The Alabama Limited Liability Company Act permits the creation of a limited liability company, or LLC. An LLC combines the limited liability for investors found in a corporation with the pass-through entity taxation and relaxed filing requirements of a partnership. For a person wishing to start a small business in Alabama, creating an Alabama LLC may be an advantageous way of organizing their business. Forming an LLC in Alabama requires filing a document, called an Articles of Organization, with the probate court in the Alabama county where the business will be located.
Choose a name for your Alabama LLC. Alabama law requires the name of an LLC to end with either the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.” or “LLC.” The name of your Alabama company must not be identical to or confusingly similar with a business name registered or reserved with the Alabama Secretary of State. To assist you in choosing a unique name for your Alabama business, the Alabama Secretary of State maintains an online database of all Alabama businesses names registered or reserved.
Choose a registered agent and registered office. Alabama LLC law requires a business to maintain a registered agent and a registered office. A registered agent is the person or business that, if your company is ever sued or subpoenaed in Alabama, will receive service of process. A registered office is the street address of a registered agent, required by law to stay open during normal business hours to receive service of process. If you are an Alabama resident, you may serve as the registered agent and registered office of your business. If you are not an Alabama resident or are unwilling to associate your name and address with your business in a public filing, you may hire a registered agent service, which will serve as the registered agent and registered office of your company.
Download an Articles of Organization template (see Resources). While the Alabama Secretary of State does not require use of an official form, they provide a template that you can fill in and file.
Fill out or draft your Articles of Organization. At a minimum, provide the name of your LLC. Specify the duration of your LLC, which can be perpetual duration. Provide a purpose for forming your business, which can be “any lawful purpose for which a limited liability company may be organized”. Provide the registered agent and registered office of your company. Provide the name and address of all company owners and individuals responsible for organizing the company. If your company has any managers, which are persons who exercise day-to-day management power but do not have an ownership stake, provide their names and addresses. Sign and date the Articles of Organization.
File with the local probate court. If you are filing as a domestic LLC, the Alabama Secretary of State does not have a centralized filing location. You must file your Articles of Organization with the probate court in the county where the business will be principally located. The Alabama Secretary of State maintains a list of probate judges in all Alabama counties (see Resources). As of 2010, the filing fee imposed by the Secretary of State is $40 and the minimum fee imposed by a probate judge for filing is $35.
- While opening an Alabama LLC is easy, consult with an attorney about the tax implications of operating a business as a limited liability company.
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