Starting a Business in Alabama Checklist

Check business name availability with the Secretary of State

To reserve a name for your Alabama business, first search to see if your desired business name is available. You can do a name search here:

You may also want to see if anyone is applying for and/or using your desired trademark by searching through trademarks here: Trademarks

Domestic Alabama corporations and LLCs have to reserve a business name with the Secretary of State before filing Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization. The name reservation will cost $25 plus a small fee if you file it online. The online option gets your name reserved instantly so you don’t have to wait! File online here:

Secretary of State

Alabama Secretary of State
Business Services
RSA Union Building
100 North Union Street
P.O. BOX 5616
Montgomery, AL 36103
P: (334) 242-7200
F: (334) 242-4993


File papers to create your legal business

Now mail in your paperwork to form your company! Make sure to include your name reservation, your original articles of incorporation or organization, and two copies of your articles. The filing fee is $100, but regular processing takes at least six months.

Who wants to wait that long to start doing business? We suggest paying the state’s $100 expedited processing fee to have your company formed in about two weeks. You also have to include an additional $50 (minimum) for the local probate judge.Send your paperwork to Office of the Probate Judge in the county where your business address is located. Alabama requires you to get a privilege license in the county or counties where you do business, which is why you have to send your articles to the probate in that county.

Mail to Local Probate Judge

For your convenience, the Secretary of State has a list of contact info for local probate judges:


If you want to learn more about the Alabama incorporation process or don’t want the hassle of filing the paperwork yourself, you can incorporate in Alabama with Northwest Registered Agent.

Register with the Department of Revenue

Most Alabama businesses will be subject to sales and use tax, unemployment tax, and income tax withholding. Additional taxes will depend on the type of business you have. You can register for the taxes that apply to your business using the online registration system on the Alabama Department of Revenue Website:

Income Tax:

The Alabama corporate income tax rate is 6.5%

The Alabama personal income tax rate is from 2% to 5%

Sales Tax:

Alabama has a general sales tax rate of 4%

Department of Revenue

Alabama Department of Revenue
50 North Ripley Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
P: (334) 242-1170

Get a business license

Alabama businesses are required to have an Alabama Privilege License from the Alabama Department of Revenue. The Privilege License is a state license, but you will get it from the county probate judge where your business is located. The Alabama Department of Revenue administers a variety of privilege licenses. Your business may need several types of business licenses depending on the goods or services you offer. Here’s some more information concerning licensing:

City and County Licensing:

Some Alabama cities and counties require other licenses in addition to the privilege license, so you always want to check with your local government.

Jefferson County:

You also need to have a Jefferson County Business License that you apply for separately from the privilege license. Many cities in Jefferson County, including Birmingham, require a city license. You can get a Birmingham business license at City Hall.

Madison County:

Your business may need a State License, a Madison County License, or a combination of the two depending on the goods or services you provide.
Most businesses located in Huntsville, AL need a city license from the Clerk-Treasurer Department, License Division.

Good luck on forming your business! By looking into the areas of business formation mentioned above, you will soon be well on your way to successfully conducting business in the state of Alabama.

Alabama Privilege License:

Alabama Department of Revenue
50 North Ripley Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
P: (334) 242-1170

Jefferson County License:

Revenue Department
A-100 North Annex
716 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North
Birmingham, AL 35203
P: (205) 325-5195

City of Birmingham License:

Office of the Tax and License (Revenue) Administration Division
First Floor, City Hall (Room TL-100)
710 North 20th Street
Birmingham, AL 35203

Madison County License:

Madison County License Department
Madison County Courthouse
100 North Side Square Rm 108
Huntsville AL 35801-4820
P: (256) 532-3323

City of Huntsville License:

City of Huntsville
308 Fountain Cir
Huntsville, AL 35801
256-427-5082 (General Business)
256-427-5331 (Contractors/Inspection/Zoning)

Collect and charge sales tax

If your business makes retail sales in Alabama, you need to collect state income tax.

What is the Alabama sales tax rate?

The Alabama sales tax rate is 4% on most sales, with some exceptions.

How do I register for Alabama sales tax?

You can register for Alabama sales tax using the online registration system on the Alabama Department of Revenue Website:
If you provide your email address when you register online, you will receive your account number within about three days. A license will be mailed to you as well.
You may also register by mail. Just fill out the Combined Registration Application Form. If you mail your application, it will take 8 to 14 days to get notification of your account number.

How much does an Alabama sales tax license cost?

There is no fee to register.


Alabama Department of Revenue

Central Registration Unit50 North Ripley Street
Montgomery, AL 36104

PO Box 327100
Montgomery, AL 36132-7100