Q: How do I get an Alaska business license?
Thank you to the owner of Icebergia Unlimited, LLC for that great question! All businesses in Alaska need a business license—even sole proprietors. Depending on the type of business you own, you might need multiple state, local, and/or federal licenses before you can legally begin operations. Alaska has a state-issued business license that most Alaska businesses need. And if you work in a regulated industry—such as medicine, engineering, or real estate, to name a few—you’ll need a professional license as well. We’ll tell you about the business licenses you might need and how to get them.
Alaska State Business License
Nearly everyone who starts a business in Alaska needs to apply for a state business license from the Alaska Division of Corporations.
Before you apply for the state business license:
- Submit your formation paperwork to the Division of Corporations (Articles of Incorporation or Organization), if starting an Alaska LLC or Alaska corporation. Once your formation paperwork has been accepted, you’ll be given an Alaska entity number that you’ll need to include on your business license application.
- Apply for a professional business license if your business needs one. When you receive your professional license, you’ll be given a professional license number to include on your business license application.
Here’s the information you’ll need to have ready when you apply:
- 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 you need one)
How do I apply for an Alaska business license?
You apply for an Alaska business license by submitting an Alaska Business License application to the Business Licensing Section of the Alaska Division of Corporations, which you can do online, by mail, or in person.
By mail or in person:
Business Licensing Section
333 Willoughby Avenue, 9th Floor
Juneau, AK 99801
Note: If you have one or more DBAs, you will need a separate business license for each DBA.
How much does it cost to get an Alaska business license?
Right now, getting an Alaska business license (and renewing it) is free. Alaska is currently waiving its usual $50 fee to help new business owners get started during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s unclear how long this will last, which is why now is a great time to start your Alaska business.
If you sell tobacco, e-cigarettes, or nicotine products, you’ll need to pay an endorsement fee, which is $100 per business location.
Do I have to renew the Alaska business license?
Yes. The Alaska business license has to be renewed annually and expires on December 31st.
Who is exempt from getting an Alaska business license?
According to the Alaska Department of Commerce, if your business is limited to one of the following activities, you don’t need the general Alaska business license:
- selling liquor (and nothing else)
- offering services as an employee
- selling goods or services in an isolated transaction
- being part of an investment club—a group organized to educate members on investments that doesn’t advertise or sell their services
However, fisheries, liquor sellers, insurance, and mining companies will still need a specialized license from the board that regulates their industry.
Professional Alaska Business Licenses
In Alaska, professions that require special training typically require a professional license. For example, veterinarians, massage therapists, and marine pilots all need a professional license before they can start doing business. Check out the Alaska Professional Licensing section of the Division of Corporations website for a full list. You’ll apply for a professional license through the board that regulates your industry. For example, physicians receive their license through the State Medical Board.
Local Alaska Business Licenses
Depending on the city or borough where you launch your business, you may need a local business license as well. Each city and borough will have its own requirements. For example, in Fairbanks, every local business that is required to get an Alaska state business license is also required to get a City of Fairbanks Business License, which costs $40. In Anchorage, only certain businesses need a municipal business license—such as shooting galleries, nightclubs, and circuses—and the fee varies depending on the type of business.
Federal Business Licenses
Most businesses don’t need a federal license, but a few industries do, including:
- Investment advising
- Drug manufacturing
- Meat products
- Radio or TV broadcasting
- Alcohol, tobacco, or firearms
If your business is in one of these industries, you will most likely need a license or permit from the federal agency that regulates your industry. For example, drug manufacturers need to be licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).