Do You Need a Registered Agent in Montana?


Every company registered as a business entity in Montana is required to have a registered agent, but it’s a good idea to have one anyway. 

The formation process is designed to include registered agents, so it’s pretty much impossible to establish your business without a Montana registered agent. They’re also a major asset to any business when it comes to compliance regulations. 

I’ll tell you all about what a registered agent is, what they do, and why you need one in this article. 

What Is a Registered Agent in Montana?

A registered agent is a person or business that is available at your registered office address during normal business hours to receive legal mail, official correspondence, and service of process on behalf of your business. 

You’re probably thinking it’s silly to have your mail sent to a different address to be intercepted by a different person. Don’t you need all of that stuff? This is where the document delivery portion of registered agent services comes in. 

Registered agents deliver your important mail and documents to you using either mail forwarding or online document delivery portals. This is also how they ensure that you’re informed about important filing deadlines for things like annual reports so that you don’t encounter trouble with the Montana Secretary of State. 

What’s more, if your company operates in multiple states, you’re required to have a registered agent in each of the states you transact business in. There are two ways to do this: either designate a different registered agent at each location and develop a fleet of registered agents, or hire a national registered agent service to meet all your legal needs. 

In some cases, a Montana registered agent is referred to as a statutory agent or resident agent. But all three of these terms mean the same thing. 

What Is the Purpose of a Registered Agent in Montana?

Maybe you’d like to establish a PO box to check at your convenience, but that won’t meet your legal requirements and here’s why.

The Montana Secretary of State stipulates that your Montana registered agent must be physically present at your registered office address during normal business hours to receive mail and service of process on behalf of your business. Because of this physically present caveat, you can’t just periodically check your PO box. Sorry! 

The Secretary of State also requires your registered agent’s address be a physical street address. A PO box won’t do for that reason as well.

Besides all of that, there are lots of other things a Montana registered agent service can do.


If you have trouble memorizing dates or remembering anniversaries, then you’ll love your Montana registered agent service! Because filing deadlines usually only come once a year and are hard to remember, your registered agent in Montana will keep track of them for you. 

Your registered agent is a sort of go-between that coordinates correspondence between your business and government agencies (like the Secretary of State and the IRS). Because of this, all the best registered agents send out compliance alerts to remind you to file things like your annual report so that you don’t find yourself falling out of the Secretary of State’s good graces. 

Management of Important Documents

Many great Montana registered agent services offer online document management portals where they scan and upload your mail and legal documents for you to view the same day. 

Online document management systems allow for quick document viewing, but they also provide you with a place to store your documents. This is great for any company that doesn’t have much space for record keeping. 

Who Can Be a Registered Agent in Montana?

There are several requirements for registered agents that are the same no matter which state you live in. Here are some of the requirements that your registered agent in Montana will be required to meet: 

  • State laws. Some states have enacted laws that specify the requirements and duties of registered agents. Make sure that your registered agent in Montana meets these stipulations by reading about state laws regarding registered agents. 
  • 18+. Your registered agent in Montana is required to be at least 18 years of age.
  • Physical address. Every registered agent in Montana is required to have a physical street address. 
  • Who you can designate. So long as they meet all the legal requirements, you’re allowed to designate anyone as your registered agent in Montana— a friend, family member, employee, or your lawyer. Make sure that you choose someone trustworthy, and make sure that they’re available during business hours.  

What Happens If My Business Operates Without a Registered Agent?

If your Montana registered agent isn’t present at your mailing address during normal business hours to accept service of process from a process server for some reason, what happens? The process server will then move on to Plan B, which is to deliver the service of process to the Montana Secretary of State. 

This isn’t good for your business. It means that a government agency now knows that there are legal actions being taken against your company, but you don’t, and because you don’t know about it you can’t prepare a legal defense. Results could include a judge issuing a default judgment against your company. 

