Do Not Put Your Company At Risk!
If you (or your accountant) serve as your company's registered agent, you may save some money, but you put your business at risk. Without a professional registered agent, you risk having a summons being served on any adult at your registered place of business. So a summons could be delivered without your knowledge and a critical deadline may pass before the summons is delivered to you. Worse yet, you may suffer the embarrassment of having a summons served at your home, since some jurisdictions permit a summons to be served on any adult at the home of any officer of a company.
A Professional Registered Agent Should Know How To Comply With Certain Filing Requirements
A company (whether as a corporation or limited liability company) must comply with the statutory requirements regulating the company, including, but not limited to filing an annual report and/or corporate franchise tax return. The registered agent typically receives the annual report or corporate franchise tax return for your company. So, a registered agent should be familiar with and understand how to comply with the filing requirements and corporate taxes that apply in Illinois (or in your state). In addition, a registered agent may need to address the recommended corporate formalities (which are certain legal principles generally recognized in your jurisdiction) that may help a company maintain its corporate shield and separate legal identity for liability and tax purposes. One such important, but often overlooked, corporate formality is maintaining resolutions for the annual (and special) meetings of a company's governing board and owners (i.e. shareholders or members).
A Great Option for your Company's Registered Agent is your Business Lawyer
With a business lawyer (or law firm) serving as the independent, professional registered agent for your company, you will have the peace of mind that the service of any legal proceedings taken against your company will be addressed promptly and professionally. Most law firms charge a flat fee to serve as a corporation's or LLC's registered agent. Your company will also benefit from having your registered agent also serve as your business lawyers. Serving in this dual capacity, your registered agents will be able to review and assess the summons and the merits of the lawsuit and provide you with legal advice on how to answer the summons.
A Business Lawyer Can Help Your Business Comply with Other Corporate Requirements & Formalities
Finally, having a business law firm involved should help you protect your business by maintaining your company's limited liability, corporate shield and its separate legal identity. When you your company's registered agent is also your business' lawyers, your registered agent will have the knowledge and experience to address the statutory compliance requirements and recommended corporate formalities. When serving in these two capacities, most law firms will charge a flat annual fee to prepare a corporate minute book for your company and to ensure that the recommended annual corporate minutes are completed and maintained in your corporate minute book. For these reasons, you should consider having a business lawyer serve as the registered agent for your business. At the very least, as part of your annual business check-up, you should assess who is serving as your company's registered agent and discuss the matter with a business lawyer in your area.