Start your business
Have you decided to start your new business in Alaska finally? Congratulations! While you’re probably excited to get your company up and running, you might have questions about the legal side of forming a limited liability company (LLC). The process might seem overwhelming at first, but it’s fairly straightforward once you know the right steps.
Every state has different expectations for LLCs, so it’s important to understand Alaska’s rules and regulations for starting a business.
To help, we’ll walk you through each step of the LLC creation process. Not looking forward to all of the legal paperwork you’ll have to file? Don’t worry — we’ll also explain how an LLC partner like ZenBusiness can be a helpful part of this process, so you can focus on your new business without worrying about the administrative stuff.
1Name Your Alaska LLC
Appoint a Registered Agent in Alaska
When forming an LLC in Alaska, you’ll first want to register your company with the Secretary of State. When you do this, you’ll be creating a public record of your company with the state government, making it easier for them to contact you and keep you updated on any legal changes.
But first, you’ll need to make a few important decisions about your LLC, such as coming up with a name and deciding on a registered agent. Then, you’ll file paperwork to establish your LLC, create an Operating Agreement, and get your business taxes up to date.
After you file the required paperwork, you’ll still have some other boxes to check. For example, you’ll likely want to draft an Operating Agreement and register your company with the IRS.
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by these requirements. Below, we’ll break everything down into six simple steps. By taking care of each component, you’ll have your new LLC in no time.
Deciding on a name for your LLC in Alaska is very important. This name will help you attract new customers and also serve to legitimize your business in the eyes of the state government. Before you can register your LLC officially, you’ll need a business name.
When choosing a name, you might want to go with something that’s catchy or easily explains what your business does or sells. It’s best to come up with a list of a few names, and if you have partners, ask them to provide a few, as well.
Once you have your list, it’s time to lock down your final name, and you’ll want to start by looking at existing company names in Alaska. One of the primary reasons you want to have a few names handy is that, in Alaska, your LLC’s name must be unique and cannot already belong to another business. You can use the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development Corporations Database to determine if your name is available.
You’ll then want to decide on an LLC designator. All LLCs need a designator at the end of the business name. If you decide to name your business “Sue’s Salads,” your official business name would need a designator added, such as “Sue’s Salads, LLC.” There are several designators you can choose from. Here’s a full list of approved options:
Once you’ve decided on a name, you’re ready to reserve your business name. You can get answers to questions regarding your business name on the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing website. All name reservations can be made online through the Business or Corporation Name Reservation page. For a $25 fee, this reservation will hold your business name for up to 120 days. You may renew your name reservation twice for a fee of $25 per renewal.
Your business name is automatically registered when you file your Articles of Organization, so there’s no additional fee for registration. You also don’t need a business license to register your business name.
A few other things you’ll want to think about when it comes to your Alaska LLC name:
Now that your name is reserved, it’s time to decide who should be your LLC’s Alaska registered agent. Like most states, Alaska requires LLCs to assign a registered agent to their company. This position can be filled by a person or corporation. If it’s a person, that person must be a resident of Alaska only, defined under AS 01.10.055(a) as “being physically present in the state with the intent to remain in the state indefinitely and to make a home in the state.”
Your registered agent will work on your behalf to receive all legal paperwork. They’ll then pass these documents along to your LLC.
Since a registered agent can receive sensitive documents at any time during the business day, they’re required to have a physical office address within the state of Alaska. They’re also expected to keep regular business hours at this location. A P.O. box address is not allowed.
If you’re wondering if you can act as your company’s registered agent, the answer is yes (provided you’re a resident of Alaska, as we outlined above). However, many companies often decide to work with an outside registered agent service that can pass along legal paperwork to their LLC.
Some additional benefits of a registered agent service include:
Once your name is selected, and your registered agent has been appointed, you’re ready to go ahead and submit the paperwork to register your LLC with the state of Alaska. Luckily, this paperwork is pretty minimal and shouldn’t take long to fill out or submit.
For those who choose to mail in the Articles of Organization, send it to:
State of Alaska
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development
Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing
PO Box 110806
Juneau, AK 99811-0806
When filling out your form, you’ll need the below information ready:
Within six months of your LLC being approved, you’ll also need to file an Initial Report with the state. See “Additional Business Requirements” below for instructions.
In Alaska, you’re not required to create an Operating Agreement to register your LLC. However, having an LLC Operating Agreement is a smart move that can protect your business and avoid any potential conflicts from management, other owners, or employees.
An Operating Agreement covers the terms of your LLC’s ownership and management hierarchy to better protect all parties involved in the LLC. For multi-member LLCs, this is particularly important, as it can detail voting structures and help determine different rules for members. Even if you’re the sole member of your LLC, an Operating Agreement is important to have in case you’re incapacitated or otherwise unable to run your company.
In addition, Operating Agreements make a stronger separation between your business and personal assets, which can protect your personal savings accounts from any legal liability if your company is ever sued.
If you have a multi-member LLC, all members in your LLC should review, agree to, and sign your Operating Agreement. You might also want to review some terms with your company’s managers or employees.
While a lot of thought has to go into creating a solid Operating Agreement, you don’t have to do it alone. With a partner like ZenBusiness, you can use our customizable template to draft an Operating Agreement well-suited for your company’s interests that’s also affordable.
Now that the initial paperwork for your LLC is out of the way, it’s time for you to get your business set up with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The first step you’ll want to take is registering for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Your company’s EIN works like your personal Social Security number. It identifies your company to the federal and state government and allows you to file taxes and hire new employees.
