SOS to drop $100 expedited business fee


Beginning Jan. 1, Alabama business owners will no longer have to pay the additional $100 expedited processing fee when filing for a business electronically.

Since taking office in January 2015, Secretary of State John H. Merrill has prioritized expediting the filing process for businesses in Alabama.

Previously, it had taken up to seven months to file a business with the state. If a filing agent wished for their business to be filed on that same day, the agent would have to pay a $100 expedite fee in addition to the standard processing fee.

"After a series of assessments, Merrill recognized that this was completely unacceptable and a burden to the people of Alabama," a statement from his office said Monday. 

After various changes were made, this office has processed business filings on the same day they were submitted for more than three years and 19 weeks. Merrill stated, “This office no longer operates at the speed of government, we operate at the speed of business!”

Now, because every application is processed within 24 hours of being filed, it is no longer necessary for business owners to pay this additional fee when filing electronically. However, those who file by paper will still have the option to pay the $100 expedite fee.

Additionally, this law will remove the requirement for domestic for-profit corporations to file with the county in which they are to be formed. Rather, they will file directly with the Secretary of State's Office. 

“This law removes the red tape that once consumed the business filings process and provides businesses with the freedom and ability to thrive," Merrill said. "In order to best serve the business community, we must reduce the time in which Alabamians wait for approval from the state so that more time can be allotted to business development.”

His office works with counties to introduce online business filings. This process is currently available in Baldwin, Colbert, Elmore, Jackson, Madison, Montgomery, Morgan, and Tuscaloosa counties. This service is offered at no cost to Alabama’s 67 counties by the Secretary of State’s Office, which hopes for     successful implementation in all 67 counties by 2022.

Act 2019-94 takes effect Jan. 1. Afterward, all updates will be reflected on the forms provided by the Secretary of State’s website.