There are a number of reasons you might need to change your Alabama LLC’s registered agent. Maybe your designated registered agent moved out of state, left the company, or no longer wants the responsibility. Maybe you had assigned the job to yourself, and you no longer want your address on public record. Maybe (hopefully) your business has expanded so much that you no longer have time to handle the registered agent responsibilities.
Whatever your reason may be, changing a registered agent in Alabama might seem like a daunting task, with a mountain of paperwork and legal proceedings involved. However it’s actually quite simple, and this guide will help make the process quick and painless.
The state of Alabama has certain requirements about changing your LLC’s registered agent. In order to make the switch, you must file a “Change of Registered Agent” form with the Secretary of State’s office.
You have three options for filing this form: mail, email, and fax. All three methods require a $25 fee. The Secretary of State website includes little detail about the process, but you can find everything you need on the “Change of Registered Agent” form itself.
You can’t pick just anyone to be a registered agent for your LLC. The state of Alabama puts certain restrictions on who can serve as one. If you’re choosing or changing your registered agent, keep these requirements in mind. The registered agent in Alabama must:
* If your registered agent is a foreign business entity, it must be authorized to transact business in Alabama
In order to change your registered agent in Alabama, you need to fill out a “Change of Registered Agent or Registered Office by Entity” form. To download it, visit the Alabama Secretary of State website. On the “Business Entities” page, click the “Business Downloads” link and scroll down to find the correct form. You’ll need the following info:
The hard part is over. Now you just need to submit your form, and you can do so by postal mail, email, or fax. No matter which option you choose, you’ll be charged at $25 fee.
Email is the quickest and easiest way to file. The Secretary of State’s office will receive your form and payment immediately, and their typical processing time is 3-5 business days. Email your completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fax is just as quick, and you can fax your filing to (334) 240-3138 is you’d like to go this route. You must pay by credit card if filing by fax.
If you’d rather hand it off to the postal service, that’s fine too! Just know that the change to your registered agent may take a little longer. You can pay by check, money order, or credit card. Along with your payment information, mail two copies of your completed form to:
Secretary of State, Business Services Division
P.O. Box 5616
Montgomery, AL 36103-5616
When completing your form, make sure to type and laser print it. The Secretary of State’s office will not accept handwritten forms, no matter how neat your handwriting is.
If you’re lucky, your need for a registered agent change will fall between January 1 and March 15, when you’re filing your annual report with the state. In this case, you can simply update your registered agent information there.
If you’re too busy, or if you’d feel more comfortable letting someone else take the reins, you have the option of hiring a company or individual to file your paperwork for you. It’s a great way to save time and stress.
Submit your form? Pay your fee? Then your registered agent change is in the works! Need your form processed ASAP? Alabama offers expedited processing for a fee of $100. Otherwise, you should see your change reflected 3-5 days after the Secretary of State’s office receives your filing and payment.
Think of your registered agent as a mediator between you and the state of Alabama, the person or business entity that handles some of your most important paperwork.
In case you thought the registered agent was just a formality, look at the documents they handle:
A lot of important stuff. Which is why a reliable registered agent is essential to every Alabama business owner.
By handling high-priority and sensitive documents on your behalf, your registered agent takes care of your communications with the state, so you can spend more time building your business.
Plus, if you operate a Alabama small business from out of state, a trustworthy registered agent is especially important, as the state requires a local contact for your LLC. Having this contact ensures your company will receive and respond to time-sensitive documents, so you won’t miss filings and get hit with penalties.
If you’re unsure where to find a good Alabama registered agent, consider using a registered agent service. These companies provide you a reliable, professional registered agent so you can have peace of mind knowing you won’t ever miss a filing, tax deadline, or state correspondence.
Sure, you can jump online, search “registered agent services,” and get a ton of results. But the truth is that not all of these services are trustworthy. So, we’ve done some research for you. If you want to know you’re getting a top-quality registered agent, take a look at our comparison guide on the best registered agents. Many of these providers can also form an LLC for you if you’re needing a fresh start. ZenBusiness and Northwest are two very well known options.
There are numerous reasons you might need to give up your Alabama registered agent role, but only one way to resign.
Registered agents play an important role in the life of an LLC, handling sensitive legal and tax documents, so it’s essential that agents follow proper resignation procedures. Otherwise, you could leave your company with unplanned fines or penalties, and you could be individually liable.
Fortunately, for Alabama LLCs it is easy.
Follow these steps and the hardest part of your resignation won’t be the process itself, it’ll be saying “so long” to your former business.
The first step in the resignation process is informing your LLC in Alabama. This is not just because it’s required by law, but also because it’s helpful to the company’s managers or members. If they’re aware of your resignation, they can begin the process to change their registered agent and facilitate a smooth transition.
Follow the instructions below to complete your resignation form, then send a copy to your LLC. After you do, the clock starts ticking. You have 11 days to submit your official copy to the Secretary of State’s office, according to Alabama code, Section 10A-1-5.34.
In that 11-day window after notifying your LLC, follow these steps to formally file your resignation with the Secretary of State.
Get started by downloading Alabama’s Registered Agent Resignation Form – it’s the only one you’ll need to submit. From the Secretary of State homepage, you can access it by selecting “Business Entities” then “Business Downloads.”
Now that you’ve got your hands on the form, use a PDF editor (like Adobe Acrobat) to fill it out with the following information (it must be typed):
That wasn’t so bad. And what’s even better is that there’s no filing fee, so put your checkbook away – you won’t need it. When you’re finished with the form, print two copies and mail them to:
Secretary of State
Business Services Division
P.O. Box 5616
Montgomery, Alabama, 36103-5616
If you want one returned for your own records, include a third copy with a self-addressed, stamped envelope or, for a digital copy, enter your email address on the form.
As it states on the form, the resignation will take effect on the 31st day after the Secretary of State receives your filing. So don’t leave town as soon as you send it – you’ll still be the active registered agent for a little longer.
When you put down your registered agent responsibilities, someone else has to pick them up, or your LLC will lose its good standing with the state. Help your LLC keep its momentum by carefully planning your transition.
This starts with finding a successor who’s ready to take over right away. Even a small gap in registered agent coverage can result in severe penalties. For example, an Alabama company that goes without a registered agent for 60 or more days – or does not notify the state of your resignation within 60 days – can be administratively dissolved. The state doesn’t mess around when it comes to registered agents, so be sure that you and your LLC have a succession plan in place.
Once you’ve nominated a replacement, confirm that they meet Alabama’s registered agent requirements. They must:
We recommend using a registered agent service, which can take over registered agent duties, freeing up more time for the LLC’s managers to focus on running the business.
You do a lot for your Alabama LLC. You’re essentially the shield that protects it from fines, the filter that catches important documents, the conductor that keeps it on track with compliance.
Because you play such an important role, it’s crucial that you follow the resignation procedures exactly — and potentially provide a replacement agent for the business. Otherwise, you might find yourself and your LLC in hot water.
Follow this guide and you’ll be totally fine. Soon, you’ll be on to your next project, whether that’s starting a new business in Alabama or something completely different.
If you need a fresh start and would like to form a brand new LLC, there are plenty of services that can take care of this for you. ZenBusiness and LegalZoom are two very popular options.
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