How Much Does It Cost to Form a Corporation in Alabama?

Legal business registration — and maintaining business compliance — involves necessary expenses and investment. Some of these costs are payable to the Secretary of State, while others are due to additional state entities or the federal government. Here are some common requirements and fees.

Please note that fees for a permit or business license in Alabama may be due when you first form your business, on an ongoing schedule or on an ad hoc basis. Find more details below.

Initial Alabama Corporation Filing Fee

When setting up a corporation in Alabama, you’ll need to file a form and pay a filing fee. Here are the current Alabama corporation fees and filing times:

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$236 3 Weeks 2 Business Days
State Fee $236
State Filing Time 3 Weeks
Expedited Filing Time 2 Business Days

When you use Incfile to form a corporation in Alabama, we charge you the state filing fee and forward it to the Secretary of State when we file your incorporation paperwork.

Incfile can file your incorporation paperwork for you for free.

Just pay the required Alabama corporation filing fee.

Alabama allows you to incorporate more quickly by paying a rush fee

Employer Identification Number

Every corporation in the country should have a unique EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the Internal Revenue Service. You'll use it when you open a business bank account, file taxes and pay employees. You can get one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you.

Foreign Corporations

If you want to do business in a state other than the one where your business is based, you must create a Foreign Corporation.

Alabama Foreign Corporation Registration

Before you can bring an arm of your business from another state into Alabama, you must request Foreign Entity Registration in Alabama. This means the state gives you permission to conduct business there.

To request registration of an Alabama Foreign Corporation, you must complete an Application for Registration and pay a processing fee of $150. The state may have additional registration requirements, so contact the Secretary of State directly for more information and to ensure you're in compliance with state law.

Foreign Qualification to Operate in Another State

If you plan to expand your Alabama corporation into another state, you’ll first need Foreign Qualification or a Certificate of Authority from that state. This is necessary before you can create a physical presence, hire employees or bank in that state.

You'll likely have to complete at least one application and pay a filing fee, but each state has its own requirements. Before you start the process, compare state filing times and state filing fees so you can plan accordingly.

Above all, contact the state government entity that administers business (usually the Secretary of State) to confirm their requirements and for specific instructions.

If you need assistance, Incfile provides a complete Foreign Qualification service for all states.

Alabama Annual Report Requirements

Most states require business entities to file an annual (or other periodic) report. Alabama is a little different in that it combines the annual report with the Business Privilege Tax.

The Business Privilege Tax is considered a type of franchise tax, and you'll find more information about the necessary Alabama Department of Revenue forms and reporting requirements in the AL Business Privilege Tax section on the business taxes page of this guide.

Annual Report

Frequency

Annually

Due Date

Annual Year: April 15th Fiscal Year: 3½ months after beginning of tax year

Note

Schedule AL-CAR filed with Business Privilege Tax Return is accepted in lieu of a separate Annual Report. C Corps must file Form CPT. S Corps must file Form PPT.

Business Privilege Tax

$100
Incfile can complete and file your Annual Report on your behalf

Alabama Business Licenses and Permits

Before you start doing business, you must secure the necessary state, federal or local business licenses and permits to operate your corporation. Some of the fees will only need to be paid once, while others may be ongoing charges.

Permits and licenses vary based on:

1

The type of business you run (e.g., attorneys must pass the state bar exam)

2

The industry your corporation operates in (e.g., restaurants will need health permits)

3

The location of your corporation (state, county or city) (e.g., a license to conduct business in Montgomery)

Operating your corporation without the required business license in Alabama can leave you vulnerable to risks, such as fines from local, state and federal governments.

You can research these permits and licenses yourself, or use Incfile’s Business License Research Package, which includes:

  • A complete report on all the licenses, permits and tax registrations your corporation will need
  • The applications you'll need to file with the local, state and federal licensing authorities

Corporate Bylaws

Although you are legally required to have Alabama corporation bylaws, you are not required to file them with the state. Simply keep them at your corporation's primary place of business, adopt them and continue to follow them.

Bylaws will outline rules for carrying out tasks related to managing your corporation including, but not limited to:

  • the number of directors the corporation has
  • how they'll be elected, their qualifications and the lengths of their terms
  • when, where and how your board of directors can call and conduct meetings
  • voting requirements

The bylaws must then be adopted (and amended, if necessary) by the board of directors and shareholders.

