Do you need a registered agent?

Each organization authorized to do business in Virginia is required to have a registered agent and a registered address.

The registered address of the company must be a physical address where someone may actually come in person to serve legal process if necessary.  An address that is a PO Box will not be sufficient.

The registered address may be the physical location of the company, or it may be a different physical address.  Many people run small businesses out of their home and they may not want to have their home address listed on the public websites that are required to display the registered address and the name of the registered agent of companies.

The registered agent can be an officer or other member of the management of a company.  You may also have an attorney as the registered agent, and many law firms provide this service.

The registered agent’s responsibility is to accept service on behalf of the business and forward any notice, process or demand to the actual management of the company to the last known address of the company.

Most of the time, the notices that are sent will be the notice of annual renewal, and most company owners know when their company ‘birthday’ will arrive.  However, if someone has filed a legal action against the company, there is a relatively short time-frame in which to respond.  That’s why it’s important for the registered agent to know how to contact the owners/managers of the company at all times.

It’s also important for the company to have a registered agent that they can trust to forward any and all notices as soon as they arrive.

For more information, you might look at the Virginia State Corporation Commission website discussion of registered agents here.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at

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