In order to incorporate a non-profit in Minnesota under statute 317A, the registered office and agent of the organization must be included in the Articles of Incorporation. Additionally, if the organization is to apply for tax-exempt status under IRS 501(c)(3), the addresses of the trustees of the organization must be given.

P.O. Boxes are explicitly disallowed from being used as the registered agent, which leads me to believe that the intent is to have a real entity that can quickly respond to any service of process. Additionally, mail-forwarding services usually assign an address similar to a P.O. box, such as by including a number or suite in the main address.

Still though, a mail-forwarding service would be able to get documents to the relevant people.

It might not be the best idea to use a mail-forwarding service for receiving service of process (due to the possibility of not being able to access the information easily, and the possible impermanence of the address), but I'm interested as to whether it would be allowed.

Is it possible to list the address granted by the forwarding service as the address of the registered agent when filing the incorporation of a non-profit in Minnesota? If so, is it possible that such an address would cause problems when applying for federal tax exemption under 501(c)(3)?


2 Answers 2


A registered agent's address must generally be a physical address where the registered agent or someone authorized to accept process for a registered agent is physically present.

This is because service of certain kinds of process (e.g. subpoenas) must be made by hand delivery in the absence of a court order authorizing an alternative means of serving process.

So, a mail forwarding operation's address would not be satisfactory.

There are companies such as The Corporation Company that make it their business to serve as professional registered agents of individuals and businesses for a modest fee, and a company like that could be designated instead.

A mail forwarding address could potentially pose a problem for the IRS as well although that concern is less absolute. But, the better practice would be to avoid doing so.


I agree with ohwilleke, a registered agent is not the same as a mail forwarding service.

However, a mail forwarding company could also be offering registered agent services. In that case, you would have to check with the mail forwarding company for further details (for instance, there might be a surcharge for registered agent service).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .