Starting an Alaska LLC
An Alaska LLC (Limited Liability Company) is a legal business structure created in order to protect your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit. If your business is sued, your personal assets (such as your bank account, home, and vehicles) are protected.
An Alaska LLC can be used to run and operate a business, or an LLC can be used to purchase assets, such as real estate, aircraft, boats, vehicles, and more.
1. Alaska LLC Name
Before filing your Alaska Articles of Organization with the state, you need to make sure your desired Alaska LLC name is available for use.
As per Alaska law (section 10.50.025), your desired LLC name must be unique and distinguishable from the names of other businesses registered in the state.
Alaska LLC Name Search:
As per Alaska law (section 10.50.020), your LLC name must end with one of the following designators:
- LLC (most popular)
- Ltd. Liability Co.
- Ltd. Liability Company
- Limited Liability Co.
- Limited Liability Company
Your Alaska LLC name cannot include a designator that makes it sound like a different type of legal entity. For example: Corporation, Corp., Inc., Incorporated, Limited Partnership, LP, Trust, etc.
Your Alaska LLC name can include the name of a city, borough, or village in Alaska, however, it cannot contain the actual word “city,” “borough,” or “village” (or otherwise make it sound like your LLC is a municipality). For example, “Fairbanks Ski Supply LLC” would be an acceptable name, but “Borough of Fairbanks LLC” would not.
2. Alaska Registered Agent
An Alaska Registered Agent is a person or company who receives Service of Process (legal mail) on behalf of your LLC in the event your business is sued or faces any legal action in court.
Your Alaska Registered Agent may also receive other business mail, such as biennial report reminders and tax documents.
Alaska Registered Agent Requirements: All Registered Agents in Alaska must have a physical street address in the state where legal documents can be served. A PO Box address cannot be used. An Alaska Registered Agent should be available during normal business hours, Monday through Friday.
Who can be your Alaska Registered Agent?
Option 1: You can be your own Registered Agent.
Option 2: A friend or family member can be your Alaska LLC’s Registered Agent.
Option 3: You can hire a Commercial Registered Agent. Use this option if you don’t have an address in the state, or you prefer to have a company take care of this role.
If you, a friend, or family member want to be your Alaska LLC’s Registered Agent, you/they must have a physical street address in the state, be a resident of Alaska, and be at least 18 years old.
If you prefer not to be your own Registered Agent (or use a friend or family member), you should hire a Commercial Registered Agent. A Commercial Registered Agent will scan all of your mail and upload it to an online dashboard for you. Signing up with a Commercial Registered Agent only takes a few minutes and can be done online. After you sign up, they’ll provide an address for you to use in your Articles of Organization.
Commercial Registered Agent: If you need to hire an Alaska Commercial Registered Agent, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).
Northwest has been in the business for over 20 years and they have great customer support. Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded to your online account.
Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their Registered Agent service free for the 1st year.
3. Alaska LLC Articles of Organization
You must file the Alaska Articles of Organization (Form 08-484) to officially form your LLC.
Method of Filing: The Alaska Articles of Organization can be filed online or filed by mail.
Our recommendation: We recommend the online filing as the process is easier and the approval time is much faster.
Alaska LLC approval times:
- If you file by mail, your LLC will be approved in 10-15 business days.
- If you file online, your LLC will be approved immediately.
Note: Filing times may take longer due to the current global situation and government delays. Please see how long does it take to get an LLC in Alaska.
Alaska LLC filing fee: $250 (one-time fee)
File your Alaska LLC online (recommended method):
Alaska Division of Corporations: Online Filing
File your Alaska LLC by mail: Articles of Organization (Form 08-484)
- Pay by check or money order. Make payable to “State of Alaska”.
- Mail Articles of Organization and the $250 filing fee to: State of Alaska, Corporations Section, PO Box 110806, Juneau, AK 99811-0806
Alaska LLC approval:
For mail filing, the approval time is 10-15 business days. You’ll get back the stamped and approved Articles of Organization and a Certificate of Organization by regular mail.
