First, make sure that the name you’d like to file isn’t already taken, too similar to another brand name that’s already recognized by the state, or that contains restricted wording. Head on over and conduct a business entity search through the Alaska Corporations, Business & Licensing Database. For Trademark issues, use the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.
Keep in mind your LLC name should contain the words ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘Limited Company’. Abbreviations for these words like ‘L.C.’ or ‘L.L.C’ are also acceptable. If needed, you can file a Business Name Reservation form that comes with a $25 filing fee.
A “Registered Agent” is the official title of the individual or business entity chosen by your company to receive, handle, and deliver all official state filings. This agent must be an Alaska resident/registered company with an Alaska street address that’s available during all regular work hours.
Now, you have three options here – 1) elect yourself or someone within your company if possible, 2) hire a service and pay up to $160/year, or 3) get an Alaska Registered Agent free of charge when you Incorporate with IncFile.
For an LLC to be created, filing Articles of Organization with the State of Alaska Corporations is necessary because it lays out the foundational aspects of the company: scope, management, hours of operation, ownership details, etc.
Download the Articles of Organization form then read every word and understand what’s being asked of you before filling it out. This is where having a lawyer or working with a professional filing service comes in handy. Once done, have it notarized then submit/mail it in or File Online through the Division of Corps.
Filing Fee: $250
Next is the EIN, or Employer Identification Number, which is a 9-digit number very similar to a social security number. You’re going to need one to open business bank accounts, legally hire employees, and handle business taxes so it’s not optional by any means. Thankfully the process of getting one is very quick and easy these days.
An Alaska EIN can be obtained free of charge using a simple Online Application through the IRS. There are also other options like incorporation providers, or if you’re not in a hurry getting the form by mail.
Although not a legal requirement, an LLC Operating Agreement is an indispensable document detailing how the company operates, ownership details, important financial matters, and management responsibilities. Once signed by you and your team it adds legal protection for all of you and the brand’s LLC status as well.
An Operating Agreement offers tons of advantages for your business. To get started, consider checking out Rocket Lawyer’s Operating Agreement Tool which you can customize yourself.
As you start an LLC, it’s critically important to keep your personal and business accounts/assets separate. So after you’ve done some good shopping around at different banks and credit unions to see who has the most to offer new business accounts, set up a unique financial home for your brand.
Recommended Resource: Check out this Business Checking Account breakdown that shows you some of the basics in terms of mainstream banking fee structures to start getting an idea of how important this decision is.
One of the last official (red tape) steps you need to take has to do with state/federal taxes and licensing. After you have your EIN you’re almost set, but depending on the type of business you’re in you may need a variety of licenses. For example, do you sell food, work with the public, or just run an online store?
To get started bookmark the Anchorage district office of the Small Business Administration, and the Dept. of Corporation’s Business Licensing section because they’re likely going to be go-to sources for a variety of things along the way. Also, check into professional Business License Research packages that quickly source all the right forms and paperwork for you.
Every business has a plan of one kind or another, some far more helpful than others. Question is, what shape is your plan in? Keep in mind that eventually a professional business plan will be required when you start looking for capital from basically any source – investors, venture capitalists, banks, crowdfunding, etc.
Furthermore, professional business plans have been proven to dramatically increase the chances you and your team will reach the goals you set out within them. Below are a couple options for when you’re ready.
QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING
The last thing we want to touch on in this article is building a constructive and useful website for your brand. It’s essential if you want to be taken seriously. One of the biggest platforms you can get started on right away is WordPress, but if you need help, get it, don’ try to wing this part and waste tons of vital resources. For hosting, we recommend Bluehost because they’re reliable, offer 1-click automatic WordPress installation, and they have delightfully helpful customer support.
If you’re interested, the team over on WebsiteSetup.org are web developers who explain How to Make a Website from their unique perspective that many new business owners find helpful.
Note that this article on how to form an LLC in Alaska isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form an LLC in Alaska or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.