It’s illegal for Montana businesses to fail to maintain a Montana registered agent, or to miss compliance filing deadlines, so the Montana Secretary of State could remove the good-standing status of your business entity. This could result in your business no longer being permitted to expand to other states, qualify for business loans and financial assistance, or even to conduct business in the state of Montana. 

One of the most unexpected consequences of losing your good-standing status is also losing your business name. When you lose your company’s good standing, your business name reservation becomes invalid and other companies are legally allowed to use it for themselves. No matter how quickly and efficiently you’re able to solve your legal issues, you may never retain the right to use your business name again. 

Losing good-standing status can be particularly devastating for a Montana LLC. The Montana Secretary of State can move for the “administrative dissolution” of your company, which removes the authority of a limited liability company to operate in the state due to its noncompliance with legal obligations. 

If your Montana LLC has been dissolved and you continue to operate your business, you’re taking on a lot of legal and financial risks. Your LLC will no longer have limited liability protection, which keeps the assets and finances of the business owner separate from the assets, finances, and liability of the company. If your business is sued, the personal finances and assets you’ve worked to build up are fair game. 

Don’t think that you’re immune from these outcomes if you don’t own an LLC. A Montana corporation, sole proprietorship, or limited liability partnership can also experience the effects of failing to maintain a Montana registered agent. 

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in Montana? 

There’s no legal reason that you can’t be your own Montana registered agent. But before you make that important business decision, you should learn the pros and cons of being your own agent vs. hiring a Montana registered agent service. 

Cons of Being Your Own Registered Agent


If you choose to be your own Montana registered agent, you risk missing a service of process. The good-standing status of your business entity could be revoked, and you may have to deal with the fallout of default judgments. It’s a bad time for everyone involved.

Lack of Privacy

Every Montana registered agent has information listed on the public record. If you’re the registered agent for your Montana business, important personal information will be listed on the public record for hackers and cybercriminals to obtain. And once they get their hands on it, they can use it to commit identity theft or other types of cybercrime. 

There’s also a major creep factor involved with everyone having access to your address and phone number. 


A lot of business owners change their minds about being their own registered agents when they learn about how much time the job takes up. As a Montana registered agent, you’ll have to be present at your company’s physical address during normal business hours. 

Most businesses also operate during those same hours, making it impossible to both manage your business and perform registered agent duties simultaneously and effectively. As far as I know, no one has invented technology that allows you to be in two places at once—yet. 

Pros of Being Your Own Registered Agent

There’s one silver lining when it comes to being your own Montana registered agent: you won’t have to pay fees to a registered agent service. But when you consider the risks and the time involved with being your own Montana registered agent, it’s worth it to pay fees to a registered agent service just for the peace of mind and reduced workload they provide. 

Should I Use a Registered Agent Service?

There are a slew of reasons to use a Montana registered agent service. 

  • You won’t miss business filing deadlines for things like annual reports because many registered agent services issue compliance alerts or annual report reminders.
  • It’s not as likely that you’ll miss a service of process because your Montana registered agent service will be posted at your registered office address during business hours. 
  • You’re able to more efficiently manage your business because you won’t be working two full-time jobs (business owner and Montana registered agent). 
  • If you have a business entity that conducts business in multiple states, a national registered agent service can cover all your legal needs. 
  • If your business operates outside of regular business hours, you can use a Montana registered agent service and get some rest in your down time.
  • Companies without a physical address can benefit from a Montana registered agent service because it means that you won’t have to list your personal information on the public record. You can list your registered agent’s name and address instead.
  • Your company will be sent an insane amount of junk mail, and if you choose to be your own Montana registered agent then you’ll have to sort through it all and throw it away yourself. But a Montana registered agent service can deal with this inconvenience for you. 
  • You can choose a registered agent that supplies premium registered agent services, like paying state fees or providing specialty business insurance. 
  • Many Montana registered agents also offer formation services, which means you can benefit from promotions like free registered agent service for a year. 

