Alabama Registered Agent (2023 LLC Guide)

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What is an Alabama Registered Agent?

A Alabama Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail and notices on behalf of your Alabama LLC.

Registered AgentLegal mail (called Service of Process) is sent if your LLC is involved in a lawsuit. Additionally, the state may send notices and reminders to your LLC’s Registered Agent.

Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their Registered Agent service free for the 1st year.

Alabama Registered Agents should be available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm), Monday through Friday.

And the Registered Agent for your LLC in Alabama must have a physical address in Alabama. PO Box addresses aren’t allowed.

​​Note: Most states use the term “Registered Agent”, but some use the terms “Resident Agent” or “Statutory Agent”. They all mean the same thing and we may use these terms interchangeably.

Does Alabama require a Registered Agent?

Yes, Alabama requires all business entities to list a Registered Agent on their LLC formation paperwork. And they must keep a Registered Agent on file with the state for the life of the LLC.

Why do I need a Registered Agent in Alabama?

The purpose of a Registered Agent is to accept Service of Process in case your business gets sued. And the court needs proof that your LLC received the legal documents.

That’s why each business entity (like a Limited Liability Company or Corporation) must have a Registered Agent on file with the state.

Said another way, your LLC’s Registered Agent is a key component of how the court and legal systems work. By requiring all Alabama LLCs to keep a Registered Agent on file with the state, the delivery of court documents can be properly tracked.

Who can be my Registered Agent in Alabama?

You actually have 3 options for who can be your Alabama Registered Agent:

  • yourself
  • a friend or family member
  • an Alabama Registered Agent Service

You can save money by being the Registered Agent for your LLC, but there are some risks.

What are the risks?

The risks of being your own Alabama Registered Agent are:

  • missing an important notice from the state
  • administrative dissolution
  • missing Service of Process (and potential legal consequences)

These issues are more likely to occur if you:

  • move and forget to update your address with the state
  • travel or leave town for extended periods of time
  • don’t have a reliable physical address
  • don’t keep up with your mail

We’ll explain a few of these risks below.

Missing an important notice from the state

Your business needs to promptly receive all important notices sent by the Alabama Secretary of State or any other state agency.

Notices sent by state agencies often have actions that your LLC must take by a certain deadline. And in some cases, there are penalties and fees if you miss those deadlines.

Administrative Dissolution

If you are the Registered Agent for your LLC, and you move without updating your Registered Agent address, the Alabama Secretary of State can dissolve (shut down) your LLC.

To clarify, the state isn’t looking over your LLC every single day, so this potential administrative dissolution won’t automatically happen if you don’t update your Registered Agent information.

However, if the state finds out that your Registered Agent address isn’t up-to-date, and they can’t reach you, then they could shut down your LLC.

Default Judgment

If there is a lawsuit against your LLC, a process server will make multiple attempts to serve your LLC (deliver the court documents).

However, if they are unable to serve your LLC in person, Service of Process can be made another way (like through Certified Mail). This can mean the court notices and/or documents were “delivered” to you, even if you didn’t physically receive them.

Then the person suing your LLC can argue their case without you being there to defend your LLC. In these situations, the person suing your LLC usually wins and the court enters a default judgment against your business.

Contempt of Court

If there is a lawsuit that involves your LLC, the parties might serve your business with a subpoena. The subpoena may ask you to testify in a hearing, or to produce records.

If you don’t respond to the subpoena, you can be held in contempt of court. This can lead to fines, or the court can issue a bench warrant. This means the sheriff can come seize the records or force you to show up in court.

So should I be my own Registered Agent?

You certainly can. While there are risks of being your own Registered Agent in Alabama, they don’t come up very often. And you can save money by being your own Alabama Registered Agent.

Having said that, hiring a professional Registered Agent Service can provide additional benefits, such as address privacy.

Registered Agent Information is Public Record in Alabama

While you (or a friend or family member) can be your LLC’s Registered Agent, you may not want to have a home address listed on public record.

