How To Start & Grow Your Business

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How to Start a Business in Alaska

Want to start a new business in the state of Alaska? You’ve come to the right spot!

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With zero sales tax and income tax (you read that right), and frequently making an appearance on “best states to start a business” lists, Alaska has a plethora of benefits for the business start-up. Alaska, the largest state in the U.S., also has a bounty of natural beauty on display, with famous parks, mountains, and the highest point in North America – Mt. McKinley. Russia is just 50 miles away, and there was a gold rush here starting in 1886 – why not start your business here?

Russia and gold rushes aside, what are we going to cover here? You can use this guide for 1) Resources for starting a business in Alaska 2) Facts about starting a business in Alaska 3) Setting up a legal structure for your business in Alaska, and 4) Why Alaska might be the best home for your business.

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General resources for starting a business in Alaska

  • Phone Numbers

    Voice: (907)-465-2550
    (Dept. of Commerce)
  • Alaska Business Incubators http://www.aksbi.com

  • Physical Address
    Juneau Headquarters PO Box 110806 Juneau, AK 99811-0806

  • Alaska Tax Forms
    http://tax.alaska.gov

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Fun facts about starting a business in Alaska

Famous business founded in Alaska: General Communication Inc.

Founded in Anchorage, Alaska. Through its own facilities and agreements with other providers, GCI provides cable television service, internet access, and cellular telephone service.

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Which type of legal structure is best for my business in Alaska?

We strongly recommend you incorporate, but you must consider the tax, legal, and liability implications carefully before deciding on the best structure.

Here are 5 helpful steps to determine what is the best legal structure for your business:

Click one of the buttons below to learn more about the different types of business legal structures and how to start them in the state of Alaska.
LLC (Limited Liability Company)
A limited liability company (LLC) is a hybrid legal structure that provides the limited liability features of a corporation with the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership.

Steps to starting an LLC in Alaska:

  • Step 1 — Give your LLC a name.
  • Step 2 — File Articles of Organization.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Prepare an operating agreement.
  • Step 5 — File Initial and Biennial Reports.
  • Step 6 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 7 — Register foreign LLCs doing business in Alaska.

For help forming your LLC in Alaska we recommend CorpNet (there are fees for their service).

Alternatively, you can visit the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.

Other Alaska resources for LLCs:

Alaska Business Name Database: Check this site to see if your LLC name is available in Alaska.
Reserve your business name here

Alaska Department of Commerce:File your LLC name application here, as well as apply for your New Alaska Business License.

Articles of Organization: File your Articles of Organization form here by clicking on “LLC.”

Registered Agents: This site maintains a list of private service companies that can act as an agent to serve your Articles of Organization with the state.

Initial and Biennial Reports: File both your initial and biennial reports here.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an EIN number for your business here. You will need an EIN if your LLC has more than one member, even if your LLC has no employees.

Alaska Office of State Assessor: Tax information for all Alaskan municipalities.

Sole Proprietorship
A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business. A sole proprietorship has one owner who pays personal income tax on all profits from the business. With little government regulation, they are the simplest business to set up or take apart, making them popular among individual business owners or self contractors.

Steps to starting Sole Proprietorship in Alaska:

  • Step 1 — Choose a business name.
  • Step 2 — File a trade name.
  • Step 3 — Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 4 — Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your Sole Proprietorship in Alaska we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Or, you can visit the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.

Other Alaska resources for Sole Proprietorship:

Alaska Department of Commerce: If you are using a name other than your own given name for your sole proprietorship, run a search at this site to make sure your business name is distinguishable from any other company currently on record (it’s the law).
Reserve your business name here.
Click here to purchase a business license for Alaska.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal site for your business name search. Click on the “TESS” link.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an EIN number for your business here, if you will be hiring employees.

Alaska Office of State Assessor: Tax information for all Alaskan municipalities.

Partnership
A partnership is created from two or more people doing business together for profit and share ownership. There doesn’t have to be a written agreement to form the partnership. Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, and shares in the profits and losses of the business.

