How to Start a Small Business in Alabama

Alabama business owners can get a jump-start on getting their business off of the ground by working with Alabama’s Office of Small Business Advocacy, which can guide aspiring entrepreneurs through their small-business planning. Along with this resource, Alabama small business owners should consider the state’s requirements for businesses in the state. Alabama’s Department of Revenue and Secretary of State’s office can guide small business owners through the business-licensing process.

Register your small business with Alabama’s Secretary of State’s office. Complete an Application for Certificate of Existence to register your business in the state. Submit this form online or mail it to the Secretary of State’s office.

Alabama Secretary of State 100 N. Union St., Suite 770 Montgomery, AL 36130 334-242-5324

Register your small business’s trademark or service mark. Although Alabama does not require you to register your business name with the state, you can opt to register your trademark or service mark. Complete the Application to Register Trademark, Service Mark or Trade Name and submit it to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office.

Register your small business with the Alabama Department of Revenue. Acquire a privilege license through the Probate Judge in the county courthouse in the county where your business will operate. Your county’s Probate Judge will notify you of any additional municipal licenses that your business type requires. For example, automobile dealers require additional licenses. The privilege license renews annually on Sept. 30.

Obtain a federal Employment Identification Number through the Internal Revenue Service. The Alabama Department of Revenue requires all small businesses to obtain this number to file taxes in the state. Complete Form SS-4 and submit it to the IRS to obtain your business’s EIN.

Create an account with the Alabama Department of Revenue’s Business Tax Online Registration System. Provide your small business’s basic contact information, as well as the EIN you received from the IRS to register to pay taxes in the state of Alabama. State taxes that your business might have to pay include a sales tax, lodging tax, consumers use tax and utility excise tax.



About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.