Can a Registered Agent Address Be a PO Box? 


You need a registered agent. And you need a business address. If you use a PO box as your business address, you might wonder if you can use it for your registered agent address as well.

Well, you can’t.

Annoyed? Settle down. I’ll tell you everything you need to know about business addresses, PO boxes, and registered agent addresses.

Why You Can’t Use a PO Box as Your Registered Agent Address 

Most states that require business entities to maintain registered agents also have regulations about how registered agents should behave, like being physically present at your registered agent’s address and available during normal business hours to receive service of process, government documents, and various types of legal correspondence for your business.

Since your registered agent is required to actually be stationed at your registered agent’s address and make themselves available, a PO box isn’t sufficient. 

What Even Is a PO Box? 

A PO box, or post office box, is a sort of mail box or locker at your post office. For a fee, you can send mail to the box rather than to your business address, your business’s physical location, or your own address. 

You access your box using a key. And PO boxes are usually placed in lobbies where customers can access them 24 hours a day. 

Most people who use a PO box check them each weekday, or quite frequently. 

They can cost anywhere from $20 for a basic small box to over $300 for the biggest box at the most expensive location. 

What Is a Registered Agent Address? 

Your registered agent’s address is where official correspondence from government agencies, service of process, legal documents, and tax documents for your business entity are sent. 

It’s also where your registered agent will be physically present during business hours to accept important documents on your business’s behalf. 

Your registered agent’s address is separate from your business address and your principal address in most instances. 

What’s the Difference Between a Registered Agent Address and a Business Address? 

Your business address is the officially listed address for your business. This doesn’t necessarily have to be your store’s street address or your company’s physical location. 

If your business is located in an out-of-the-way place that no one’s ever heard of, or if it’s far enough out that people start hearing banjo music on the way to your store, then you can actually use certain business services to change the area your business address is located in. 

Your business address not only affects how people will view your company overall, but it’s also the place where all your business mail and general mail will be sent. This includes junk mail and correspondence from customers.

Using Your Registered Agent as Your Business Address

If you use a registered agent service, there are a couple of reasons you shouldn’t use their address as your business address. The first is that they aren’t legally allowed to accept and receive regular mail for your business. They can accept official business mail, service of process, and correspondence from government agencies, but nothing else. 

Another thing that puts the kibosh on using your agent’s address is that many registered agent services won’t allow you to use their address as your business address. Many of them do offer virtual mail boxes, however, which we’ll discuss later.

What Is a Principal Office Address?

This has different names in different states, like a corporate address, principal address, or principal place of business. 

A principal address is the place where your business is located, or the place where business or work takes place. For home-based businesses, for example, your principal address would be your home address. 

In some court proceedings, the principal address has been referred to as the “nerve center” of the business, which is an appropriate description. 

Your principal address doesn’t have to be the same as your business address. Many big LLCs and corporations have headquarters that are miles, or even states, away from their principal addresses. 

Can You Use a PO Box as Your Business Address? 

Of course lacking a physical address can be a major hindrance for many business owners. Some places allow you to use a PO box as your business address, however. To do so, you also have to list your registered agent’s address, which is required to be a physical address. 

You can list a PO box as your business address when applying for a business license for your LLC, too. But just because you can do it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Here are some of the downsides of using a PO box as your business address: 

  • Can’t be used by registered agent 
  • Some states require your business address to be a physical address
  • Looks unprofessional
  • Not under your control
  • Not transparent, looks sketchy
  • Not a legal alternative to zoning laws 

What If You’re Your Own Registered Agent? 

Lots of people are their own registered agents. If you’re your own registered agent, it’s pretty likely that your registered agent address is the same as either your business address or your home address. 

There are several registered agent requirements you’ll need to meet as your own agent.

  • State law: Check your state’s laws pertaining to registered agents. 
  • Physical address: This excludes PO boxes, and in some states, virtual addresses.
  • Who can be a registered agent: Anyone 18 years of age or older. 

There are a few options available to you if you want to meet your registered agent requirements while also keeping your home address private. 

Using a Registered Agent Service

If you don’t have a physical address for your business, then one of the most obvious solutions to this problem is hiring a registered agent service. 

Businesses that operate in multiple states can definitely benefit from a registered agent service because they’re required to maintain a registered agent in each of the states where they conduct business. A national registered agent service can meet all your needs nationwide. 

Here are some more excellent reasons to use a registered agent service:

  • Receive compliance alerts for things like annual reports
  • Reliable service that’s guaranteed to receive service of process 
  • Maintain the good standing status of your business with state agencies
  • Comply with regulations as a foreign corporation or LLC
  • Get some sleep afterhours if you run a company with late business hours
  • Meet your legal requirements even if you aren’t available during standard business hours
  • Meet legal regulations if you own multiple businesses
  • Keep your private information and personal life separate from business affairs
  • Benefit from premium registered agent services, like identity theft protection
  • Take advantage of business formation services and promotions like a free year of registered agent services

The cost of registered agent services is based on factors such as which company you hire, and which services you need. But to give you a baseline figure, registered agent services will generally run anywhere from $39–$299 per state per year, plus state fees. 

Of course, that’s a pretty wide range. If you want to learn more about the pricing practices of registered agents, check out my comprehensive guide on the Best Registered Agent Services.

Virtual Options: The Business Address Solutions of the Future

If you want to save some money by being your own agent, or designate someone close to you for the role, then you have options outside of simply hiring a registered agent service to keep your home address and personal information secure. But because there are several options, it can be confusing. I’ll break it all down for you so that you can make the best decision, though! 

Virtual Address

A virtual address allows you to list a business address and prevents you from listing your home address on the public record. It’s an actual physical address, and many states allow their use as business addresses. You can use a virtual business address as your business address, which has a few benefits. 

For example, in New York, LLCs are required to publish formation announcements, but the price of such publications varies by jurisdiction 

In New York City, it could set you back more than $1,000. So most registered agent services and business formation services in New York advertise Albany addresses, where the publication costs are far cheaper. So, a virtual address in New York could save you money. 

With a virtual address, you can also make it appear that your company’s business address is in a trendy uptown business district. This will give your business a more lucrative address, particularly if you own a home-based business. 

It’s important to note that, like PO boxes, some states won’t allow businesses to use virtual addresses as registered agent addresses.

Virtual Mailbox

You may have noticed that I didn’t mention anything about receiving mail at a virtual address. That’s because that’s not the function of a virtual address. If you want an address that’s good for receiving mail, as well as using it as your business address, you need a virtual address/virtual mailbox combo. 

A virtual mailbox, also called a virtual mail service, is similar to a PO box in that your mail is sent to a location other than your principal business address. Virtual mailbox providers will send you pictures of your mail, as well as any packages that may be delivered. You’re then able to view these pictures online. 

Once you’ve viewed your mail, you can have it forwarded, save images of your important documents online, or schedule a time to pick the mail up in person. If you detect something among the pictures that you don’t want, like junk mail, the company will shred it and discard it for you. 

Many registered agent services now provide virtual mailbox services.

Virtual Office

If you’re looking for an even more professional mailing address, then a virtual office is a great idea. Renting physical office space can be quite expensive. A virtual office is a whole office building that’s owned and maintained by a third-party company, which you can use for both office space and your business address. 

It’s a lot more than just a hypothetical business address! If you own a home-based business or don’t have space for your own office, a virtual office can provide you with offices and conference rooms. This means you can not only work there, but meet with clients and have employee meetings there. 

They also provide receptionist services, both physical and by phone. And your company’s name will appear on the building’s directory. 

If you need both office space and a business address, then a virtual office is the best option for you. 

Virtual Office Space

Admittedly, this isn’t a good option if you need a business address or a physical address as a registered agent. But since it’s so close in name and relation to the other options, we thought it was important to add it to mention. A lot of online information about virtual address services often confuses virtual offices with virtual office spaces. 

Virtual office spaces are also called virtual workspaces. They’re online platforms that provide businesses with online workplaces. They allow businesses with a place for their employees to work together, collaborate, and communicate with each other, no matter how far apart they live. 

They could even live in other countries and still work together using a virtual office space. They also help foster a team-based work environment for people who work remotely. 


You’re not allowed to use a PO box as your registered agent address. Your registered agent is required to be available during business hours and physically present at your registered agent address, which defeats the purpose of a PO box. 

It’s also not a good idea to use a PO box as your business address, nor should your registered agent address be your business address unless you’re your own registered agent. But with the alternatives I provided in this article, you’re armed with a list of ways to keep your business address and registered agent address legal and effective.

To learn more about registered agent services, read the Best Registered Agent Services. If you’ve yet to your business and want to know more about LLC formation, read my guide on How to Start an LLC. And if you want some additional support and guidance throughout the formation process, read the Best LLC Formation Services

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