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Alaska DBA

How to Get a DBA in Alaska

An Alaska DBA is any name that an Alaska business uses in place of its legal name. Alaska sole proprietorships, general partnerships, LLCs, corporations can use a DBA for marketing purposes or to maintain their public image with a more memorable or professional name. Registering a DBA in Alaska means that you’ll need to file a New Business Name Registration application with Alaska’s Department of Commerce. We’ll show you how.

Your Alaska DBA Guide:

What is an Alaska DBA? 

DBA stands for a “doing business as.” Some states call them “trade names,” “assumed names,” or “fictitious names,” but Alaska sticks with DBA. An Alaska DBA gives a business the exclusive right to operate under a name that isn’t the legal name of the business. For sole proprietors and general partnerships, getting a DBA is the easiest and most affordable way to use a name other than their personal names. That’s because as a sole proprietor, your business name is automatically your first and last name. However, unlike an LLC or corporation, a DBA is not a legal entity that offers any sort of asset protection. It’s just a nickname that stands in place of your legal business name.

Alaska doesn’t require businesses to register DBAs in order to do business in the state. If you’re an LLC, corporation, or another type of incorporated business, you can operate under your legally registered business name or you can use a DBA without registering it. The same goes for sole proprietors and general partnerships.

Why Register an Alaska DBA? 

Alaska law (AK Stat § 10.50.043) gives incorporated entities like LLCs and corporations rights to their business name upon registration with Alaska’s Division of Corporations. This means that no other business can register the same business name. In order for sole proprietors or general partnerships to secure similar rights to their business names, they need to follow corporate statute AS 10.06.130, which states that a business can obtain rights to a name for five years by obtaining a DBA.

Here are a few other reasons you may want to register a DBA in Alaska:

Expand Your Business
Businesses often use DBAs to branch into new markets. If your Anchorage tour company is doing well, and you want to add a ghost tour to your offerings, filing for a DBA under “Anchorage Ghost Tours” could be any easy way to scare up some added revenue! You’ll be able to use your new DBA on a business bank account, marketing materials, and even a spooky cool website or social media page.

Promote Your Business
Getting an Alaska DBA will allow you to operate your business using a name that better identifies what your business does. If you install gutters as a sole proprietor, using your first and last name won’t tell your customers what your business does. But if you get a DBA as “Quick Gutter Pros,” you’ll be able to attract more customers and look professional doing it.

Open a Business Bank Account
Separating your business and personal finances makes it easier to track the cash flow of your business. Opening a business bank account with your DBA will also allow your business to pay bills, write checks, and accept customer payments. While there’s no legal requirement to keep your DBA’s finances separate, it can help avoid a headache during tax season and lend credibility to your business when you’re accepting payments from customers.

Since Alaska doesn’t require DBAs to be registered with the state in order to use them. If you want to have exclusive legal rights to your business name nationwide, you might consider filing for a trademark for your DBA.

How to Register a DBA in Alaska

Obtaining a DBA in Alaska is pretty straight forward. First you’ll do a name check to make sure the name you want is available. If you don’t already have a business license for your business, you’ll need to get one. After that, you’ll fill out the business name registration paperwork. Finally you’ll submit your application, along with a $25 filing fee, to Alaska’s Department of Commerce. Here are the steps.

See if Your DBA Name is Available

Before you file for a DBA in Alaska, you’ll need to make sure the name you want to use isn’t already the name of a business in Alaska. To find out if your preferred name is available, you’ll need to check the Alaska Corporations Database. If another business has already registered the name you want, you’ll have to choose another.

