Get the fastest Alaska Corporation formation online with worry-free services and support to start your business
Starts at $49 + state fees and only takes 5-10 minutes
Forming a corporation can be exciting, but it also requires following the appropriate steps. While the process can certainly be done on your own, many business owners partner with a trusted resource, like ZenBusiness, to offer guidance and assistance during the corporation setup process.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about forming an Alaska corporation, offering key insights and tips along the way.
To start a corporation in Alaska, you must file the Articles of Incorporation with your state’s Secretary of State office. To simplify the process of forming a corporation in Alaska, we’ve put together 10 easy steps for you to form your business:
Naming your corporation is the first step you’ll take to form your company officially. You might have a name in mind or several ideas swirling around in your head. We recommend writing down any names you or your partners are interested in pursuing, so you can run them through the next step.
Once you have your list, it’s time to see if your business name options are available. In Alaska, your corporation name should be distinguishable from other corporations. This means you’ll want to perform a quick search to ensure no other Alaska company has already secured your name.
You can do this by searching the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development corporation database. Keep in mind that corporations in Alaska cannot contain certain words such as “city,” “village,” or “borough” and should not contain offensive words according to Alaska Corporation Statutes and Regulations.
After you find an available name that you and your partners have agreed upon, it’s time to add a corporation designator to the end of your name. This designator can be “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company,” or “Limited.” You can also opt for abbreviations of these four words. For example, “Last Frontier Fishing” could become “Last Frontier Fishing, Corp.” or “Last Frontier Fishing, Incorporated.”
Now that you have your official corporation name chosen, you can reserve it if you wish, so no one else takes it before you’re ready to register officially. You’ll visit the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing website to reserve your name. You can reserve your corporation name directly online for $25. Once reserved, your corporation name will be held for 120 days. If you need to extend this reservation, you can do so twice, for an additional $25 per renewal.
Here are some other factors to consider once you have your corporation name:
If you intend to do business under another name, you may want to secure a DBA (“doing business as”) name, often referred to as a trade name or assumed name. You can easily handle this online with the Alaska Secretary of State’s website by filing for a new business license for your trade name. We’ll cover business license questions later in this guide, so stay tuned if you have questions.
Next, you’ll want to consider trademarking your name. For broader protection — especially if you plan on doing business outside of Alaska — you can register any trademarks on the federal level, but you’ll need to conduct a quick search using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database to see if your name is already federally trademarked. It’s often easier and quicker to file for a trademark on the state level. If no trademarks exist for your business name, you can register a state trademark for $50 through the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing. You’ll need to file a hard copy to:
State Office Building
333 Willoughby Avenue, 9th Floor
P.O. Box 110806
Juneau, AK 99811-0806
The next step you’ll take is appointing directors to your corporation. You’ll need to specify at least one director (by Alaska law) to oversee your corporation’s interests. Your director(s) will help manage the corporation and must act in the best interest of the company and the shareholders.
Some states have requirements on who can serve as a director, but Alaska does not have any restrictions. You’ll need to have at least one director selected before you can file your Articles of Incorporation, although you do not have to specify your director(s).
You’ll also need to specify an incorporator, who will serve as the person to sign the Articles of Incorporation. An incorporator can also be a director in Alaska but does not have to be. An owner in the company will typically serve as the incorporator.
Now that you have a corporation name, an incorporator, and directors, you’re ready to select an Alaska registered agent. Your registered agent will serve as a third party between your corporation and the Alaska Secretary of State’s office, receiving important paperwork and communications on your behalf. You must designate a registered agent to register your corporation with the state of Alaska.
The registered agent must be an individual resident of Alaska or a corporation authorized to transact business in Alaska. To become a registered agent in Alaska, you must have a primary operating address within the state and be available between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to receive sensitive documents in person. You cannot use a P.O. box as your registered agent’s operating address.
While you (or a director in your corporation) can act as your company’s registered agent, you might want to work with an outside party. Although it’s legal to serve as your own registered agent, partnering with an outside agent service has its benefits. A few to consider include:
Once you’ve selected a registered agent, you’re ready to file your Articles of Incorporation. This document legitimizes your business with the state of Alaska and allows the government to officially recognize you as a corporation, so you can begin handling business.
If you are forming your business in Alaska, you’ll file as a domestic corporation (standard). If you already have a corporation that was formed outside Alaska and now want to register to do business in Alaska, you’ll file as a foreign corporation (less typical).
There is a $250 filing fee ($350 for foreign corporations), which can be paid online or via the mail. Filing online will ensure fast authorization while filing via mail can take 10 to 15 days (or longer, depending on the time of year you file).
You can mail payments to:
State of Alaska
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development
Division of Corporations
Business and Professional Licensing
P.O. Box 110806Juneau, AK 99811
Please note that as of June 2020, Alaska has waived “almost all Corporations fees” and “almost all business licensing fees” due to COVID-19 through Nov. 15, 2020, or “at the expiration of the disaster declaration, whichever is sooner.” That includes the $250 fee for filing your Articles of Incorporation. Check the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development website for updates before filing.
Next, you’ll want to hold a meeting with all shareholders, directors, and the incorporator. Here, you should discuss how your company will be run, set up shareholder rules and regulations, and denote any additional operational agreements or clauses. This discussion should be put into writing when finalizing your corporation’s bylaws.
While Alaska does not legally require corporations to have bylaws, this important document can help you secure business bank accounts and loans. You’ll also want to set up a corporate records book to keep all of your corporation’s important papers together, such as the minutes of director or shareholder meetings, stock certificates, and stock certificate stubs.