Steps to starting Partnership in Alaska:

  • Step 1 — Name your partnership.
  • Step 2 — File a trade name.
  • Step 3 — Create and sign a partnership agreement. (best option)
  • Step 4 — Apply for licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 5 — Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your Partnership in Alaska we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively, you visit the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.

Other Alaska resources for Partnership:

Alaska Department of Commerce: If you are using a fictitious name for your sole proprietorship, run a search at this site to make sure your business name is distinguishable from any other company currently on record (it’s the law).
Click here to purchase a business license for Alaska. It is required for all types of businesses.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal site for your business name search. Click on the “TESS” link.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an EIN number for your partnership. It’s required for partnerships, whether or not you have employees.

Alaska Office of State Assessor: Tax information for all Alaskan municipalities.

S Corporation
An S corporation (or S Corp) is a special type of corporation created through an IRS tax election. An eligible domestic corporation can avoid double taxation (once to the corporation and again to the shareholders) by electing to be treated as an S corporation. The corporation's income or losses are divided among and passed through to its shareholders. The shareholders must then report the income or loss on their own individual income tax returns.

Steps to starting S Corporation in Alaska:

  • Step 1 — Choose a corporate name.
  • Step 2 — File Articles of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — File initial and biennial reports.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Alaska.

For help forming your S Corporation in Alaska we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively, you visit the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.

Other Alaska resources for S Corporation:

Alaska Department of Commerce: Run a name search here to make sure your corporate name is distinguishable from any other company currently on record (it’s the law).
Reserve your business name here.

Articles of Organization: File your Articles of Organization form here.

Registered Agents: This site maintains a list of private service companies that can act as an agent to serve your Articles of Organization with the state.

Initial and Biennial Reports: File both your initial and biennial reports here.

IRS EIN Online: Get an Employee Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

IRS S corporations: Specific instructions for your tax requirements as an S corp.

C Corporation
A C corporation (or C corp for short), refers to any corporation that is taxed separately from its owners. A C corporation is distinguished from an S corporation, which generally is not taxed separately. There is no limit to the number of shareholders a C corporation can have. It is the most common type of corporation in the U.S.

Steps to starting C Corporation in Alaska:

  • Step 1 — Name your corporation.
  • Step 2 — File Articles of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — File initial and biennial reports.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Alaska.

For help forming your C Corporation in Alaska we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively, visit the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.

Other Alaska resources for C Corporation:

Alaska Department of Commerce: Run a name search here to make sure your corporate name is distinguishable from any other company currently on record (it’s the law).
Reserve your business name here.
Click hereto purchase a business license for Alaska.

Articles of Organization: File your Articles of Organization form here.

Registered Agents: This site maintains a list of private service companies that can act as an agent to serve your Articles of Organization with the state.

Initial and Biennial Reports: File both your initial and biennial reports here.

IRS EIN Online: Get an Employee Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

Alaska Office of State Assessor: Tax information for all Alaskan municipalities.

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Why choose Alaska for my business?

  • 1

    Inc.com: "Why Alaska Might Just Be The Best Place to Start a Business” (2015)
    “A comprehensive ranking of the fiscal health of U.S. states finds that Alaska, as well as the Dakotas, are faring relatively well.”

  • 2

    Grasshopper.com: “The Best States to Incorporate: A Concise Guide” (2014)
    “...GovSpot.com reported that the state enforces no individual income taxes, so when the business begins to pay you, all you need to concern yourself with is the corporate and federal income tax.”

  • 3

    Alaska Small Business Grant Watch
    Grants to start or grow a small business in Alaska including grants for women, minorities and veterans.

  • 4

    ACCION
    Resources for Veteran-owned businesses. “The SBA offers a full complement of services geared toward helping veterans start businesses, as well as ongoing support once these businesses are off the ground.”

  • 5

    Alaska Business Incubators
    “Alaska Small Business Innovators (formally known as Incubators), LLC’s purpose is to stimulate economic development, establish an entrepreneurial environment, and foster small business formation and year-round job creation through local manufacturing in Alaska.”

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