How to Apply for an LLC in Alabama (for Free)

In this article, we'll show you step-by-step how to apply for an LLC in Alabama by giving you links to all of the forms, with advice on how to save money by doing it yourself!

It's a lot easier to apply for an LLC in Alabama than you might think, and if you have the time to spend learning how to do it, you can avoid using a third-party service.

By free, we mean filing the application forms yourself without an LLC formation company. State filing fees may still apply.

Recommended Formation Service

Save hours of your valuable time by using a formation service to form your company.

It's hard to pick just one service that will be suitable for every business formation need.

However, in our experience, ZenBusiness offer the best and most reliable service for the majority of LLC and company formations.

ZenBusiness has a fantastic track record, and offers 100% error free LLC formation.

Try ZenBusiness Now →

Our product recommendations are made independently, but we may earn affiliate commissions if you use a link on this page.

How to Start an LLC in Alabama

As the world is becoming more and more digital, the process of applying for an LLC in Alabama is not as daunting as it once was.

That said, we are still talking about the U.S. government so there will be a fair amount of process and paperwork to complete.

Make you that you take the time to really read this article a couple of times to fully understand everything you need to do. Any mistakes can delay your application and your company will have to wait before you can start trading.

Do I Need to Apply for an LLC?

Applying for an LLC for your business is not a requirement, and you can start trading without one as a sole proprietor if you want to.

For most businesses, though, the Limited Liability Company (LLC) company entity provides a lot of benefits that will protect you.

The most obvious one is that you have liability protection (the clue is in the name Limited Liability) against business debts, lawsuits, or other unforeseen issues.

As an LLC, your personal assets would be protected against these events, where as a sole proprietor, you could potentially lose those assets in a lawsuit or as part of a debt repayment to creditors.

Another benefit down the road might be that you can purchase assets in the business, such as real estate, which keeps them separate from your personal assets. This allows you to reduce tax liability through investment.

The bottom line is that, while you don't need to form an LLC, it's very much advised for the protections and benefits it provides you.

Choosing your Alabama LLC Name

The first step when applying for an LLC is actually having something to name your LLC. To do this, you'll need to perform something called a "business entity search".

What this means is that you need to check whether or not the name you want to use for your Alabama LLC is available and not being used by another business.

Alabama Business Entity Search

Your registered name must end with the words Limited Liability Company or an abbreviation of these words (L.L.C. or LLC). You must obtain a Certificate of Name Reservation [10A-1-5.11] prior to filing the Application for Registration.

Click the button below to check your LLC name with the Alabama Secretary of State.

Check your LLC name Naming rules

LLC Name Designator

Once you have an LLC name for your business that you're sure isn't being used by anybody else, you need to pick a designator to be added to the end of it.

The rules vary by state, so to make sure you're covered by Alabama laws, the best option here is to pick something from the list below:

  • Your Company LLC
  • Your Company L.L.C.
  • Your Company LC
  • Your Company L.C.
  • Your Company Limited Liability Company

To ensure you fully follow Alabama state law, make sure the click the naming rules link above.

Make sure you do not use a designator that makes it look like your LLC is a different type of business entity. If you try to use designators like Inc, Incorporated, LP, LLP etc, your application will be rejected.

Alabama also requires a $28 name registration fee. See here for more details.

Choosing Your Registered Agent

When applying for an LLC in Alabama, you will need to have a Registered Agent listed on your Certification of Formation.

A Registered Agent is a person or company that is legally responsible for receiving legal and tax documents on behalf of your business.

Our recommended LLC formation services, Incfile and ZenBusiness, will provide you with a Registered Agent for your LLC. In most cases, this is free for the first year of service.

Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation

At this point, you're ready to actually file your Certificate of Formation form with the state of Alabama and get your LLC officially formed.

Let's take a look at the mandatory filing fees for applying for an LLC in Alabama, and the methods you can use to file your form.

