Do I Need a Registered Agent in NY?


A registered agent is an individual or business entity who is present at your principal office address and available during regular business hours to receive service of process, tax and legal documents, and mail on your company’s behalf. Every New York business entity must maintain a registered agent.

Continue reading and I’ll explain why you need a registered agent in New York. 

*In New York, a registered agent is also called a resident agent or statutory agent. All three of these terms refer to the same business service.*

Why Do You Need a Registered Agent in New York?

In New York, the Secretary of State is by default the registered agent for every New York LLC. If you haven’t designated a registered agent, the Secretary of State is automatically your registered agent. You’re able to list a secondary registered agent on your formation paperwork, though, and have all of your correspondence sent to that registered agent address. 

In theory, if something should happen and your chosen New York registered agent doesn’t work out, you’ll have a fallback, and when you get to the section of this article explaining all the risks of missing a service of process or not having a registered agent in New York, you’ll understand why this is such a relief!

The New York Secretary of State and the New York Department of State Division of Corporations, State Records, and Uniform Commercial Code specify that your New York registered agent must be physically present at your business address during standard business hours to accept service of process and legal mail for your company. 

It also stipulates that a registered agent’s address must be a physical street address. This means you can’t just set up a PO box and list it as your principal address. 

For more information about registered agents, read my article What Is a Registered Agent? For now, though, here are several things your Ohio registered agent can do for you!


Remembering deadlines is hard. Remembering filing deadlines that only occur once a year is even harder. But your New York registered agent will keep track of them for you. 

Your registered agent in New York is a go-between for you and various government agencies, law firms, and other businesses. Because of this role, your New York registered agent will give you advanced notice of important filing deadlines. The best New York registered agent services will send you compliance alerts so you won’t miss filing deadlines. 

Management of Important Documents

The mailing address for your business is where all your documents, official correspondence, and service of process will be sent, and it’s important that you know about these things and are able to keep copies of them for your business. 

Several of the top New York registered agent services have begun offering online document-management systems. With these systems, you can access your mail and documents faster because they scan and upload them the same day that they receive them and you can view them shortly thereafter with an online account. 

Another bonus to online document-management systems is it provides you with a convenient online-storage system for your documents. You can delete anything you don’t want (like junk mail) and save correspondence and documents that are important. So long filing cabinets! 

Service of Process

A lot of online registered agent literature would have you believe that your company will receive service of process every day. The reality is that service of process is a legal notice that tells you that your business is being sued, or that your presence is required in court. It’s definitely not something you should look forward to on a regular basis. 

But in the rare event that you are served, your New York registered agent will accept the service of process on behalf of your business. 


Your registered agent’s address is quite important in New York because depending on the precise location of the New York street address, it could cost your company a lot of money. Let me explain. 

The New York Department of State requires that all new limited liability companies publish a notice of formation in newspapers. It’s called a publishing requirement, and several states have them. The problem is that publishing in New York City newspapers can cost more than $1,000. 

So, some New York registered agent services advertise that they’re located in Albany county or that they have an Albany address because it can save you a lot of money during the formation process.

Registered Agent Requirements

Most registered agent requirements are the same state to state. These requirements spell out who can be a registered agent. Here are some of the requirements that your registered agent in New York will have to fulfill:

State Law in New York

To make sure your registered agent in New York meets legal requirements in the state, you’ll need to read up on New York registered agent laws. 

Physical Address in New York

Your registered agent is required to have a physical street address in the state. To save money during the formation process, you may also consider a New York registered agent that can provide you with a business address in Albany.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent in New York 

All New York registered agents are required to be over 18 years old. But as long as your New York registered agent meets all the other requirements, you’re allowed to designate anyone you want as your registered agent. You can choose a close friend, trusted employee, family member, or lawyer.

What Happens If My Business Operates Without a Registered Agent?

Business entities can’t conduct business without New York registered agents. To aid in this endeavor, the New York Secretary of State is your default registered agent. There are a few reasons people choose to hire registered agent services rather than keeping the default Secretary of State option. This option comes with its own set of risks and drawbacks. 

Using the Secretary of State as your registered agent means that some of your information will be listed on the public record, which is a matter of privacy and security that many people aren’t comfortable with. 

Because of publication costs being so expensive in New York City, the Secretary of State’s office could cost your business a lot of money, whereas choosing a registered agent service with an Albany address could be more cost-efficient. 

The Secretary of State also isn’t going to send you compliance notifications, so there’s still the risk that you could forget to file an annual report and lose your company’s good standing. If you don’t keep up with compliance filing requirements, the New York Secretary of State could revoke your company’s good-standing status and dissolve your business.

If your LLC is dissolved, you lose your business name reservation with the Secretary of State. This allows other companies to apply to use your chosen business name for themselves. Even if you’re able to move quickly and get your LLC back up and running, you could lose your business name forever. 

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in New York? 

There’s no law preventing you from being your own registered agent in New York. But you should do some research and learn about the disadvantages of being your own registered agent and how they stack up against hiring a New York registered agent service.

Cons of Being Your Own Registered Agent


As a business owner, you probably formed your LLC to benefit from limited liability protection. It separates your personal finances and assets from that of the company. But if you’re your own registered agent and you make a misstep, then you put your limited liability protection at risk. And if you own a big, busy company, then it’s more likely for something to go unnoticed like this. 

If you don’t own an LLC, don’t assume your business is without risk. Every business entity is required to maintain a registered agent in New York, which is a law that includes corporations, sole proprietorships, and limited liability partnerships, as well. 

