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How To the File Alabama Certificate of Formation

How To File Alabama Certificate of Formation

The Alabama Certificate of Formation is the official document filed with the Alabama Secretary of State that establishes a Limited Liability Company (LLC).

To file the Alabama Certificate of Formation you will need to submit a paper form to the Alabama Secretary of State.

In this example, we will show the steps of filling out the Certificate of Formation form. To get started, visit the Alabama Secretary of State’s website.

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

IncFile is currently running a special where you only pay state fees for your LLC formation!

Step 1: Pick a Name for the LLC

Alabama LLC Name Selection

When forming an LLC in Alabama, you must choose a unique name for your business that is not already being used by another company. You can do an Alabama LLC name search on the Secretary of State’s name database to see if your desired name is available.

The name of an Alabama Limited Liability Company must also include one of the following entity designators at the end of the name:
Limited Liability Company

Before filing the LLC paperwork, a Certificate of Name Reservation certificate will need to be submitted to the Alabama Secretary of State. The name can be reserved by filing by mail or submitting online. To file by mail, the Alabama LLC Name Reservation Request Form will cost $10 and takes about one week to process.  The other option is to file online, which is more expensive at $28 but is available immediately.

Step 2: Enter the Contact Information of the Preparer

Include the name and address of the individual or company preparing the Certificate of Formation. This name does not have to be any of the LLC members.

Step 3: Include the Registered Agent’s Information

Alabama LLC Registered Agent

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

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 name of the registered agent, their registered office address, and a mailing address should routine letters need to be sent to a different address.

Step 4: Certify LLC Membership

This section asks for certification regarding there being at least one member of the limited liability company.

Step 5: Select any Special LLC Designations

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

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 professions that are licensed in the state of Alabama such as accountants, doctors, lawyers, etc.

Step 6: Decide on the Effective Filing Date

Alabama LLC Effective Filing Date

Some will delay the effective date (starting date) of the LLC if they aren’t ready to start the business, but want the filing out of the way or if they are close to the end of a calendar year.

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 7: Add Additional Attachments

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

Step 8: Sign and Date the Certificate of Formation

Alabama Sign Certificate of Formation

Sign and date the Certificate of Formation

Step 9: File the Alabama Certificate of Formation

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 the Name Registration certificate.
2 – Either mail or drop off the original and two copies to the Recording Office of your county’s Judge of Probate office in the county where the LLC’s registered is or will be located. Do not send it to the Secretary of State.
3 – Include payment with two separate checks or money orders. The Secretary of State can be paid with a credit card form, but some counties will only take checks or money orders.
4 – Be sure to keep a copy for your records.

You’ve filed your Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation! Now what?

Within 7-10 business days after filing the Certificate of Formation, the LLC will be officially formed with the Secretary of State. With this filing out of the way, there are a few additional steps that will need to be taken care of. Below is a list of the most common tasks.

Prepare an Alabama LLC Operating Agreement

The operating agreement is an internal document that covers items like ownership rights, profit and loss distribution, member responsibilities, and more.

Alabama Business Statutes, § 10A-5A-1.08 states that an LLC Operating Agreement is optional.  Despite the Operating Agreement not being required, it is recommended to have one as it can help to prevent disputes among members and protect the LLC’s legal status.

Related: Alabama operating agreement

Obtain an EIN

The EIN or Employer Identification Number (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).

The EIN will be needed before filing business tax returns, opening a bank account, hiring employees, registering for business licenses and permits, and more.

Related: How to Apply for an EIN

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