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 Oklahoma?
In this guide, we will break down all the details you need to know about Oklahoma registered agents.
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What is an Oklahoma Registered Agent?
One of the most common questions we receive from entrepreneurs in Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma does not provide a recommended list of registered agent services, we reviewed the top options and compiled a list of the best Oklahoma registered agent services based on price and overall value.
Who Can Be an Oklahoma Registered Agent?
Oklahoma is one of the few states in which a corporation or an LLC is permitted to serve as its own registered agent. Alternatively, Oklahoma registered agents may be an individual resident of the state, or a domestic or foreign business entity including corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships. You may choose to designate a foreign business entity, but it must be qualified to do business in the state of Oklahoma.
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 Oklahoma Residents Get Served?
The most important part of a registered agent’s role is being served a summons.
In Oklahoma before a lawsuit can begin and a summons can be processed, the plaintiff is required to send a demand letter to the defendant in an attempt to settle matters outside of court. In the event that no agreement can be reached, the plaintiff may move forward with a lawsuit by submitting a “Statement of Claim” form and an affidavit to the county clerk. The fee to submit these documents will vary from court to court.
If these steps are all taken correctly, the state of Oklahoma will allow a sheriff, deputy sheriff, licensed person or other specially appointed individual to serve a summons to the defendant’s registered agent.
How to Designate an Oklahoma 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 forming a corporation in Oklahoma you’ll be prompted to designate your register agent when completing the Certificate of Incorporation. On the other hand, if you’re forming an LLC, you’ll need to designate your registered agent when you complete the Articles of Organization.
By submitting either document, the business entity certifies that the registered agent has given permission to be listed.
How Can I Change My Oklahoma Registered Agent?
If you would like to change your registered agent for any reason, the process is pretty simple.
Depending on the business entity type, you can change your registered agent by completing either the Change or Designation of Registered Agent and/or Registered Office (form 56) for corporations or the Change or Designation of Registered Agent and/or Registered Office and/or Principal Office (form 75) for LLCs. Both documents cost just $25.00 to file and can be mailed, faxed, or completed online.
Alternatively, it is possible to change your registered agent by completing either an Amended Certificate of Incorporation for corporations or an Amended Articles of Organization for LLCs for an increased cost of $50.00. If your registered agent is the only thing you’d wish to change about your current standing, it’s cheaper and easier to file a Change or Designation document instead.
How Does an Oklahoma Registered Agent Resign?
Sometimes, a registered agent may have to resign from their position.
In Oklahoma, registered agents wishing to end their appointment without establishing a successor may do so by filling out either the Resignation of Registered Agent Not Coupled with Successor form for Oklahoma corporations or the Resignation of Registered Agent form for LLCs.
Both forms are single-page, straightforward documents. To submit either document to the Oklahoma Secretary of State, you must pay a small $25.00 standard processing fee.
Why Should You Hire a Professional Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma. 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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma?
You need to have a registered agent to form your limited liability company or corporation in Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma, 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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma Secretary of State:
Oklahoma Secretary of State
421 NW 13th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73103