Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in Texas?
Forming a limited liability company (LLC) in Texas is fairly straightforward. But there are several factors to consider before filing your Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State.
One requirement is identifying your registered agent and registered office. Your first thought might be to put down your name and business address. But there are a few options to consider.
Designating a Registered Agent
A registered agent in Texas is a person or business that accepts legal, tax, and other important documents on your business’s behalf. You can think of your Texas registered agency as your business’s point of contact with the state, lawyers, and other professionals. What’s most important is they’ll receive the paperwork when someone sues and serves your business—known as service of process.
Who Can Be Your Registered Agent?
You have several options for designating a registered agent in Texas. A registered agent can be any person or business that is:
- At least 18 years old,
- Has a physical business address in Texas;
- Is always available during normal business hours; and
- Consents in writing to be the registered agent.
Eligibility is broad, but that doesn’t mean you should choose just anyone. You need to name a person or business you trust.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in Texas?
Yes, if you’ll work at a business address—which can be your home—and be available Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM, then you can act as your business’s registered agent.
There are benefits to being your own registered agent. When you act as your business’s registered agent, you don’t have the expense of having a service, lawyer, or accountant do it for you. That’s helpful when you’re on a tight budget. Another benefit is that you’re the first to know about any important paperwork. You don’t have to worry about delays or miscommunications.
But there are disadvantages too. If you operate your business from home, you might prefer to keep your home address out of the public record. You might not work typical business hours, or you might prefer to work from various locations or travel. If you won’t be at the business location consistently, you aren’t a good fit.
Other Options for Registered Agents
Another LLC Member
You could choose another member of your LLC if they’ll be in the business office regularly. Though a member of the business can be the agent, the business itself can’t be named the business’s registered agent even if an employee would always be able to accept service.
Other options are to name your lawyer or accountant as a registered agent. It helps that a professional office is typically open and available to receive service of process during standard business hours.
The disadvantage to this is if you change legal representation or accounting firms, you’ll need to update your registered agent. This also doesn’t work if you don’t have an ongoing relationship with a lawyer or accountant.
A Texas Registered Agent Service
There are registered agent services in Texas, too. These can be costly, but they reduce the risk of not receiving important paperwork since the service’s purpose is to:
- Be available,
- Receive documents,
- Notify you of the documents, and
- Keep those documents safe until you retrieve them.
Other benefits of registered agent services in Texas are privacy and discretion. Public records will show the service’s address instead of your business address, which might be your home or a coworking space. The service receives documents and notifies you right away, which can be helpful if someone sues you. No one at your office has to know until you decide to tell them.
You Can Change Your Registered Agent
Your choice of a registered agent isn’t permanent. You may initially choose yourself or another LLC member, then realize there’s a better option. Texas has a Change of Registered Agent form that you can file with the SOS with a fee along with the agent’s signed consent.
The Benefits of Working with a Business Formation Lawyer
Setting up an LLC doesn’t have to be complicated, but that doesn’t mean you should do it without legal advice. It’s best to thoroughly understand the legal requirements for an LLC, your legal risks and responsibilities, and the tax ramifications. If you’ll have one or more other members, you also should negotiate a comprehensive operating agreement.
By establishing an ongoing relationship with a business lawyer, you have someone to go to as your business grows or you encounter problems. You also have a business open and trustworthy to act as your registered agent.
At Wood Edwards, we assist businesses of all sizes, from small partnerships to Fortune 500 companies. We can provide advice and assistance regarding all your business’s legal needs. To learn more about comprehensive business representation, we encourage you to reach out to us online or by phone at 214-382-9789.