Maryland Registered Agent

All corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and limited partnerships are required to maintain registered agents and registered offices in Maryland. The Maryland Secretary of State (SOS) maintains records of over 1,900 businesses with registered agents in the state. These agents serve as the point of contact for all entities conducting business in the state. 

Is a Registered Agent Required in Maryland?

Per Maryland statutes § 2-108, all eligible businesses authorized to conduct business in Maryland must designate a resident agent. However, sole proprietorships and general partnerships are exempt from this requirement. According to the directives of the Maryland Secretary of State (SOS), eligible entrepreneurs must appoint these registered agents when filing their formation paperwork. 

What is a Registered Agent in Maryland?

A resident agent in Maryland is a person or organization authorized to accept service of process on behalf of a business in case of a lawsuit. A typical registered agent acts as a company’s point of contact. The registered agent must have a physical address that is not a post office box. 

What Does a Registered Agent Do in Maryland?

A registered agent plays different roles for a company in Maryland. Their first and foremost role is to establish a physical presence in Maryland for “Service of Process.” They are also required to provide services to the company they represent. For example, a registered agent handles communication between the Secretary of State and the customer, like filing amendments and communicating the need to pay the annual fees and filings with the SOS. 

LLC Registered Agent in Maryland

A registered agent for LLC is a person or entity designated to receive legal correspondence on behalf of an LLC. They send important messages to the business owner promptly, including government, tax, and legal correspondence. In the case of a lawsuit, the opposing party will send notices to the registered agent indicated in the LLC’s public records with the SOS. Upon receiving such notice, the registered agent will immediately notify the business owner when the documents arrive so they can respond quickly within normal business hours. Without a registered agent, crucial correspondence may get buried under other business mail, resulting in LLCs missing deadlines and suffering legal and financial repercussions.

Do I Need a Registered Agent for My LLC in Maryland?

Yes, Maryland law requires all LLCs transacting business in the state to maintain a resident agent. This could be an individual or entity that would be able to accept the service of process if the LLC is summoned to court for any reason. In forming an LLC, the Maryland Secretary of State (SOS) requires that a registered agent be listed on the formation form. Failure to do so can lead to the rejection of the application form. Note that Maryland law does not permit an LLC to act as its own resident agent.

Registered Agent of a Corporation 

The Maryland Secretary of State (SOS) mandates all corporations conducting business in the state to have registered agents. These registered agents could be an adult Maryland resident, a Maryland corporation, or a Maryland limited liability company. The registered agent receives substantial tax, legal, and compliance documents for the corporation. Here are a list of documents received by resident agents on behalf of corporations in Maryland:

Who Can Be a Registered Agent in Maryland?

Any person or registered business with a physical street address in Maryland can consent to serve as a company’s registered agent. The registered agent must have a principal office where the service of the process will be sent. The physical address must not be a post office box. 

Individuals or entities who want to be resident agents in Maryland must meet the following state’s requirements:

How to Choose a Registered Agent in Maryland

Consider the following factors when choosing a registered agent in Maryland:

Generally, all business owners in Maryland should do due diligence on any registered agent they are considering. Focus on their expertise, experience, and technology and settle for a registered agent that offers the best value at a cost-effective rate. 

How Much Does a Registered Agent Service Cost in Maryland

The cost of a registered agent in Maryland varies depending on the level of service the business owner wants. A basic service that involves forwarding mail or notifying a business owner when new documents have been received can cost $50 a year. However, costs increase for registered agent services that include greater involvement. For example, registered agent services that provide 24/7 customer support, offer online portals and help with annual reports and compliance issues may cost between $150 and $200 annually.

Can I be My Own Registered Agent in Maryland?

Yes, Maryland law allows businesses to be their own registered agents. However, an LLC cannot act as its own registered agent. Acting as one’s own registered agent comes with its own pros and cons. Below are some advantages of business owners being their own registered agents:

Here are the disadvantages of business owners being their own registered agents:

How to Change a Registered Agent in Maryland

Businesses can change registered agents in Maryland online, by mail, or in person. Online requests can be made by creating an online account through the Maryland Business Express. Log in to the account and navigate to the Notice of Change of Principal Office/Resident Agent form. Complete the form and make payments with a credit card. Processing time for online requests is seven (7) business days. Mail requesters must file a Resolution To Change Principal Office or Resident Agent form with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). The application form must be submitted alongside a filing fee of $25. Mail submissions should be sent to: 

Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, Charter Division 

301 W. Preston Street; 8th Floor 

Baltimore, MD 21201‐2395

In-person requesters must download the Resolution To Change Principal Office or Resident Agent and submit the completed copy to the Department. Office hours are from Monday to Friday between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm.

Standard processing time is 4 to 6 weeks, but expedited processing services can be handled within seven (7) business days. The expedited service fee costs an extra $50 per document. Expedited in-person submissions can be approved within the same day if submitted before 4:15 pm. A registered agent who changes their address must file a Resident Agent’s Notice of Change of Address Form with the SDAT.

What Happens If You Don’t Have a Registered Agent in Maryland?

There are several legal and physical implications for not engaging a registered agent in Maryland. Below are a few of them: 

How to Become a Registered Agent in Maryland

The legal requirement of being a registered agent in Maryland is that the business has a physical address in the state where they can accept physical mail from process servers. To be officially elected as the registered agent, the business owner must list the person or entity’s name and address on the company’s formation paperwork while registering the company with the Maryland SOS. 

Maryland Registered Agent Search

Individuals can use the Maryland Business Entity Search tool to retrieve information on registered agents for corporations, limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability limited partnerships, and professional corporations. The search criteria are by business name and Department ID. Alternatively, requesters can use the public terminals available in each local assessment office to freely conduct a registered agent search. 

Is Registered Agent Information Public Record in Maryland?

Yes, registered agent information is public records in Maryland. Requesters would be able to access the registered agent’s name and address. The Maryland Business Entity Search tool does not make registered agent information of active businesses public. However, registered agent information of businesses that are forfeited, dissolved, revived, and incorporated is available for public perusal. Requesters can visit the Maryland Secretary of State’s office in person to request information about registered agents working for active businesses in the state.