If you are starting a business in Texas, you may have heard about registered agents before. Still, many people who are opening their first business aren’t familiar with the idea of a registered agent.
At The Curley Law Firm, questions about registered agents are some of the most common questions we get from clients starting their first business.
Aside from questions about the purpose and role of registered agents, we are often asked by clients, can you be your own registered agent in Texas?
Read on for the answer to these questions and more on Texas registered agents. Then contact us for more information on setting up your business in Texas.
What Is a Registered Agent?
In Texas, the Business Organizations Code (BOC) contains the rules and regulations governing businesses in Texas. According to the BOC, every domestic or foreign filing entity must maintain a registered agent and registered office within the state. Domestic or foreign filing entities include:
- Limited partnerships,
- Professional associations,
- Real estate investment trusts, and
- Any foreign entity required by the BOC to register with the state.
These are not the only entities that can have registered agents. Both unincorporated nonprofit associations and Texas financial institutions can appoint registered agents. However, they are not always required to do so.
According to the BOC, a registered agent is an agent of a legal entity who is authorized by that entity to receive (or “be served with”) any process notice or other legal demand served on the entity. Essentially, as a business owner, you authorize your registered agent to receive, forward, and maintain a record of any such legal documents.
A registered agent is also responsible for receiving, forwarding, and maintaining a record of any communication from the government entity responsible for business administration, which is the Texas Office of the Secretary of State.
What Are the Requirements for the Registered Office?
It is as equally important to have a registered office as it is to have a registered agent. This is a logical requirement. After all, without a registered office address, the Office of the Secretary State has little way to ensure clear communication with the legal entities they are responsible for. Your registered office does not necessarily have to be the principal location or office of the business.
However, your registered office address must be a street address where process servers can personally serve your agent with legal documents during normal business hours. The requirement that a process server have the ability to personally serve legal documents during normal business hours is crucial.
As a result of this requirement, your registered office address cannot be located at the address of a company that merely provides mailbox or telephone-answering services.
Who Can Be a Registered Agent in Texas?
Now, we get to the question of the day, Can I be my own registered agent in Texas? In most cases, the answer is yes. The BOC allows businesses to appoint practically anyone as their registered agent. The main requirement is that the appointee be a resident of Texas. Furthermore, your agent must consent to the appointment. This means that if you are a resident of Texas, and have an address in Texas where process servers can personally serve you legal documents, there is no problem with your appointment as your own business’ registered agent.
With that said, however, to be your business’s registered agent, you have to be available during regular business hours in a physical office in Texas where a process server can personally serve you legal documents. If you can’t meet that requirement, you will have to appoint a registered agent within the State of Texas.
Can Organizations Serve as Texas Registered Agents?
Aside from individuals, the BOC allows entities required to have a registered agent to appoint an organization as their registered agent. However, if you go this route, the organization acting as your agent must be an entity other than the one they are acting on behalf of.
Furthemore, the organization acting as your registered agent must also be registered or authorized to do business in Texas. The cost of hiring a professional registered agent service is typically between $100 and $400 each year.
How to File as a Registered Agent in Texas
If you decide that you are going to act as your entity’s own registered agent, filing the paperwork is a relatively straightforward process. The same is true if you have already chosen someone else to act as your agent.
For someone to consent to serve as a registered agent, all they have to do is fill out and submit Form 401-A with Texas’s Office of the Secretary of State and pay a $15 fee.
The only information the form requires is the name of the agent, a signature consenting to the appointment, and the name of the registered entity. Whether you fill out the form for yourself or your agent does so themselves, they can do all this online by creating an account through the Secretary of State’s SOSDirect web portal.
The Curley Law Firm Is Here for All of Your Business’s Legal Needs
Whether you are just starting to formulate a business plan or have been in business for years, The Curley Law Firm can help you with whatever your business’s legal needs are. Throughout his decade of practice, our lead attorney, Adam Curley, Esq., has represented countless individuals and organizations with all their business law needs.
Our firm can help you develop a business plan to ensure you start out on solid footing, represent you in any transactional conflicts that arise, help you prepare for additional investors, or even help you restructure your business.
By focusing on Texas business law, we at the Curley Law Firm ensure that we are aware of any developments in Texas business law so we can provide our clients with unparalleled legal expertise. Our firm does not discriminate based on how large or small businesses are. If we think we can help, we will.
Call us today for a consultation from the Houston business law firm that cares: The Curley Law Firm.