This guide on how to start a Limited Liability Company in Alaska will take you through all the steps required for you to feel that your Alaska LLC is setup the right way. You can go through all these steps but I recommend using Northwest Registered Agent to set this up for you.
I also like reviewing what Alaska is known for and come up with the best business ideas based on that. The top business ideas I’d go with in Alaska are:
- Start a Glacier Touring Business
- Start a Northern Lights Touring Business
- Start a Fishing Expedition Business
- Start a Cruise Business
- Start a Blogging Business
Some of these are clearly going to take more effort than others but I love the blogging business because it can be done from anywhere no matter what state you’re in.
Once you’ve locked in on what type of business you’re going to setup, you will need to get the right business structure and business name.
Name Your Alaska LLC
There are Alaska LLC naming guidelines you’ll need to follow when setting up your business which are:
- The name must contain the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.”
- The name cannot imply that it is any other business entity type
- The name cannot be the same as any other business entity registered with the state
- Your LLC’s name must end with “Limited Liability Company” or “L.L.C.”
- You can reserve your LLC name with the state for 120 days by filing an Application for Reservation of Name with the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing. The filing fee is $25.
After you understand the rules in the LLC formation process, you will need to go to the Alaska Secretary of State’s office and do a business name search to determine if you can use that with the state.
The Alaska Secretary of State’s office business name search portal is here. If you find that your name is available to use the next thing I’d do is check with the USPTO office and determine if there is a trademark against the name you want to use.
There may be others throughout the country that are using that name in other states not just Alaska. It’s best to be safe so go over and check out the USPTO Trademark search portal and determine if you can use it or not.
After you’ve cleared your business name for use through all these avenues, I’d recommend making sure the other LLC owners are on board with using it. Once you’ve done that it’s time to go get a website address.
Get a Website Domain for Your STATE Limited Liability Company
I recommend you use GoDaddy for this because it’s the easiest way to get a website and use their website builder too. You’ll be able to conduct business online and whether you’re a single member LLC, multiple member LLC or just tryin to do this on your LLC’s behalf – you’ll need a website to build a real business. Even if you’re thinking about just having a physical street address for people to come in and purchase, having a web address gives you more clout and clarity to the market that you are for real.
After you’ve done all this, it’s time for you to get a registered agent setup for your business name.
Choose your registered agent
A registered agent or registered agent service is an individual or business entity that agrees to receive service of process (SOP) documents on behalf of your LLC. The SOP is basically any legal or official document that needs to be delivered to your company. This could be paperwork related to a lawsuit, state tax document, etc.
A registered agent must have a physical address in Alaska and be available during normal business hours to accept any SOP that is served.
You can be your own registered agent, however I recommend using a service because:
It’s an extra layer of protection between you and the public
You don’t want random people coming to your house or place of business
A service can receive SOP documents on your behalf even if you’re out of state
It’s a small yearly fee to have someone else worry about it
There are many registered agent services in Alaska, however I recommend using Northwest Registered Agent because they’re one of the most popular and reasonably priced.
If you’re going to have legal documents served to you, it’s important that you have a way of separating this from your personal assets and business assets. A registered agent is there specifically to make sure you’ve got a barrier between you and the public. If you’re looking for legal or tax advice that’s not a registered agent and they are not a government agency either.
You may find there are law firms in Alaska that can help you with this but typically the recommendation is to go find a professional service that has done this many times over.
Prepare and File Articles of Organization
After you’ve done your business name search, got a website domain and registered agent setup – it’s time to file your Articles of Organization with the state.
The Articles of Organization is a simple document that outlines:
- The LLC’s name and address
- The LLC’s purpose
- The names and addresses of the organizers
- The LLC’s registered agent
- The duration of the LLC (if not perpetual)
- Whether the LLC will be managed by members or managers
- The signature of the organizer
There is a filing fee of $250 to file your Articles of Organization with the state of Alaska.
You can do this online, by mail or in person.
To file online, you’ll need to create an online filing account with the state.
To file by mail, you’ll need to send the completed Articles of Organization form along with a check for the $250 filing fee made out to “Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development” to:
State of Alaska
P.O. Box 110800
Juneau, AK 99811-0800
To file in person, you can bring the completed Articles of Organization form and the $250 filing fee to:
State of Alaska
333 Willoughby Ave., 10th Floor
Juneau, AK 99801
Once you’ve filed your Articles of Organization, you’ll need to wait for the state to process your filing. This usually takes a few days.
