No, a registered agent address and a business address are two separate requirements that serve separate functions for your LLC or corporation. Also be aware that P.O. boxes are typically not permitted to be used as an address on the majority of state or federal filings or registrations.
In the United States, you are expected to designate a registered agent in order to form a business entity, such as an LLC or corporation, to operate in the state. Note that 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. Note that 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 mean a home address or the address at which your business is located. Your business address can also be the place where a person or an organization can physically be found or contacted.
Have it in mind that whomever you assign as your registered agent is required by the state to receive just important legal and government documents only. A registered agent’s role does not typically include handling your general mail. For that, you need a separate mailbox provider.
Some registered agents in the United States also offer mailbox or mail receiving as a separate service that you can pay extra for. Nonetheless, 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).
Coupled with that even in today’s digital business climate, companies are still expected to have a physical presence somewhere and most states mandates a business to have a physical business address, irrespective of where the company is actually conducting business. So, even if your company conducts business entirely online, you must provide a physical address where you can receive important documents.
If you claim the LLC’s “physical business address” is the Registered Agent’s address, but you don’t actually control the Physical Agent’s address, then you leave yourself open to a claim by the shrewd plaintiff’s attorney that your LLC is either engaged in “fraudulent behaviour” (i.e. by filing fraudulent paperwork to the Secretary of State) or is not “following corporate formalities” by not abiding by the statute that requires disclosure of where the company operates.
Have it in mind that if such an argument is successful in litigation, then that means the owners are potentially personally liable for the debts and obligations of the LLC. This is why it is not advisable to use Registered Agent address as your physical business address. At least, so that the shrewd plaintiff’s attorney cannot use such an excuse to pierce the corporate veil, and potentially hold the owners of the LLC’s personally liable.
How to Get a Physical Address for Your Business
Indeed, there are a number of options available if you find yourself wanting a physical address. Although there tend to be some cost involved, each of these options is still much cheaper than the cost of renting physical office space.
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1. Virtual office space
Virtual office spaces, or virtual business addresses provide you with a professional-looking mailing address, and many also offer additional features and facilities, such as receptionist services and meeting spaces which can be rented when you need them. This is one of your best options and it provides you with several useful benefits:
- You’ll have a physical street address and presence in the state you want to do business in — even if you’re located elsewhere.
- A Virtual Business Address service will scan your mail and send you digital copies of correspondence that’s sent to you.
- You can use an online portal to log in and see your correspondence wherever you are, making it ideal for travellers.
- Some services will dispose of your junk mail and won’t scan it, which can save you time when you’re reviewing correspondence.
2. Mailbox services
When you rent a mailbox at a service such as those offered at The UPS Store or Mail Boxes Etc., rather than using your mailbox number as the address, you can use the store’s street address with your mailbox number as a suite, or apartment number. For businesses that do a lot of shipping there is the added bonus of being able to make use of their other services.
3. Get a P.O. Box from the United States Postal Service
Although not advisable, you might be able to use a P.O. Box for mail, with two important exceptions:
- When you first form your business, many states will not allow you to use a P.O. Box.
- Under no circumstances will states allow you to use a P.O. Box for your Registered Agent address.
Also note that you will always need to visit your P.O. Box to pick up mail, or have it forwarded to another address. It will often be more convenient for you to choose another option, rather than maintaining several addresses for different types of correspondence.
4. Co-working space
Just like virtual office space, co-working spaces offers you a more professional mailing address to use for your business and meeting and conference rooms you can use.
Co-working spaces also offer you a physical space to actually work in, along with the use of shared resources, such as Wi-Fi. Note that if you find yourself working at the local coffee shop in order to occasionally escape the isolation of working at home, membership in a co-working space may be an option to consider.
Your business address is not the same as the registered agent address. This address can be where your business office or operation is located or where you choose to have regular mail accepted. Also most registered agent services offer limited mail forwarding options. If you want to receive and manage you 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.