The information you enter in your Certificate of Formation (including the Registered Agent’s address) becomes public record with the Alabama Secretary of State.

Not only is this information searchable by the public, but other websites download the state’s records and republish them on their own website. Then things begin to spread as other public record websites take that same information and list it on their websites too (and the process repeats itself).

Pretty soon your address is listed on many websites and people can easily find it by doing a Google search.

If you’d like to keep your address off public records, we have a strategy for this.

How to keep your address off public records:

Many business owners in Alabama start businesses from their homes. So you should be aware that the Registered Agent’s address on your LLC Certificate of Formation gets listed on public records.

If you want to keep your address off public records, you can hire an Alabama Registered Agent Service that will allow you to use their Registered Office address throughout your Certificate of Formation.

Northwest Registered Agent offers this unique service at no additional cost.

There are many Alabama Registered Agents out there, but we have found Northwest to be the best Registered Agent Service available.

What’s the best Alabama Registered Agent option to choose?

Choosing the best Alabama Registered Agent option for your business depends on a few factors.

You:

You can be your own Registered Agent in Alabama if:

  • you are a resident of Alabama, and
  • you have a physical address in Alabama.

You also should be comfortable with your address being listed on public records.

Why choose this option? This is a good option to choose if you want to save money (since you won’t need to hire an Alabama Registered Agent Service).

Friend or Family:

A friend or family member can be your Alabama Registered Agent if:

  • they are a resident of Alabama, and
  • they have a physical street address in Alabama

They also should be comfortable with their address being listed on public records.

Why choose this option? This is a good option to choose if you aren’t a resident of Alabama, but want to save money (since you won’t need to hire an Alabama Registered Agent Service).

Alabama Registered Agent Service:

A Alabama Registered Agent Service (aka Commercial Registered Agent) is a company that specializes in receiving mail and Service of Process for your LLC.

Alabama Registered Agent Services usually charge $100 to $300 per year. After they receive mail for your LLC, they’ll forward it to you or upload it to your online account.

Why choose this option? This is a good option to choose if you:

  • don’t live in Alabama
  • don’t have a friend or family member’s address to use
  • won’t be available during normal business hours to receive mail, or
  • don’t want your address listed in the Certificate of Formation

If you’d like to hire a Registered Agent Service, the company we recommend is Northwest Registered Agent.

Northwest Registered Agent review
The Northwest Registered Agent logo is a registered trademark of Northwest Registered Agent.

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent is our personal recommendation (and the Registered Agent Service we use) for a few reasons:

  • they’ve been in business for over 20 years
  • their customer service agents are LLC experts, and
  • they let you use their address in your entire LLC filing (to keep yours off public record)

Special discounted pricing for LLC University readers

Northwest usually charges $100 + state fees to form an LLC. However, we’ve negotiated a discounted rate (60% off) for LLC University® readers.

Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their Registered Agent service free for the 1st year.

(Check out our Northwest Registered Agent review to learn more)

Alabama Registered Agent FAQs

LLC CostIf you (or a friend or family member) will be your Registered Agent, there is no cost.

If you want to hire a Registered Agent Service, it will cost between $100 and $300 per year.

We’ve reviewed the top Registered Agent Services in the industry and think the best Registered Agent Services in Alabama are:

To learn more about how these companies compare against each other, check out Best Registered Agent Services.

Note: If you want to save money, you can be the Registered Agent for your Alabama LLC.

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Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

2 comments on “Alabama Registered Agent”

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.

  1. HI,
    I noticed that in some states you specifically write in the Registered Agent Requirements that it can NOT be a virtual or commercial mailing address, while in others you just write that it must be a physical address (like here in Alabama).
    I wanted to check if this varies state by state.
    Is it possible to use a virtual mailbox/office as an RA in most states?

    Love your site and appreciate your help.

    Reply
    • Hi Eli, good eye ;) Most state statute’s are silent, meaning, the statute doesn’t say yes or no (it’s a gray area). Some statues explicitly prohibit it. Thank you!

      Reply

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