If you operate an LLC or corporation in Maryland, you need to designate a resident agent (referred to as a “registered agent” in most other states) to accept document deliveries from the state. You have a few options regarding who should provide this vital service, our favorite of which is hiring a resident agent service.
These companies will serve as your resident agent in exchange for an annual fee, keeping your business in compliance with state law by receiving documents like service of process, tax documents, reminders when your Annual Report is coming due, and more.
In Maryland, there are quite a few reputable companies offering resident agent service, which can make it difficult to determine which company is your best choice. That’s why we took a deep dive into all of your options to create this list of the best Maryland resident agent services. Which one should you use?
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An Overview of Maryland Resident Agent Services
Before we dig too deeply into any of these companies, we will also share a quick overview of the best options. After all, we know how busy you are, and you might just want to identify the best company and move on.
At ZenBusiness, we have a highly affordable offer that appeals to a wide variety of entrepreneurs. For just $99 for the first year ($199 after that), ZenBusiness will serve as your resident agent in Maryland, providing reliable service at a fair price. ZenBusiness has thousands of positive reviews, we’re a socially conscious company, and we offer solid customer support. What’s not to like?
However, it’s not all about ZenBusiness. Some of our competitors also have intriguing offers for Maryland resident agent service, including Northwest Registered Agent and Incfile. Is one of them a better fit for your business? Or is hiring ZenBusiness the right call? Read on to find out!
What Does Maryland Law Say About Resident Agents?
Each state has its own rules and regulations surrounding resident agents. For the most part, these laws are fairly similar, but it’s always worth taking a look to see what Maryland requires.
One quick note before we dive in: Maryland always refers to this role as the “resident agent” in their official forms and statutes. It means the same thing as a “registered agent” in other states. It’s simply a different phrase to describe the role.
In Maryland, we’ll need to take a look at The Corporations and Associations Chapter of the Maryland Code, which says:
- Every entity that registers with the Department of Assessments and Taxation (both domestic and foreign) must appoint a resident agent
- The agent must be an individual resident of the state or a Maryland corporation
- An agent must be continuously maintained
All of the companies we’re about to discuss meet these regulations and are great options for Maryland resident agent service. When you’ve made your choice, you can indicate your resident agent’s name and address on your Articles of Organization.
The Best Maryland Resident Agent Services
ZenBusiness ($99 for the first year, then $199)
At ZenBusiness, we pride ourselves on providing convenient, easy-to-leverage business services that leave you more time to actually run your business. When it comes to ongoing registered agent service, ZenBusiness has a great $99 rate for the first year and a competitive $199 rate for subsequent years.
If you haven’t yet formed your LLC or corporation, we offer an outstanding bargain. We will form your new business for free — all you have to do is cover the required state filing fee.
Let’s take a look at some of our advantages and disadvantages compared to our top competitors.
- Low $99 price point for the first year
- Great customer feedback
- Strong customer service
- Gives back to socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs
- Not the absolute cheapest option available
There are more than 10,000 reviews of ZenBusiness online, and nearly all of them are positive, giving us one of the best customer satisfaction reputations in the industry. We also have a helpful and knowledgeable customer support department that can answer your tough questions.
Northwest Registered Agent ($125)
Next up is Northwest Registered Agent, a company that offers personalized customer support. Northwest no longer provides free mail forwarding service with its resident agent offering, which used to be a cornerstone of its service. However, it still has plenty of advantages.
How does Northwest Registered Agent stack up to the competition?
- Personalized customer support
- Volume discounts available
- Free resident agent service with business formation
- Expensive business formation service
- Not many other services offered
Northwest Registered Agent’s calling card is its personalized customer support. Instead of outsourcing its support network to a generic call center with questionably trained representatives, Northwest keeps its support team in-house. Everyone who answers the phone for Northwest is a professional who knows their stuff.
Northwest offers a year of resident agent service in Maryland with any business formation service purchase. However, at $225, the price point for this package is higher than most competitors.
We appreciate Northwest’s volume discounts for resident agent service, as they’ll slash your rate from $125 to $100 annually if you require service in at least five states. In addition, they receive strong customer reviews and offer free ongoing compliance reminders.
Overall, if you prioritize personalized customer support, Northwest’s advantages likely outweigh its disadvantages.
Like ZenBusiness, Incfile offers a free business formation service. With Incfile, this includes a year of resident agent service as well. As a standalone service, Incfile provides resident agent service at an annual rate of $119, which is a solidly competitive price point.
