How to form an LLC in Alaska in 5 easy steps
Starting a new business as an Alaska entrepreneur is exciting, but you need to take care of a few details before your business can be fully up and running. Organizing your company in a way that feels right for you is one of the most important decisions you’ll make—and, based on your unique needs, you might find an LLC to be the best business model for your company. Forming an LLC in Alaska is doable as long as you pay close attention to the different forms and procedures along the way. Not to worry—below, we break down 5 steps to getting your Alaska LLC off to the best start.
1) Check if your business name is available
You’ll need to choose the perfect name for your Alaska LLC—one that stands out from the crowd and piques client interest. Easy enough, right? Well, you’ll have to make sure your chosen name agrees with Alaska naming regulations and isn’t already taken by another business.
Keep in mind that your name can't have any wording that would make it seem like a government agency (such as State Department, FBI, etc.), and strictly defined words (such as “University” or “Bank”) might take some extra paperwork. Of course, be sure to include the full wording "Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviation “LLC” somewhere in the name.
First, run a name search in Alaska’s Corporations Database to ensure your business name is exclusively yours.
Second, make sure your potential name doesn’t match other businesses’ slogans, trademarks, or logos through Alaska’s trademark records. Next, search through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s records to ensure another federally registered business hasn't claimed your desired moniker as a trademark.
You don't have to trademark your preferred LLC name. Still, you probably shouldn't use a name for your LLC if another business has already claimed it as a trademark—if you want to avoid possible litigation.
Once you’re sure of your name’s availability and want to get the ball rolling, you can claim exclusive rights to your name for 120 days by filling out a Business Name Reservation. You can file with the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development online or by mail for $25 and should hear back within 10 to 15 business days.
2) Claim your name
Once you choose a name for your LLC, you must finalize a few more details of your company structure and mode of operation before you file Articles of Organization, officially registering the Alaska LLC name.
For example, you can decide whether you want a DBA or “Doing-Business-As,” an alternate name instead of your official name. You don’t have to have a DBA, of course. Suppose you'd like to use a moniker for your business that's different from its legal business title (say, for branding reasons). In that case, you can fill out an Alaska New Business Name Registration form and send it to the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development for $25. (Note: You’ll also need to file an Alaska business license for each name you conduct business under, including a DBA.)
Also, an Alaska LLC must appoint someone to be a registered agent. An Alaska registered agent is the go-between for your business and the state. This could be any person, including yourself or another member of your LLC, or even a registered agent service—as long as they are a legal resident of Alaska and have a physical Alaska mailing address.
With these details settled, you’re ready to make things official. Business owners can fill out the Alaska LLC Articles of Organization and send them to the State of Alaska Division of Corporations to formally create their LLC. This will cost $250 and requires you to answer a few questions, including:
- Your LLC’s name: You’ve already decided that.
- Your LLC's purpose: This means what you officially do or provide—like lawn care services or selling bagels. Most LLCs keep this part vague, though, just saying they'll “engage in any lawful activity for which a Limited Liability Company may be organized in Alaska.”
- Your organizer: This is just the person gathering the information and filling out the forms.
- Your NAICS code: This is the six-digit number you’re assigned based on the type of industry your business falls under. You can look it up on the North American Industry Classification website.
- Your LLC’s business structure: You’ll have to decide if your LLC will be member-led or manager-led. Generally, if you have several members, it's best to keep it manager-led—and if you have fewer members, make it member-led. This way, you'll keep things simple with only a few people making big decisions.
Then, your LLC should be finalized within 10 to 15 business days.
Lastly: If you started your LLC outside of Alaska, you’d need to file a Certificate of Registration with the State of Alaska Corporations Section before you can conduct business there as a foreign LLC.
3) Write your operating agreement
Is an LLC operating agreement required in Alaska? No, but it’s still a good idea to have all your expectations for members and managers on record.
