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 Utah?
In this guide, we will break down all the details you need to know about Utah registered agents.
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What is a Utah Registered Agent?
One of the most common questions we receive from entrepreneurs in Utah 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 Utah does not provide a recommended list of registered agent services, we reviewed the top options and compiled a list of the best Utah registered agent services based on price and overall value.
Who Can Be a Utah Registered Agent?
In Utah, a registered agent may be either an adult individual or a domestic or foreign business entity. In both cases, the registered agent is required to have an actual street address or rural route box number in Utah. P.O. boxes and other virtual offices are unacceptable as they cannot receive service of process or physical deliveries.
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 Utah Residents Get Served?
The most important part of a registered agent’s role is being served a summons.
Before a summons can be processed in Utah a plaintiff must first complete a Claims Affidavit and a Summons with the Justice Court of Utah. The claim will outline the dispute, detailing the case and demand, and must be submitted with a filing fee. The exact amount of the filing fee ranges from between $60 and $185 depending on the claim amount.
If these steps are all taken correctly, the state of Utah will allow a sheriff, constable, deputy, U.S. Marshall, process server, or any other adult not affiliated with the case to serve a summons to the defendant’s registered agent.
How to Designate a Utah 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 an LLC in Utah you’ll be required to designate your registered agent when you complete the Certificate of Organization. Alternatively, if you’re establishing a corporation in Utah, you must appoint your initial registered agent in the Articles of Incorporation. Both documents may be completed conveniently online using Utah’s business registration filing service, OneStop.
While the signature of your company’s new registered agent is not required on either document, submitting either form certifies that the registered agent has given consent to be listed.
How Can I Change My Utah Registered Agent?
If you would like to change your registered agent for any reason, the process is pretty simple.
In Utah, those wishing to change their registered agent must do so be completing the appropriate form. Depending on the business entity type, you will need to complete and submit either a Corporation Registration Information Change Form or a Limited Liability Company Registration Information Change Form. Both documents may be either completed online or completed as a PDF file, printed, and mailed to the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code. The fee to file either document is $15.00.
Additionally, it should be noted that in Utah (unlike many states) it is not possible to change your registered agent by filing an Amendment to the company’s original articles; the only way to change your registered agent is to submit the appropriate Registration Information Form document.
How Does a Utah Registered Agent Resign?
Sometimes, a registered agent may have to resign from their position.
In Utah, registered agents wishing to resign are required to submit an original and two copies of a Registered Agent Resignation form to the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Corporations and Commercial Code. The document may be completed here as a PDF file and then mailed, faxed, or delivered in-person. There is no fee to submit the document.
Why Should You Hire a Professional Utah 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 Utah. 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 Utah 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 Utah?
You need to have a registered agent to form your limited liability company or corporation in Utah 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 Utah, 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 Utah 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 Utah Secretary of State:
Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code
Heber M. Wells Building
160 E 300 S, 1st Floor
Salt Lake City Utah 84111