someone must be served with legal papers in a lawsuit.

 Florida law requires that all service of process, both civil and criminal, be delivered to the Secretary of State’s Division of Corporations.

 If not done so, the papers are returned and cannot be served on the person that they are intended for.

Does registered agent mean owner?

A registered agent is often confused with the word “owner.”  The word “registered agent” has a specific meaning in Florida law and refers to a person, not an individual.  

A person can be both a registered agent and the owner of the business.  For some types of companies, owners and officers are two different persons.  

For example, a corporation is owned by shareholders and has directors or officers.  An LLC is owned by members and has managers or officers.

Are registered agents bonded?

A person acting as a registered agent in Florida does not need to be bonded.

 However, the state of Florida does require that all registered agents submit an initial surety bond worth $10,000 before they begin providing services to businesses in the state.  

If the registered agent is found to have misused their position, they will be required to reimburse the company or LLC for any damages suffered because of the misuse.

How to Become a Registered Agent in Florida

To become a registered agent in Florida, a person must follow these steps:

  1. Complete the Declaration and Articles of Association (Form G-160) and submit it to the state.  The document is available at http://www.sunbiz.org/
  2. Submit proof of identity, such as a driver’s license or existing business license.  This information is required by the state because it needs to verify that the person signing the form is who they say they are.
  3. Submit proof of federal income tax filing, such as W-2s or 1099s.
  4. Submit a business license or certificate of authority.
  5. Choose a Florida office location for the registered agent to operate from.  This can be done through the state’s Division of Corporations online system at http://www.sunbiz.org/  The closest office location will be chosen based on how far the person wants to travel for service of process, and how often they want to visit a particular office location.  If there is more than one person who will act as a registered agent, the person should choose an office location that all of them agree on.  In addition, the company or LLC should be able to verify a registered agent’s identity before they begin acting as their representative.
  6. Once all of these steps have been completed, the Division of Corporations will notify the new registered agent by mail that their business is now open for service of process and legal papers in pending lawsuits.

Conclusion

The registered agent plays an important role in the success of a company or LLC.

 Even though there is very little cost to maintain a registered agent, it is strongly recommended that Florida business owners obtain one before starting their commercial enterprise.

Serving legal papers to someone else can be a difficult and expensive task.  Using the services of a registered agent can reduce the likelihood that such problems will occur.  

The Division of Corporations provides a convenient way for Florida business owners to find registered agents that are available in their geographical area, so they do not have to travel long distances for the service.

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