A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a very popular business structure throughout the US, as well as across other parts of the world, because it gives the owners (known as “members”) of the company personal legal protection should their company ever be sued.
If you live in Alaska or plan to do business there, you will need to form an Alaska LLC. Our guide below will take you step-by-step through the process of forming an Alaska LLC so you can get up and running as soon as possible.
Before you can begin filing the necessary forms, you need to decide on a name for your LLC. This step is often the easiest, as most of us have spent a substantial amount of time thinking about the name of our business long before we sit down to form it.
In most cases, if you’ve thought of a name already you’ll be able to use it, but you need to check that it’s not already in use by another business registered in Alaska. You can check name availability on the Secretary of State's website.
As well as making sure your LLC’s name is markedly different from other companies operating in Alaska, you need to follow a few other naming conventions.
Firstly, your name must include a designator that shows anyone doing business with you that you are an LLC. You can choose from:
Your name must also not contain any words or abbreviations related to a government agency, such as CIA, State Department, FBI, or Treasury. It also cannot contain the words city, borough, or village.
There are also terms that are restricted and can only be used by those with the right qualifications or permissions. These include words like bank, lawyer, credit union, and similar.
The Alaska Commerce website goes into great detail about what is a “distinguishable” name and what isn’t, so to see all their rules, check out the Alaska Commerce website. In general, however, checking whether or not the name is available on the Secretary of State’s website will be sufficient.
Once you have a name for your Alaska LLC picked out, it’s a good idea to go ahead and purchase a domain name to make sure no one takes it while your business is being registered.
If you are not going to register your Alaska LLC straight away, it is a good idea to reserve your business name with the Alaska State Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
You can reserve your LLC’s name for up to 120 days online, or by mail, with a filing fee of $25. For more information, click here.
All Alaska LLCs require a registered agent with an Alaskan address. A registered agent is an individual or company who will be responsible for receiving any legal or government documents on behalf of your LLC.
In Alaska, your registered agent can be yourself, a friend, a family member, or a professional service that has a primary address in Alaska and is available to receive mail during normal business hours (9 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday). You cannot use a PO Box or virtual mailbox service.
Your registered agent’s address will be available to the public, so most LLCs decide to nominate a commercial registered agent. Registered agent companies charge a small fee (around $15 a month, but it depends on what other services you choose) to forward all your mail to you, physically or electronically.
If you are unsure about whether you should be your own registered agent or not, take a look at our guide here. If you’re looking for a trusted registered agent in Alaska, we can act as your agent for you. If interested, simply reach out to us and we’ll give you all the information you need to register us as your registered agent.
Next up is the big step. The Articles of Organization is the document that officially registers your LLC as a new business by providing all the necessary information. They can be filed online, or you can download and mail a PDF to the State of Alaska Division of Corporations. The filing fee is $250.
Note that regardless of whether you file online or by mail, you must pay via credit card.
The information you will need to file includes:
If you are registering a Foreign LLC (that means your LLC is based in another state but you’re registering so you can do business in Alaska), the process is the same, but you need to use a different form and the filing fee is a little more expensive.
To register a Foreign LLC online click here: Certification of Registration of Foreign LLC
To register by post, you need this form: Foreign LLC by Mail
It costs $350 to register a Foreign LLC.
Once the Articles of Organization have been filed and approved, the State Department will issue your digital Certificate of Organization and your LLC will become a legal business, able to operate in the state of Alaska. This certificate is what will allow you to carry out many of the next steps in this guide.
Although this step is not a legal requirement in the State of Alaska, but if you will be working with anyone else in your business, make sure you have one.
An operating agreement is an internal document that outlines how your LLC will be managed, the responsibilities of each member, and how business will be conducted to avoid any legal issues within the LLC later down the line. Without an operating agreement, courts will make decisions based on Alaska law rather than what may be best for the LLC and its members.
It should include:
You should also include anything else that is helpful to get down in writing now, to avoid disputes later.
With your Certificate of Organization obtained, it is time to register for your Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is like a Social Security Number for your business and will allow you to pay taxes, open a business bank account, and hire employees.
(Note: if you’re applying from another country, write “Foreign” on line 7b where it asks for your SSN.)
You can also get your EIN by mailing in Form SS-4, but you may have to wait up to a month to receive your number.
Once your LLC has been created, you need to file an Initial Report with the State Division of Corporations. You can file online or by mail, with no filing fee, within six months of your LLC’s registration date.
As an Alaska LLC, you will then need to file a Biennial Report with the State Division of Corporations every two years, due before January 2nd of the filing year. This can be filed online or by mail with a filing fee of $100.
You must keep up with the necessary reports to avoid non-compliance fines.
One of the last steps you need to carry out before you can start trading in Alaska is to acquire any licenses and permits you may need.
Alaska is one of the only states where a state-wide business license is required.
In order to operate as an LLC in Alaska, you must obtain a business license from the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing, Business Licensing Section. Your business license will expire each year on December 31st, but you can choose either a one-year or two-year license which costs $50 per year. Click here to apply for your new Alaska Business Licence.
Certain industries will also need to apply for additional licenses and permits to sell certain products or provide specific services. For more information, click here, or contact your local town or county clerk where your LLC is based.
As an Alaska LLC, you will need to open a separate business bank account to make sure that your personal assets are protected. After all, that is one of the reasons you chose this business structure, right?
Although this step is not a legal requirement, it is essential. Not only will it prevent loss of personal assets, but it will also make filing taxes that bit easier!
Before you move on, use your EIN to open a suitable business bank account so you can start keeping your business finances separate from your own.
This final step is an easy one. It is important that you keep all essential documents on-site, at your LLC’s registered address. The documents you need to have on-site include:
With all 10 steps completed, your Alaska LLC is formed and you are finally ready to begin trading!
Following these steps to form your Alaska LLC is easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not time-consuming. Filling out the various required forms and making sure you are ticking the correct boxes takes patience and time. Time that you’d rather spend doing more exciting things such as making sure your service or products are as good as they can be and your marketing is ready to go.
Lucky for you, we can take care of all the boring stuff for you. Forming LLCs is what we do, so if you’d rather focus on the big picture and avoid filing forms, we’ve got you covered! All you need to do is spend a few short minutes filling in our form and we’ll do everything for you, including registering your LLC name, filing for your Articles of Organization, and even getting your EIN.