Every Minnesota business needs to have an address on record with the Secretary of State. This is called the registered office. Instead of providing a physical address, you can use a registered agent service. This article explains the details.
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What a registered office?
A registered office is the address for your business on record with the Minnesota Secretary of State. It cannot be a virtual address. It needs to be a physical address (not ajust a mailbox) where legal papers can be hand-delivered to a human.
What is a registered agent Service?
A registered agent service provides business owners with an address to use for their registered office, so they don’t need to use their actual business address. In other words, you can use your registered agent service as the registered office for your business.
What are some options for registered agents in Minnesota?
Here are some options sorted by least to most expensive:
- MyCompanyWorks.com – $99 per year was the price when we last checked on August 31, 2022
- IncFile – $119 per year was the price when we last checked on August 31, 2022
- NorthWest Registered Agent – $125 per year was the price when we last checked on August 31, 2022
- www.SwyftFilings.com – $149 per year was the price when we last checked on August 31, 2022
- CorpNet – $149 per year was the price when we last checked on August 31, 2022
- ZenBusiness – $199 per year was the price when we last checked on August 31, 2022
The links above are affiliate links. You don’t pay more for these services, but a small percentage is paid to us if you use these links.
Why do business owners use a registered agent service?
You might not want your actual business address used for a number of reasons:
- You work from home and don’t want your home address listed.
- You don’t want your address to be public information.
- You don’t want your actual address associated with your business.
- You want a more professional address.
- You just want more privacy.
Why not just use a PO box?
Minnesota law requires an actual physical address for your business. The address needs to have someone available to personally accept legal documents on your behalf.
What law requires a registered address?
The specific requirements for a registered address are as follows:
A business entity shall continuously maintain a registered office in this state. A registered office need not be the same as the principal place of business in this state or the principal executive office of the corporation. If the current registered office address listed in the records of the secretary of state is not an actual office location, or is solely a post office box, the business entity must provide a new registered office address that includes an actual office location and that may be also include a mailing address or post office box.
Minn. Stat. § 5.36, subd. 1. In other words, the registered office address must be an actual location (i.e., a street address), but a business may have a P.O. box as a mailing address.
What law allows using a registered address?
Minnesota law allows using a registered agent to receive legal documents and service of process:
The registered agent may be a natural person residing in this state, a domestic corporation, or a limited liability company, or a foreign corporation or foreign limited liability company authorized to transact business in this state. The registered agent must maintain a business office that is identical with the registered office.
Minn. Stat. § 5.36, subd. 2. Any address for a registered agent must be publicly accessible, so that anyone who wants to contact the business can do so.
Does a non-Minnesota business need a registered agent?
Yes. Having a proper registered agent will also ensure that the business will not miss any deadlines if the company is actually sued in a lawsuit. If you don’t have a registered agent in Minnesota who will forward a lawsuit to you, you can end up being sued in Minnesota without knowing about the case. This means the plaintiff would likely win with a default judgment against your company. Having a registered office or registered agent service gives business owners peace of mind that they will not miss important government documents or notifications.
For my new business, should I use my home address, a P.O. box, or something else? That’s the question I’m going to answer today. I’m Aaron Hall, you can learn more about me at aaronhall.com, and please see the disclaimer below.
When business owners are looking at starting a company, maybe it’s an LLC, maybe it’s a sole proprietorship or an S corp, they often wonder, “Which address should I use?”
Generally speaking, business owners use their home address, and that’s not a problem. Sometimes though, they think, “Well, I’d like some privacy. Can I use a P.O. box in Minnesota?” That’s prohibited. You need to have a physical address where somebody is personally available to receive a lawsuit, if you get served. That’s essentially what the Minnesota statute says. So, a P.O. box doesn’t work in Minnesota for your legal address, for registration. Of course, you can have a P.O. box in addition to that, but that’s often undermined by the fact that you have a registration with the Secretary of State publicly available with a physical address.
So you might say, “Well, what if I don’t want to use my home address, and I don’t wanna pay the money to lease an office? Is there any other option?” The answer is yes. They’re called registered agent services. Typically, they’re between $100 and $500 per year, and there’s an assistant of some sort, able to receive lawsuits, and will forward that onto you.
You can read in the description below some of the different companies, you can click on them to learn more about their pricing. But that is an option that is available, and quite common when you want to protect some anonymity, you want to keep your home residents private, or for some other reason you want an address that is different from your home address. For example, maybe you want an address in a downtown city area, instead of a suburb where your home is. So, you are entirely permitted to use those addresses. The key is, it has to be a physical address where somebody is available to receive a lawsuit on your behalf, should you be served a lawsuit in the future. To learn more, feel free to check out my videos, or visit aaronhall.com.
Can You Use a Registered Agent for Your Bank Account and Credit Cards?
In this video, you will get answers to these questions:
- Why is it important to use a registered agent for your business?
- What if you are running a home business?
- Can I use my registered agent for other business purposes?
