Is a virtual address the same as a registered agent | VirtualPostMail - VPM (2024)

Leela HopkinsLast updated September 3, 2020

Is a virtual address the same as a registered agent | VirtualPostMail - VPM (2)

As a new startup business, you might find yourself confused by the difference between your business address and an address for your registered agent. Are they the same? Are a business address and registered agent address both required?

Don’t worry, all of your questions will be answered! This article will discuss registered agents, what counts as a business address, and the difference between them.

What is a Registered Agent

A registered agent is a business or individual designated to accept service of process documents, in case of a lawsuit, for a business entity such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a corporation.

The registered agent also acts as your primary contact with the Secretary of State and can receive other official government notifications, including tax forms and compliance information, on behalf of your LLC or corporation.

It is a requirement in all states that every LLC or corporation maintains a designated registered agent in the state in which they do business for the above communication purposes. Below will dive deeper into who can be your registered agent.

Why Do You Need a Registered Agent

Your business needs to have a contact person who will engage in correspondence with the state in which it is incorporated.

A registered agent is required to have a physical address (PO boxes are not permitted), which is known as the “registered office.” In addition to receiving service of process notices, the registered agent’s job is to accept and forward your annual report tax notices, all official documentation from the Secretary of State, and business filings. They must be available at that address during normal business hours to expedite the legal service of process in the case of legal action or a lawsuit.

Example: If a customer who fell inside a store then sues the store, and the store’s registered agent fails to notify the LLC or corporation of a summons to appear in court in response to the lawsuit, then when the case goes to trial, nobody would appear to defend the store and the customer would win by a default judgment.

The store would likely not be able to get the judgment overturned on appeal because, in the eyes of the law, they had been properly served.

While a registered agent is required in most states by law, criteria for who can be appointed as a registered agent for an LLC or corporation may vary across different states. You have three options to pick from when deciding who to appoint to be your company’s registered agent.

First, in certain states, you can be a registered agent or your company can serve as its own registered agent if one of its officers is a resident of that state. However, this is an exception to the rule, and it’s recommended that you check with the state to see if serving as your own registered agent is an option.

Second, a friend or family member can be your company’s registered agent. However, they must be a resident of the state in which you are conducting business.

Third, you can appoint a registered agent service for a fee. This is a third-party company that is set up to receive service of process and correspondence on behalf of the LLC or corporation. The registered agent service will then have your legal documents forwarded upon receipt.

If you don’t appoint a registered agent, you run the risk of losing “good standing” with the state in which you do business. That means that your company may face serious commercial and legal repercussions including the following:

  • Revocation fines associated
  • The inability to enter into legal contracts
  • Inability to gain access to the state court system, which will risk your protection
  • Termination of business operations and the shutting down of the company

What is a Business Address

A business address is used to designate your principal place of business. It is where your business is supposedly operating from, but it can also be an address where the business can be reached.

For example, if a business is incorporated in Delaware but is operating out of a California office, then the principal place of business would be that California office address.

A business address is required in all crucial aspects of business operations. Here is a list of where a business address is necessary.

  • Opening business bank accounts or merchant accounts
  • Opening accounts with your suppliers and vendors
  • Receiving statements, invoices, payments, and bills
  • Filing for legal contracts, licenses, and permits
  • Communicating with your customers

Recommendation: If you care about your privacy and portraying a professional business image, you should get a virtual mailbox address.

Protect Privacy - If you use your home address, you will use that on public websites and documents. You'll also risk angry customers finding your home address and pounding on your door.

Professional Image - Having your customers send mail to what is obviously a home address can be unprofessional. For example, your customers won’t take you seriously or might think your business is a scam if your address looks like “1122 Cherry Hill, Apt. 8”.

Is a Registered Agent Address and a Business Address the Same

A registered agent is not the same as a mailing address or physical address.

The registered agent can be an individual or company. You cannot operate your LLC or corporation without assigning a registered agent. However, keep in mind that whomever you assign as your registered agent is required by the state to receive important legal and government documents.

A registered agent’s role does not include handling your general mail. For that, you need a separate mailbox provider. Many registered agents will offer a mailbox or mail receiving as a separate service that you can pay extra for. However, the mail service is limited and doesn’t offer comprehensive mail services that a real mailbox provider would offer (i.e. package receiving, check depositing).

On top of that, even in today’s digital business climate, companies must still have a physical presence somewhere, and most states require a business to have a physical business address, regardless of where the company is conducting business. So, even if your company conducts business online, you must provide a physical address where you can receive important documents.

To illustrate the differences and requirements, think of the example of an LLC formed in Delaware but operating out of California. That business would have the following in each state:

  • Delaware: a registered agent with the agent’s address used for legal process
  • California: principal business address and registered agent address

Conclusion

Overall, a registered agent and a business address are two separate requirements that serve separate functions for your LLC or corporation.

You must designate a registered agent in order to form a business entity, such as an LLC or corporation, to operate in the state. The registered agent is necessary to guarantee reception of and forward legal documents, notice of lawsuits, and any other communication from the state.

