Alabama Filing Forms

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Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation

How to form an LLC in Alabama
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Alabama.

Detailed Lessons:

 

Alabama LLC Costs:
Alabama LLC filing fee: approximately $183 (varies by county)
Alabama LLC annual report fee: $100 minimum

Need to save time?
Hire a professional to form your LLC in Alabama:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

In this lesson, we will walk through filing your Certificate of Formation. This is the document that officially forms your Alabama LLC.

Alabama LLC Secretary of State Business Services

(Alabama Secretary of State, Business Services Building)

When it comes to LLC formation, Alabama does things a bit differently. Instead of only filing your LLC’s Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State (like in most states), you also need to file your Certificate of Formation at the county-level with the Office of the Probate Judge. You have to file with the Probate Judge located in the same county as your LLC.

You’ll need to send 2 separate checks (or money orders). One to the Secretary of State for $100. And one to the Probate Judge. The fees vary among the Probate Judges (there are 67 of them), but we have a table below with all of the details.

Need to save time? Hire a professional to form your LLC in Alabama:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

Step 1: Name Reservation

You first need to file a Name Reservation with the Secretary of State. If you have not filed your Name Reservation, please follow these instructions.

Step 2: Cover Letter

1. Download this Cover Letter.

2. Enter the date, the address of the Probate Judge, your LLC name, your phone number, your email address, and your full name. You can find your Probate Judge’s mailing address here.

Note: if you’re using Northwest Registered Agent as your LLC’s Registered Agent, you will be filing in Houston County.

Step 3: Certificate of Formation

Download:
State of Alabama: Domestic LLC Certificate of Formation

Important: Alabama requires you type inside the PDF (cannot be handwritten), then print it out and sign it.

1. Name

Enter the full name of your LLC, including your preferred capitalization. The abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.” must be used at the end of your name. The abbreviation “LLC” is the most common.

2. Name Reservation

Nothing needs to be filled in here. Just include a copy of your approved Name Reservation. (If have not filed your name reservation, follow these instructions).

3. This Form Was Prepared By

Enter your full name and mailing address in the box at the bottom of page 1.

4. Registered Agent & Registered Office

Line 1: List the name of your LLC’s Registered Agent. Enter the full name if it’s a person, enter the company name if it’s a company.

(related article: who can be your LLC Registered Agent in Alabama?)

Line 2: List the Registered Agent’s full street address, including city, state, and zip code.

Line 3: List the full mailing address of your LLC, if it’s not the address of the Registered Agent. If you’re going to use the address of your Registered Agent as the LLC’s main address, just leave this blank.

5. At least 1 Member

Nothing needs to be filled in here.

6. Special Type of LLC

Check off one of these boxes only if your LLC is a part of a Series LLC or you are a licensed professional (accountant, architect, dentist, doctor, engineer, lawyer, etc.). For most people, you will leave both boxes unchecked.

7. Effective Date

Your LLC will become effective on the date it’s processed by the Probate Judge. If that is okay, leave #6 blank (don’t fill in the specific date and time). Most people leave #6 blank.

If you need to postpone your LLC’s effective date, you can forward date your filing up to 90 days. If that’s the case, use 1:00pm as the filing time.

Tip: If you’re forming your LLC in October, November, or December, and you don’t need your business open those months, forward date your filing to January 1st. This will save you the hassle of doing unnecessary taxes. For more information, please see LLC effective date.

8. Additional Attachments

If you need to include any attachments (besides your approved Name Reservation), please check this box and include those documents when you mail your Certificate of Formation. Most people leave this unchecked.

9. Signature

Date: Enter the date you are filling out the form.

Signature as required by 10A-5A-2.04: Sign your name.

Typed Name of Above Signature: Type your full name.

Typed Title (Organizer or Attorney-in-fact): Enter “Organizer”.

10. Page 3 (Credit Card Form)

Since most Probate Judges only accept check or money order, you can throw away Page 3 as it’s only applicable if paying with a credit card.

Step 4: Make 2 Copies of the Certificate of Formation

Make two (2) copies of the Certificate of Formation. You’ll be sending in the original Certificate of Formation, along with 2 copies. I know, lots of paperwork!

Step 5: Prepare Payment

You’ll need to include 2 separate checks or money orders.

1st payment: $100, made payable to “Secretary of State”.

2nd payment: made payable to “Probate Judge”. There are 67 probate Judges (one for each county). You can find the total amount needed in this table.

Step 6: Prepare Envelope

You may need a jumbo envelope (ones larger than 8.5 x 11”) if you can’t fit everything into a regular envelope.

Mail to Probate Judge: You will be mailing your filing to the Probate Judge in the same county as your Registered Office (#3 from the Certificate of Formation).

**DO NOT SEND YOUR FILING TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE**

Find the county: If you’re not sure what county your Registered Office is located in, use this free tool.

Mailing Address: Again, you are sending your filing to the Probate Judge, not the Secretary of State. You can find your Probate Judge’s mailing address here.

Mail the following:

  1. Check (or money order) for $100, payable to “Secretary of State”
  2. Check (or money order) payable to “Probate Judge”. Fees found here.
  3. Cover Letter
  4. Name Reservation Approval
  5. Certificate of Formation (1 signed original and 2 copies)

Note: if you’re using Northwest Registered Agent as your LLC’s Registered Agent, you will be filing in Houston County.

