How to Start a Business in Alaska Checklist
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How to Start a Business in Alaska:
When starting a business in Alaska, there are several steps you need to complete, but most of them can be completed from just two platforms: the State of Alaska's Department of Commerce website and the Alaska Department of Revenue's Tax Division website. New business owners should be aware that they will need a state business license as well as several industry-specific tax permits.
Form your business.
Review Alaska formation options.
Alaska offers four basic ways of forming your business. Review these closely and pick the one that fits your business best.
Name your business.
Once you have chosen a name for your business, do an Alaska business search to see if your chosen name is already in use. If your chosen name is available, you can register with the Alaskan government.
If you need help finding a business name, be sure to check out NameSnack's free business name generator.
Ensure that your business name complies with Alaskan naming rules. Unincorporated businesses may not use "incorporated" or "corporation" in their names and incorporated businesses may not use "corporation," "company," "incorporation," or "limited" as part of the name or as an abbreviation.
Read the full list of naming regulations on the Alaskan government's website.
Find your Business Name Reservation/Registration online filing links here.
You can reserve your business name online while you are preparing to start your business. Reservation is valid for 120 days and costs a non-refundable fee of $25.00.
Registering a business name for most business types is done automatically when filing Articles of Incorporation/Organization. However, sole proprietorships should use the online filing link above and register their business name for $25.00.
Get an Employer Identification Number.
Nearly all businesses will need to register for federal taxes by applying for an Employer Identification Number.
Register your business in Alaska.
Registering your business can be done through the Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing, but there are different processes for each business type.
Sole proprietorships are registered by registering their business name for $25.00.
For other business types, you will need to determine your line of business and obtain your NAICS code before you can register. NAICS stands for North American Industry Classification System and was developed by the U.S. Census Bureau to classify businesses according to their line of business.
You can view all of the State of Alaska's NAICS codes here.
LLCs can be registered by filing Articles of Organization online and paying the $250.00 registration fee.
Corporations can be registered by filing Articles of Incorporation online and paying the $250.00 filing fee.
Limited partnerships can be registered by submitting a Certificate of Limited Partnership via fax or mail with the $150.00 filing fee.
A full list of business entities with their registration forms can be found here.
Obtain the necessary permits and licenses.
A regular business license will cost you $50.00 per year and must be renewed once a year. Also, depending on your line of business, and your city or county, you may need to obtain special permits and licenses to operate. Refer to alaska.gov or contact your local municipality for more information.
Review the information on the Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing's website before starting your application for a business license.
Fill out the online application form and click continue.
If you are in a professional field, you can view your professional licensing requirements here by clicking on your industry in the dropdown menu.
Businesses that involve monitored acitivities, such as fishing or selling tobacco products, can view their licensing and permit requirements here.
For city, municipality, and zoning licenses and permits, contact your local office or check on municode, if possible.
Register your business for taxes.
Familiarize yourself with your tax obligations.
Unlike many other states, Alaska does not have a franchise or privilege tax that is applicable to businesses. They also do not have a personal income tax.
Sole proprietorships and partnerships typically only pay federal taxes on their business income, while LLCs must file biennial reports with the CBPL. Corporations, on the other hand, must pay a corporation income tax in addition to federal tax and biennial reports.
Learn more about Alaska's taxes on the Department of Revenue's Tax Division website.
Register for industry-specific state taxes.
Businesses operating in Alaska are required to register for specific ID numbers, licenses, and permits for different tax purposes, depending on their industry type. This generally includes sales and use tax, income withholding, and unemployment insurance.
Go to the Alaska Department of Revenue's tax types page.
Select the type tax appropriate to your industry from their available list and carefully read through the information provided.
Report new hires.
All newly hired and rehired employees must be reported to the Alaska Department of Revenue within 20 days of their hiring date.
Go to the myAlaska portal and click on "Register for a myAlaska Account."
Follow the instructions and complete your registration before signing into myAlaska.
Click on "View Your Services" and scroll down to "Submit employee hirings to CSSD."
