How to find a registered agent in Alabama

Alabama registered agent requirements

In order to become a registered agent in the state of Alabama, you must meet certain requirements. These differ depending on whether you plan to be your own registered agent or hire a service.

Being your own registered agent

You (the business owner) can legally be your own registered agent. You can also choose an employee to be your registered agent.

If you choose to go this route, be aware that you must be over the age of 18 and have a physical street address in the state of Alabama. If an employee is designated as your registered agent, they will have to meet the same criteria.

In order to be your own registered agent in the state of Alabama, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Be the right age. In Alabama, you must be over the age of 18 in order to be listed as your own registered agent.
  2. Have an address in the state of Alabama where you will be able to receive legal notices, service of process documents, and other important business mail.
  3. When filing your formation documents with the Alabama Secretary of State, list your own name when it asks for the name of your registered agent.

Hiring an Alabama registered agent service

If you decide to hire an Alabama registered agent service, which is also an option, they must meet several state-dictated registered agent requirements too.

That is, they must also have a mailing address in Alabama where they can receive business mail (not a P.O. box), and they must be available and open during normal business hours. Of course, they must also fulfill the main duty of accepting legal documents and other mail and notifications on your business’s behalf.

Recommended registered agent services

Northwest Registered Agent will scan all documents you receive for your business so that you can easily see them in your online account. There, you’ll have unlimited cloud storage as well as strong business data protection, and help from their friendly customer service staff when you need it. A yearly subscription for their registered agent services costs $125.

See the full Northwest review here.

ZenBusiness is one of the most popular registered agent services, and many say they’re the best. They can help you with the process of LLC formation while also becoming your registered agent, and the total fee is just $99 per year — a great price. ZenBusiness is known for its competitive pricing, excellent customer service, and easy-to-understand plans.

See the full ZenBusiness review here.

Incfile will include their registered agent services free for the first year when you purchase their LLC formation services. After that, you’ll pay $119 per year to keep them on as your registered agent. With Incfile, you can instantly see and access your business’s important documents and legal notices by using their convenient dashboard. So that you know instantly when your business receives new mail, you’ll also receive a direct SMS notification and an immediate email.

See the full Incfile review here.

Why you need a registered agent

A registered agent is an individual or business entity that acts on behalf of LLCs and other business corporations. Their main business services include receiving all business mail — including service of process notices, legal documents, tax documents, and more — on behalf of a business.

If you incorporate a business in the state of Alabama, you will be required to list a registered agent on your formation documents in order to remain in good standing. You may choose to be your own registered agent, or you may hire a company to represent you and receive business mail as your registered agent.

When you need a registered agent

All incorporated businesses need registered agents.

The LLC formation process is relatively straightforward for business owners in Alabama. It begins with naming your LLC (limited liability company). You’ll first need to perform a name search on the state’s website to be sure your business name is unique in the public record.

Once you have a business name for your Alabama LLC, you’ll then choose your registered agent and include all relevant agent information: the point of contact (agent’s name or name of the professional registered agent), the office address, and more.

At this point, you’ll be able to file your Certificate of Formation and create your Operating Agreement before finally obtaining your EIN (employer identification number).

Why use a registered agent service

Although it is free to be your own registered agent in Alabama, choosing to go with a professional registered agent service can be useful for a number of reasons.

You won’t have to field and file your own business mail.

Hiring a professional service means you won’t have to organize and file your own business mail and other legal documents. This gives you more time to focus on your business’s growth and improvement.

You’ll maintain business privacy.

Private business mail will be kept separate from your actual business. This is often good when legal notices need to be brought to your business by police officers — as is sometimes the case. Sending these notices to a separate private location keeps the police off your premises, which is preferred by most business owners.

Likewise, if you operate your business out of your home, having a separate registered agent address ensures that all business mail stays away from your home, and you can keep your home separate and private from your company.

You can ensure compliance.

In order to stay in good standing with the state of Alabama, you must remain in compliance with state and federal guidelines and regulations. A professional registered agent service will be sure to meet all of these guidelines and keep your business compliant.

You can easily travel without worrying about your business mail.

Some business owners may be reluctant to travel because they don’t want to miss any important business documents while they’re gone. A business owner who hires a professional registered agent, on the other hand, can travel freely and know that all of their business mail will be received and well-organized while they’re gone.

Furthermore, an increasing number of professional registered agents are uploading their clients’ mail to private online accounts for business owners. These accounts can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Alabama registered agent costs

If you plan on being your business’s own registered agent (or hiring an employee to do the job), there are no state fees or other payments that need to be made.

Hiring a professional registered agent, on the other hand, will cost an annual fee.

The overall cost of professional registered agent services will depend on multiple factors. Most of the time, however, an Alabama small business can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $300 per year for professional registered agent services.

In some cases, if you are also looking to organize and submit your new business’s formation documents with the Alabama Secretary of State, a professional registered agent service can help you do this too. In fact, they may combine your filing fee with your registered agent service fee in the first year. Keep in mind, however, that in subsequent years, you will likely have to pay more for your registered agent services.

How to change Alabama registered agent

If you would like to list a new registered agent on your Articles of Incorporation(Certificate of Formation), you’ll need to do the following:

  • Fill out a “Change of Registered Agent” form.

  • File it with the Business Services Division of the Alabama Secretary of State.

  • Pay the $25 filing fee.

If you wish to avoid doing this yourself, you can usually have your professional registered agent do it for you as well.

List of forms

The following is a list of links to forms and other relevant sites for use when incorporating your business in Alabama.

FAQs

Does Alabama require a registered agent?

If you have an Alabama business, then yes, every LLC in Alabama must have a designated registered agent listed on the formation documents they file with the Alabama Secretary of State.

Can you be your own registered agent for an LLC in Alabama?

Yes, in the state of Alabama, you are allowed to be your own registered agent as long as you are at least 18 years old and have a physical address in the state.

Registered agent vs resident agent — what’s the difference?

These two terms — registered agent and resident agent — mean basically the same thing. “Registered agent” is basically the newer term. Certain states like Michigan, Maryland, and Kansas still use the old term “resident agent,” however.

What is a statutory agent?

A statutory agent is another term for a registered agent or resident agent. They all mean roughly the same thing — a business entity or individual who can receive service of process documents, legal notices, and other business mail on a business’s behalf. 

What is a commercial registered agent?

A commercial registered agent is a regular registered agent. The only unique thing about a commercial registered agent in Alabama is that they have a Commercial Registered Agent Listing with the state.

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