Yes. You can possibly be your own registered agent in Texas. There is nothing stopping you from becoming your own registered agent, as long as you have an address in the country. Becoming a registered agent may look easy, but have in mind that this position carries many responsibilities, and mistakes could land your company in financial or legal trouble – or both.
So before you decide to be your own registered agent, you should know the things that are involved and what you’ll need to do to succeed in the business. If you want to run your business as an LLC or a corporation in Texas, you will be expected to appoint a registered agent.
This agent helps to connect your business and the state. The agent is tasked with accepting state documents on behalf of the business and guaranteeing that the business remains in line with state law. Businesses usually prefer a third-party business to serve as their registered agent, but it’s also possible to be your own registered agent, as long as you meet the necessary requirements.
Note that if you decide that you are going to serve as your entity’s own registered agent, filing the paperwork is a relatively straightforward process. You just have to complete and submit Form 401-A to Texas’s Office of the Secretary of State, along with a $15 fee. The form requires the name of the agent, a signature consenting to the appointment, and the name of the registered entity.
Pros and Cons of Being Your Own Registered Agent in Texas
As was noted above, a business owner can consent to serve as its own registered agent, but there are some pros and cons to doing so. Below are some of the pros and cons of serving as your own registered agent.
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Most registered agents aren’t expensive though, but none are completely free. Have in mind that you could save $100 or more per year on business service provider fees if you operate as your own registered agent.
If you run your business every day, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and don’t mind if your employees or customers find you receiving essential legal documents, then serving as your own registered agent might be convenient.
Present During Business Hours
If you serve as your own company’s registered agent, you always have to be present at your place of business from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday, with the possible exception of federal holidays.
One of the disadvantages of acting as your own registered agent is the risk of not being available when a document delivery attempt is made. Even if you are always available during normal business hours, there is always a probability that you could miss a critical delivery if you leave for even a moment.
Being Served at Work
If your company is sued, you will be required to receive service of process documents. As your own registered agent, you will be served at your place of business, which may be witnessed by your employees or customers. This is not an ideal situation.
Losing Lawsuits by Default
Another disadvantage of missing deliveries is the possibility of failing to receive the service of process documents when you are being sued. If you are not informed of a lawsuit filed against you, you may be unable to defend yourself in court, which can negatively affect your company.
Personal Address, Public Record
If you run a small business out of your home, you will definitely need to make your home address public knowledge. For those who desire to keep their home address private, this can be a significant privacy issue.
Since each state requires businesses to retain a registered agent with a local address, serving as your own registered agent makes expanding your business into multiple states impossible.
Tips To Help You As Your Own Registered Agent
Being a registered agent can be difficult, and mistakes can be costly to your company. The following tips will guide you in getting ready for these responsibilities.
Learn How to Deal With a Service of Process
There are several consequences for mishandling or overlooking state correspondence, but mishandling a service of process could lead to a default judgment against your business in a legal case. If you receive a service or process, it is critical that you understand how to handle it properly. Acquaint yourself with the necessary steps you need to take if you’re ever served.
Build a Calendar
You must be available during working hours all through the entire calendar year. Weekends and federal holidays are the only exceptions. Consider putting together a calendar in advance and make sure you are available to receive correspondence during those times.
Triple-Check Your Deadlines
Once you receive correspondence, you should go through it carefully and look for information, such as deadlines associated with the request. You should also consider making a photocopy of the correspondence to ensure that you can highlight and draw on it, making notes that will guarantee that you can better comprehend the document.
Also, consider putting deadlines in a calendar as you pinpoint them. It’s good to push back your deadlines for a few days in case something goes wrong. Then, follow up with everyone involved in the process to ensure that the proper action was taken on time.
While an officer, owner, or employee may serve as an entity’s registered agent, the entity itself may not. An entity may negotiate with another business entity, such as a service company, to provide registered agent services. The secretary of state, or other governmental agency or authority, can also not serve as an entity’s registered agent.