LLC Approval & Processing Time

The Office of the Judge of Probate will process, record, and then forward your Certificate of Formation to the Secretary of State in 1-2 business days.

The Secretary of State will then process your filing in 1-2 weeks.

Unfortunately Alabama is a bit of a hassle when it comes to receiving approval notification or copies of your Certificate of Formation.

Important: You need an approved copy of your Certificate of Formation (and your EIN) to open a bank account.

To Check if Your LLC Was Approved:

1. Visit the Alabama business entity database:
Alabama Secretary of State: Business Entity Search by Entity Name

2. Enter your LLC name in the “Entity” box. Leave all else as is, then click the “Search” button.

3. You will see your LLC on the next page and to the right, under the ‘Status’ column, you will see the word “Exists”. This means your LLC is now officially formed!

Tip: you’ll see your Entity ID to the left of your LLC name. We recommend saving this number. If you ever have to speak to the state about your LLC, just reference your Entity ID.

To Order a Copy of Your Approval Documents:

1. Visit the “Business Entity Record Copies” page here:
Alabama Secretary of State: Business Entity Record Copies

2. Click the “Non-subscriber” link at the bottom.

3. Select “Certified” then click “Continue”.

4. Search your LLC by name or entity ID, then click the “Search” button.

5. Find your LLC in the list, then click the “Select” link to the right.

6. Agree to the terms and click the “Continue” button.

7. Check the selection box to the right of ‘Articles of Formation’, then click the “Add Selected” button.

8.Click the “Checkout” button.

9. Enter your email address and click the “Continue to Payment” button.

10. Enter your billing information and click “Submit Payment”.

Once payment goes through you will receive an email where you can download a Certified copy of your Certificate of Formation.

Tip: download and print a few copies of your Certified copy of your Certificate of Formation. Keep them in a safe place.

Next Step

Once you save and print your Certified Copy of the Certificate of Formation, you can then proceed to the next lesson: Alabama LLC Operating Agreement.

Alabama Secretary of State Contact Info

If you have any questions, you can contact the Alabama Secretary of State:

334-242-5324 (phone)
334-240-3138 (fax)
[email protected]
Alabama Secretary of State: Business Services

References

https://sos.alabama.gov/business-entities/llcs
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/coatoc.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-5A-1.01.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-5A-1.04.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-2.01.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-2.02.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-3.01.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-3.03.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-3.04.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-3.05.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-4.01.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-4.02.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-4.03.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-4.04.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-4.05.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-4.11.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-4.12.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-4.13.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-4.14.htm
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/10A-1-4.15.htm
https://revenue.alabama.gov/business-license/business-licensing/county-probate-office-directory

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.
Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

11 Comments

  1. George February 2, 2018

    Hi there, I have a question. I would like to form a DBA. Do I form it after the approval of LLC? If so, how and where I can form a DBA in ALABAMA?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz February 3, 2018

      Hi George, the best verb to use in this case is “register”, since a DBA (called a Trade Name in Alabama) is essentially your LLC operating and doing business under a different name. “Form” implies something separate and apart from your LLC (which a Trade Name is not). You’ll want to wait for your LLC to be approved first, then you’ll file an “Application to Register Trademark, Service Mark or Trade Name”. You can find the form for download on this page of the state’s website: http://sos.alabama.gov/administrative-services/trademarks. Hope that helps.

      reply
      • George March 4, 2018

        Thank you so much for your help. You are such a big help!

        reply
        • Matt Horwitz March 10, 2018

          You’re very welcome George! We also wrote a new article you may find helpful: Do I need to file a DBA?

          reply
          • George March 11, 2018

            Thank you so very much Matt. I am sorry I have another question for you if you don’t mind. So I received back 2 copies of certificate of formation from probate court and 2 letters of business privilege tax letters from department of revenue. That means they approved my LLC correct? If so, am I going to receive a approval of my new LLC from secretary of state? Or do I have to pay and get a copy of so call Certificate of Existence from secretary of state website?
            Sorry for the questions. Thanks

            George

            reply
            • George March 13, 2018

              Matt, my apology. I think I found my answer on this article. Please disregard.

              Thanks,
              George

              reply
              • Matt Horwitz March 19, 2018

                You’re welcome George. Glad you found it. For others reading, we have this information in the lesson above.

                reply
  2. Debbie January 22, 2019

    In the State of Alabama do I need Articles of Organization to form an LLC and would these need to be filed with the State?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz January 22, 2019

      Hi Debbie, the filing form for an Alabama LLC is called the Certificate of Formation (it’s the equivalent of an Articles of Organization). At the top of this page, you’ll see the detailed lessons. Just follow those in order. They provide instructions on the entire LLC formation process in Alabama. Short version: you have to reserve your LLC name first. That’s done with the Secretary of State. Once you have that, you’ll file your Certificate of Formation and LLC name approval with the County Probate Judge (located in the same county as your Alabama Registered Agent). The Probate Judge’s Office records your LLC and then forwards it to the Secretary of State for final approval. Hope that helps.

      reply
  3. Debbie January 23, 2019

    Thank you for your response. I thought that was the case. Just wanted to say I have gone though the detailed lessons on filing the LLC and have completed the process. The steps are very easy to follow, clear and specific. Great information. Can’t believe the process was that easy. Thanks!

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz January 28, 2019

      You’re welcome, Debbie! That is fantastic to hear. We work hard to make things easy ;) Glad you found it to be the case. Thanks!

      reply

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