Do You Need a Registered Agent in Georgia?


A Georgia registered agent is monumentally important to the success of any business entity, whether it’s a Georgia corporation, limited liability company, or sole proprietorship. 

Registered agents are integral during the formation process, and they’re invaluable when it comes to keeping your company up-to-date with its compliance filing deadlines with the Georgia Secretary of State and the Georgia Corporations Division. 

But what is a registered agent, how do you find one, and do you need a Georgia registered agent?

What Is a Registered Agent in Georgia?

A registered agent is an individual or business entity that’s posted up at your Georgia registered office address to accept legal documents (like service of process), tax notices, and mail on behalf of your Georgia LLC, corporation, or sole proprietorship during regular business hours. 

Of course, you may wonder what good it does to have someone else receive mail for your company at another address, but that’s where the other half of a registered agent’s services come in: mail forwarding and document storage. Your Georgia registered agent is responsible for ensuring that you receive your mail and are notified about important filing deadlines or other problems as they happen.

Any registered business entity, such as a corporation, limited liability partnership, sole proprietorship, or LLC, by law (specifically Georgia Code 14-11-209 for LLCs and 14-2-504 for corporations) must have a registered agent in Georgia. This also applies to business entities nationwide. No matter where your business expands, or where it starts, if you’ve registered it as a business entity you’re legally required to continuously maintain a registered agent in each state it conducts business. 

Other names for a registered agent are statutory agent or resident agent, so if you see these terms on your entity formation documents or in your research, just know that they all refer to the same business service.

What Is the Purpose of a Registered Agent in Georgia?

If you’re thinking you can just set up a PO box for your company and check it for official mail to meet the requirement for a registered agent, think again. 

Your registered agent is required to have a physical street address, which disqualifies PO boxes. Besides that, there’s a lot more that a Georgia registered agent service does beyond their duty to accept service of process and mail for your company at a registered agent’s address. 


One of the most important duties of a registered agent in Georgia is ensuring that your business remains up to date with its compliance filings. They do this by issuing compliance notifications for things like your annual registration or annual report. 

You can think about your Georgia registered agent as a sort of intermediary between you, government agencies (like the Georgia Secretary of State and the IRS), and the (hopefully) occasional law firm. 

Compliance notifications are so important because of the numerous consequences of missing a filing deadline and falling out of the Secretary of State’s favor. Designating a Georgia registered agent guarantees that you’ll know about important legal notices and problems when they pop up so that you can handle them in a timely manner.

Management of Important Documents

Some business owners with no physical street address or with only a PO box may feel inconvenienced by the stipulation of a physical address by the Secretary of State. Remember, though, the address you list as your business address is listed on the public record, and because of this it can be a real fly in the ointment if you have to list your home address. 

Your registered agent address is also where every legal notice, service of process, and document will be sent—and you need to keep track of those. Many Georgia registered agents (the good ones, at least) supply online document management systems that allow you to view, store and sort your documents virtually using an online account. This makes document management a LOT easier and more convenient than sorting through them by hand and buying stock in manila folders to store it all in. 

Who Can Be a Registered Agent in Georgia?

There are some registered agent requirements that are universal, no matter which state you’re in. Here are a few of the requisites that Georgia law will require of your Georgia registered agent or registered agent service: 

  • 18+ years old. Your Georgia registered agent must be 18 years of age or older. 
  • State laws. Some states spell out specific rules for registered agents in their regulations. You should brush up on state laws to make sure that your Georgia registered agent complies with Georgia Secretary of State requirements. 
  • Physical address. The law in Georgia stipulates that your Georgia registered agent must have a physical Georgia address, not a PO box.
  • Who you can designate. As long as they meet the other requirements, you’re free to designate anyone as your Georgia registered agent. This means you can designate a friend, family member, employee, or even your lawyer. Just keep in mind that whomever you choose as your registered agent should be someone that you can trust with] your business.

What Happens If My Business Operates Without a Registered Agent?

If no one is stationed at your business address during regular business hours to receive service of process when a process server attempts to deliver it, the process server can deliver the service of process to the Secretary of State instead. In such cases, the lawsuit will go forward without your knowledge or defense. You’ll have no choice but to live with whatever ruling the court makes. 

