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Secretary of State announces milestone for speed of business filings


The Secretary of State’s Office announced Wednesday that corporate filings in the office’s business services area have been processed on the same day they are received for at least 100 consecutive weeks, marking a milestone that Secretary John Merrill says shows his office is “moving at the speed of business.”

Over the past several years, Merrill directed his team to take significant restructuring and reorganization steps to give his staff in that division the ability to process business formation documents quickly. The goal was for those documents to be processed on the same day.

Soon, it will be two consecutive years that the office has been processing paperwork on the same day.

The Secretary of State’s Office effectively eliminated long wait times for businesses with less staff

A few years ago, it could take the business division at the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office seven to nine months to update business filings, Merrill said.

“That was shocking and unacceptable to the people of Alabama and something that I knew needed attention, structure and accountability,” he said. “Through the implementation of common sense measures, and the removal of team members that were not willing and able to contribute to the team’s overall goal, we have rebuilt the business services team and processes into one that no longer moves at the speed of government, we are now moving at the speed of business.”

The Secretary of State’s Office receives all business filings in the state of Alabama.

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Alabama state law requires the state to record these filings and for them to be made available to the public for inspection. Under the same law, a fee is charged for the filings, but it also empowers the secretary of state to charge an additional $100 fee to expedite the filings process.

Merrill said that fee is no longer necessary because filings are handled so quickly now.

Merrill this week also announced a new online filing system to allow businesses to complete the registration process without having to leave their office.

Secretary of State to allow online filing of business formation

Baldwin County and Jackson County are the only two counties that have implemented this program, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. The online filing system is completely free for any county that agrees to participate, and Merrill said more will sign up soon.

“Taking this service online provides additional access and resources to the people of Alabama and allows small business owners to focus on the important things that come with starting or managing a small business,” Merrill said. “This will continue to help move Alabama forward allowing for the expeditious creation of jobs and overall improvements in the life of all Alabamians, through the removal of inefficient bureaucratic red tape.”


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Chip Brownlee is a former political reporter, online content manager and webmaster at the Alabama Political Reporter. He is now a reporter at The Trace, a non-profit newsroom covering guns in America.

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