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How To File the Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation

How To File the Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation

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How To File the Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation

Launching a new business in Alabama is exciting but can require a lot of steps. For many, starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is at the top of the list of things to do, but hiring an attorney may be out of the question because of the cost.

To form an LLC in Alabama, the Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation needs to be filed with the Alabama Secretary of State. The Certificate of Formation (also referred to as the Articles of Organization in many states) is the official document that is filed with the Alabama Secretary of State to establish a Limited Liability Company.

To help start your Alabama LLC, we have a guide on how to fill out the Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation.

Related: Guide to starting a business in Alabama

Anyone can learn how to form their own LLC, but using an entity formation service like Zenbusiness, Northwest, and Bizee guide you through the LLC formation process, so you will save time and know everything was done right.

Zenbusiness and IncFile are running a special where you only pay state fees for your LLC formation!

Filling out the Alabama Certificate of Formation in 8 Steps

To get started with filing the Certificate of Formation, visit the Alabama Secretary of State’s website to download the form or file it online.

Step 1: Pick a Name for the LLC

The first step in forming an LLC in Alabama is choosing a unique name for your business that is not already being used by another company. To find out if your business name is unique, first, do an Alabama LLC name search on the Secretary of State’s name database to see if your desired name is available.

Under the Alabama Limited Liability Company Act, there are a few additional guidelines to be aware of when selecting an LLC name in Alabama. These include:
– The company name must not imply a business purpose that is different from what the business does.
– The business name must contain the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviation L.L.C. or LLC at the end of the business name.
– Unless the business is licensed by the state, words such as bank, insurance, attorney, etc. can’t be used.

Another unique requirement by the state of Alabama is that before filing the LLC Certificate of Formation paperwork, a Certificate of Name Reservation will need to be submitted to the Alabama Secretary of State. A copy of the filed Certificate of Name Reservation must be attached to the Certificate of Formation before sending it to the Alabama Secretary of State.

Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent

A registered agent is a person or entity with a physical address in Alabama who is available during normal business hours to serve as a central point of contact for receiving important legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc. on behalf of the LLC. Every Alabama LLC is required to have a registered agent.

The registered agent must be 18 years or older and can be the business owner, a resident of Alabama with a physical address, a legal entity, or a registered agent service.

The registered agent’s address has to be a physical street address since a PO Box isn’t allowed.

In this section, enter the registered agent’s name, registered office address in the state of Alabama, county, and mailing address should routine letters need to be sent to a different address.

Related: What is an Alabama registered agent?

Step 3: Certify LLC Membership

This section asks the LLC organizer (this can be an owner or an unrelated person/company preparing the Certificate of Formation) to certify that at least one member of the Limited Liability Company is present and include their name and address.

Step 4: Select any Special LLC Designations

This section is optional and would be used only when an LLC will form a Series LLC, Professional LLC (PLLC) or a Non-Profit.

Most businesses will skip this section.

A series LLC is basically an umbrella LLC with mini LLCs underneath it. Real estate investors will often use the Series LLC to protect each property individually.

A Professional LLC is only for professionals licensed in the state of Alabama, such as accountants, doctors, lawyers, etc.

Step 5: Decide on the Effective Filing Date

This section provides a way to delay the start of the LLC. Some will choose to delay the effective date of the LLC if they aren’t ready to start the business but want to have the filing out of the way.

To choose today’s date for the start date of the LLC, skip this section, otherwise enter a start day up to 90 days in the future.

Step 6: Add Additional Attachments

This section is also optional but would be used if there were any additional attachments to be filed.

Step 7: Sign and Date the Certificate of Formation

Sign and date the Certificate of Formation

Step 8: File the Alabama Certificate of Formation

Last, file with the Alabama Secretary of State. If filing by mail, there are a few things to check before filing the Certificate of Formation.

1 – Make two copies of the signed Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation and be sure to include the Name Registration certificate.
2 – Mail both copies with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
Alabama Secretary of State, Business Services
PO Box 5616
Montgomery, Alabama 36103
3 – Include a check, money order, or credit card payment for $200. If paying by credit card, be sure to fill out and include the Domestic Formation Credit Card Payment Slip that is on page 4 of the downloaded Certificate of Formation)
4 – Be sure to keep a copy for your records.

This material is property of StartingYourBusiness.com

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Alabama LLC FAQs

How much does an Alabama LLC cost?

The cost to form an LLC in Alabama includes the Name Reservation fee of between $28, and a $200 filing fee for the Certificate of Formation.

How long does it take to get an Alabama LLC approved?

Within 7-10 business days after filing the Certificate of Formation, the LLC will be officially formed with the Alabama Secretary of State.

What business licenses are needed in Alabama?

The requirements for business licenses and registrations in Alabama vary depending on what the business does and where it’s located.

Related: Alabama business licenses

Does Alabama require an LLC to have an operating agreement?

Alabama Business Statutes, § 10A-5A-1.08, state that an LLC Operating Agreement is optional. 

Although it isn’t required, it is recommended that most LLCs have one, as it can help prevent disputes among members and better protect the LLC’s legal status.

Related: Alabama LLC operating agreement template

Do Alabama LLCs need an EIN?

Only Alabama LLCs that either have more than one member, will hire employees, or elect to be taxed as a partnership or corporation are required to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

The EIN (also called a Federal Employer Identification Number or FEIN) is a unique 9-digit tax identification number that is assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

If the LLC isn’t required to get an EIN (though you can still get one), it will use the owner’s social security number.

Related: How to get an EIN


  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

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How To File the Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation

How To File the Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation

2 Responses

  1. On the Title section (organizer or attorney-in-fact) when filling this out yourself, do you put the title Organizer or do you put Member as the title of the signor?

    1. For the Alabama Certificate of Formation, the Organizer refers to someone who is helping file the LLC paperwork (commonly an attorney, accountant, or entity formation service), but isn’t going to a member (owner).

      If you are going to be member-managed (where the people running the operations are also owners – most common) your title would be “Managing Member.”

      If you are going to hire a manager to run the business (manager-managed), your title would be “Member,” unless you are the manager, in which case your title would be “Manager.”

      Hope this helps, but let me know if you have any other questions!

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