Report or upload your new hires directly to the CSSD.
If you have employees, by law you are responsible for providing them with workers' compensation, as well as unemployment and disability insurance.
Workers' compensation insurance and unemployment insurance are both handled by the Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
Put up mandatory posters and notices.
All Alaskan businesses must display federal and state labor law posters on their premises. You can download and print these posters for free from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Division website.
Alaska Business Types:
1. Limited Liability Company (LLC).
LLCs are the most popular business structures as they allow business owners to avoid double taxation while still providing them with personal liability protection. LLCs with two or more members can choose to be treated as a partnership or as a corporation while single-member LLCs can choose to be taxed as a sole proprietor or as a corporation.
C-corporations and S-corporations have shareholders who share in the profits and losses. S-corporations have up to 100 shareholders along with a board of directors and corporate officers. They also don't have to pay corporate taxes as profits and losses are reported in the shareholders' personal tax returns.
C-corporations, on the other hand, are not limited in the number of shareholders they can have but they face double taxation: both the business and the shareholders must pay taxes.
3. Sole proprietorship.
Alaskan sole proprietorships do not require a formal business structure or paperwork and also does not provide the business owner with any legal protection. They are usually owned and operated by a single person, running the business under their own name. Sole proprietorships are encouraged to register their business name with the Alaskan government.
4. General and limited partnership.
In Alaska, general partnerships are legally identical to sole proprietorships but are made up of two or more people. As with sole proprietorships, general partnerships are not required to file any legal forms with the Alaskan government but are encouraged to file a Business Name Registration.
Limited partnerships, on the other hand, are required to file a Certificate of Limited Partnership with the Alaskan government. In tax terms, limited partnerships are similar to general partnerships as both general and limited partners share profits and losses on their income tax returns. However, limited partnerships are also required to file an annual informational return with the Alaskan Department of Revenue.
Filing Fees for Starting a Business in Alaska:
Filing articles of organization
Filing articles of incorporation
Filing a certificate of limited partnership
How much does it cost to register a business in Alaska?
It costs $50.00 for an Alaskan business license and $250.00 to start an LLC. Articles of incorporation for starting a corporation also cost $250.00, while a certificate of limited partnership costs $150.00.
What permits do I need to start a business in Alaska?
All Alaskan businesses need a state business license to legally operate their business. In addition, depending on your line of business and your city or county, you may need to obtain special permits and licenses to operate. Refer to alaska.gov or contact your local municipality for more information.
Is Alaska a good place to start a business?
Alaska is a business-friendly state that welcomes small business owners and entrepreneurs. The fact that there is no individual income tax or state sales tax is a great advantage, plus the vast number of small businesses is a good indication that you can make a decent living in the Last Frontier.
How much does it cost to get a business license in Alaska?
An Alaskan business license costs $50.00 per year. For more information, refer to the Alaska Small Business Development Center.
How do I get a business license in Alaska?
You can apply for a business license and permits via post or online by filling out the Business License New Application form on the state commerce website.
How do I start an LLC in Alaska?
You can form an LLC in Alaska by filing Articles of Organization with the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. The processing time is 10 to 15 business days.
How do I start a corporation in Alaska?
In order to start a corporation in Alaska, you need to file Articles of Incorporation with the State of Alaska Corporations Section. You can file the document online or by mail and it will cost $250.00 to file. Once this has been filed with the state, that document officially creates your Alaska corporation.
Do you get money for moving to Alaska?
Yes. The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) ensures that eligible Alaskans are paid an annual dividend from state mineral royalties. Residents are required to apply to receive their PFD amount. For more information about the PFD fund and eligibility requirements, visit pfd.alaska.gov.
How can I start a business in Juneau, AK?
- Create a business plan.
- Secure financing.
- Create a legal entity.
- Get a Federal Tax ID.
- Obtain applicable state licenses and permits.
- Find office/retail space.
- Purchase insurance.
- Hire employees.
- Develop business relationships.
- Brand and advertise.