Not maintaining a registered agent in Georgia or following compliance laws could result in the Secretary of State revoking your company’s good-standing status. There are severe financial and legal consequences of losing your company’s good standing, like no longer qualifying for business loans, not being permitted to expand your business to other states, and no longer being legally allowed to conduct business in the state of Georgia. 

The consequence that LLC owners fear the most is what’s known as administrative dissolution. Administrative dissolution means that your LLC is automatically and legally dissolved by the Secretary of State. When an LLC is dissolved, it no longer holds the legal rights to its business name in the state, and other companies can creep in and take it from you. By the time you’ve cleared up this legal slipup, it’s possible that you could lose your company’s business name—FOREVER. 

Most LLC owners know how perilous it is to conduct normal business operations without the protective net of limited liability protection. Limited liability companies that have been dissolved and still conduct business as usual will see their business owner’s personal and financial assets put at risk in the event of lawsuits against the company. 

Of course, these consequences aren’t limited to LLCs. There are severe consequences of not maintaining a Georgia registered agent for corporations, sole proprietorships, and other business entities too. 

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in Georgia? 

No state in the US has laws against being your own registered agent. You’re free to be your own registered agent in Georgia, but before you rush off to do so you should learn the pros and cons of being your own agent vs. hiring a Georgia registered agent service. 

Cons of Being Your Own Registered Agent


The biggest downfall of being your own agent is the legal ramifications of missing a service of process. If you’re sued and don’t respond to the summons and complaint, the lawsuit will go on without you, you won’t be able to defend your business in court, which means that you’ll have to put up with whatever ruling is made—regardless of how unfair you feel it is. 

Lack of Privacy

Another downside of being your own agent is that if you only have a PO box, or your business doesn’t have a physical street address, then you’ll have to list your home address on public records. Hiring a registered agent in Georgia allows you to list your registered agent’s name and information on public record, rather than your own, eliminating the problem of not having a street address. 

Of course, listing your own address is a security concern and a violation of privacy. It’s public information, so cybercriminals and hackers can access it and that leaves you vulnerable to identity theft. 


The biggest annoyance of being your own resident agent or registered agent in Georgia is the amount of time it takes up. Being a registered agent and being a business owner are both very time-consuming jobs. 

As your own registered agent, you must be present at the business address listed on your formation documents during normal business hours to receive important mail, legal notices, and service of process for your business in Georgia—and most businesses also operate during normal business hours. 

You’ll be expected to perform both duties at the same time, and it’s just not practical, especially if you plan to run your business well.

Pros of Being Your Own Registered Agent

The only upside to being your own registered, or statutory agent, is that you won’t have to pay fees for registered agent services. 

But given that most registered agent services aren’t overly expensive and there are so many pitfalls involved with being your own registered agent, most business owners are happy to pay for registered agent services.

Should I Use a Registered Agent Service?

There are lots of reasons to choose a registered agent service for your business: 

  • You’ll know about important filing deadlines for your annual report or registration because they issue compliance alerts or annual report reminders. 
  • It’s far less likely that you’ll miss a service of process or lose your good-standing status. 
  • It’s easier for you to manage your company because you aren’t double-booked running your business and performing registered agent duties. 
  • Using a nationwide registered agent service allows companies that conduct business in other states to conveniently meet their legal obligations.
  • It allows business owners with companies that operate outside of normal business hours to get some much-needed R&R that they wouldn’t otherwise get if they were working double duty as their registered agent as well. 
  • Business owners who own businesses without physical locations or with only PO box addresses won’t be forced to list their own address and information on the public record. 
  • Businesses receive a LOT of junk mail. If you’ve listed your personal address for your business, mountains of junk mail will be sent to your home and you’ll have to sort through it yourself. A registered agent service takes care of this for you. 
  • You can choose a registered agent service with premium registered agent services, like identity theft protection or payment of your state fees. 
  • Some registered agent services also provide business formation services, which means you can take advantage of business service bundles and promotions, like a year of complimentary registered agent service when you sign up for their LLC formation service. 

In the end, choosing your LLC’s registered agent is up to you and only you know whether a registered agent is the best choice for your company. However, I always recommend that new businesses use a registered agent service. 

What Is the Best Registered Agent Service?