The DBA you choose also must meet Alaska’s business naming guidelines. This means that your DBA name can’t:

  • Include an entity identifier like LLC, Inc., or Corp. unless the business is actually registered as that type of entity.
  • Unless your business has the professional license, you can’t use a DBA to suggest your business is engaged in licensed activity like engineering or law.
  • Use words like “Police” or “Department of Taxation” that could make the public think that your DBA is connected to a government agency.
Obtain a Business License

Before you can register a DBA in Alaska, you need a state business license. Alaska’s DBA application requires you to list an Alaska Business License Number. Some businesses (fishing, insurance, liquor, and mining) are exempt from having to obtain a business license because they are already licensed through the state. But other than those four industries, all businesses in Alaska—even sole proprietors—will need a state business license in order to operate. It is important to understand that in order to operate under a DBA, you must have a business license under your DBA name. If you have an LLC, corporation, or any other entity registered with the state, you’ll need a business license for your entity, and for the registered DBA.

To get a state business license, you’ll submit an Alaska Business License Application to the Business Licensing Section of Alaska’s Department of Commerce. Each business license costs $50. If your business is involved in selling nicotine products, your license will cost $100. If you are registering more than one DBA, each one will need its own business license.

Here’s the information you’ll need to complete the application:

  • Business structure (sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, etc.)
  • Business activity and NAICS Code
  • Business name
  • Business contact information
  • Registered agent name and address (for LLCs, corporations, and limited partnerships)
  • Alaska entity number (for LLCs, corporations, and limited partnerships)
  • Professional license number (if your business is engaged in professional licensed activity)

You can file online, by mail, or in person. Online filings are processed immediately. Mail and in person filings can take up to 10-15 days to be processed, plus additional time for mailing.

Online Business License Application

By mail or in person:
Department of Commerce
Corporations Section
333 Willoughby Avenue, 9th Floor
PO Box 110806
Juneau, AK 99811-0806

Complete the Application for Business Name Registration

Once you’ve settled on a DBA name and obtained a business license number, you’ll need to submit a New Business Name Registration application to Alaska’s Department of Commerce. Your application will need to include:

  • DBA name
  • Alaska Business License Number
  • Address of business
  • Name of business owner
  • The nature of your business
  • Owner or member signature
Submit Your Application and Pay the Filing Fee

You can submit the New Business Name Registration by mail, in person, or online. The filing fee is $25.

Alaska Online Filing Services

Mail or in person:
Department of Commerce
Corporations Section
333 Willoughby Avenue, 9th Floor
PO Box 110806
Juneau, AK 99811-0806

How to Renew an Alaska DBA 

Alaska DBAs last for five years and must be renewed between October 1st and December 31st of the year the DBA is set to expire. If your business is a foreign entity, which is to say it was formed outside of Alaska but has registered to do business in the state, you’ll need to renew your DBA every year. You can renew by filing a Renew Business Name Registration form online, by mail, or in person. The cost for renewal is $25. If you file by mail it can take up to 15 business days for your renewal to be processed. Online and in person filings are processed almost immediately.

Can I cancel my DBA in Alaska? 

Yes. To cancel your DBA in Alaska you’ll need to file a Request to Cancel or Inactivate form with Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Business Licensing Section. Alaska only accepts paper forms, which means canceling your DBA name could take 10-15 business days or longer. There is no fee to cancel your Alaska DBA.

Filing an Alaska DBA vs. Starting a Business 

A business is a legal entity that engages in commercial or professional activity, usually with the goal of making a profit. A DBA is just a nickname for a business, not a legal entity on its own. Because of this, when you get a DBA, you must continue to file taxes with your legal business name. And, when you sign contracts, you’ll need to include both your legal and DBA name so your identity as a business is very clear to whoever you’re signing the contract with.

There are two ways to start a business in Alaska:

Sell a service or product. Starting a business may seem difficult, but in truth there isn’t much to it. Sell hand sewn baby hats all by yourself and you’re in business as a sole proprietor. If you’re leading guided tours of Anchorage with a partner, you’ve got yourself a general partnership. Other than any required business licenses, you don’t have to do much of anything else to be operating as a business.