For online filing, the approval time is immediate but you won’t get anything back by mail. To view and print a copy of the stamped and approved Articles of Organization and your Certificate of Organization, just search for your LLC’s record in the state’s online database and look under “Filed Documents”: Alaska Division of Corporations: Search Corporations Database
4. Alaska LLC Operating Agreement
Your Alaska LLC Operating Agreement spells out who owns the LLC and how much of the LLC they own.
Your LLC Operating Agreement will also spell out how the LLC is managed, how taxes are paid, and how profits are split.
You may need your Operating Agreement when opening a bank account (although rare), or it may be requested from any of the following: a lender if you’re obtaining financing, a title company if you’re purchasing real estate, your accountant or tax professional, or your lawyer.
Your LLC’s Operating Agreement is known as an “internal document”, meaning you don’t need to send a copy to the state, or any government agency for that matter. The Operating Agreement (and the affairs of the LLC) are decided and acted upon between the Members of the LLC. The state just creates the LLC and allows it to legally exist, but the day-to-day operations are internal affairs.
Here are Operating Agreement instructions on how to complete the form.
5. Federal Tax ID Number (EIN Number)
You should obtain an Alaska EIN Number from the IRS after your Alaska LLC is approved by the state.
An EIN is also called a Federal Tax ID Number, Employer Identification Number, Federal Employer ID Number, FEIN, or Federal Tax Number. They all mean the same thing.
Opening a bank account: You’ll use your LLC’s Federal Tax ID Number to open a business bank account.
You may also use your LLC’s Federal Tax ID Number to apply for certain licenses and permits and for handling employee payroll taxes (if applicable).
Obtaining a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) is free from the IRS.
You can obtain your LLC’s EIN by either:
- applying online (approval is immediate)
- mailing or faxing Form SS-4 (approval takes 4 weeks by mail or 4 days by fax)
You can apply online only if you have an SSN (Social Security Number) or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). If you don’t have an SSN or ITIN, you’ll need to mail or fax form SS-4 to the IRS.
If you don’t have an SSN or ITIN, no worries, you can still get an EIN for your Alaska LLC. Just write “Foreign” on line 7b.
If mailing Form SS-4, here is the IRS mailing address: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999
If faxing Form SS-4, send to 855-641-6935.
For a company-owned LLC: If your Alaska LLC is owned by another company, you won’t be able to obtain your EIN online (you’ll get an error message at the end). Instead, you’ll need to mail or fax Form SS-4 to the IRS.
6. Alaska LLC Initial Report & Biennial Report
Your Initial Report is due within 6 months of forming your Alaska LLC. There is no filing fee.
You can file your Initial Report online here: Alaska Division of Corporations: Initial Report Online Filing
Then every 2 years you must file a Biennial Report and pay a $100 filing fee. The due date for the Biennial Report filing is January 2nd.
If you filed your Initial Report in an even-numbered year, then your Biennial Report will be due every even-numbered year in January. For example, if you filed your Initial Report in 2022, then your first Biennial Report will be due by January 2nd, 2024. Then it’ll be due every two years after that (also by January 2nd).
If you filed your Initial Report in an odd-numbered year, then your Biennial Report will be due every odd-numbered year in January. For example, if you filed your Initial Report in 2023, then your first Biennial Report will be due by January 2nd, 2025. Then it’ll be due every two years after that (also by January 2nd).
You can file your Biennial Report online here: Alaska Division of Corporations: Biennial Report Online Filing
Penalty for late filings:
- If you do not file your Initial Report, your Alaska LLC will not be in compliance and the state will have the power to shut down your LLC.
- If you do not file your Biennial Report, the state will impose a penalty of $37. If you continue to ignore this requirement, the state has the power to shut down your Alaska LLC.
Tip: We recommend keeping a repeating reminder on your phone and/or computer, as well as leaving out a visual reminder to file both your Initial Report and ongoing Biennial Reports.
7. Business License and Permits
Your new company must obtain an Alaska Business License.
Alaska is one of the few states which require a general business license from the state government. This is mandatory for all Alaska LLCs, regardless of what type of business you do or how much your business earns.
