U.S. flag An official website of the United States government.

Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites always use a .gov or .mil domain. Before sharing sensitive information online, make sure you’re on a .gov or .mil site by inspecting your browser's address (or "location") bar.


This site is also protected by an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate that's been signed by the U.S. government. The https:// means all transmitted data is encrypted  — in other words, any information or browsing history that you provide is transmitted securely.


Are you ready for lift off? This is where your planning turns into reality! A large bulk of groundwork will happen now that will prepare you for the start of your business. You will need to choose a location, a business structure and name, figure out all of your tax information, get all of your required licenses and permits, and get insurance. These steps are very important for the success of your business.

Choose a Location

Where you choose to locate your business determines many things about its structure. Location will have a big impact on taxes, zoning laws, and regulations for your particular business. This step is very important because there needs to be some strategic decision-making to choose the best option.

Structure & Name

Choosing your business structure will have a huge impact on how you operate your business. Structure helps determine what you will pay in taxes, how you will raise money, what paperwork you will need to file, as well as any personal liability. You will also need to pick a business name after gauging the market.

The Secretary of State’s Office partnered with Alabama Interactive to produce a short video highlighting our Online Business Services portal. The online portal makes it incredibly easy for businesses and other entities to submit their necessary filings without the assistance of third-parties.

With the passage of Act 2020-73, the Secretary of State’s Business Services Division was required to make many changes to the administration of business filings. These changes were aimed at streamlining and modernizing business fillings through the Secretary of State’s online portal in an effort to help citizens complete their filings. Since January 2021, 87% of all new business formations have been filed through the Secretary of State’s online portal.

Tax Information

Your new business will be liable for taxes depending on several factors. It is important that you obtain your EIN and Alabama Income Tax Withholding number. Take a look at the resources in this section to see if you will be responsible for collection sales tax, rental tax, use tax, as well as any other tax types.

License & Permits

You will most likely need a combination of licenses and permits to operate your business. Some will be federal, some state, and maybe even local. You can learn about those regulations and permits with the resources below.


Insurance is such an important part of running a business. You will want to protect yourself from unexpected costs. There’s no way of knowing when accidents, natural disasters, and lawsuits may happen, so shield yourself with the right insurance.