Another contract you’ll want to create is a shareholder agreement. This document will contain the rules and regulations that exist between the company and its shareholders. A shareholder agreement helps ensure that shareholders are treated fairly and that their rights are protected. This is a private document that can only be accessed by the parties involved.
Your shareholder agreement should fall in line with your company bylaws and cover additional topics, such as shareholder rights and obligations, voting structures, financial regulations, and terms of adding or removing shareholders. Every shareholder must sign and agree to this document.
Next, it’s time to issue shares of stock for your company. This is a requirement and requires company oversight. When filling out your Articles of Incorporation, you noted the number of shares authorized by your company. You’ll want to make sure you issue shares at or below this amount.
To get started with issuing stocks, you’ll need capital (or funding). It’s important to understand how much capital you need to get started. From there, you can divide this amount across the available number of shares you’ll issue.
You can choose to issue your company’s shares privately or publicly. If you opt for private stock, the shares are typically dispersed across the company’s founders, shareholders, or investors, while anyone in the marketplace can purchase public stock.
Shares can only be issued one time and must be indicated on your biennial reporting. Once issued, shares can be sold or traded.
If you choose to issue public stocks, you’re required by Alaska law to file quarterly statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These filings will keep track of how many stocks are being issued and the parties who purchase them. You can file this form online or via the mail.
Next, it’s time to apply for a general business license. Just about every corporation in Alaska must apply for a business license before engaging in business activity. You can apply for a business license online or via mail.
To obtain your corporation’s license, you’ll need to fill out the business license application denoting your corporation name, operating address, phone number, license term, and type of company (corporation). You’ll also need to provide the NAICS code you provided in your Articles of Incorporation.
There is a $50 filing fee to obtain your state license each year. (Note that due to the current pandemic, fees are suspended through Nov. 15, 2020, or when the disaster declaration expires, whichever is sooner.)
If you choose to mail your application, you’ll send it to the below address:
State of Alaska
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development
Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing
P.O. Box 110806
Juneau, AK 99811
Depending on your industry, you may need additional licenses or permits. You can learn more on the Alaska corporations licensing page and perform a search to determine if your industry requires additional filings. It’s important to note that there are licenses and permits on the federal, state, and local levels, so you’ll have to do some research to determine what licensing your company needs or hire a service to do it for you.
Now, it’s time to set your corporation up with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This gets your business set up to file taxes and move money around. To get started, you’ll request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation.
This is a mandatory step that will allow the government to identify your corporation. Think of it as your company’s Social Security number — you’ll use this number to open financial accounts, hire new employers, and fill out tax paperwork.
Applying for an EIN is fast and easy and can be completed online. Get started by visiting the IRS website and filling out the online form. The entire process takes minutes, and you’ll receive your EIN directly afterward.
To stay compliant with Alaska state laws, you’ll need to file regular reports with the state. Alaska requires corporations to file an Initial Report six months after filing your Articles of Incorporation. After that, you’ll be required to file biennially by Jan. 2.
Your Initial Report can be filed online (recommended) or via mail. You’ll need to include your corporation’s name; your operating address; directors’ names, addresses, and signatures; your registered agent’s signature; and share information. There is no fee to file this report.
Your Biennial Report can be filed online (recommended) or via mail. You’ll need to include the name of your corporation; your operating address; directors’ names, addresses, and signatures; your registered agent’s signature; and share information. There is a $100 filing fee.
The administrative cost to form a corporation in Alaska can vary depending on how you file, whether you’re working with a business partner or consultant to process all paperwork, and how quickly you need your paperwork filed.
Here’s a quick look at the typical costs to create a corporation in Alaska:
This means you should expect to pay a minimum of $300 when forming your corporation, just to establish your company. This does not include the $100 biennial report filing fee you’ll need to pay two years after establishing your corporation or business license renewal fees, which vary by industry.
By partnering with ZenBusiness, you can receive help processing the above paperwork, avoiding headaches and frustrating, costly errors. With our affordable plans, we can file your paperwork with the state, serve as your registered agent, and provide a customizable template for creating your corporate bylaws.
When forming a company, you’ll want to be sure you choose the right company type. Forming a corporation has many benefits that can offer protection and options to increase your company’s earnings.
Some of the main benefits include:
Some disadvantages to forming a corporation include:
The way your corporation is taxed in Alaska varies based on your corporation type. There are three main types of corporations: C corporations, S corporations, and nonprofit corporations. By default, you’ll be registered as a C corporation and can switch to an S corporation.
A C corporation is taxed as a separate entity, meaning the company is required to fill out a corporate tax return. Typically, this would mean all incorporators and shareholders are also required to file individual tax returns for their corporate profits, essentially being taxed twice. However, there is no personal income tax in Alaska, so business owners would only pay corporate taxes.
An S corporation is also called a “pass-through entity,” which means no corporate taxes are due — profits pass through to incorporators and shareholders, who claim them on their individual tax returns. Since there is no personal income tax in Alaska, S corporation owners would not pay taxes on their profits.
Lastly, if your corporation is a nonprofit, and you adhere to nonprofit regulations, you will be exempt from paying corporate taxes. Any individuals who earn a salary from the corporation will report their earnings on their individual taxes. In Alaska, this means nonprofit corporation owners would be exempt from corporate and personal taxes.
Although Alaska has no statewide sales tax, some municipal governments do. You’ll need to check with your local government to see what, if any sales tax exists in your area.