- Free business formation service with resident agent service
- Good customer feedback
- Lots of upsells
With more than 30,000 reviews available online, Incfile maintains high average rating scores, making them an impressive pick for resident agent service in Maryland.
However, one drawback of using Incfile is how they can be rather relentless with upsell attempts. Incfile has plenty of add-on features available, and it will certainly remind you of that fact several times as you work your way through their order form.
Overall, Incfile is a rock-solid option for resident agent service, albeit without some of the bells and whistles you’ll find with some competitors.
Rocket Lawyer ($149.99)
Rocket Lawyer is one of the industry’s biggest names, with millions of customers served and a robust advertising budget that gets its name out. Rocket Lawyer’s pricing is a bit high, but if you’re looking for an experienced option, look no further.
- Tons of experience
- Solid customer satisfaction reputation
- Strong customer support
- Somewhat high price points
- Very few features
Rocket Lawyer has a few thousand reviews available, with mostly positive scores. While its resident agent pricing doesn’t jump off the page, subscribers to Rocket Lawyer’s $39.99/month legal services program receive 25% off resident agent service, free business formation service for new members, and more.
We are always impressed with Rocket Lawyer’s support network, as its representatives are responsive and helpful. Rocket Lawyer offers extended support availability from 9 am to 9 pm every weekday. If you’re willing to spend a bit more in exchange for a company with tons of experience, or if you’re interested in Rocket Lawyer’s legal services subscription, give them a look.
LegalZoom is similar to Rocket Lawyer in that it’s a company with millions of customers served and offers advanced legal services. However, LegalZoom has an unfortunately high price point for Maryland resident agent service. You can get your first year for $249 if you add it to a business formation package, but even that isn’t a great deal.
- Millions of customers served
- Industry’s longest support hours
- 100% satisfaction guaranteed
- High prices
- Few features in formation packages
We are impressed by LegalZoom’s 100% satisfaction guarantee, which is nearly identical to the ZenBusiness refund policy. Also, they have the longest customer support hours in this industry, with 14 hours per day of weekday availability and nine hours on weekends too.
That said, LegalZoom’s high price tag for resident agent service is a problem. Seeing as this company also excludes valuable features from its business formation packages, the other options in this guide all have better value propositions than LegalZoom.
Frequently Asked Questions About Maryland Resident Agent Services
Who can serve as a resident agent in Maryland?
In Maryland, there aren’t many complicated requirements for resident agent eligibility. Any individual or business entity located within the state can serve as your company’s resident agent. The only requirements are that they have a permanent address in Maryland and that your company itself can not serve as its own resident agent (although you or one of your co-owners may assume this role individually).
Unlike most states, Maryland also requires that individual registered agents be at least 18 years old. We recommend that you pick a responsible individual you trust or one of the services listed above. If the resident agent does not fulfill their duties completely and accurately, it can cause unnecessary hassle for a business. Most responsible adults can fill this role easily, but we do recommend careful consideration while you make this appointment.
Must my resident agent be located in Maryland?
Yes. If your resident agent is an individual, that person must live in Maryland. If your agent is a business entity, that company must either be a domestic Maryland business or one with the authority to conduct business in the state.
How can I change my resident agent in Maryland?
Maryland keeps the process of changing your resident agent pretty simple. All you have to do is download the Resolution to Change Principal Office and/or Resident Agent form, fill it out, and submit it to the Department of Assessments and Taxation. Include the $25 filing fee, and you’re set to go. For more information on how to change your resident agent in Maryland, look here.
How does the Maryland resident agent resignation process work?
If your resident agent chooses to resign and no longer serves as your agent, they will notify you. They are also required by law to notify the Department by writing a letter of resignation. There is no fee for the resignation, and Maryland does not require an official form, but it’s an essential step if your agent resigns.
How much does it cost to change my Maryland resident agent?
Unless you choose to expedite your filings, Maryland only charges $25 for the process of changing your resident agent. File correctly, and that’s all you’ll have to pay. However, if you file late (causing a lapse in your resident agent coverage), you may incur additional penalties and fees, so we highly recommend filing this as soon as your agent resigns.
What are my options if I don’t want to hire a Maryland resident agent service?
One common option is to serve as your company’s own resident agent or enlist the assistance of a trusted friend or family member. The other route is to hire an attorney or accountant to handle this role. Maybe you prefer the added professionalism these people can provide, maybe you have an existing relationship with an attorney or accountant you trust, etc.
If you’re interested in hiring an attorney but don’t know where to start, we recommend taking a look on Avvo. We also dug through the top-rated lawyers on Avvo to create our own list of the top five business attorneys you could contact regarding resident agent service: