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 Vermont?
In this guide, we will break down all the details you need to know about Vermont registered agents.
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What is a Vermont Registered Agent?
One of the most common questions we receive from entrepreneurs in Vermont 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 Vermont does not provide a recommended list of registered agent services, we reviewed the top options and compiled a list of the best Vermont registered agent services based on price and overall value.
Who Can Be a Vermont Registered Agent?
The Vermont Secretary of State dictates that registered agents are first and foremostly required to have a street and mailing address located within Vermont. Outside of this requirement, Vermont registered agents may be either an individual person (for example the business owner, an employee, or a family member of the owner), or a business entity that is registered and active with the office.
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 Vermont Residents Get Served?
The most important part of a registered agent’s role is being served a summons.
In Vermont, in order for a summons to be processed a plaintiff must first complete the appropriate claim form which details the case and request for reparations. After its completion, the plaintiff must submit two copies of the complaint, any additional attachments for the case, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the court for processing. All cases require the payment of a filing fee, which is refunded to the plaintiff should they win the case.
If these steps are all taken correctly, the state of Vermont will issue the service of a summons to the defendant’s registered agent either by a sheriff, a deputy sheriff, a constable, or another individual authorized by law who has been specially appointed by a judge. In some cases, the summons may be sent by certified mail.
How to Designate a Vermont 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.
Depending on your business entity type, you’ll be prompted to designate your registered agent when you fill out either the Articles of Incorporation for corporations or the Articles of Organization for LLCs. While the documents may be filed by mail using these guidelines, the Vermont Secretary of State asserts that filing online is the quickest and easiest method. Should you decide to file by mail, you must request the necessary documents from the Vermont Secretary of State.
How Can I Change My Vermont Registered Agent?
If you would like to change your registered agent for any reason, the process is pretty simple.
To change your registered agent in Vermont you’ll need to complete a Change of Registered Agent document. While the form can be submitted by mail, the Vermont Secretary of State asserts that filing online is quicker and more efficient.
The cost to change your agent (whether your company is an LLC or a corporation) is $25.00. Processing time depends on the submission method, but is usually around 7-10 business days for paper filings. Online filings are generally processed same-day.
How Does a Vermont Registered Agent Resign?
Sometimes, a registered agent may have to resign from their position.
Vermont registered agents wishing to resign may do so by either resigning with the business entity and requesting that they file a Change of Registered Agent form, or registered agents may choose to resign directly by submitting the Statement of Resignation directly to the Secretary of State. While it is possible to request the necessary forms and file by mail, it’s quicker and more convenient to file online instead. In either case, there is no fee to submit the resignation document.
Why Should You Hire a Professional Vermont 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 Vermont. 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 Vermont 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 Vermont?
You need to have a registered agent to form your limited liability company or corporation in Vermont 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 Vermont, 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 Vermont 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 Vermont Secretary of State:
Vermont Secretary of State
128 State St
Montpelier, VT 05633