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If you’re planning to start a small business in Alabama, you’ll need a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity who will receive important documentation regarding your LLC or corporation. Selecting a registered agent is one of the many decisions you’ll make as you establish your company in the Heart of Dixie.

For new entrepreneurs, the act of setting up a business, and filing the appropriate paperwork, can be daunting. To help, we’ll explain how to set up a business in Alabama, which includes selecting a registered agent.

What is an Alabama registered agent?

A registered agent is a person or business entity that will receive important documentation regarding your Alabama LLC or corporation. Important documents could include tax forms, legal documents, and a notice of a lawsuit known as service of process documents.

A registered agent is essentially an official point of contact who can be reached at any time on behalf of your company.

Read more:  What is a registered agent?

How does an owner select a registered agent in Alabama?

To select a registered agent for your Alabama business, you simply list that person or company on the Certificate of Formation.

Who can be a registered agent in Alabama? 

In addition to the business owner or LLC organizer, a registered agent can be a trusted friend, coworker, a neighboring company, or even a registered agent service.

In Alabama, a registered agent can be:

  • Has a physical address in the state, not a P.O. Box; and
  • Is available during the day to accept mail

Can I be my own registered agent in Alabama?

Yes. Alabama allows business owners to be their own registered agent. Many entrepreneurs do list themselves as the company’s registered agent. However, the state of Alabama lets several people serve as a registered agent, so there are choices.

Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service? 

Some entrepreneurs pick a registered agent service rather than tap a person to fill the role. There are some benefits to selecting a company, which includes:

  • Convenience. A registered agent must be available during normal business hours. For some entrepreneurs, this isn’t always possible. An entrepreneur who travels a lot or isn’t in the office regularly may opt for a registered agent service for convenience.
  • Managing companies in multiple states. If a company has several locations, having an agency be the registered agent ensures that nothing is missed. In some cases, you might be able to use the same registered agent service for multiple businesses.
  • Privacy. The documents that a registered agent receives are confidential, so some entrepreneurs want to make sure things like lawsuit filings are kept quiet.

Read more:  Best Registered Agent Services

How much does a registered agent service cost in Alabama?

Registered agent services charge an annual fee for their services. For basic services, which simply forward any official mail to your company, expect to pay around $50 or less. For more advanced services with mail forwarding, online accounts, and reminders regarding annual reports, prices hover around $100-250 annually.

List of Alabama registered agent services 

The State of Alabama has a list of registered agents on its website. While it doesn’t endorse any one company, there are about a dozen or so options on the list. Several choices include:

  • Northwest Registered Agent is one of the most recognized names in the registered agent business. The company has decades of experience and local offices scattered across the U.S. to serve small businesses like yours. The cost for a registered agent service is comparable to others. Business owners can also take advantage of additional services like report filing.
  • ZenBusiness is fairly new to the market, but it’s grown a strong following. Business owners love the affordable rates for a registered agent service, which are as low as $99 per year. The company also offers worry-free compliance to help business owners file the necessary reports on time.
  • Harbor Compliance is a great fit for organizations that register in multiple states and for those who don’t want to pay excessive service fees. With their network and electronic document delivery, they help ensure your business never misses a legal notification.

Alabama registered agent FAQs

Do I really need a registered agent in Alabama?

Alabama requires every LLC or corporation to list a registered agent. If a registered agent is not selected, your company won’t be in good standing with the state and could be subject to state fees or penalties.

Can a company change its registered agent?

Yes. A registered agent can be changed at any time. To do so, you need to file new paperwork with Alabama’s Department of Revenue. The form simply asks for the contact information of the newly appointed registered agent. The cost is $100.

What’s a statutory agent?

A statutory agent is another term for a registered agent. The names vary by state. You may have also heard of a service of a process agent, which is also the same as a registered agent.

What’s a commercial registered agent?

You might be asked if the appointed registered agent is commercial or non-commercial. A commercial registered agent is a registered agent service, a non-commercial agent is a person or company that holds the title that isn’t paid to do so.