Virginia is a great state to set up your business. It has been consistently voted as one of the best business environments in the US. It has also been voted as one of the best states for small business owners. This state has the highest concentration of workers in Tech e.g. software developers, data scientists, etc., and has the 4th highest number of tech workers after big cities like New York, California, and Texas.
If you plan on setting up a business in the Old Dominion, one of the foremost requirements of the state government is having a registered agent.
What is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent can be a business or an individual appointed to receive legal documents for your company. These legal documents include tax notices, subpoenas, lawsuits, and others.
According to 13.1-1015 of the Code of Virginia, all companies doing business in the state of Virginia must have a registered agent or resident agent to ensure tracking of all legal mail sent within the state. To become a registered agent in the state of Virginia, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be able to receive mail during business hours at an office
- Be present to receive the legal mail intended for the business you represent
- Have a physical address within Virginia. Note that making use of a P.O Box is not allowed.
Registered Agent in Virginia, who can work as one?
A person must meet certain requirements before he/she can work as a registered agent in Virginia. These requirements are made by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- A registered agent can be an employee of the company or third parties such as lawyers and registered agent service companies that is a resident or an organization that is located in Virginia and has a valid street address in Virginia. Corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) cannot be their registered agents. However, if you have are a resident and of legal age in Virginia, you are allowed to register as your business’s registered agent in a case whereby you have a start-up business or you are a small business entrepreneur.
- If you are a business owner based outside Virginia, you must first have the authorization to do business.
Changing your Registered Agent in Virginia
If you decided to shift to another agency or entity to represent your company in Virginia, maybe because your previous registered agent moved out of the state, no longer wants the responsibility, or he left your company for another. Changing registered agents is easy and free. All you need to do is follow the following steps, as outlined by the Commonwealth of Virginia:
- Fill up a Statement of Change of Registered Office or Registered Agent of a Corporation form. Note that it has to be signed by a person who is associated with the company.
- File the form in the Clerk’s office either by mail or online. Unlike other states, this is entirely free, and all you need to do is create a user account at SCC eFile. You can request a copy of the Statement of Change form from the Clerk’s office through the SCC eFile or by getting in touch with the Clerk’s office.
Should I Get a professional Registered Agent Service Company?
Getting a professional registered agent company can reduce a lot of effort and time for any business owner. There are numerous benefits to it whether you are an established company or a small business owner. Some of these benefits are:
- Making use of their address instead of your home address, especially if you don’t have an office yet. This detail will be included in public records.
- Registered Agent processes paperwork for you
- Notify you immediately if you receive any new legal mail
- Notify you of mandatory filing of Virginia annual reports
- Help you to avoid penalties for delayed filings
- Assist you with forms and instructions needed to set up your business
- If you operate a small business out of state, they fill in as your local contact in the state.
Several agencies offer registered agent services in Virginia. However, you have to be careful in finding a trustworthy agent to handle your business.
Advantages of Using a Virginia Business Address vs. Personal Address
- A business address Minimize exposure of your home address as public information
- Some city municipalities may not allow using home addresses as business offices
- Using your personal address can probably link you to business liabilities
- Using a business address can help you separate business and personal transactions
Having a registered agent is your gateway to setting up a business in the state of Virginia. Doing it yourself is possible, but it can eat up a lot of your time, money, and energy. It is better to get a registered agent service and use the resources to build your business instead. Let them help you do business hassle-free in Virginia.
Who Should Use It:
If you are willing to pay a little more for top-notch customer support and want to combine virtual office and mail forwarding services with registered agent service.
- Top-notch customer service. Great Phone Support.
- Focus on Privacy.
- Documents are scanned on the same day they are received. Mail forwarding is also available.
- Money back refund possible within 90 days
- No hidden charges. They handle all fees associated with the change in RA (good if you plan to change your registered agent).
- Not the cheapest. Zenbusiness is slightly cheaper.
Who Should Use It: If you need a basic reliable registered agent service at a great price, ZenBusiness is a good choice.
- Affordable pricing. Plans start from $99/year. Offers free registered agent service with its incorporation service
- Convenient online dashboard for documents
- Offers business formation services
- It is a public benefit corporation.
- BBB accredited (A-) and positive word of mouth on internet communities.
- Does not forward mails.
- No pro-rated refunds.
Pricing: $119/year. Free for the first year if you use their incorporation service.
Who Should Use It: If your objective is to minimize the startup costs in the first year, Incfile is a decent choice.
- Automatic mail forwarding service. Email and SMS notifications
- Free for the first year if you also incorporate your business with Incfile.
- It will cost you $119/year as a standalone service.
- Customer reviews and word of mouth is mixed. Many customers complain about slow TAT and long waiting time for customer support.
- Lots of upsells. You may just choose to ignore it.
- One of the oldest brands with a high number of customers.
- 60 days money-back guarantee.
- The price is very high as they charge $299/year for standalone registered agent service.
Pricing: $99/year. It is reduced to $89/year if you opt for a 3+ years package.
Who Should Use It: If you are looking for reliable registered agent services that help track regulatory requirements and promptly notify about lawsuits, Harbor Compliance is a good choice.
- Affordable pricing and no hidden fees. Price starts from $99 a year. Multiyear discounts.
- Annual reports notification.
- Same-day document scanning and delivery.
- You get phone notifications of lawsuits. Other companies generally notify via email.
- No refund if you cancel the service.
- They do not offer physical delivery of mail
Who Should Use It: Medium-sized or Start-up Business owners who want to take advantage of Rocket Lawyer’s legal subscription services and don’t mind paying to pay a little extra to get their legal needs fulfilled in one place.
- Support from legal experts. You can avail all kinds of legal services in one place.
- Prompt customer service and Money-back guarantee
- You do not get free registered agent service with the business formation.
- Good customer support. Good reputation among users.
- Price is on the higher side.
- No pro-rated or full refund option even if you cancel.