For anyone planning to start a business in Alaska, there’s a process in place that you must follow to get up and running. As with many states, there’s paperwork that’s required to establish a business, like an LLC or a corporation. Part of that paperwork requires you to select and list a registered agent. This person serves as the company’s official point of contact.
Since selecting a registered agent is tied to setting up a business, we’ll explain how the entire process works in The Last Frontier.
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How is an LLC formed in Alaska?
Setting up an LLC in Alaska requires entrepreneurs to file Articles of Organization; the official legal paperwork that establishes a business in the state. However, there are a few steps that must be taken before and after. To simplify the process, here are the steps to form an LLC in Alaska:
1. Name the company
Do you have a name in mind? Every company needs a unique name, which must be filed with the state. Many states, including Alaska, have company naming rules. These rules are:
- The name must include “LLC” or “Limited Liability Company” in its title.
- The name cannot reference any government entity that may cause confusion like FBI or IRS, for example.
- Some names may require additional approval. For example, a title that includes words like bank, school, or doctor, for example, will be flagged by the state and require more proof to support the claim.
Business owners may reserve a company name four months before filing paperwork if they choose. To do so, fill out the Business or Corporation Name Reservation Application on the State of Alaska Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing office website. A $25 fee will be charged.
2. Pick a registered agent
Alaska requires that every business appoint a registered agent. A registered agent is a selected person or entity that agrees to receive documents on behalf of the company.
In Alaska, you may hear a registered agent referred to as an agent for service of process too. It’s the same thing.
A registered agent can be the business owner, the LLC organizer, or another person or company. More details on who can be a registered agent in Alaska are below.
3. File Articles of Organization with the State of Alaska
To officially have a business in Alaska, you must fill out the Articles of Organization. This document asks a series of questions about the company and is filed with the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
The Articles of Organization will ask for the:
- LLC name
- LLC purpose
- Name and address of the registered agent
- Signature of the LLC organizer
Of course, there is a fee to file this paperwork. In Alaska, it’s $250. You can file online, in-person, or by mail.
It will take about 10-15 days for the state to approve the paperwork. Once it’s approved, the LLC organizer will receive stamped paperwork for proof of completion in the mail, which should be kept on file.
4. Create a company operating agreement
Once the official Articles of Organization are filed, it’s a good time to create an operating agreement. An operating agreement isn’t required by the state and doesn’t have to be filed with any agency. However, it’s still advisable.
An operating agreement explains how the company will be managed. It’s meant to make sure everyone who’s involved with the company understands how it will run, how decisions are made, and how profits and losses are handled.
There are many templates online that entrepreneurs can use as a starting point.
5. Obtain an EIN
Filing paperwork with the state is just one piece of the business formation puzzle. The next is to obtain an EIN, or an employer identification number from the IRS. This number is used on all official paperwork, like taxes or bank applications, to identify your business.
An EIN is needed to:
- Hire employees and pay them
- Open business banks under the company name
- File and pay taxes
6. File initial and annual reports
The state requires several reports to be filed after a company is formed. Within six months, an Initial Report must be filed. It’s free to file. In addition, every two years the state requires companies to file an Annual Report. The fee to file an Annual Report is $100.
These reports aren’t much different than the Articles of Organization. They ask a few questions about the company, with more focus on the names of those in charge.
What is an Alaska registered agent?
A registered agent is a person or a company that’s willing to receive legal paperwork on behalf of your company. Official paperwork could include tax forms, court documents, or paperwork that’s served during a lawsuit.
Do I really need a registered agent in Alaska?
Yes. The state law requires all companies to list a registered agent. This isn’t unique to Alaska, it’s actually a law in most states. There must be a point of contact on file with the state so documents can be delivered to the company when needed.
Can I be my own registered agent in Alaska?
Yes. It’s actually fairly common for the business owner or the person who files the Articles of Organization to serve as the registered agent. However, under state law, a registered agent can be another person or company.
Who can be a registered agent in Alaska?
In Alaska, the law says the business owner can be the registered agent on file, but it can also be a friend, neighbor, local company, or a registered agent service.
In Alaska, a registered agent can be:
- Anyone who is 18+ years old
- Has a physical street address in Alaska; and
- Is home during the day to accept mail or legal paperwork delivered in-person
Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service?
The role of a registered agent isn’t hard. Essentially, this person or company is simply there to accept paperwork on an occasional basis. Since it’s a straightforward job, you might be wondering why some companies choose to hire a registered agent service.
There are benefits to hiring a service to fill this role. Those benefits include:
- Convenience. Being able to accept paperwork at any time on any day might not be feasible for a business owner. For convenience, some people opt for an agency that’s open during the day and can notify them when something arrives.
- Companies with multiple locations. For companies with multiple locations, having a registered agent service gives owners peace of mind that nothing gets missed.
- Privacy. If your company is sued, the documents are served off-site and not in front of any employees. This provides a layer of privacy that some entrepreneurs prefer to have in place.
List of Alaska registered agent services
For companies looking for a registered agent service, there are many to choose from in Alaska. As you look through your options, look at the different services that each provides. A few choices include:
- Incfile.com: Incfile.com can help entrepreneurs file their LLC formation paperwork and serve as the company’s registered agent. The online company offers a host of beneficial business services that includes filing reports and other necessary documents with the state. The first year is free. After that, it’s $119 a year.
- Northwest Registered Agent: For $125 a year, Northwest Registered Agent offers an online portal, real-time updates when mail is received, and pricing that remains the same each year. The company offers its services in several states and has years of experience in the field. Additional business services are also offered.
- Swyft Filings: Swyft Filings offers registered agent services that start at $149 a year. Users get an online dashboard, report and filing reminders, and secure document storage for this fee. In addition, the company has a buffet of other business services available when you have a need.
How much does a registered agent service cost in Alaska?
As a new business, adding any expense to the bottom line might be out of the question. However, the cost of a registered agent service isn’t as expensive as you might expect.
Registered agent services charge an annual fee for their services. Basic services, which could include mail forwarding, is usually $50 or less. For more advanced services with mail forwarding, online accounts, and reminders regarding annual reports, prices hover around $100-250 annually.
How does an owner select a registered agent in Alaska?
The registered agent is listed on the LLC formation paperwork; the Articles of Organization. The registered agent should be aware of this role and understand the responsibility that comes with it.
Can a company change its registered agent?
A registered agent can be changed. To make the change, business owners fill out a Statement of Change Form with the Alaska Corporations Section. There are different change forms for different business entities, so if your business is an LLC be sure to select that form.
To complete this business filing, expect to pay $25. It will take between 10-15 days for the change to take place.
What’s a statutory agent?
The term registered agent has several different names, depending on the state you’re in. Alaska uses both registered agent and service of a process agent. They mean the same thing.
What’s a commercial registered agent?
When filling out the LLC formation paperwork, you might be asked if the appointed registered agent is commercial or non-commercial. The definition of a commercial registered agent is a registered agent service, a non-commercial agent is a person or company that you’ve appointed to do the job but isn’t paid to do so.