Alabama Business Entity Search is a system that lets people have easy access to publicly available information regarding business entities. This information is maintained and made available by the office of the Alabama Secretary of State.
The state has a very detailed search system that enables access to these records and to streamline searches. Entity search has various uses, including allowing businesses to view their filings and to file some documents.
This system is also very useful for those who intend to set up a business in Alabama. If you’re setting up an Alabama LLC or corporation, you’ll have to check if the chosen business name is available. Using the business entity search makes it easier to check if there are existing businesses with the same or confusingly similar names.
Accessing And Using Alabama Secretary Of State Business Search
Since the entity search is maintained by the secretary of state, it’s often called Alabama Secretary Of State Business Search. This is a fairly common terminology across all states because it is usually the Secretary of State who maintains the database. Although it should be noted, that it’s not true for all states, even if the terminology remains common (and sometimes incorrectly used).
Anyways, for Alabama, it is indeed the office of the SOS that maintains the business entity search. Alabama has a detailed search with a lot of options to deal with. The search and various options are available on the Government Records Inquiry System on the SOS website. Available options for Alabama business entity search are:
- Entity Name
- Entity Number
- Officer | Agent | Incorporator
- Month and Year
- Reservation | Registration by ID
Alabama LLC Lookup And Search Using Entity Name
The entity name search in Alabama is fairly expansive. The following functions and refinements are available for use with the search.
- Name – Enter name of entity to search. This incorporates various functions like search using the exact name of the entity, a partial name, or where the name “begins with” the chosen search term. It’s designed to be simple and the user only has to enter the name without choosing additional options.
- Type – It’s possible to choose a specific type of entity. This includes LLCs, corporations, associations, partnerships, and more. You can also choose whether the entity lookup focuses on domestic or foreign entities. Letting the type stay at “All Records” enables search through all entities.
- Place of Formation – You can choose a specific county in Alabama where the entity is registered. Alternatively, you can choose a state of registration, which is useful for foreign entities. Choosing “All Records” lets the search go through all entities.
- Principal City – Refine the search using the principal city for the business entity. You can leave this entry blank, if necessary.
- Status – Use this option to refine search based on the status of the entity. This includes several options, including limiting the search to whether the entity exists, canceled, consolidated, name reservation, previous name, etc. Choosing “All Records” makes it possible to search through all entities.
Business Entity Search By Entity ID
This is a straightforward option. Each business entity in Alabama has an entity ID. Entering the entity ID will provide you with an exact result corresponding to the search.
Business Entity Search By Agent | Officer | Incorporator
This option makes it possible to search for business entities depending on their association with a person or another business entity. This option looks for the Alabama registered agent, officer, incorporator, so the most intuitive choice is to enter a name. But it’s worth remembering that entities too may act as agents or incorporators.
Apart from entering the name, you can further refine the search by entering the “Place of Formation”. This option includes the counties in Alabama, other states, or other countries. Or, you could let it stay at “All Records”.
This search can have multiple results since the agent/ officer/ incorporator may represent multiple entities.
Month and Year For Alabama Business Entity Search
You can use the month and year of formation to be more specific with the entity search. The option also allows refining via “Place of Formation” to be more precise.
Search By Date
This makes it possible to refine entity search further by going to a specific date of formation. It’s also possible to use the “Place of Formation” option to be more precise.
Search By Reservation ID
Users can enter the Reservation ID to get the exact match corresponding to the ID. This is a straightforward option with an exact result.
Seeing The Results Page And Information
If the search leads to more than one result, you’ll see a results page with the entities listed there. The available information on this page is the Entity ID, Name, Type, Status, and City. Clicking on the Entity ID will take you to the details page of the specific entity.
The full page includes several aspects of information. These include the Entity ID, status, formation date, place of formation, principal address, registered address, and more.
In the next sections, you’ll find the annual reports and transactions. An option is also available for scanned documents and to purchase document copies.
How To Reserve A Business Name In Alabama?
Naming your company is the first official step to take in Alabama. A name reservation is useful in several ways. Finding a good and attractive name is difficult enough. So if you find a good name for your business, it makes perfect sense to reserve it so you can use it in the future.
The name reservation also gives you enough time to prepare to launch your Alabama LLC or another entity. Use this time well to prepare for your entrepreneurial aspirations.
Is It Mandatory To Reserve A Business Name In Alabama?
Yes, Alabama requires a name reservation before you can request the Certificate of Formation. Most states leave this as optional, but Alabama requires name reservation. Even if you’re prepared to start your business right away, you must have a name reserved before applying for a Certificate of Formation for your LLC.
How Long Does Name Reservation Last And What Does It Cost?
Once the Secretary of State accepts the name reservation request, the reservation is valid for a year. The cost for filing is $25 if done via postal mail, or $28 when submitted online.
Once the reservation period is over, you can file a Name Reservation Renewal Request to extend the reservation by another year. Renewal requests must be filed within 90 days of the reservation expiry. The cost of renewal is the same as that for reservation. However, both require different forms.
Filing A Business Name Reservation In Alabama
Business name reservations in Alabama can be filed online or via postal mail.
Alabama seems to prefer online filing and even suggests doing so in the filing instructions of the paper form. And it makes good sense, considering filing Name Reservation Online is both quick and easy.
If you’d still prefer to take the paper form route, the Name Reservation Request Form can be found on the Business Downloads section of the Secretary of State website. Once you’ve completed the form, it can be mailed along with the filing fee to:
Office of the Secretary of State
P.O. Box 5616
Montgomery, Alabama 36103
Online requests are processed almost immediately. Filings via post can take at least one business day after the form is received at the office.
Before filing a name reservation, be sure to do an Alabama business entity search to ensure that the name is available. Also, read up on the state’s statutes for naming to increase the chances of the filing being a success.