After you’ve done this with the right Alaska department and you feel like you’ve filed the Alaska LLC articles of organization as requested, you can move into putting together an operating agreement.
Create an operating agreement
Operating agreements are my favorite part of this entire process. They aren’t an official step you have to take but it is imperative if you’re looking for personal asset protection through this process of setting up your sole proprietorship or if it’s an LLC with more than one member. It really doesn’t matter at the end of the day. The entire purpose of having an operating agreement is to make sure your business entity is protected and you understand what to do if something happens to one of the members of your business.
The typical items in an operating agreement are
- The LLC name and address
- The term of the LLC
- The names and addresses of the members
- A description of each member’s percentage ownership in the company
- The registered agent and office
- How the LLC will be managed (by members or managers)
- The rules for admitting new members
- Provisions for Dissolution
- The signature of each member
While you’re not required to have an operating agreement, it’s highly recommended. You can find plenty of templates for LLC operating agreements online or hire a business attorney to help you put one together.
As you work on building your Alaska LLC operating agreement and making sure you’ve covered everything you need to from business debts, business income and any business accounts you want to call out – you’ll be ready to move into the next step which helps you actually start to transact business.
Get an EIN
The next step is to get your employer identification number or EIN. This is a nine digit number that the Internal Revenue Service uses to identify your business. You’ll need this for opening bank accounts, filing taxes and hiring employees. You may also hear this as your Federal Tax Identification Number which is another fancy way of saying the same thing.
You can apply for your EIN online, by fax or by mail. To apply online, you’ll need to have a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
If you’re applying by fax, you can fax your completed SS-4 form to 267-941-1099. You should receive your EIN within four business days.
To apply by mail, you’ll need to complete and sign Form SS-4 and send it to the address listed on the form. You should receive your EIN within four weeks.
Now that you have your EIN, you’re ready to open a business bank account.
Open A Business Bank Account
I recommend using Lili as your banking solution. It’s an online and easy solution to getting up and running vs. going into a banking branch during regular business hours.
An Alaska Limited Liability Company needs a bank account too! You can’t just operate without having a way to separate personal tax returns, federal income tax, sales tax or think you can just combine it all.
You may even decide that part of your operating agreement needs to reference back to the banking info or possibly have your Alaska registered agent do this. It’s up to you but you do need to go get a bank account.
Get Small Business Insurance
I recommend you go to commercialinsurance.net to get your insurance quotes.
The typical type of insurance you’re going to need is:
Professional Liability Insurance
Product Liability Insurance
Commercial Property Insurance
Business Interruption Insurance
Commercial Auto Insurance
These are the main types of insurance you should consider. If your business is unique, you may need other types of insurance as well. But these will give you a solid foundation to start with.
Once you’ve done this and feel comfortable with the professional service you’re using to get quotes – we can go figure out what kind of Alaska Business License you’re going to need to actually operate.
Get a Business License
Business licenses can come in many shapes and sizes but typically you’ll need to review with the city and county you’re in what type of Alaska business license your’e going to need.
File an Annual Report
You will need to file an annual report with the state of Alaska each year. This can be done online and is typically due around June 30th.
There is a $50 filing fee.
The fastest and easiest way to file your annual report is online through the Corporations Database.
Pay Annual Taxes
If you will be hiring employees in Alaska, you’ll need to register with the state for unemployment insurance taxes. You can do this online.
You will also need to pay annual business license fees to the city or municipality in which your business is located. Contact your local government office for more information on how to do this.
How much does it cost to start an LLC in Alaska?
The filing fee for creating an LLC in Alaska is $250. You will also need to pay annual taxes and fees, which vary depending on the type of business you incorporate.
What is an LLC in Alaska?
An LLC in Alaska is a legal entity created by one or more individuals to protect their personal assets from liability for business debts and obligations.
How do I register an LLC in Alaska?
To register an LLC in Alaska, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the state Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing.
Does an LLC need a business license in Alaska?
An LLC may need a business license in Alaska, depending on the type of business you operate and the city or municipality in which your business is located.