If you’re the only member of an LLC and have no employees, you might not have to apply for an EIN, even though it can be helpful. Your EIN can help you separate business and personal accounts and may make it easier to handle your taxes.To apply for an EIN online, visit the IRS website. Your number should be available immediately after applying, and there’s no charge for this process. Once you have it, it will help you get your business up and running by allowing you to obtain a business bank account, for instance.
Of course, the above fees don’t fully account for the time you’ll spend finalizing paperwork or how much time and effort it will take to search for a registered agent or create your Operating Agreement. Luckily, you can partner with ZenBusiness to help you navigate through this process for an affordable price.
ZenBusiness’s business formation services are affordable and include all the basic administrative assistance you’ll need to get your LLC up and running. We’ll provide registered agent services, complete and submit all business paperwork, and help you draw up an Operating Agreement for your LLC. If you’d like even more assistance, we can provide more robust business services, like helping you apply for an EIN and ensuring your LLC is fully licensed and adheres to all state regulations.
Many new and small businesses decide to form LLCs because of the flexible and simple structure this business type allows. LLCs let you separate personal assets and liabilities from the company’s and offer many other protections. Setting up an LLC is also fairly simple and easy for first-time business owners to tackle.
Here are a few of the main benefits you’ll receive by setting up an LLC in Alaska:
Want more information on the LLC business structure? Check out our comprehensive guide on LLCs.
Thankfully, by starting an LLC, you’re exempt from double taxation, but there are a few more things you should know about LLC tax rules. Managing the taxes for your LLC might seem complicated if you’ve never handled them before. While the rules are fairly straightforward, you can’t go wrong by partnering with an experienced accountant or tax specialist who’s fully versed in Alaska’s small business laws and requirements.
Here are some of the main federal and state tax requirements for LLCs in Alaska:
There are also a few other business filing requirements you should be aware of for your Alaska LLC.
If you’re worried about remembering to file and manage any of these business requirements, you don’t have to do them alone. ZenBusiness has a host of services intended to help keep you in compliance and give you the support you need to run and grow your business.
It can take between 10 to 15 business days to process your Articles of Organization when filing a hard copy. Online filing is usually processed immediately. You can also pay for expedited processing if you have a rush request.
No, an Operating Agreement is not required in Alaska to register an LLC. Although this isn’t mandatory, an Operating Agreement can serve an important function in detailing how your company management and voting structure works, which can resolve conflict in the future.
Most LLC owners decide to have their business taxed the default way, which is as a sole proprietorship or “disregarded entity” (for single-member LLCs) or a partnership (for multi-member LLCs). This method only requires members to pay taxes on their percentage of the profits on their personal tax returns. The LLC itself is not taxed. This avoids the “double taxation” that corporate shareholders pay, in which profits are taxed both at the business level and the personal level. In Alaska, you’ll only pay taxes on your income at the federal level, as Alaska doesn’t have a personal income tax requirement.
Large LLCs or high-earning companies might choose to be taxed as a corporation. If you’re not sure which method is best for your LLC, you can learn more about the differences in filing as a corporation in this guide.
Lastly, be sure to reach out to an experienced tax preparer or accountant if you have any additional questions about the best way for your business to pay taxes.
A Series LLC, which refers to one or more LLCs under the umbrella of a parent LLC, is a concept that appeals to many business entrepreneurs. However, Series LLCs are not legal in all states. Currently, Alaska does not allow you to form a Series LLC.
You are required to have an Alaska business license before conducting business in the state. You can do this online or by mail. In either case, the fee is $50. The business license must be renewed either once a year for $50 or twice a year for $100, depending on your initial application. Regardless of the date you purchased the license, it expires on December 31. Alaska has a FAQ on business licensing here.
As we mentioned above, as of June 2020, Alaska has waived “almost all business licensing fees” due to COVID-19 through Nov. 15, 2020, or “at the expiration of the disaster declaration, whichever is sooner.” Check the state website for updates before applying for your license.
You can find more information on what types of industries require special licensing on the state website. If you are required to obtain a business license, you can file your request online by selecting your specific licensing form. Permit and licensing fees will vary depending on your line of business.
It’s important to note that the federal government as well as your city and county could require special permits or licenses based on your industry. You’ll want to reach out to your local government office to find out your LLC’s requirements and research what federal or industry-specific licensing you may need.
In any case, we recommend hiring a professional service like ZenBusiness, who will provide you with a comprehensive package of all the licenses and insurance required for your Alaska LLC to ensure your business remains in good standing.
If you find you need to dissolve your LLC at any time, you can do this easily online in Alaska. Before dissolving your LLC, you’ll want to close any business accounts or tax accounts in your LLC’s name since this can be hard to do after the LLC is dissolved.
Once your accounts have been canceled, you’re ready to file your Articles of Dissolution. This form will ask for the name of your LLC, the date or organization (and dates of any amendments made), the reason for the dissolution, the date of dissolution, and your signature.
There is a $25 filing fee for this form. You can mail your Articles of Dissolution or submit a signed copy online.
Once accepted, your LLC will be dissolved.
We hope this guide helped you learn more about the steps you’ll need to take to set up your LLC in Alaska. Although this setup process can be handled entirely in-house, you don’t need to take on the administrative burden alone. ZenBusiness can partner with your LLC to help you navigate through the LLC formation process. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help get your business off the ground fast.
Would you like to learn more about starting a business in Alaska? Get in touch today!
Are you already an Alaska small business owner? Find out more about how ZenBusiness can help you manage or grow your Alaska small business!
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