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 South Dakota?
In this guide, we will break down all the details you need to know about South Dakota registered agents.
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What is a South Dakota Registered Agent?
One of the most common questions we receive from entrepreneurs in South Dakota 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 South Dakota does not provide a recommended list of registered agent services, we reviewed the top options and compiled a list of the best South Dakota registered agent services based on price and overall value.
Who Can Be a South Dakota Registered Agent?
In South Dakota, those looking to appoint a registered agent have two options: you may either appoint a noncommercial registered agent who is an individual adult resident of the state, or you may choose to hire the services of a commercial registered agent to serve your business entity. Should you choose to appoint an individual, the individual must be capable of listing a physical street address within South Dakota at which a registered office may be maintained.
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 South Dakota Residents Get Served?
The most important part of a registered agent’s role is being served a summons.
Before the Clerk can process a summons, the plaintiff must first file a complaint detailing the case. Then, the complaint (along with any other supporting documents such as contracts or receipts) must be filed with the appropriate court. The filing fee for the claim will depend on the case type and amount claimed, but usually falls between $11.00 and $35.00. When the Clerk accepts these documents for filing, the summons will be processed.
If these steps are all taken correctly, the state of South Dakota will then serve a summons to the defendant’s registered agent by registered mail. In some cases, a sheriff, deputy, or other appointed official may be required to serve the summons at an additional cost.
How to Designate a South Dakota 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 an LLC in South Dakota, you’ll be prompted to designate your registered agent in Article II of the Articles of Organization. For corporations, you must appoint your registered agent in Article IV of the Articles of Incorporation. Both forms may be filed either by mail, by fax, or online.
The South Dakota Secretary of State reminds those establishing business entities that they must first obtain the permission of the registered agent before appointing the individual or company to the position.
How Can I Change My South Dakota Registered Agent?
If you would like to change your registered agent for any reason, the process is pretty simple.
To change your South Dakota registered agent you must simply submit the appropriate Statement of Change either by mail, fax or online through South Dakota’s e-filing system. Depending on your business entity type, you’ll need to complete either the Statement of Change of Registered Office or Registered Agent or Both for LLCs or the Statement of Change of Registered Office or Registered Agent or Both for corporations. Boh documents are straightforward, single-page forms that require the payment of a $25.00 processing fee to file.
How Does a South Dakota Registered Agent Resign?
Sometimes, a registered agent may have to resign from their position.
In the event that a South Dakota registered agent should wish to resign, the resigning agent is required to fill out a Statement of Resignation of Registered Agent. The form works with both LLCs and corporations. It may be completed here as a PDF and mailed to the South Dakota Secretary of State. There is conveniently no processing fee to submit the document..
Why Should You Hire a Professional South Dakota 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 South Dakota. 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 South Dakota 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 South Dakota?
You need to have a registered agent to form your limited liability company or corporation in South Dakota 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 South Dakota, 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 South Dakota 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 South Dakota Secretary of State:
Secretary of State Office
500 E Capitol Ave
Pierre, SD 57501