Creating a name for your business is the step when starting a corporation.
There are no legal requirements when naming your business, only that you include ‘Corporation’ or ‘Incorporated’ in its name. Make sure your business name is unique. The Alabama business name search tool is a great tool to confirm that your business name is not yet in use.
Before you file the Certificate of Formation, a name reservation must be filed to the Secretary of State. You may complete an online application for name reservation. There is also a fee of $10 for processing, or a fee of $25 for fast track processing.
Most states have you file your Corporation with the Secretary of State, but in Alabama you file a Certificate of Formation to the Judge Probate Court Office.
This can be done through mail and should be filed in the county where your corporation is going to do business. Make sure you attach a copy of the Business Name Reservation form when you file.
When your Certificate of Formation has been filed to the Probate Court, they will furnish you a stamped copy of your form. They will then forward the original documentations to the Secretary of State along with your $100 filing fee.
An Alabama Registered Agent is another requirement for your Corporation to be legally registered in the state.
Having an agent is important because they will be responsible for handing legal paperwork forwarded by the Secretary of State. Your Registered Agent needs to be a resident of the state, accessible within office hours, and reliable.
You may hire a Registered Agent at rate of up to $160/year, or get a Registered Agent free of charge when you form your Corporation with IncFile.
A Corporate Records Binder is an essential file manager to store all your legal paperwork for your newly formed Corporation. Inside the Binder you should store your registration documents, meeting notes, and other business documents.
A Corporate Records Binder with everything you will need can be ordered online.
When forming a Corporation in Alabama, at least three initial directors need to be elected to be able to incorporate.
These individuals can be elected by the incorporators. They will serve in your Alabama Corporation until the first annual shareholder’s meeting. The names of the initial directors will be recorded in the Corporate Records Binder.
Once elected, you and your directors nee to meet to discuss some important aspects to your Corporation.
By the end of this organizational meeting, remember to have the minutes of the meeting signed by each of the initial directors. If you need help meeting the requirements and organizing the decisions below, here is a good resource.
In addition to your tax obligations, you also need your business licenses registered to be legally compliant.
To figure out which licenses you will need for your Corporation, you can refer to our Alabama business licenses and regulations guide to ensure you do not miss a detail!
There are many options when opening a business bank account to keep your personal and Corporation finances separate. For a close up look at the top options, visit this quick roundup.
Remember by separating your business and personal account, you will drastically limit your personal liabilities when conducting business.
Now that you have followed the steps above, you are officially an Alabama Corporation! In addition to the previous steps, here are 3 additional steps that are considered best practice for starting a successful corporation. These are not required, but are highly recommended.
Your business plan serves as your company’s blueprint and will be used to attract investors.
Starting a business is expensive, and will likely require the help of investors. You can write a funding-ready business plan to get you the investors you need. Use the links below to get started.
When you start a Corporation, it’s important to have a business website. A website will give you a solid online presence and credibility. Thankfully you don’t have to be tech savvy to start a website, as platforms such as WordPress will walk you through the process.
Learn how to build a business website through this walkthrough guide.
Corporate bylaws outline the ground lines for operating your business.
Simply put, it establishes the rules and guidelines of how you do your business. Although you are not required to provide internal documentation during your incorporation, it helps to keep a Corporation bylaws to help outsiders see your legitimacy.
Useful Resource: If you need help creating custom Corporate bylaws, here is a great resource.
As this article should only be used for informational purposes only and serves only as a guide, we advise that you discuss with your lawyer intricate matters of forming an Alabama Corporation.