Alabama LLC Filing Fees

The fees you will pay when applying for an LLC in Alabama are: Filing fee of $200 and Annual fee of $100 minimum.

The table below shows the primary state filing fees for applying for an LLC in Alabama.

Filing fee Renewal fee Renewal period (years)
$200 $100 1

The renewal fee will also include a minimum business privilege tax of $100.

Filing Methods for a Alabama LLC

The easiest and most popular way to apply for an LLC in Alabama is to file online.

When you file online in Alabama, your application will improved instantly.

File Online

You can file your LLC online with the Alabama Secretary of State. This is a great way to speed up the process and avoid any long waiting times.

Alternatively, you can save hours of your time by using a formation service like ZenBusiness.

Use ZenBusiness File online

Approval times for your LLC formation will vary depending on the state and the current workload of the Secretary of State. The above times are an estimate and are not guaranteed.

Creating your Alabama LLC Operating Agreement

An Operating Agreement is a legal document that sets out the rules and regulations for a business, including who owns it, how much each member owns, how profits are split, and more.

When you apply for an LLC in Alabama, an Operating Agreement is required as part of your application.

There are many free Operating Agreement templates you can use, and if you use an LLC formation service like Incfile or ZenBusiness, one will be provided for you.

Bottom line, you need an Operating Agreement to apply for an LLC in Alabama. You can use a template, or have one provided by an LLC formation service.

Apply for an EIN

At this point, you should have your new LLC formed in the state of Alabama. You can now apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business.

This is sometimes known as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), and it's what your business will use to file taxes with the IRS. You also need this EIN in order to open a bank account for your LLC.

To get your EIN in Alabama, you will need to complete an application with the state. This can be done either online, or by mailing in form SS-4 to the IRS.

Alabama EIN Application

You can apply for your EIN online with the IRS. This is a great way to speed up the process and avoid any long waiting times.

File EIN online

You can also apply for your EIN by mail with the IRS. This is the traditional way to apply for an EIN in Alabama.

File EIN by mail

Filing Your Annual Report in Alabama

Your LLC is required to file an annual report in Alabama every 1 year.

The deadline for the Alabama annual report is May 24.

How to Contact Alabama State Agencies

If you need to get in touch with any Alabama state agencies, for help with applying for your LLC, you can use the details below:

Alabama Department of Revenue

Address: Alabama Department of Revenue, P.O. Box 154, Montgomery, AL 36135-0001

Phone: (334) 242-1170

Hours: 8am to 5pm, Monday – Friday (Eastern), except holidays

Website: https://www.revenue.alabama.gov/

Alabama Secretary of State

Address: Business Entities Division, P.O. Box 5616, Montgomery, AL 36103-5616

Physical Address: RSA Plaza – Suite 580, 770 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104

Phone: (334) 242-5324

Website: https://www.sos.alabama.gov/

Email: [email protected]

You Successfully Applied for an LLC in Alabama

If you made it this far down the tutorial and followed all of the previous steps...

Congratulations! You successfully applied for your LLC in Alabama.

At this point, you are now completely ready to start trading through your shiny new company.

Hopefully this article has been able to help you make the application process as smooth and painless as possible.

If you need more help with your LLC (like choosing a Registered Agent), don't forget to check out ZenBusiness or Incfile.

These are the companies we recommend to our clients who need high-quality, easy-to-use business services from a reputable business with a solid track record.

Recommended Formation Service

Save hours of your valuable time by using a formation service to form your company.

It's hard to pick just one service that will be suitable for every business formation need.

However, in our experience, ZenBusiness offer the best and most reliable service for the majority of LLC and company formations.

ZenBusiness has a fantastic track record, and offers 100% error free LLC formation.

Try ZenBusiness Now →

Compare Alabama LLC Formation to Other States

If you are trying to decide between two states for your company formation, we have prepared side-by-side comparisons of each state to help you see, at a glance, which one might be best for your needs.