No. A virtual office cannot be used as a registered agent because both tend to serve varying purposes. For instance, a registered agent is tasked with receiving official government documents, whereas a virtual office is an actual office space that is managed by a third party and is meant to only receive regular mail plus many other things.
For home-based enterprises, it can be somehow difficult to decide the appropriate address to give to clients, put in your advertising materials, or even input when completing tax forms submitted to the IRS.
Even though your business address is your actual home, you may not feel comfortable giving that delicate information out. There are numerous alternatives to help you avoid this problem such as using the address of a Registered Agent or a virtual address.
What is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent refers to an individual or business entity that agrees to receive official government documents on behalf of an enterprise. In certain places in the United States, a registered agent is referred to as a statutory agent, agent for service of process, or resident agent.
It is mandatory for every business to have or designate a registered agent, and this can be anyone who satisfies the state’s requirements.
What is a Virtual Office?
A virtual office refers to a physical office space that you can utilize for your company but is somehow managed by a third party.
This office will provide a live receptionist, receive and forward regular business mail (as long as they are not official government documents expected to be forwarded to a registered agent), and make a lobby directory listing available. Enterprises can also leverage virtual offices as a place to meet clients or partners rather than meeting them in their homes
The question of if a virtual office can be used as a registered agent has become a thing due to the growing prevalence of virtual offices and virtual address services.
In times past, startups and home-based businesses have had to deal with high operational expenses owing to paying rent or purchasing unnecessary physical office space just so that they can get an official address at their desired location.
Difference Between Virtual Office and Registered Agent
To understand why a virtual office cannot serve as a registered agent, it is pertinent you understand the difference between them. Outlined below are key distinctions between a virtual office and a registered agent.
Registered Agents Are Individuals Who Provide Services
This is a vital difference between a virtual office and a registered agent. A registered agent is an individual whereas a virtual address is a location. A registered agent will need to be an individual with a physical location in your state. Have in mind that it cannot be a P.O. box and will have to be an address that is always accessible during regular business hours.
Registered Agents Help You Stay on Top of Your Business
A registered agent refers to an individual or business entity that agrees to receive official government documents on behalf of an enterprise.
The services they offer help individuals or businesses stay on top of vital legal paperwork. Meanwhile, a virtual address is just a location that receives your mail. Have in mind that can also decide to work with a virtual mail service that will forward your mail to you.
Registered Agents Don’t Receive Regular Mail, Only Official Docs
This is another important distinction to note when analyzing the difference between both services. A Registered Agent only receives official documentation for your business; they are not expected to receive general mail.
Howbeit, if you require an address where you can receive checks, invoices, bills, and other customer mail, then you will have to invest in a virtual address. This address will work like your home mailbox, receiving every of your business mail.
Registered Agent Can’t Be a P.O. Box or Out of State
Another vital distinction between Registered agents and virtual addresses is that a Registered Agent cannot be a P.O. box or out-of-state address.
Most often, the address of your Registered Agent will need to be a physical location. Aside from that, your Registered Agent address will be expected to be in the state where you intend to conduct business. Howbeit, your virtual address can be located in the state or in any other state.
You should also know that the regulations for a Registered Agent tend to be stipulated by the state where you intend to conduct business or form your enterprise. However, note that a virtual address tends to have fewer regulations when compared to a Registered Agent.
Truth be told, a Registered Agent and a virtual office are two kinds of addresses and services. Just as was noted above, a Registered Agent is an individual who obtains and reviews official government documentation. Howbeit, a virtual office is a location, other than your home or principal place of business, that gets all your mails.