There are several factors you need to consider to find the absolute best registered agent service for your business. Here are a few of the criteria I use to find the best registered agent service:

Service Features

To put it bluntly, don’t hire a Georgia registered agent service that doesn’t provide all the services your business needs. There are so many registered agent service providers in the state with various service packages that there’s no reason for you to settle for less than you need. 

Some registered agent providers only offer compliance calendars pre-filled with filing dates, but they’re easily lost or forgotten about, while others send out compliance notifications to make compliance simple and worry free. Some providers only offer basic mail forwarding, while others supply online document management systems that allow you to access your legal documents and correspondence, and even the odd service of process, with a few clicks and an online account. 


A good way to judge whether a Georgia registered agent service is a good value is to consider the number of services it offers combined with its fee. If it has an ascetic service list and high prices, that’s not a great value. 

While we’re on the subject of pricing, you should avoid “budget agents.” These dubious providers use low prices ($39–$59) to lure new customers, and once they have them hooked, they charge additional fees for crucial services, like compliance notifications or document management systems. Be wary of budget agents. 

Easy Sign-Up 

“I love being made to wait around forever for seemingly no good reason,” said no one, ever. The sign-up process is stressful enough, but some registered agent services add to that stress by requiring you to complete mountains of paperwork and making you wait weeks or months to complete registration. Choose a Georgia registered agent service with a quick, simple, and automated sign-up process.

User-Friendly Interface 

It may not seem like it but you’ll use your registered agent’s system quite frequently, so it shouldn’t be so bothersome to use that you wind up with a dent in your forehead from banging it against your desk in frustration. 

Some registered agent service providers have ancient servers with complicated navigation systems and confusing layouts, with bugs and technical problems sprinkled randomly throughout the system like the world’s worst garnish. Look for a Georgia registered agent with an easy-to-use system. 

Customer Service 

Finding a Georgia registered agent that has tons of services and features, a simple interface with straightforward navigation, and great prices is all well and good, but you’re still going to run into a technical or administrative issue that you need assistance with. An incompetent registered agent could result in the permanent closure of your business, so dependable customer service is CRUCIAL. 

I used these rating factors and my four-stage investigative process to determine that Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent in Georgia. If you’d like to learn more about registered agent services and how to find the best one for your business, read my article about the best registered agent services.


Every new business owner is bombarded with a ton of new information to learn, like business management techniques, cutting-edge innovations to software, industry-specific technology and equipment, loads of legal and business terms, and laws and regulations. They’ve also got to remember important deadlines for things like their Georgia annual registration. But Georgia registered agents exist to alleviate some of the workload and make owning a business less stressful. 

If you haven’t decided on a business structure yet and would like to learn more about LLC formation, click here to read about how to start an LLC. And if you’d like a bit of guidance through the tricky formation process, click here to read about the best LLC formation services.

Georgia Registered Agent FAQs

What’s the Difference Between a Commercial and a Noncommercial Registered Agent?

The Model Registered Agents Act was drafted by the American Bar Association in an attempt to standardize the regulations regarding registered agents across the country, and it’s where the distinction between a commercial registered agent and a noncommercial registered agent was first established. 

A commercial registered agent is one that’s registered with the Georgia Secretary of State as a commercial registered agent. Some states require every professional registered agent service to register as a commercial agent. 

A noncommercial registered agent is any individual or business (in states where professional registered agent service providers aren’t required to register as commercial agents) that isn’t registered as a commercial registered agent with the Georgia Secretary of State. This means that if you’ve named your neighbor, Mr. Bumpus, as your registered agent when he’s not tending to his hounds, he’s a noncommercial registered agent. 

How Do I Change the Registered Agent for My LLC?

If you’re disappointed with your current Georgia registered agent service, the good news is that you can change registered agents, and since it’s relatively easy you won’t be stuck with that one forever. The bad news is that you have only one opportunity a year to do it: when you file your annual report or annual registration. 

The only way to change your Georgia registered agent is with an amended annual registration. But other than dealing with that minor inconvenience, all you have to do is file online, add your new registered agent information, and pay a $50 fee.

How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost? 

Registered agent prices vary based on a few different factors, such as which services you need for your Georgia LLC or business and which registered agent service provider you choose. In general, a Georgia registered agent service can cost between $39–$299 (plus state fees) per state, per year. If you’d like to learn more about registered agent pricing, read my article about the best registered agent services

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