File Your Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation

Discover how to formally establish your business in Alabama with an Alabama LLC Articles of Organization, and learn about the essential steps and information needed for a successful filing process.

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Are you ready to start a new limited liability company (LLC) in Alabama? If so, you need a State of Alabama Certificate of Formation. A Certificate of Formation in Alabama is what you file with the state government to make your LLC an official business entity. 

This document provides the state with specific information about your LLC so the state and public can identify you and assure your business remains legally compliant. 

We can help you get through this part quickly and easily with our Alabama LLC Formation Service. If you’d like to complete this process yourself, follow the steps below. 

Once you’re finished filling out the required information, you file your AL LLC Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State and pay the appropriate filing fee. 

How to File Your Alabama Certificate of Formation

You must include multiple pieces of important information about your LLC on your Certificate of Formation before you file it.

Follow our step-by-step guide to fill out the Certificate of Formation for your LLC in Alabama: 

Step 1: Submit Your LLC’s Official Name

The state needs to know your LLC’s official name when you form it. You have a lot of freedom when choosing your LLC’s official name, but you do need to play by a few state rules when choosing. In general, your LLC’s official name needs to: 

  • Contain “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.,” or “LLC”
  • Be distinguishable from other filing entity names on record with the Secretary of State

Adding an acceptable version of “L.L.C.” to the end of your official business name is easy enough. However, finding a good and distinguishable business name to go in front of “L.L.C.” can be time-consuming and difficult. You can save yourself the time and stress of searching for a distinguishable name by giving the task to us.

Step 2: Add A Copy of the Name Reservation Certificate

When you file your Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State, you have to include a copy of your LLC’s Name Reservation Certificate. An LLC applies for a Name Reservation Certificate with the Secretary of State, which must include: 

  • The name and address of its applicant
  • The name it wants to reserve for its exclusive use
  • A signature of the applicant or their agent
  • A filing fee payment

You can file this application by hand delivery, by mail, or online.

Step 3: Provide the Name and Address of Your Registered Agent

By law, your LLC needs a Registered Agent and a Registered Office. An Alabama LLC must continuously maintain a Registered Agent in the state, and the Registered Agent has to have a business office at the same address as the LLC’s Registered Office. The Registered Agent can be a person or another business that’s registered to conduct business in Alabama, and the Registered Office must have a street address.

Selecting the right Registered Agent is a vital part of running a legally compliant LLC. Your Registered Agent is responsible for accepting service of process and important business documents on behalf of your LLC. If you use our Registered Agent Service, we can make it easy to find the right Registered Agent for your LLC. 

Step 4: Certify Your LLC Has At Least One Member

In general, owners of LLCs are called members. Your LLC has to have at least one member when you form it, and you have to certify on your LLC’s Certificate of Formation that there is at least one member.

Step 5: Select the Type of LLC You’re Forming

There are standard LLCs, and there are special categories of LLCs, such as:

  • Professional LLCs (for members who want to provide professional services through their business venture)
  • Series LLCs (for LLCs that own multiple business assets and don’t want liabilities connected to one group of assets under the LLC to affect other groups of assets under the LLC)
  • Non-profit LLCs

Forming one of the above-mentioned LLCs usually requires additional paperwork and compliance with additional rules.

Step 6: Choose a Filing Date

By default, the effective date of your LLC is whatever day you file the Certificate of Formation. If that’s too soon, you can delay your LLC’s effective date by up to 90 days after filing. You must include the delayed effective/filing date and time that you want on the Certificate of Formation. 

Step 7: Attach Any Needed Statements 

Forming non-profit, professional, and series LLCs often requires you to adhere to additional rules and submit additional paperwork with a Certificate of Formation. For instance, members of a series LLC must submit a Statement of Limitation on Liabilities of Series with its Certificate of Formation. It’s best to consult with a legal professional regarding what additional paperwork you might need to file to start the kind of LLC you want.

Where to File Your Alabama Certificate of Formation

You have multiple methods available to you for filing your Certificate of Formation. If you’re seeking a more traditional route, you can mail your State of Alabama Certificate of Formation to the Secretary of State’s P.O. Box. 

If you mail your formation document, you have to mail two copies of the document and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. If you don’t want to mess with postage, you can file your Certificate of Formation online using the Secretary of State’s online services. 

What are the next steps? 

After filing a Certificate of Formation for your LLC in Alabama, there are other steps to take to properly set up your business. 

Create an Operating Agreement

If you haven’t done it already, you and your other LLC members have to enter into a Limited Liability Company Agreement. Many states call this agreement an Operating Agreement. The purpose of your Operating Agreement is to make rules about the relationships between LLC members and the relationship between the LLC and its members.

Often, the more detailed your Operating Agreement, the better. Issues not covered by an Operating Agreement must be resolved according to the default rules in the Code of Alabama. Unfortunately, Alabama’s default roles aren’t always well-tailored for your LLC’s unique needs.

If you don’t know where to start when writing your LLC’s Operating Agreement, you can use our Operating Agreement Template for guidance. 

Apply for an EIN

Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a crucial task to fulfill for many limited liability companies. An EIN is an identification number your LLC gets from the IRS to use on its federal tax returns. Multiple-member LLCs must have an EIN. Although an EIN isn’t required for single-member LLCs that don’t have employees, it’s often a good idea for them to have one anyway.

If you’re the only member of your LLC and you don’t have an EIN, you have to use your Social Security Number to file your LLC’s federal tax returns and open insurance policies and business bank accounts. Having an EIN can protect your sensitive, personal information while you do business. With our Employer ID Number Service, we can save you precious time and obtain an EIN for you. 

We can help!

Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself as a business owner is enlist others’ help. This gives you more time for making big decisions. We are here to give you that help.

Our many business formation and maintenance services can make starting and running your business easier. Easier maintenance gives you more time to build your empire! And we can help you keep your business legally compliant with our Worry-Free Compliance Service

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

Alabama Certificate of Formation FAQs

  • Characteristics of your business are likely to change, and sometimes you make mistakes on your formation documents. If you find something you need or want to change in your Certificate of Formation, you can make the update by filing a Certificate of Amendment or a Restated Certificate of Formation. You can file either one of these documents with the Secretary of State. Our Alabama Amendment Filing Service can do this work for you while you focus on more pressing matters.

  • If it’s time to shutter your business, you can file Articles of Dissolution with the Secretary of State while you wind up your business’s affairs. You can mail your Articles of Dissolution or file them online. You have to mail two copies of your Articles of Dissolution, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

  • Maybe you want to start a business that limits your personal liability, but you don’t want to run an LLC. Starting a corporation is another option for achieving this goal. To start a corporation, you need to file a Certificate of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. Your Certificate of Incorporation must include a copy of your business’s Name Reservation Certificate.

  • Yes. You can enter into an Operating Agreement before, after, or when you file your Certificate of Formation.

  • You don’t need a lawyer to form an LLC in Alabama, but you might want to speak to one anyway. An attorney can help you determine if an LLC is the right business structure for you. An attorney can also review the terms of your Operating Agreement.

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