Form an Alaska Nonprofit Corporation. Learn how to form an Alaska nonprofit corporation through this clear, step-by-step guide.
Steps to Form a Nonprofit Corporation in Alaska
- Select the initial directors
- Choose a name
- Choose an Alaska registered agent
- File your Articles of Incorporation with Alaska
- File initial report within six months of filing
- Create corporate bylaws
- Hold the organizational meeting for your board of directors
- Set up a corporate records binder or other means of keeping records
- Get tax ID numbers
- Apply for licenses and permits
- Apply for tax-exempt status
- Register as a charity with the state
- Acquire insurance for your nonprofit
- Open a bank account
Follow these steps on how to form a nonprofit corporation in Alaska to get your new company up and running quickly.
Step 1: Select the initial directors
Alaska nonprofit corporations must have at least three directors and three incorporators. An incorporator is someone who files your nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation. The three directors may also be the incorporators.
All directors must be at least 19 years old. They don’t have to live in Alaska, but the IRS requires that your directors aren’t related to each other.
Step 2: Choose a name
Your Alaska nonprofit corporation’s name must meet several rules for approval by the state, including:
- Not misleading. Your name can’t mislead people regarding the corporation’s purpose. It may not imply that the organization existed for a purpose other than what’s stated in the Articles of Incorporation.
- No internet address. Your nonprofit’s name can’t use words that identify internet addresses.
- Uniqueness. Your name must be distinguishable from any other registered business entity in Alaska.
Make sure the name you’ve chosen is unique by doing a name search with the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
Once you conduct a thorough search, you can reserve the name before you file your Articles of Incorporation to make sure no other business entity snaps it up. ZenBusiness offers a name reservation service to help protect you while you’re still in the process of putting your nonprofit together.
It’s also smart to make sure you can lock down the right domain name in advance. At ZenBusiness, we can help with domain registration to get your company up and building an online presence.
Step 3: Choose an Alaska registered agent
Alaska requires all corporations to list a registered agent. A registered agent receives legal notices, including subpoenas. The registered agent can be a person or a business who is available during standard business hours and maintains a physical address in the state.
Many small businesses opt to use a registered agent service. There are several reasons that might be a good idea for your nonprofit:
- Ensures flexibility. The registered agent must be available at the registered office during business hours. If you expect to work remotely, a registered agent service relieves you of that obligation.
- Minimizes potential awkwardness. If you’re ever served with a summons or subpoena, you probably don’t want that to happen in front of your clients.
If you’re interested in a registered agent service, we can help, giving you the freedom to focus on your nonprofit corporation.
Step 4: File your Articles of Incorporation with Alaska
Your nonprofit corporation becomes official when the state approves your Articles of Incorporation. You can file online with an immediate turnaround. Filing by mail has a turnaround time of 10 to 15 business days. It costs $50 to file Articles of Incorporation or to request a Certificate of Authority for a non-Alaskan nonprofit.
Your Articles of Incorporation must include:
- The corporation’s name
- The anticipated duration of the corporation, if not perpetual
- Your corporation’s purposes
- Provisions about how you plan to run the corporation, including how you’ll dispose of its assets if you dissolve it
- Your registered agent’s name and address
- The names and addresses of the initial board of directors
- The names and addresses of the incorporators
Do you plan to file for tax-exempt status with the IRS? Then you must include a statement that you’ll only use the nonprofit for its stated purposes. They’ll also want to see your statement of purpose and the statement regarding dissolution.
Step 5: File initial report within six months of filing
You must file an initial report containing the contact information of your registered agent and your board members. This report is required within six months of the approval of your Articles of Incorporation.
Step 6: Create corporate bylaws
Your corporate bylaws outline how you expect to run your corporation. Your bylaws should cover:
- How directors and officers are appointed and replaced
- Procedures for holding meetings
- Who has authority over and responsibility for various operations
- How you’ll maintain corporate records
- Compliance with federal and state regulations
You don’t have to file your bylaws with the state.
Step 7: Hold the organizational meeting for your board of directors
The first meeting of your board of directors is known as the organizational meeting. At this meeting you should formally elect your officers and directors and approve the bylaws. You should also establish how you plan to handle financial operations, including opening bank accounts.
Step 8: Set up a corporate records binder or other means of keeping records
This binder holds all of your nonprofit’s official records, including the bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, minutes of any official meetings. You can also use the cloud to store your records electronically.
Step 9: Get tax ID numbers
Even if your nonprofit doesn’t plan on hiring employees, it needs an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The IRS assigns you an EIN for free. You should also register for any other applicable state tax ID numbers if required although you’ll use your federal EIN to identify your organization in most state-required filings.
You also need an EIN to apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the IRS, as well as opening a bank account. Speed up the process by using Zenbusiness’s EIN service.
Step 10: Apply for licenses and permits
To operate, your nonprofit corporation needs a business license. Obtain it from the state Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing. Depending on where your nonprofit is located and what kind of business you conduct, you may also need additional federal, state, and/or local licenses or permits.
Unfortunately, there’s no central location to help you determine what permits or licenses you need. Take advantage of our business license report service to make sure you’ve met all the requirements.
Step 11: Apply for tax-exempt status
The IRS determines whether your nonprofit is eligible for tax-exempt status. In most cases, this means applying for 501(c)(3) status, which covers most charitable organizations.
Once the IRS has qualified you as tax-exempt, Alaska automatically exempts you from state income tax. Nonprofits in the service of charitable, religious, educational purposes are exempt from property tax.
Step 12: Register as a charity with the state
If your nonprofit plans to raise funds within Alaska, you have to register as an Alaska charitable organization.
Step 13: Acquire insurance for your nonprofit
Your nonprofit’s insurance needs depend on the type of business you plan to conduct. If you’ll hire employees, you need unemployment insurance and worker’s compensation. A qualified insurance agent can help you make smart choices about which policies to get.
Step 14: Open a bank account
To open your nonprofit’s bank account, you will likely need your Articles of Incorporation, your EIN, and your bylaws. Your bank may have additional requirements.
Ready to Kickstart Your Business?
At ZenBusiness, we are proud to support small businesses through a variety of different tools and services. Whether you need a registered agent service, want to reserve a business name, or looking to register a domain, our goal is to help you stay on the road to success. Check out our services, and contact us today to see how we can help you grow your company.
Alaska Nonprofit Corporation FAQs
- Can the founder of a nonprofit receive a salary?
Directors and officers of an Alaska nonprofit corporation may be paid reasonable compensation for their services. They must be an employee and registered as such with both the business and the IRS.
- How much does it cost to start a nonprofit corporation in Alaska?
The filing fee for your Articles of Incorporation is $50. Applying for your 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the IRS costs $600, but organizations that have less than $50,000 in gross receipts and meet certain other requirements may file Form 1023-EZ, which costs $275.
- What happens if a nonprofit makes money?
A nonprofit can make money. However, profits must be used for expenses or reinvested in your organization. Any other profits not reinvested in the nonprofit may be taxed.
- What kinds of businesses can be a nonprofit?
Alaska allows the following types of nonprofits: Charitable Religious Benevolent Eleemosynary (general charity), Educational, Civic Cemetery, Patriotic, Political, Social Fraternal, Literary, Cultural, Athletic Scientific, Agricultural Horticultural Animal husbandry Professional and trade associations.
- Can nonprofits sell products?
An Alaska nonprofit corporation may sell products and is generally exempt from sales tax. There’s no state sales tax, but several cities, including Ketchian, Juneau, and Sitka, have a local sales tax.
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