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For many new companies, forming as an LLC is the best option as it is an uncomplicated business structure that affords business owners legal protection by separating personal assets from business debts. Additionally, LLCs often enjoy a lower tax rate than corporations. However, forming an LLC can be a little complicated, and each U.S. state has its own checklist for starting an LLC with minor procedural variations.
In Alaska, forming an LLC is relatively painless and follows the standard procedure of filing Articles of Organization with the State of Alaska Division of Corporations, however, the $250 filing fee is higher than those of most states.
In order to avoid a misstep in the filing process, follow these steps to start an LLC in Alaska, and refer to the checklist at the bottom of the post to familiarize yourself with the legal and financial requirements for LLCs in the state.
Starting an LLC in Alaska step-by-step
1. Select a name for your Alaska LLC
Follow naming requirements
There are two major guidelines to follow when naming your LLC in the state of Alaska:
- The name must be unique compared to existing business entities on file with the State of Alaska Division of Corporations.
- The name must contain one of the following words or abbreviations: “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, or “L.L.C.” LLCs may substitute the abbreviations “Ltd.” and “Co.” for the words “limited” and “company”, respectively.
Reserve your LLC name with the State of Alaska Division of Corporations
After selecting a name for your LLC, you must reserve it with the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing office.
First, check the name’s availability using the Alaska Corporations Database. If the name is available, you can reserve the name for up to 120 days by filing a Business or Corporation Name Reservation Application online or by mailing the application to the Alaska Division of Corporations. There is a $25 fee for reserving a name.
Doing business under a trade name
An LLC may opt to use a trade name when doing business rather than the official registered name that is included in its Articles of Organization.
2. Designate a registered agent
As in every U.S. state, forming an LLC in Alaska requires the appointment of a registered agent service to handle state and federal legal documents and service of process on the business’s behalf.
The registered agent must either be a state resident with a street address in Alaska OR if the individual or professional service is based out-of-state, they must have a business office in Alaska.
Browse this list of Alaska registered agents provided by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development for help in choosing a registered agent service.
3. File Articles of Organization
Next, you can form your Alaska LLC by filing Articles of Organization with the Alaska Division of Corporations. Filing can be done online or through the mail and the fee is $250. Payment must be done by credit card.
Your LLC Articles of Organization must provide the following details:
- LLC name
- Registered agent name and address
- LLC purpose
- Clarification of whether the LLC is managed by its members or a specially designated manager
- Signature(s) of the organizer(s)
LLCs formed outside of Alaska that intend on doing business in the state must register with the Alaska Division of Corporations.
Foreign LLCs should follow these steps to complete the registration process:
- Comply with Alaska LLC naming guidelines.
- Appoint an Alaska registered agent.
- Complete and file a Certification of Registration of Foreign Limited Liability Company. This can be done online or by using postal mail. The state filing fee is $350.
Once a foreign LLC is registered with the Alaska Division of Corporations, it must file a biennial report once every two years.
4. Draft an operating agreement
Although not a legally mandated step for forming an LLC in Alaska, drafting a comprehensive LLC operating agreement is strongly recommended for all nascent limited liability companies. This document should describe the LLC’s business structure, establish the individual responsibilities and obligations of LLC members, and detail how the LLC will be run.
Without an operating agreement clarifying the specific duties of its members, an LLC may face significant legal and operational difficulties.
5. Obtain an IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN)
All newly formed LLCs in the United States must acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (with the exception of a single-member LLC). The nine-digit EIN is like a social security number for a business and is necessary to pay income tax, file tax returns, open business bank accounts, and to perform a number of other important functions.
You can apply for an EIN online on the IRS website without paying a filing fee.
6. Fulfill your Alaska LLC’s regular legal obligations
Once an LLC is registered, it is important that its members devote attention to fulfilling legal requirements that apply for the duration of the company’s existence.
Within six months of its initial creation, an Alaska LLC must file an Initial Report with the Alaska Division of Corporations. The filing can be done online or through the mail and LLCs are not required to pay a fee.
Every two years, Alaska LLCs and foreign LLCs doing business in Alaska are required to file a Biennial Report. The filing can be done online or via postal mail. Alaska LLCs must pay a $100 filing fee, while foreign LLCs must pay a $200 filing fee.
All Alaska businesses must obtain a business license issued by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development in order to legally operate in the state. LLCs may apply for the license online or by using postal mail. An Alaska business license must be renewed every two years upon expiration.
Alaska LLC checklist
An Alaska LLC’s name must obey the following guidelines:
- Be distinguishable from the names of existing business entities on file in the state.
- Contain one of the following words or abbreviations: “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, or “L.L.C.”
Required formation documents and filing fees:
- Business or Corporation Name Reservation Application: $25 filing fee
- Articles of Incorporation: $250 filing fee
- An Alaska LLC is created through the filing Articles of Organization with the State of Alaska Division of Corporations.
Regular legal obligations:
- Initial Report: Must be filed with six months of formation.
- Biennial Reports: Must be filed every two years.
- Alaska business license: Must be renewed every two years.