A business address, on the other hand, is used to indicate the main location from which the business operates. If you run an LLC, this is your commercial office location. For other types of business, it’s the address to which your bills and mail are sent. This could be a home address or the address at which your business is located. Your business address is also the place where a person or an organization can physically be found or contacted.

Get Both a Registered Agent Service Plus Business Address in One Platform

Most registered agent services offer limited mail forwarding options. If you want to receive and manage your business and personal mail, you will need a separate mailbox provider. If you care about protecting your privacy, a professional business address is the solution.

VirtualPostMail (VPM) lets you combine a business address to manage regular mail and all for one price and under one platform. Save up to $100 or more per year when you bundle!

Learn More

Business AddressLegal Compliance

Leela Hopkins

https://www.virtualpostmail.com/

Marketing Specialist at VirtualPostMail. I am dedicated to bringing you useful information to help you run your business remotely. My ultimate goal is to help you successfully take your business fully remote.

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Is a virtual address the same as a registered agent | VirtualPostMail - VPM (2024)

FAQs

Can I use a virtual address for my ein? ›

Yes, the IRS does accept virtual office addresses. This means you can use your virtual office address to receive important correspondence from the IRS and obtain an EIN. You can also use this address when filing tax forms or any other LLC formation and maintenance documents.

What is the difference between a virtual address and a virtual mailbox? ›

Virtual mailboxes include virtual mail addresses – but they also offer a few more options and added flexibility. For anybody who expects to receive mail more frequently, a virtual mailbox is an excellent choice over a virtual address alone. A virtual mailbox would be a good fit for you if: You travel a lot.

Can I use virtual address for Registered Agent in Texas? ›

Yes, Texas does allow you to use a virtual business address as your legal business address. A virtual address is a real, physical street address where you can receive business-related mail and small packages.

What is the difference between a business address and a virtual address? ›

The definition of a virtual office address

A business may consist of remote workers, but it may still require a permanent office address at which mail can be received. Such a permanent mail address for virtual offices is also called a virtual office address and often involves a service from a specialized company.

Does IRS require a physical address? ›

Your mailing address is the only way the IRS has to get in contact with you, so it's always good practice to keep it up-to-date and consistent in all of your communications with them.

Can you use a virtual mailbox as a permanent address? ›

You cannot use a virtual address to establish your residency in a state but you can use it to maintain your residency.

Why use a virtual address for business? ›

Using a virtual business address will give you a professional image and will show that you are a legitimate business to your customers since the address will show up on the map as an office building. This leads to more trust and credibility with your customers to your startup.

Why use virtual address instead of physical address? ›

The benefit of using virtual addresses is that it allows management software, such as an Operating System (OS), to control the view of memory that is presented to software. The OS can control what memory is visible, the virtual address at which that memory is visible, and what accesses are permitted to that memory.

What is a virtual address also known as? ›

The logical address is virtual address as it does not exist physically, therefore, it is also known as Virtual Address. This address is used as a reference to access the physical memory location by CPU. The term Logical Address Space is used for the set of all logical addresses generated by a program's perspective.

Can I list myself as a registered agent in Texas? ›

This means that if you are a resident of Texas, and have an address in Texas where process servers can personally serve you legal documents, there is no problem with your appointment as your own business' registered agent.

Can I open a business bank account with a virtual address? ›

If you supplied a virtual address in place of a residential one, you would be violating anti-money laundering regulations. But for a business bank account, you simply need to provide the address that your business is registered under.

Can I be my own registered agent Texas? ›

Yes, you can be your own Registered Agent in Texas as long as you meet the state requirements. (Unfortunately, most Registered Agent Services and LLC filing companies hide this information.) We explain the pros and cons below so you can make your own decision.

What is the best address to use for an LLC? ›

It's best to use an address different from your home address as your LLC address because you'll want to have your personal and business activities separate. There may be consequences from mixing the home address and LLC address. Try to lease an office that's physical and has an address to serve as your LLC address.

Can you use one virtual address for all your businesses? ›

A virtual office – or a virtual address – is an office building that allows business owners, freelancers and other entrepreneurs to register their businesses at their premises. You can typically register multiple addresses at the same virtual address.

Can I use the same virtual address for multiple businesses? ›

There's nothing wrong with multiple businesses sharing an address. Google's local index is filled with businesses in this exact situation ranking just fine without fear of penalization.

What address should you use for your EIN? ›

It sounds like you should use your home address is that is also your business address. You should put the address that you want any communications to be done. In your case - this should be your address in California. You will likely receive mail such as a letter from the IRS indicating your EIN.

Do you need an address for an EIN number? ›

Yes. In fact, if the address associated with your EIN ever changes, you SHOULD update that address with the IRS.

Do I need an address for an EIN? ›

When applying for an EIN, you will be asked for the physical location of your business by the IRS. The address of your Registered Agent cannot be used in this instance. The IRS wants to know where the business is physically located. This does not have to be a U.S. address; it can be an address anywhere in the world.

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