How To Incorporate In Alabama

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1. Choose a Name for Your Alabama Corporation

Check on Available Names in Alabama:  After you have decided to incorporate a small business in Alabama, the first step is to choose a name for your corporation. The name that you choose for your corporation has to be unique from other corporation names registered with the state.

Reserve a Corporate Name: The state of Alabama requires that you submit a certificate of domestic name reservation when you file to incorporate your business. You can find the online application for domestic name reservation online at the Alabama Secretary of State official website: Reserve Your Alabama Corporation Name. Once you have reserved a name for your corporation with the Alabama Secretary of State online, the certificate will be available to download for 15 days. The only way to retrieve this certificate is by downloading the certificate online. Certificates will not be mailed. You may want to use one of the various third party incorporation services that can check on the availability of your corporate name and reserve it for you for an additional fee.

Filing Trademarks and Doing a Corporate Name Search: Even if the corporate name that you have chosen is available in Alabama online, it is possible that another company in another state may be using the same name. You may encounter other restrictions on whether you can use the name that you have chosen to use to incorporate your business.  See the article on how to choose a name for your corporation.

Alabama Corporate Name Requirements: When you are incorporating your small business in the state of Alabama, the name of your corporation has to include the word “corporation,” “incorporated.” You may also choose to use an abbreviation of one of these words.

2. Find a Registered Agent in Alabama

After you have registered the name of your corporation, you must choose a registered agent in Alabama to act as an agent for service of process. A registered agent will be responsible for receiving legal and tax documents for your corporation.  You can find a list of registered agent services on the Alabama Secretary of State official website: Alabama Corporation.

3. File Certificate of Formation with the Alabama Secretary of State

Minimum Requirements: If you have decided to incorporate your small business as a normal stock corporation, you must file a Certificate of Formation document that provides the name of your corporation, the name and address of the person who prepared the Certificate of Formation document, the name of your registered agent, your corporate purpose, and the number of shares that the corporation is authorized to have, the name and address of the incorporator, and the name and address of the directors. The document must be signed.

Other Alabama Legal Provisions: It is advisable to consult an attorney when you are preparing the Certificate of Formation document. An attorney can advise you on the additional legal provisions that may apply to your company.

Where to Submit Form: You should mail one signed original and two copies to the office of the Judge of Probate in the county where your corporation’s office will be located. You can find links to Alabama county websites at Alabama Corporation.

Filing Fee: The filing fee in Alabama is $100.00. Check with the Judge of Probate’s office to see if there are any additional fees in the county where you choose to incorporate.

4. Create Other Alabama Incorporation Documents (Corporate Kits)

After you have filed the Certificate of Formation document, your corporation will need to take certain actions such as appointing officers and directors, adopting corporation bylaws, issuing stock certificates, obtaining a tax ID number, obtaining a business license, and making other regulatory filings. 

When you begin to take these actions, you should consider other types of corporate documents such as buy-sell agreements, shareholders agreements to determine when stock can be sold, and documents that explain what will happen if an owner leaves the company. These other types of documents become especially important when there are multiple owners of the company.  It is advisable to consult an attorney when you are drafting these documents. An attorney can help make sure that you are following all the state legal requirements that apply to your corporation. 

You may be able to enlist the services of a corporate service company to aid you in preparing many of these legal documents. Corporate service companies exist that can make all of the filings for you and provide the form documents that you need for a fixed fee. 

5. Qualify Your Alabama Corporation to Do Business in Other States

Remember that if your main corporate office is not in Alabama you need to find out if you need to register or qualify your corporation to do business in other states. Most states require this qualification and will require you to pay taxes in your home state. Go to Doing Business in other states to learn more about how to obtain this qualification.

6. Make Annual Filings and Pay Annual Fees and Taxes in Alabama

Once your corporation is registered in the state of Alabama, you may need to make some periodic filings with the Secretary of State. Contact the office of the Secretary of State if you have any questions about what filings apply to your corporation.  

You will also be required to file tax documents and pay an annual tax. There is no annual minimum tax for corporations in Alabama, but you are responsible to pay the tax rate that is required for your corporation. You can visit the Alabama Department of Revenue website Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about the taxes that may apply to your corporation: Alabama Corporation Annual Filing.

It is best to consult an accountant when you are preparing your company’s taxes. An accountant can help prevent a mistake that could cost you extra taxes.

You can find Alabama tax forms online at Alabama Corporation Tax Forms

Realize that it can be complicated to incorporate a small business, especially if there are multiple owners. It is strongly recommended that you consult an attorney and an accountant when you are forming your corporation to make sure that all your paperwork is processed correctly.

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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