As a prospective business owner looking to start a business, Alaska offers many rewarding challenges. Many people have chosen incorporation or even sole proprietorship, but there are many benefits to organizing a Limited Liability Company or LLC. It has tax breaks not available to corporations and has protections built in as a limited liability. In Alaska, an LLC may be the best solution.

Getting Started

Getting started requires that the prospective business owner decides on the company’s name and selects the registered agent. After determining the name and agent, the prospective owner must file the articles of organization and pay the appropriate fee.

Naming the LLC

Choosing a name for the business will often set the expectations of the clients and customers. In order to have the State of Alaska accept the name, it must abide by a specific set of rules. Choose a name that is not already in use in Alaska and is not the name of a state or federal agency. Choose a name with an available domain name so that the domain name can be registered to the company. Follow the guidelines below.

Naming Guidelines in  Alaska

Naming guidelines for LLCs in Alaska:

  • Must contain the words “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.” in its name.
  • Must be a unique name not registered in the State of Alaska.
  •  Must not be a restricted word, unless the business falls under the specific category of regulated businesses, such as banks or medical offices. If the prospective owner or member of the LLC chooses a restricted word or words, or uses a title of licensed individuals, it will require additional paperwork.
  • Must not use prohibited words, such as the names of federal or state agencies.

Is the Name for the LLC Available in Alaska? (How To Search)

Before submitting a name, search for the name to find out if it is available in Alaska.  To do this, go to Alaska Business Search and enter the name.  If no name appears in the search, it may be available.

Is the domain name available?

Reserve the domain name now to ensure that the LLC has an appropriate website address. All companies should have an Internet presence and part of that presence is the domain name. Most registrars have search functions to ensure the domain name has not been taken.

Select a Registered/ Statutory Agent

The next step is selecting a registered/ statutory agent.

What is a Registered Agent?

The registered agent is the point of contact for the LLC where the State of Alaska can send official information to the LLC.

Who can be a Registered Agent in Alaska?

Only an Alaskan resident or a corporation authorized to operate in Alaska can be a registered agent.

File Articles of Organization

The Articles of Organization are called the Articles of Organization for a Domestic LLC in Alaska. The prospective owner must file the Articles of Organization for a Domestic LLC with the State of Alaska.  The prospective owner will fill out a form and submit it along with a fee.

Link to Download

The link to download the Certificate of Organization for Domestic LLC form is Certificate of Organization for Domestic LLC.

Fee

$250 USD (non-refundable).

Create Operating Agreement

The State of Alaska does not require the prospective owner to create an operating agreement to register an LLC.

Running Your Business

Getting Your EIN

What’s an EIN?

An EIN is an employee identification number, issued by the Internal Revenue service. Sometimes it is also called a Federal Tax Identification Number. It’s a unique number issued to each business.

You’ll need an EIN to

  1. Open a business bank account.
  2. File Federal and State Taxes
  3. Hire employees.

Before you get your EIN:

  1. Make sure your new business has been properly formed before applying.
  2. Be wary of paid sites. EINs are free direct from the IRS.

How do I get an EIN?

  1. Apply online: The easiest way is to apply online for an EIN. Note, the IRS website has office hours, and is only available Monday through Friday, 7am to 10pm. Yes, we also agree this is one of the most ridiculous things we’ve ever seen.
  2. Call: You can call 1-800-829-4933, between 7am to 7pm of your time zone, Monday to Friday.
  3. Snail Mail – You can download the form and mail it in.

Keep Business and Personal Accounts Separate

  1. Get a business bank account for your business. This will help you protect your personal assets from potential creditors and lawsuits, and will also make life A LOT easier come tax time.
  2. Get a business credit or debit card. This will help you keep your expenses separate and easier to track.

Accounting

No matter what business you run, accounting software and processes is a must for any small business. If you have an accountant, ask them which software they work with and recommend.

A good accounting system is necessary to:

  1. Track income and expenses, so you can easily see if you’re making money
  2. Makes filing income taxes so much easier.

Always try and find something that will:

  1. Sync with all of your bank and credit card accounts automatically – not just downloads, but auto sync.
  2. Automatch vendors, customers and other accounts.
  3. Let you accept credit cards and ach drafts with ease.

Selling Stuff?

You must check if you must file for a sales tax license if you are  planning on being a retailer in Alaska in a particular area. Businesses selling taxable goods or services need to check and possibly register at Sales Tax Registration.

Links to relevant taxes and what to do for Alaska

Businesses must register for applicable federal, state and local permits. See Permits for permits. Business owners must register their business for federal employees withholding tax and unemployment insurance tax, if there are employees.  Unemployment insurance tax information is available at Unemployment Insurance tax.

Insurance

All businesses should have insurance in the State of Alaska. The business must register for workers compensation insurance if there are any employees. Worker’s Compensation Insurance is at Worker’s Compensation. The business should also obtain general liability insurance.

Keeping Your LLC Compliant

Keep the LLC in good standing with the State of Alaska. To obtain a Certificate of Good Standing, the business can request it online at:Certificate of Good Standing.

Annual Report

Every year, the members or owners must file a biennial report with the Alaska Secretary of State to maintain in good standing in the State of Alaska.

Cost

No fee is required upon filing of the initial report. A $200 USD fee must be paid with each biennial report filing.

Links

Business owners may file the biennial report online at Biennial Report.

Deadlines

An initial report is due within six months of formation. Thereafter, a biennial report must be filed by January 2nd of every second year. LLCs formed in an even numbered year file a Biennial in January of every even numbered year. LLCs formed in an odd odd numbered file a Biennial Report in January of every odd numbered year.

How to File a Foreign LLC in Alaska

If a Foreign LLC wishes to do business in Alaska, they can file for a foreign LLC within Alaska.  For more information see: Foreign LLC . The cost of filing for a foreign LLC is $350 USD.