While the Secretary of State being your registered agent by default minimizes the risk of some of these issues, it’s not foolproof. You could still miss filing deadlines, which could cost your company its good standing status. 

Lack of Privacy

One of the most questionable aspects of being your own New York registered agent is that big chunks of your personal information, like your name and phone number, will be listed on the public record. In the unfortunate event that your business doesn’t have a street address or physical location, your private address will be listed, too. 

As you’ve probably assumed, the fact that it’s called the “public” record means that every member of the public has access to it. Even unsavory characters, such as hackers and cybercriminals, can obtain your private information and use it to steal your identity, amassing thousands of dollars worth of debt in your name so fast you may not notice until it’s too late.


The biggest drawback of being your own New York registered agent is that it requires you to put in a lot of time and work — time you likely don’t have as a business owner. NY registered agents must be available during normal business hours to receive mail, company filings, and service of process. 

The problem here is that most businesses also operate during normal business hours. And if your business address is in a different location, you can’t be in both places at once. You likely won’t be able to perform both jobs sufficiently even if your business address is at your company’s physical location, either. 

Pros of Being Your Own Registered Agent

You won’t have to pay any fees to a registered agent service, which is the only good thing about being your own registered agent. But now that you know about all the risks and work involved with the job, you might consider passing it off to someone else. The good news: Most registered agent services have affordable rates that make it worth it!

Should I Use a Registered Agent Service?

There are several good reasons for business owners to hire a professional registered agent service: 

  • Compliance notifications
  • Guarantee not to miss a service of process
  • Good-standing status with the Department of State
  • Beneficial for owners of foreign corporations or LLCs
  • Rest during daytime hours for businesses that operate at night
  • Securing personal information
  • Premium registered agent service options, like identity theft protection 
  • Business formation services with promotions, like a year of registered agent service free upon signing up for business formation 

At the end of the day, it’s your business and it’s your call. I won’t try to force registered agent services on you. But I will say that I always recommend new businesses use a New York registered agent service. 

What Is the Best Registered Agent Service?

Finding the ideal New York registered agent service for your business is a complicated process. Here’s what you should look for in your company’s registered agent service. 

Service Features

Registered agent services run the gamut from bare-bones to full service. 

With some New York registered agents, you get worry-free compliance. Other registered agent service providers only offer a compliance calendar that you could easily lose or forget about. 

Some of the best New York registered agent service providers have online document-management systems, allowing you to quickly access and view important documents and legal correspondence from your registered agent online. Others still rely on the postal service.

Be sure to research which services each registered agent company provides in order to choose a registered agent service that supplies all of the services your business requires.


To determine whether you’ve found a good New York registered agent service, compare the service list to the price. If a registered agent has an extensive service list full of essential services coupled with an attractive fee, you’ve found a quality registered agent service. 

While you may be looking for a New York registered agent service that provides excellent value, beware of “budget agents.” These registered agent providers will use rock-bottom prices ($39–$59) to draw in new customers, then hit them with lots of extra fees for things like online document-management systems and compliance alerts. 

Easy Sign-Up 

Don’t partner with a company that wastes your time. It’s not like you have much of it to waste to begin with! 

There are some registered agent service providers that initiate the sign-up process with you by requiring you to complete copious amounts of paperwork, and then you can’t complete the process for weeks, or even months. This is why it’s imperative that you choose a registered agent service with a quick and easy sign-up process. 

User-Friendly Interface 

Some businesses have systems that are so frustrating to use on a daily basis that they make you contemplate putting your fist through the monitor, and this is true of registered agent companies too. To save yourself a few headaches, choose a registered agent that has a dependable and easy-to-use interface. 

Customer Service 

Your company’s registered agent is charged with carrying out many important tasks on behalf of your business. If these tasks aren’t completed or if they aren’t carried out properly, it could land your company in hot water. Good customer service from your registered agent is crucial because you’ll likely encounter technical problems or have questions regarding your registered agent service. 

I used all of these factors, along with my four-stage investigation process, to choose the best registered agent service- Northwest Registered Agent. If you’re interested in learning about different registered agent services that companies offer, or about how to pick the best registered agent service for your business, read my guide on the Best Registered Agent Services


New business owners have to learn so much new information and take on a huge workload, which can be quite overwhelming. But a registered agent can alleviate some of the stress and work involved in being a business owner in New York. 

For more information about registered agent services and how to select the best registered agent service for your company, read the Best Registered Agent Services

If you haven’t legally established your business yet and you’re interested in LLC formation, check out How to Start an LLC. If you want professional guides to assist you through the formation process, read the Best LLC Formation Services

New York Registered Agent FAQs

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

Commercial registered agents are registered agents who have registered themselves as commercial agents with the New York Department of State. In some states, all registered agent service providers are required to register as commercial registered agents. 

Noncommercial registered agents are individuals or businesses that haven’t registered as commercial registered agents with state government agencies. If you’ve designated a family member or friend, their official title is “noncommercial registered agent.” 

How Do I Change the Registered Agent for My LLC?

It’s simple to change your registered agent in New York. All you have to do is fill out a Certificate of Change form, complete with your new registered agent’s information (like your registered agent’s name and address), then submit it to the Department of State. There aren’t any online filing options, so you’ll have to submit it via mail, fax, or in person. There’s a $30 filing fee. 

How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost? 

The cost of your registered agent varies depending on multiple factors, like which provider you choose, which services you need, and more. Typically, registered agent services range from $39–$299 per state, per year. If you want to learn more about registered agent pricing, read the Best Registered Agent Services

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