Nonprofit organisations in Washington will almost certainly need to designate and have a registered agent.

A registered agent receives any official documents from the State of Washington, as well as any service of process that may be served on a firm in a lawsuit.

What Is a Registered Agent in Washington?

A registered agent is a professional who will represent your organisation to the Washington Secretary of State while you do business. Registered agents are sometimes known as resident agents, statutory agents, or service of process agents in certain jurisdictions.

Typically, your registered agent will receive mail on your behalf, such as compliance information and tax notices. Registered agents are also in charge of receiving process paperwork. This simply implies that your registered agent will receive court summons and paperwork on your nonprofit’s behalf if it is sued.

The following are the criteria for registered agents in Washington:

They might be either native or international persons or businesses.
Individuals must be Washington residents and above the age of 18.
To operate in Washington, businesses must be registered.
They must have an actual address in Washington, not simply a P.O. box.
During normal business hours, they must always be accessible at the specified physical location.

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In Washington, may I act as my own registered agent?

As long as they complete the qualifications outlined above, anybody may act as your nonprofit’s registered agent. You may choose to be your nonprofit’s registered agent, or you can designate a member of your board of directors or a trustworthy friend.

If you decide to serve as your organization’s registered agent, you must grasp the significance of this role. If you miss a filing date or misplace a document, your nonprofit’s compliance status may be jeopardised, and the Secretary of State may revoke your nonprofit’s corporate registration.

Many organisations and other companies engage a professional registered agent service to guarantee that their company is always in compliance.

Should My Nonprofit Hire a Registered Agent in Washington?

Before you choose a Washington registered agent service, think about the benefits and drawbacks of this technique.

Advantages

There are various reasons why you should consider employing a registered agent service for your nonprofit organisation. This strategy, in particular, can:

Save Time: When you initially launch your Washington charity, you must concentrate on doing everything possible to ensure its success. Hiring a competent registered agent service allows you to concentrate on what matters most while the registered agent handles all incoming mail and official notifications. Furthermore, they will often remind you of approaching key files or deadlines.
Protect Your Personal Privacy and the Reputation of Your Company: Unfortunately, your company may face a lawsuit at some point. All service of process notifications will be sent to a business address if you engage a professional registered agent service. If you operate as your own registered agent, law enforcement officers may deliver these notifications to your home or place of business, depending on the address on file.

Registered agent services are used to receiving and correctly processing legal documentation, in addition to preserving your privacy and the reputation of your firm. This will assist to guarantee that your company does not lose a lawsuit on a technicality because you failed to submit anything on time or handled something incorrectly due to a lack of understanding of how the legal system operates.
Ensure that your business mail is handled promptly: Because the major function of a registered agent service is to act as a registered agent for a variety of organisations, you can be certain that any mail they receive will be addressed quickly. They will also be accessible during regular business hours to address any queries you may have concerning these papers.
Maintain Your Nonprofit’s Compliance: You must keep your organisation in compliance with the State of Washington and the federal government (assuming you successfully seek for 501(c)(3) registration). Hiring a registered agent service can assist you avoid missing any filings.
Provide Convenience: During business hours, registered agents must be present at their specified address. That is, using a registered agent service will enable you to take time off as required and work on a flexible schedule if wanted.
Provide National Serve: If you believe your organisation may desire to expand nationally, choose a national registered agent service that will continue to support you as your firm expands.

Disadvantages

The sole downside of using a registered agent service is that it is expensive, while you may serve as your own registered agent for free.

Is a Professional Registered Agent Service Required?

While employing a professional registered agent service is a good idea for many reasons, in other cases it is required. If you answered “yes” to any of the following questions, your organisation should use a registered agent service.

Is your non-profit open at odd hours? As previously stated, your nonprofit’s registered agent must be accessible during normal business hours at their provided location. If your organisation operates outside of typical business hours, you’ll need to engage a registered agent service.
Do you reside in another state? The registered agent of your nonprofit must be a resident of the state in which it is established. If you do not live in Washington, you must employ a Washington registered agent to represent your organisation.
Is your charity now or will it be situated in many states? If your organisation now operates in many states or intends to do so in the future, you must select a registered agent in each state where it will do so. You must employ a registered agent service since you cannot be in two locations at the same time.
Will you continue to function without a physical address? If you want to run your charity entirely online or without a physical location, you will lack a business address to provide on your Articles of Incorporation and other crucial legal papers. By using a registered agent service, you may provide their actual address on all papers.

How Do I Select a Washington Registered Agent?

When you submit your Washington nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation, you must name a registered agent. In Washington, the fundamental nonprofit creation document is the Articles of Incorporation.

Online Nomination of a Registered Agent

You may register your nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation and pay the $50 filing fee online at the Washington State Secretary of State’s website. You may choose your nonprofit’s registered agent when you complete the Articles of Incorporation online.

Mailing a Nomination for a Registered Agent

To organise your Washington nonprofit by mail, download the Articles of Incorporation form, fill it out, and return it to the Washington Secretary of State together with the $30 registration fee. On the second page of the form, you will put your registered agent’s name and contact information, and they must sign that they agree to their appointment.

How Do I Change the Registered Agent of My Nonprofit in Washington?

Fill out a Statement of Change of Registered Agent form with the Washington Secretary of State to officially change your Washington nonprofit’s registered agent. You may also make this modification through the Secretary of State’s website. There is no price for replacing your registered agent; however, they must sign the Statement of Change form.

Conclusion

When you work at a charity, you have more essential things to worry about than monitoring the mail, submitting legal paperwork, and remembering compliance deadlines. A registered agent can help you with that. When you engage a professional registered agent service, you can put these responsibilities in their skilled hands and completely concentrate on what is most important to your firm.

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