A registered agent is the individual or business entity that receives legal documents from the state, and then forwards them to your business address. But why is this a requirement, and who should you designate as your registered agent in Mississippi?
In this guide, we will break down all the details you need to know about Mississippi registered agents.
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What is a Mississippi Registered Agent?
One of the most common questions we receive from entrepreneurs in Mississippi is why a registered agent is required to form an LLC or corporation. While it might seem like an unnecessary middle-man type of role, the registered agent fills a vital role.
The registered agent’s job is to provide a reliable way for the state to contact an official representative of your business at any time, which is especially important if your business is ever sued. If you didn’t have a registered agent, a lawsuit could progress through the courts without you even knowing about it, which is obviously far from ideal.While Mississippi does not provide a recommended list of registered agent services, we reviewed the top options and compiled a list of the best Mississippi registered agent services based on price and overall value.
Who Can Be a Mississippi Registered Agent?
The Mississippi Secretary of State dictates that registered agents may be either an individual who is a resident of the state of Mississippi, a domestic corporation that has been formed in the state, or a foreign corporation that is certified and authorized to do business in Mississippi.
Regardless of which you choose, your registered agent is required to have a physical street address in the state of Mississippi rather than just a P.O. box.
Aside from the legal requirements, an important aspect to discuss is who should be your registered agent. You have the right to declare yourself as your own registered agent, which has its pros and cons.
On the positive side, you can save some money by not paying anyone to serve as your agent, but you’ll also likely need to make your home address a matter of public record, which is not ideal. Additionally, you’ll need to be physically present at your business during all standard operating hours (9-5, M-F).
Some entrepreneurs like to have a friend or family member serve as their registered agent, but if that person doesn’t have experience in this position, they might not know what is expected of them. In addition, designating your lawyer or accountant as a registered agent can work, but these options are usually quite expensive.
Our preference is to hire a professional registered agent service, which provides a combination of convenience, affordability, and peace of mind that is unrivaled by any of these other options.
How Do Mississippi Residents Get Served?
The most important part of a registered agent’s role is being served a summons.
In the state of Mississippi, in order for a summons to be processed a plaintiff must first file a complaint with the court. Depending on the nature and amount of the claim, the plaintiff will need to pay a standard processing fee when they submit the document and all other necessary forms.
If these steps are all taken correctly, the Mississippi clerk will deliver the summons to the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney, or a sheriff to be delivered to the defendant’s registered agent.
How to Designate a Mississippi Registered Agent
The answer to this question depends on what type of business you’re starting, but with either a corporation or an LLC, you’ll need to designate your registered agent when you form your company.
When establishing a Mississippi LLC, you’ll be prompted to designate your company’s registered agent when you complete the Certificate of Formation (Form F0100). Alternatively, when forming a corporation you must identify your registered agent in the Articles of Incorporation document (form F0001).
In Mississippi, all business documents must be completed online; the Mississippi Secretary of State no longer accepts paper submissions. To do so, you’ll need to log into the state’s Corporations Registered Filer here and proceed to make an account and complete all necessary documents.
How Can I Change My Mississippi Registered Agent?
If you would like to change your registered agent for any reason, the process is pretty simple.
There is no longer a separate, specific form for those wishing to change their registered agent in the state of Mississippi. Instead, you must simply complete the appropriate Amendment. For LLCs, this is the Certificate of Amendment (Form F0101). For corporations, this is the Articles of Amendment (Form F0012).
As paper documents are no longer accepted by the Mississippi Secretary of State, the filing of an Amendment to change your registered agent must be done online through Mississippi’s Corporation’s Registered Filer.
Whether you’re business is a corporation or an LLC, the fee to file an Amendment is $50.00.
How Does a Mississippi Registered Agent Resign?
Sometimes, a registered agent may have to resign from their position.
Doing so requires the resigning agent to complete a Statement of Resignation of Registered Agent (Form F00038). As with all business documents in Mississippi, the document must be filed to the Secretary of State online through the Corporations Registered Filer; paper documents are not accepted. There is no standard processing fee to submit this document.
F0038 Statement of Resignation of Registered Agent $0 (corporation)
F0038 LLC Certificate of Resignation of Registered Agent $0
Why Should You Hire a Professional Mississippi Registered Agent Service?
Hiring a professional registered agent is basically the best of both worlds between serving as your own agent, and designating a lawyer or accountant.
The biggest benefit in our opinion is the privacy protection this allows, as you will be able to keep your personal address private. There’s also a major advantage compared to having an attorney or accountant serve as your agent, namely the fact that registered agent services are almost always much cheaper.
Another reason we like this option is that these companies specialize in providing quality registered agent service. They know exactly what’s expected of them, and there are rarely any issues to speak of.
The other major benefit of hiring a registered agent service is that most of them operate in all 50 states, so that if you ever want to expand your business into another state, you won’t need to hire an additional registered agent. Your same registered agent will be able to provide the coverage you need in your new state, while still providing the same service in Mississippi. If you hired a lawyer or accountant, they would only be able to help you expand to a new state if they have another physical office in that state.
You Stay Compliant
Finally, most professional registered agents operating in Mississippi offer some sort of compliance calendar. With this service, your registered agent helps you keep track of due dates for ongoing LLC maintenance requirements like annual reports, which is a valuable bonus.
The top registered agent service providers include some other appealing attributes, including access to their extensive customer support networks. Some of them include a full year of registered agent service with any business formation package, which can be a real money-saver. Another welcome attribute is that some registered agent services provide volume discounts if you require service in multiple states, or if you prepay for multiple years.
What Is the Penalty for Not Designating a Registered Agent in Mississippi?
You need to have a registered agent to form your limited liability company or corporation in Mississippi in the first place, but if you let your registered agent service lapse, there could be some serious consequences.
Failure to maintain a registered agent could lead to your business losing its good standing with the state of Mississippi, and the state also has the right to officially dissolve your LLC if they choose to.
Another issue would be the difficulty of being served if your business is sued. If the state cannot get ahold of your registered agent, a court may decide to go ahead with the lawsuit without your knowledge, which could even lead to a judgment against you. This can happen not just if you fail to designate a registered agent, but also if your agent is not present during business hours to accept the document delivery.
As you can see, the task of designating a registered agent for your Mississippi business isn’t quite as easy as just writing down your own name.
There are significant downsides to just about every option in our opinion, but we recommend hiring a professional registered agent service because that option has the fewest disadvantages. They charge affordable rates, and you never have to worry about losing your good standing, having your LLC or corporation dissolved, or having a lawsuit proceed in your absence.
If you have any further questions, you can contact the Mississippi Secretary of State:
Mississippi Secretary of State
125 S. Congress Street
Jackson, MS 39201