When all is said and done, you’re the business owner. You’re the only one that can decide whether a registered agent service is right for your company. With that being said, I’ll say that I always recommend that every new Montana business use a registered agent service. 

What Is the Best Registered Agent Service?

To choose the best Montana registered agent service, you should consider a number of factors. Here are some of the things you should look at when choosing the registered agent for your business. 

Service Features

There are so many Montana registered agents on the market that have exhaustive service lists, so you shouldn’t choose a registered agent service that doesn’t do what you need it to do. 

Some Montana registered agents offer online document management systems to allow you to view and manage your business documents, mail, and service of process quickly and conveniently, while others only offer mail forwarding. Some Montana registered agents only provide you with a compliance calendar that comes pre-filled with filing dates on it, and others issue compliance notifications for things like your annual report. 

So choose a Montana registered agent service with all of the options you need.


To determine if the registered agent service you’re considering provides a good value, compare its service offerings to its fee. If the Montana registered agent service has a lackluster service list (does it provide online document management so that you can view your service of process, legal documents, and mail in a timely manner?) and high fees, then it may not be a great value. 

In that same vein, you should stay well away from “budget agents.” These sneaky Montana registered agents lure in new clients with its siren call of $39–$59 sign-up prices, and then charge them additional fees for necessary services (like online document management systems and compliance notifications). Avoid these budget agents. 

Easy Sign-Up 

Some Montana registered agents will waste your time. Their sign-up processes take weeks or months to complete, and you’ll have to fill out tons of paperwork. So, to save yourself some time and hassle, choose a Montana registered agent with an expedient sign-up process. 

User-Friendly Interface 

Have you ever been forced to work with a system that’s glitchy, archaic, and a nightmare to operate? Some Montana registered agents have systems that are just as frustrating to use. And because you’ll use your Montana registered agent provider’s system so often, you need to choose a registered agent with an interface that’s easy to navigate. 

Customer Service 

Even if you choose a quality registered agent company with a great list of service offerings and an unbeatable price, it’s impossible to avoid technical issues or questions. And because your registered agent is in control of important compliance functions, it’s crucial that you choose a registered agent with outstanding customer service. 

I used all these criteria, as well as my four-stage research process, to find the best registered agent service: Northwest Registered Agent. If you’d like to learn more about various registered agent services, or how to choose the best registered agent service for your company, read the Best Registered Agent Services.


A lot of information is fired at new business owners with rapid speed. You’re expected to learn new business management techniques, how to use the equipment and software, legal and business terminology, and state regulations. But registered agent services exist to make owning a business a little easier. 

If you haven’t formed your business yet and you’d like more information on LLC formation, check out How to Start an LLC. And if you’d like some additional guidance through the formation process, check out the Best LLC Formation Services

Montana Registered Agent FAQs

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

Basically, a commercial registered agent is a professional registered agent service provider that’s registered as a commercial agent with the Secretary of State. In some places, the Secretary of State requires all professional registered agent services to register as commercial agents. 

A noncommercial agent is a person or business designated as a registered agent and assigned to accept service of process but who hasn’t registered as a commercial registered agent. If you’ve designated your cousin as your registered agent to accept service of process on your behalf, they’re officially a noncommercial registered agent. 

How Do I Change the Registered Agent for My LLC?

It’s pretty easy to change registered agents in Montana. If you decide to change registered agents, all you have to do is fill out and submit a Statement of Change of Registered Agent Form. You’ll need to include information about your new registered agent, such as your registered agent’s name and address, and then file it with the Secretary of State along with $20 to cover the state fees.  

How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost? 

How much your company’s registered agent costs depends on several factors, like which registered agent provider you choose, the services you need, etc. But generally speaking, your company’s registered agent will cost between $39–$299 per state per year. If you’d like more information about registered agent pricing, read my guide on the Best Registered Agent Services.

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