The business license is $50 to obtain and then it must be renewed every year for $50. This business license gives your LLC the right to conduct business in the State of Alaska.
How to apply for a business license? You can apply for your Alaska business license online or by mail. We recommend applying online as the approval is immediate (as opposed to mail filings which take 10-15 business days for approval).
Apply by mail:
Business License New Application (Form 08-4181)
Additional licenses and/or permits: In addition to the state-level general business license, your Alaska LLC may also need additional licenses and permits depending on the Borough in which your LLC is located and your LLC’s business activities.
Research: You can contact the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing for more information on the specific business licenses and/or permits your Alaska LLC may need.
For location-specific business licenses and/or permits, you can contact your local officials for more information: State of Alaska: Alaska Communities
Need to save time? If you’d rather not make the phone calls and do the research to determine all your LLC’s business licenses and permit requirements, we recommend hiring our licensing partner, IncFile. They will provide you with a comprehensive package of all the licenses, permits and tax registrations required for your Alaska LLC, as well as the necessary application forms.
8. Alaska State Taxes
Every small business has a different Alaska LLC Taxes situation, but we can provide an overview of the requirements.
Federal: By default, Alaska LLCs are taxed as either a Sole Proprietorship (for Single-Member LLCs) or a Partnership (for Multi-Member LLCs). In both cases, the profits from your LLC will “flow through” and be listed on your personal tax return.
If your LLC is generating over $70,000 per year per Member in net income (income minus expenses), you might want to speak to your accountant about having your LLC taxed as an S-Corp.
State income tax: Good news, Alaska does not impose a personal income tax at the state level.
Sales tax: Alaska also does not impose sales tax at the state level. Instead, sales tax is sometimes charged at the local level. We recommend that you contact your municipality to find out if there is a local sales tax: State of Alaska: Alaska Communities.
Additional Taxes in Alaska: Alaska imposes additional taxes which you can read about in our Alaska LLC taxes lesson.
Recommendation: Calculating your federal, state, and local taxes can be difficult, and if done improperly, can negatively impact your LLC. For this reason, we recommend talking to a few accountants after your Alaska LLC is formed. Check out our how to find an accountant guide for more information.
9. Alaska LLC Bank Account
The last step before your LLC is fully operational is to open an LLC bank account.
You’ll need to bring the following items to the bank: stamped and approved Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, Federal Tax ID Number, and your driver’s license.
Tip: The bank may require other documents aside from those mentioned above (although rare), so it’s a good idea to call them ahead of time.
Opening an LLC bank account helps you avoid mixing personal assets with business assets.
Opening an LLC bank account also helps make accounting, bookkeeping, and taxes easier.
We recommend calling a few banks and seeing if they have monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. A lot of banks have monthly fees for LLCs, however, there may be a handful of banks in your area that do not. Spend 15 minutes or so “shopping around” and calling different banks in your area. Just google “business bank account + your city/town”.
Debit card: The bank will give you a debit card when you open the account.
Credit card: You can also get a business credit card to earn points, miles, and other rewards.
10. Business Phone
Instead of using your home telephone number or your cell phone, you can purchase an affordable “virtual business number” specifically for your Alaska LLC. You can set this virtual business phone up to forward to your cell phone, go through voice prompts, or configure it any way you’d like.
We recommend using Phone.com as they have the cheapest plans and their customer service is excellent.
They offer local phone numbers as well as 1-800 toll-free numbers. You can easily set up call forwarding, pre-recorded prompts, and get voicemail messages forwarded to your email.
Getting a separate business phone number for your Alaska LLC is also a good idea in order to keep your actual number private from those pesky “public record” websites.
Alaska State Agencies
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development
Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing
Division of Corporations
Hours: 8am to 5pm AKT, Monday – Friday
Alaska Division of Corporations
Alaska Department of Revenue
Hours: 8am to 4:30pm AKT, Monday – Friday
Alaska Department of Revenue: Tax Division
Alaska Department of Revenue: Tax Division Contact Information