An Alabama registered agent is either a person or a company that has been legally appointed on behalf of another business to accept service of legal documents in the event that business is sued. The agent also receives notices and official mail sent to the business in Alabama on behalf of the business. This can include tax documents and annual report notices in addition to documents related to litigation.

Any LLC or corporation that conducts business in Alabama is required by the state to have a local registered agent. The registered agent is the reliable point of contact for the state courts and the Secretary of State.

Are You Required to Hire a Registered Agent in Alabama?

You are not required to hire a separate agent in Alabama. In fact, many small business owners are their own registered agents. However, it can make your life simpler to have a separate registered agent because they will keep your legal documents stored in one place, in a secure online account, and then send you notifications when action from you is required. This reduces the amount of paperwork you have to deal with and allows you to retain focus on your business.

One disadvantage of not hiring an agent is you will likely have to list your home address as the point of contact, which can subject you to more junk mail and solicitors. Your privacy could also be compromised, subjecting you to data hackers and spammers who scrape the Secretary of State's website. This is a concern with online businesses who maintain no physical address, as this means your personal address is the point of contact unless you opt to hire a registered agent. Otherwise, anyone who searches for your business on the Secretary of State's website in Alabama will be able to see your real name and address.

Requirements to be an Alabama Registered Agent

Alabama State Code Section 10-2B-5.01 mandates the requirements to be a registered agent in the state. Criteria include:

  • They must have a physical address in Alabama where they will accept and receive service of process, like a lawsuit;
  • They must be open and available during regular business hours; and
  • They must accept documents on behalf of the business and ensure they are delivered promptly.

Commercial Registered Agent

A company that specializes in receiving service of process on behalf of your Alabama LLC is known as a commercial registered agent. Fees are typically between $100 and $300 per year. If there is an issue reaching your LLC's registered agent about a lawsuit after several attempts, the case may proceed in your absence which could result in a default judgment. If the state cannot reach your LLC's agent, you could lose your good standing status, and the Alabama Secretary of State could dissolve your LLC entirely.

Hiring a commercial agent can alleviate these issues and allow you some peace of mind and allow you to take vacations or move without having to change your address. Many commercial registered agents will also assist to keep your LLC in full compliance by sending you a reminder about the annual report due dates.

Steps to be Your Own Registered Agent

If you already have a business in Alabama and want to become your own registered agent, you start by filing a change of registered agent form. This is called the Change of Registered Agent or Registered Office by Entity, and it can be downloaded from the Secretary of State's website. You will need to fill in the prior registered agent's information and then list yourself as the new one. Other steps include:

  • You will need to list your own street address as the registered office, but you can also list a mailing address if you have one that is different from your physical street address.
  • Sign the form showing you are the new registered agent on behalf of your business.
  • Then you will need to mail two copies of the form and the current $25 filing fee. You can also fax or e-mail the change of registered agent form.

Once the form is filed with the Secretary of State, your registered agent office address becomes public information and will be the address where all official mail and service of process are sent.

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