- Should you use a registered agent address for your bank statements or credit cards?
- What is the main reason why business owners use a registered agent?
Can you use a registered agent for your bank account and credit cards? That’s the question I’m answering today. So let’s paint the picture. A registered agent is a company who will accept legal documents for you on your behalf, so you don’t need to use your home address or another address. In other words, a registered agent is essentially buying a physical address or renting it that you can use for legal correspondence with your company.
States like Minnesota require that an LLC have a physical address in the state. Likewise, for a corporation. Corporations have to have a physical address in the state. So if you own an LLC from another country or another state but it’s operating in Minnesota, you need to have a physical address. Rather than renting an office, what you can do is pay for a registered agent that’s essentially just a physical location where somebody is available to receive mail and receive documents that are delivered in person.
Why is that important? Because if a lawsuit is against your business, the lawsuit documents generally need to be physically delivered and handed to someone representing your company or authorized to accept documents on your behalf. And that has to be done physically. It has to be done in person, and so that’s why the law requires you to have a physical presence somewhere in the state to accept lawsuit documents. It’s called service of process.
All right, so when you set up a business, you may decide to have a registered agent, sometimes called a registered office. That’s just somebody or some office available to accept these documents on your behalf.
Now, you might be saying, “if I have a home in the state and I’m running a home business, do I need a registered agent?” No, you don’t. Maybe you want to keep your home address private; that’s a great reason you would use a registered agent. And in the description below, a link to a blog post I have with a lot of frequently asked questions about registered agents.
But let’s assume now you have a registered agent, and you are thinking, “can I use that address for my bank or my credit cards? Can I have credit card statements and bank statements go to the company who I’m paying as a registered agent?” Maybe you’re paying that registered agent $500 a year, for example. Or maybe it’s only $200 a year, but you’re paying them to accept legal documents on your behalf. Can you use it for other business purposes? Often you can. It does depend on what your contract says with the registered agent. For example, do you have to pay a little more to have all of your mail go there? Usually, what these registered agent services do is they will give you a certain amount of free mail. But after that, any mail that comes in for you or any documents, they’ll scan, and you pay a per-page fee. Some places don’t give you any free mail or scanning benefits. They just simply charge per page. Or maybe they would say, “you get up to a hundred pages scanned for free per month, and after that, there’s a certain charge.” And, of course, the cheap plans will then require more of a fee per page, whereas the more expensive fixed plans will include a lot more benefits or a lot more scans with that monthly fee that you are paying.
All right, so should you use a registered agent address for your bank statements or credit cards? Well, it depends on why you are using a registered agent. For example, if you are trying to prevent anybody from knowing your home address, including credit card companies or banks, that might be a reason to do that, but often it just doesn’t make sense.
The main reason why business owners use a registered agent is because they are not physically located in the state, so they are doing the registered agent service simply because they need to fulfill the legal requirement of having a physical office where they can receive service of process or lawsuit documents.
But it doesn’t make sense in that scenario to have the added delay or expense associated with banks sending statements to the registered agent, the registered agent, scanning them in, and then emailing those PDFs to you. Often it makes more sense to just have the bank send the statements directly to you or maybe electronically deliver those to you. Likewise, for credit card companies, it’s probably less expensive and quicker just to have the credit card company send the statement directly to you rather than having it go to a registered agent and then deal with it there.
There are circumstances, though, where it might make sense to have a registered agent except all mail for you. For example, let’s say you are located outside the United States. You have a company in the United States, and you just want to use the registered agent in the United States for all correspondence related to that company. Often that makes sense because you don’t want to wait for international mail to be delivered from a bank in the United States or a credit card in the United States. Also, it may present an error of legitimacy for you to have a physical office in the United States when entering into contracts or dealing with customers, etc. So often, international owners choose to have a registered agent in the United States so they can put on their website an address where customers or others can contact them.
The idea there is that it gives some comfort to customers to have a more local address that they can correspond with instead of having to send a letter to another country. So, can you use a registered agent for your bank account or credit? Absolutely. Should you? Well, that simply depends on whether the cost and delay is worthwhile for you based on your circumstances.
This is an area of common legal questions that people have, and I have created this YouTube channel to help business owners like you or aspiring entrepreneurs try to improve your knowledge and equip yourself so that as you achieve greater and greater success, you can avoid the common legal pitfalls and problems that arise in many companies and can destroy companies.
If you don’t yet have the cheat sheet that I give out, Seven Common Legal Mistakes Made by New Businesses, you can get that for free. Just go to aaronhall.com, and you can download it right there. You actually put your email address on. We email you the PDF, and then I will occasionally send out non-public videos educating those who have subscribed on these sorts of topics.
If you have questions, feel free to post them in the description section below. I will do my best to answer them in future videos. If you would like to keep getting educational videos like this, you can subscribe. And if you are looking for other free resources, look in the description section below. In particular, there’s a link to a blog article I wrote on registered agent services and answering some of the frequently asked questions like how much do they cost and what are your options for that.