Different states have different requirements for incorporating new nonprofits. However, across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., one requirement is consistent: all nonprofits are required to have a registered agent.
A registered agent is the person or business that serves as the representative of your nonprofit. Your registered agent receives information from the state and IRS regarding important business filings and other matters pertaining to your nonprofit. Additionally, the registered agent is notified if the nonprofit is a party in legal action, so the responsibility of a registered agent is not one to be taken lightly.
It is common practice for the registered agent of a nonprofit to be a member of the board of directors, but that doesn’t have to be the case for every organization. Any person (18 or older) who is a resident of the state in which your nonprofit is formed could serve as your organization’s registered agent.
The registered agent is the recipient of state, federal, and any legal notices. These communications should be handled without delay because they are often both important and time sensitive. You don’t want to miss or delay handling these types of communications. Correspondence should be sent to an address that is monitored and processed every day.
This is why corporations of all types—not just nonprofits—often use an attorney as a registered agent. Most attorneys will serve as registered agent for your nonprofit in exchange for an annual fee. As a nonprofit, there’s a strong chance that you can find an attorney to be your registered agent for free if you know one who has an affinity for your cause.
If you have any additional questions about the role of the registered agent, or other questions generally pertaining to forming a nonprofit, ExemptMeNow is here to help.
To learn more about other requirements for nonprofits, check out our blog post, "What's the Difference Between 501(c)(3) and 1023?"