Nonprofit organisations in Georgia will almost certainly need to designate and have a registered agent.
A registered agent receives any official documents from the State of Georgia, as well as any service of process filed on a firm in a lawsuit.
The second step in our comprehensive tutorial, How to Start an Organization in Georgia, is to choose a registered agent for your 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Table of Contents
What Is a Registered Agent in Georgia?
A registered agent is a professional who will represent your organisation to the Georgia 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.
In Georgia, registered agents must meet the following requirements:
They might be either native or international persons or businesses.
Individuals must be Georgia residents and above the age of 18.
To operate in Georgia, businesses must be registered.
They must have a physical address in Georgia (not simply a P.O. box).
During normal business hours, they must always be accessible at the specified physical location.
In Georgia, 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 the role. If you miss a filing date or lose 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 prefer to use a professional registered agent service to guarantee that their organisation is always in compliance.
Should My Nonprofit Hire a Registered Agent in Georgia?
Before you choose a Georgia registered agent service, think about the benefits and drawbacks of this technique.
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 establish your Georgia 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 Your Company’s Reputation: 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 Prompt Handling of Your Business Mail: Because a registered agent service’s major duty is to act as a registered agent for a variety of companies, you can be certain that any mail they receive will be addressed immediately. They will also be accessible during regular business hours to address any queries you may have concerning these papers.
Keep Your Organization Compliant: You must keep your nonprofit in compliance with the State of Georgia and the federal government (if you successfully file for 501(c)(3) status). 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.
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 Georgia, you must employ a Georgia 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 Georgia Registered Agent?
When you submit your nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation, you must choose a Georgia registered agent. In Georgia, the fundamental nonprofit creation document is the Articles of Incorporation.
Online Nomination of a Registered Agent
Use the Georgia eCorp website to create your Georgia nonprofit online and submit the Articles of Incorporation together with the $100 filing fee. You will be able to choose your registered agent while completing the Articles of Incorporation online.
Mailing a Nomination for a Registered Agent
Download the Articles of Incorporation Filing Procedures and use it as a reference to create your own Articles of Incorporation to incorporate your Georgia nonprofit by mail. To the Georgia Secretary of State, submit your Articles of Incorporation, a Transmittal Information Form, and the $110 filing fee. Within your Articles of Incorporation, you will provide the name and address of the registered agent.
How Do I Change the Registered Agent of My Nonprofit in Georgia?
Include this update on your Georgia nonprofit’s Annual Registration or Amended Annual Registration (if you’ve previously filed your nonprofit’s Annual Registration) to officially alter your registered agent.
Annual Registration for your organisation may be accomplished online via the Secretary of State’s website, or you can submit a paper copy after printing your completed form online. Paper filings cost $40, while online filings are $30. Annual Registration Amendments cost $20 online and $30 in physical copy.
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.