Not only does an Alaska LLC operating agreement give your business direction and clarity for internal decision-making, but it also offers protection for your LLC (and thus, your personal assets) in the event of a lawsuit. Additionally—perhaps most importantly, depending on your priorities—it provides independence. That's because the state automatically dictates how to run your business without an operating agreement made by you, the business owner.
When mapping out your operating agreement, try remembering why you chose an LLC in the first place out of all other types of business models.
If you want the maximum amount of decision-making power—make it so. If you'd like to share this responsibility with members by doling out equal responsibilities and voting power to everyone—you can do that, too. Whatever you desire out of an LLC, make it tailored to your expectations with a straightforward operating agreement.
No matter what, though—it's essential to include that you're free from all personal liability in the event of a lawsuit.
4) Pay your taxes
If yours is a multi-member LLC, you’ll need to get an Employer Identification Number to file taxes and adequately run your business. The EIN (also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number or Federal Employer Identification Number) functions similarly to a Social Security Number. It's easy to obtain (with no filing fee)—all you have to do is complete and send an application online or by mail to the Internal Revenue Service on the IRS website.
If you’re a single-member LLC, you won’t need an EIN—that is, unless you plan on hiring employees or if you plan on being taxed as a corporation (rather than a sole proprietorship).
But if any of the above qualifications apply to you, make sure you get your EIN promptly. You'll need it to open a business bank account, file state and federal taxes, and hire employees.
5) Wrap up other regulation and sales tax requirements
You're in the homestretch of finalizing your LLC business—you just need to make sure you're up-to-date on Alaska's remaining business reports and other legal documents.
Practically every business in the state of Alaska must have a business license. It costs $50 to file and must be renewed each year with the Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, according to the Alaska Statutes & Regulations, but only for specific industries (like liquor sales or mining). Even then, such businesses need to apply for other, specialized licenses. Be sure to double-check that yours isn't the type of business that needs a different license to begin business legally.
Depending on the city, town, or other municipality you’re set up in, there could be specific licensing requirements for you that don’t apply in other places. For example, business owners in Juneau must register with the state tax administrator before doing any business at all. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs in Anchorage must apply for special licenses and permits for companies as diverse as private detective agencies, dog-care businesses, and confectioneries. So, check your local municipality ordinances before setting up shop—you never know what might be required.
Oh, and be sure to file your Initial Report within 6 months of your LLC formation (no filing fee required). You must file your Alaska LLC Biennial Report every two years with the State of Alaska Division of Corporations for a $100 state filing fee.
Then, as long as your business is in good standing, you can ask for a Certificate of Compliance from the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. You can file online for $10. This is good to have in case you want to apply for loans or extra permits.
Get Alaska LLC insurance in minutes by following these steps
Now that your LLC is up and running, you’ll need the best Alaska LLC insurance to keep your hard-earned business secured. That’s where we come in. Huckleberry gets you coverage tailored to your exact needs without any fuss. Let’s get started:
- Head to Huckleberry.com and click the “Instant Estimate” button. You’ll get quotes for multiple insurance coverages faster than it takes to make a cup of coffee.
- Type in your industry so Huckleberry can offer the perfect insurance plans for your particular business needs.
- Answer a few quick questions about your LLC, including where you're from, payroll estimates, and a handful of other things. That'll be easy and fast—really. We respect your time.
- And that’s that. In minutes flat, Huckleberry delivers quotes for multiple different insurance options for your business.
- Use Huckleberry’s quick estimator if you’re short on time—it’ll give you a good idea of what you might pay for workers’ comp coverage (which every business-owner needs).
Creating an Alaska LLC is achievable as long as you pay attention to the forms that need filing and licenses to be acquired. Remember that in choosing an LLC, liability protection is one of the primary perks—so, it makes sense to build even more security with small business insurance.
Whether that means purchasing workers’ comp coverage online or investing in a Business Owner’s Policy for an added layer of protection, Huckleberry is here to help. Business owners like yourself can get coverage quotes that fit their budget in minutes.
Now that you're past the hard part of business formation, make the easy decision of protecting your company's future for years to come—with a small business policy that works for you.