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Everything You Need To Know About Obtaining Alabama Business Licenses

Are you preparing to open up your own small business in the state of Alabama? Starting a small business is an exciting time, but you may need certain special permits, licenses, or registrations before you can get things up and running. We’ve put together all the information you’ll want to check out as the first step on your path to beginning a new business.

Alabama Business License

Where To Find Information On Starting A Small Business In Alabama

Starting a New Business is the title of a very useful brochure published by the ADOR (or Alabama Department of Revenue). You can find the full 70-page document free to download on the website for the Alabama Department of Revenue. There’s a lot of great and useful information in this brochure, including what state agencies you need to register your business with and how to do so.

The SBA (or Small Business Administration) is a federal agency whose district office is located in Birmingham, Alabama. You can check the SBA Birmingham office website to see a list of news, events, and resources that may be of interest to small business owners. You can also download a resource guide specifically focused on small businesses.

If you need to know where to find funding or how to take your small business to the next level of growth, you should check in with the ASBDC (or Alabama Small Business Development Center). They have a website that provides various resources and a lot of information, including events where you can make important business connections and training where you can learn new skills essential to your small business. The Alabama Small Business Development Center has numerous locations spread all around the state. It’s also connected to a larger network that helps small businesses nationally.

How To Get Business Licenses In Alabama

Almost all businesses that operate in Alabama must have at least one business privilege license. “Business privilege license” is a term used in Alabama to refer to a wide variety of both local and statewide licenses. These licenses are active for a year-long period running from October 1 until September 30 of the following year. They must be reviewed and renewed every year. The requirements to renew your licenses annually essentially operates as a yearly state tax on your business. Each county has either a license commissioner or a special probate judge. You’ll apply to them directly for your licenses. If your small business operates across multiple counties, you’ll likely need to apply for a license in each of those counties. You can find a list of every county probate office in the state on the Alabama Department of Revenue website.

How To Properly File and Keep Records For Your Business

Once you’ve tracked down whatever permits or licenses are required, you may think you’re set. However, depending on what type of business you’re running, you may also need to file certain records with Alabama. Some types of businesses – especially LLCs (or limited liability companies) and corporations – are required to send organizational documents to Alabama’s secretary of state. For more information on what documents must be filed, or to help figure out if your small business has those requirements, you can look at the secretary of state website and look under the section titled Business Services.

How To Get A Professional License

Many specific occupations require a professional license issued by Alabama. You can discover a full list of licensing and regulatory boards for different occupations on the Alabama state website. Clicking through that specific profession will take you to websites devoted to the appropriate regulatory board.

How To Register Your A Trade Name

If you’re starting your first small business, you may not want to use your name to run the business. It’s common practice to register a business name for running your small business. This method is also important if you initially register your business under a specific name (the “actual name” or “registered name”) but later decide you’d like to do business with a different name. There are many terms used to refer to this second name. It can be called a DBA (which stands for “doing business as”), a trade-name, an assumed name, or a fictitious name. If you decide to use a trade-name in Alabama, you’re likely going to need to register that name with the secretary of state. The secretary of state’s website contains a Trademark area that can provide any information you might need related to these requirements.

How To Register A Trademark

Service marks, trade names, and trademarks are all separate legal issues that you may need to consider registering for your small business. Though they each have special definitions, they also serve a similar purpose: to set apart the unique services or products offered by your small business. A great trademark helps consumers set apart your business from any competitors. Alabama requires that all trademarks used by businesses operating within the state are registered. Keep in mind that this requirement is in addition to any federal or national trademark registration you might do. Check out the Trademarks area of the secretary of state’s website for more information.

Additional Resources