Register with the state. If you want a more formal business entity type like an LLC or corporation, you’ll need to file formation documents with Alaska’s Department of Commerce. This creates a separate legal entity—a business with its own finances, purpose, and liability.

Alaska DBA vs. Alaska LLC

An Alaska LLC is a business entity that gives business owners liability protection in the event of a lawsuit or bankruptcy. LLCs create legal separation between the business and the owners of the business. It’s this separation that protects the assets (401k, car, house, savings) of the LLC owners. A DBA is simply a name, and while LLCs can use DBAs to expand operations or do business with a different name, they do not offer any asset protection.

If you’re in business as a sole proprietor or general partnership and all you want is a name for your business, a DBA is probably what you’re looking for. But if you want a business that will protect your assets, an Alaska LLC is the way to go, and Northwest can help you get one.

Protect Your Assets With an Alaska LLC

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Alaska DBA FAQs

Is a DBA required in Alaska?

DBAs are optional. All businesses must apply for a state business license in order to do business in Alaska. The name you give your business on your license application will be the business name you operate under. However, if you want to have legal claim to that business name under state law, you’ll need to register a DBA.

How do I get a DBA in Alaska?

Your first step is to get a business license from Alaska’s Department of Commerce. Once a business license has been obtained, you’ll use your business license number to complete a New Business Name Registration application and secure your Alaska DBA.

How much does it cost to get a DBA in Alaska?

$75 in total. The required business license costs $50, and the DBA filing fee is $25.

How long will my Alaska DBA last?

Alaska DBAs last for five years.

Can I change or update my DBA name in Alaska?

No. In accordance with AK Stat § 12.030, business names cannot be changed once the business license has been issued. To update or change your DBA name in Alaska you’ll need to get a new business license and a new DBA. Choose your business name wisely.

How long does it take to get an Alaska DBA?

Online filings are processed as soon as the state receives them. Mailed filings can take 10-15 business days, plus addition time for mailing.

Do I need a separate bank account for my DBA?

You can open a bank account for your DBA, but it isn’t necessary. Some business owners find that opening separate bank accounts for their DBAs makes accounting easier. Remember, just because a DBA has its own bank account doesn’t mean that it offers any sort of liability protection from lawsuits or bankruptcy. LLCs and corporations protect assets, not DBAs.

Do I need a separate EIN for my DBA?

No. DBAs are just names, not taxable entities. In most cases (unless you’re operating as a sole proprietor or a single-member LLC with no employees) a DBA will operate under the EIN of the business it is connected to. Multi-member LLCs and corporations will need to get an EIN for tax and employment purposes, but your DBA doesn’t need one.

How many DBAs can I have in Alaska?

You can have as many DBAs in Alaska as you can handle, but each DBA will need to get its own business license ($50) and pay the state DBA filing fee ($25).

Can I sign contracts with my DBA?

Yes and no. You cannot sign contracts using only your DBA–such a contract might not hold up in court. However, you should include both your legal business name and your DBA on any contracts you sign so that your business’s identity is clear to whoever you’re making a contract with.

Can I buy a domain name with my DBA?

It depends. Some domain registrars allow businesses to purchase a domain under a DBA and others do not. If you’re concerned about purchasing a domain using your legal business name, find a registrar that will permit you buy a domain under your DBA.

What is my business’s legal name?

The legal name of your business is the name that you put on state and federal documents, particularly tax filings. If you’re a sole proprietor, your legal business name is your name. The legal business name for general partnerships is either the partners’ last names or a name the partnership gave itself in its written partnership agreement. For LLCs, corporations, and nonprofits, your legal business name is the name that appears on state formation documents.

How can I keep my personal information off the public record?

If you really want to keep your personal information off public record, your best bet is to hire an Alaska registered agent to form your LLC. Not only can an LLC help you live privately, a professional registered agent like Northwest will use their name and address on all Alaska state documents allowable. This makes it much harder for scammers and hackers to get their hands on your name.

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