Drafting a set of bylaws can be extremely beneficial in making sure you’re organized and can help protect your business from any future changes and events that may affect your business.

Other Alabama Corporation Filing Requirements and Fees

The State of Alabama requires you to complete a few more tasks before you can begin conducting business.

Appoint a Director

Some states require corporations to appoint a full board of directors. Alabama corporation law (Title 10A, Chapter 2A, Article 8) requires all corporations to have at least one director on the board of directors. A single person can be the president, secretary, sole director and sole shareholder.

Appoint Officers

In Alabama, the board of directors (or the single director) elects officers, such as the president, CEO, etc. Alabama corporation law requires corporations to have at least one officer who is responsible for maintaining and authenticating the records of the corporation. A single person can be the president, secretary, sole director and sole shareholder.

Issue Stock to Shareholders

To raise business capital and keep it separate from company owners' money, every corporation in the state must sell stock to its shareholders. The Certificate of Formation must authorize the sale of at least one share, and the corporation cannot sell more shares than are authorized.

Hold Annual General Meetings

This is one area where Alabama differs from other states. You may hold annual meetings, and it's generally a good idea to do so. But if you decide not to, Alabama business code Title 10A, Chapter 2A, Article 7, Subsection 1 states, "The failure to hold an annual meeting at the time stated in or fixed in accordance with a corporation's certificate of incorporation or bylaws does not affect the validity of any corporate action."

Get a Trade Name or DBA

If you want to register a DBA in Alabama (trade name), you must file a form with the Secretary of State and pay a filing fee of $30.

Incfile can file your Trade Name or DBA forms on your behalf

Change the Registered Agent

If your corporation is based in Alabama, then you must have a Registered Agent in Alabama. You'll need to appoint one when you file your Certificate of Formation. You can also change to a new Registered Agent later by filing a form and paying a fee of $100.

Let Incfile serve as your Registered Agent.

It’s free for the first year if you form your corporation with us and $119 a year after.

Reserving a Name for Your Corporation

If you're not quite ready to start your business, you can reserve a name for 365 days with the Secretary of State by filing a form and paying a fee of $25. First, conduct an Alabama corporation search and learn the state's business naming rules to ensure you choose a name that meets legal requirements.

Amending Facts About Your Corporation

When you incorporate, the Alabama Secretary of State forms you fill out include certain facts about your business at that time. Through the years, some or all of this information may change. If it does, you'll need to file an Amendment to Certification with the Secretary of State along with a filing fee of $100. You can do this yourself or Incfile can do it for you.

You'll need to file a Certificate of Amendment when you:

  • Change the company's name
  • Add, remove or change a director
  • Change the Registered Agent
  • Change the number of shares your corporation is authorized to issue
  • Change any other facet of your business that was listed on the original Certificate of Formation

Get a Certificate of Existence

Some organizations may request that you prove your corporation's compliance with laws and tax requirements. In most states, this proof is provided with a Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Status. In Alabama, it's called a Certificate of Existence.

If you need to prove you have met your commitments, you’ll need to request an Alabama Certificate of Existence from the Secretary of State. You can do this by filing a form and paying a processing fee of $25.

Incfile can obtain an Alabama Certificate of Existence on your behalf

The information listed above details many of the fees a standard corporation will be required to pay in Alabama. In some circumstances, there may be other one-off, periodic or ad hoc fees not listed above.

Of course, your corporation will also probably need to pay federal, state, self-employment (if it's an S Corp) and other taxes. You'll find more information on the Alabama taxes page.

FAQs About Alabama Incorporation Fees

What Happens to the State Fees I'm Charged When I Incorporate?

We charge you this fee at cost and then pay it to the Secretary of State on your behalf when forming your Alabama business.

Where Do I Get a Permit or Business License in Alabama?

It depends on various factors, including:

  • Governing organizations in your industry
  • Federal, state and local regulations
  • Where you're located
  • The type of business you run

Many new businesses need a business license, and you may be required to obtain additional licenses and permits. Our Business License Research Package can take the guesswork out of it for you and help you learn what your corporation needs to be compliant.

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