How to Start An LLC in Alaska
To start an LLC in Alaska, you must file Articles of Organization with the State of Alaska Corporations Section. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Organization cost $250 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Alaska LLC. However, to actually ready the LLC to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting an Alaska LLC Guide:
Alaska LLC Filing Options
Free PDF Download
Download the Alaska Articles of Organization. Fill out the form and submit it to the state.
Do It Yourself Online
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1 Day Alaska LLC
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Alaska LLC Articles of Organization Requirements
To form an Alaska LLC, you must complete and file the Articles of Organization with the State of Alaska Corporations Section. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
You must include the words “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviated form, like “LLC.” You can’t include the words “city,” “borough” or “village.” You’d think no one would mistake “Pancake City” for a municipality, but apparently Alaska is not about to take that risk.
While your Alaska LLC’s purpose is probably “to make money,” don’t write that in your Articles. “Purpose” really means “business activities.” You can be specific and put “reupholster furniture,” or you can do what most people do and put a general purpose, like “engage in any lawful activity for which a Limited Liability Company may be organized in Alaska.”
In addition to a purpose, you’re also asked to include a NAICS code, which is a just a numerical code for a business activity. For example, the code for “cement manufacturing” is 327310. You can search for a code on the NAICS website—if you can’t find a perfect fit, just put the closest one you can find.
Your registered agent could be yourself or a friend, or you could hire a professional service like Northwest. You’ll need to include a physical and mailing address for your registered agent, which will become part of the permanent public record. Hire us and that public address could be ours, not yours.
Management style is all about decision-making power. You can either have members make all the decisions for the LLC, or you can have one or more managers run the show. Managers don’t have to be members (but they can be if that works better for you). If you have a manager-managed LLC, members don’t have any decision-making authority other than to vote for or remove a manager.
Despite the fancy title of “organizer,” an organizer is just the person filing the Articles of Organization. Organizers don’t have to actually be connected to the LLC in any way. Don’t want to include your name? Hire us, and we’ll be your organizer.
How much does it cost to start an Alaska LLC?
Filing Articles of Organization with the State of Alaska’s Corporations Section is $250. If you hire us to form your LLC, your total out-the-door cost is $475, including a year of registered agent service, biennial report reminders, and loads of free forms and tools to help you get up and running.
How long does it take to start an Alaska LLC?
Alaska LLC filing times vary depending on your filing method. Online filings are processed immediately, and you can print out your own Certificate of Organization right away. Mailed filings take 10-15 days if you file in January-March or July-September. In the busier time periods (April to June and October to December), Alaska offices are hit with an increase in other filings, such as biennial reports, and the system slows to a crawl.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we file online and typically have your Alaska LLC formed within 24 hours.
Does an Alaska LLC need a registered agent?
Absolutely—Alaska LLCs are required to have and maintain a registered agent. While you can be your own registered agent, it’s a demanding role. You must be available during business hours to accept legal notices. If you don’t intend to be tied to your desk—if you want to take vacations, attend meetings, or travel for business—you may want to hire a registered agent service.
Hiring us as your registered agent does more than free you up to manage your business. Business formation and maintenance documents (like Articles of Organization and Biennial Reports) are publicly available—so if you list your personal address or office on these forms, you could have strangers and solicitors knocking at your door. Let them knock on ours instead. Also, using one address for your mailing address, registered agent, and correspondence for members and managers provides consistency. No need to worry about checking or updating multiple addresses.
Create the Alaska LLC Operating Agreement
Do I need an Operating Agreement?
Yes. If your brother asked to borrow $50K, you’d probably have him sign some sort of IOU, right? When it comes to that kind of money, it’d be crazy not to put basic terms in writing. Well, your business is your money. And while legally, no, you’re not required to write an operating agreement, your operating agreement is probably your Alaska LLC’s most important internal document.
Why is an Operating Agreement important?
Your operating agreement tells you who owns what. How much each person’s vote is worth. What everyone’s responsibilities are. What happens if you shut down shop. You may be best friends with your business partners now—they may even be actual family members. But there’s a reason why tattoo artists advise you not to put your girlfriend’s name on your arm and why lawyers always recommend a prenup. Disagreements are inevitable. Squabbles are inevitable. Operating agreements help ensure your business doesn’t fall apart in the dark times. They’re also a snapshot of how your business actually runs. New partners will want to see your operating agreement. Banks typically want to see it to before they let you open an account.
Do I have to write the Operating Agreement?
At Northwest, we know that operating agreements are critical. That’s why as part of our formation service package, we include a free operating agreement specific to your LLC’s management style. We believe in the power of well-written business documents so much that we hand out loads of other important (and free) LLC forms too: resolutions, membership certificates, bill of sale templates and more. We have everything your Alaska LLC needs, and we’ve spent years revising and improving our forms to make them better and better.
Get an Alaska LLC EIN
Do I have to get a Tax ID number (EIN)?
You are required to get an EIN if you have employees or if you submit special tax filings like Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms returns. Even if you don’t need an EIN right away, it’s a good idea to get one. First of all, they’re free from the IRS (or, if you don’t want to fill out the paperwork, hire us to get an EIN for you). EINs are also often requested when opening a business bank account. And for credit applications, loans and state tax forms, you can often list your LLC’s EIN instead of handing over your personal social security number.
Open a Bank Account for Your Alaska LLC
To open a bank account for your Alaska LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
- A copy of the Alaska LLC Articles of Organization
- The LLC operating agreement
- The Alaska LLC’s EIN
If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open business accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does an Alaska LLC need a business license?
Yep, all businesses need some kind of license, typically an Alaska business license. A few industries—mining, fishing, insurance and liquor sales—are exempt from the standard business license from Alaska’s Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing but require specialized licenses from other departments instead. The Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing also licenses professions in 45 different categories, from Acupuncturists to Veterinary Examiners.
File Alaska LLC Reports
Do I have to file an Initial Report?
Yes, an Initial Report is required. Your Initial Report is a form that informs the State of Alaska of your contact and ownership information. There’s no filing fee for this report, and you can submit online. While you have six months after your Articles are approved to submit this report, do it as soon as you can. You don’t want to forget and lose your good standing before you’ve even turned a profit.
What is an Alaska LLC Biennial Report?
Your Alaska LLC Biennial Report is a form you submit every two years, updating the State of Alaska on the contact and ownership information you provided in your Initial Report and your Articles of Organization. The report and $100 filing fee are filing fee due on January 2nd (on odd years if you registered your LLC in an odd year and vice versa). You can file yourself online or hire Northwest to do it for you.
How much does an LLC in Alaska cost each year?
It costs roughly $100 a year to keep in good standing with the State of Alaska. An Alaska LLC needs to file an Initial Report (free), a Biennial Report every other year ($100) and maintain a business license ($50/year for most businesses).
Pay the LLC Taxes
What are the Alaska LLC taxes?
Alaska is one of the few states that doesn’t have a personal net income tax. Since the Alaska LLC is defaulted to be taxed at the personal level, your business is virtually free from an Alaska tax perspective.
Alaska doesn’t have a state sales tax either. However, some cities and boroughs levy a small sales tax, typically between 2-5%. For example, our office is in Anchorage, which doesn’t have a sales tax, while Wasilla’s sales tax is 3% and Juneau’s is 5%.