Alabama Business Entity Search – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

Alabama is home to more than 408,300 small businesses that employ over 800,000 people. With so many companies, the Secretary of State wants to make sure that each is operating under its own unique name. To do this, you must complete a name search before registering your business with the Secretary of State. The search is free to run via the Secretary of State’s website.

What Is a Business Entity?

A business entity is a business structure. You register a company under a specific structure to be authorized to conduct business in the state and receive certain limitations of liability and must follow certain tax rules. Common business entities are corporations or limited liability companies (LLCs).

Starting a Business in Alabama

There are a few simple steps to starting a business in Alabama. Just remember that even though establishing the entity to run a business under is easy, you’ll spend a lot of time developing and growing your new business.

To start a business, you must first choose the business entity you wish to work under. A corporation limits liability but is taxed as an entity. An LLC, on the other hand, limits liability as well but can pass revenues on to the members for tax purposes or can elect to be taxed as a corporation. Check with your accountant to see what the best course of action is for your business.

Once you know the entity type you want, you’ll select a name, reserve the name and register the business. Registration is done with the Secretary of State. Check out the business services page on their website to obtain and file the correct forms.


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Forming an LLC in Alabama

Starting a new LLC in Alabama is easy. You’ll follow the same steps that you would to start any other business in the state. The entity is the LLC structure. From there, select a name and be sure it is unique by doing a name search. File a Name Reservation Request to reserve the name and pay the $25 filing fee. Then file the Domestic LLC Certificate of Formation and pay the $200 processing fee. Mail the form to:

Alabama Secretary of State
Business Services
P.O. Box 5616
Montgomery, Alabama 36103-5616

Search by Name

When starting a new entity, you want to be sure that no other company shares the name that you intend to use. This is why you do a name search with the Secretary of State. Go to the Secretary of State website and choose “Entity Name.” A new page will populate, allowing you to type in the name you wish to search. We did a sample search for “Dave’s Subs.” No results appeared, which means this name is available to use by a new business.

Search by Business ID Entity Number

You can also conduct a search by your business entity number. You may do this if you are trying to see if your registered business is up to date on all of its filings and fees. Select “Entity Number” from the menu. A new page will appear, allowing you to enter the entity number in a search box. When the company name appears, select it to view the public information about that business.

Search by Registered Agent Name

A registered agent is a person named by the company to receive legal documents on behalf of the company. It is a requirement for all registered businesses. You can search by the registered agent’s name if you wish. This will list all the companies that the registered agent is assigned to. Choose search by officer, agent or incorporator from the same Secretary of State search page. A new page will appear with a box to enter the name. Once you hit search, the registered agent’s name will appear, and you can select that to see the businesses that the person is a registered agent for.

Search By Incorporator

To search by incorporator, you will use the same search field as searching by registered agent. Enter the name of the incorporator into the field and hit search. The result will generate a list of names. Select the name to see what companies the registrant has started.

Other Search Options

You can also search by the month and year of the filing, the date of the filing or the reservation ID. This could be useful if you want to see which businesses registered on a specific date or only have a reservation number.

Bottom Line

Searching for a business entity is a public record and free to do in Alabama via the Secretary of State’s website. You can search multiple ways depending on the information that you have and why you’re searching. Remember that Alabama doesn’t allow two businesses to have the same name to avoid confusion among consumers.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I find out if a business is registered in Alabama?

To find out if a business is registered in Alabama, you’ll conduct a name search for the business on the Secretary of State’s website.

How do I find out who owns a business in Alabama?

Do a business name search to find out who owns a business in Alabama. This is done on the Secretary of State’s website. Once the name appears in the search results, select it to see who owns the business.

Do I need a business license in Alabama if I have an LLC?

The LLC is simply the registration of the entity. An LLC will still need to obtain the proper business license in the city and county it operates in. Licenses include business privilege licenses, business tax registration and specialty licenses. Additional licenses are required for specific professions and business types as well.