To start a business in Alaska, you will likely need a state business license. It is also possible that you will need to obtain additional local business licenses and/or permits, depending on your business’s type and location. Here’s a look at what you need to know about business licenses in Alaska.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with an experienced business attorney or other expert if you have any questions or concerns about the business licensing process, or any other issues related to your business.

Before Applying for Your License

There are a number of issues to deal with before you will be ready to apply for your state business license:

  • Select Your Business Structure: Business structure refers to the type of entity you wish to form. Common entity types recognized in Alaska include: sole proprietorship; partnership; limited partnership; limited liability partnership (LLP); limited liability company (LLC); business corporation (C-Corp); S-corporation (S-Corp); professional corporation (PC); non-profit corporation; and others. The business structure you choose will affect how your business operates, how it is taxed, etc. It is highly recommended that you consult with a business attorney or other expert in determining the right structure for your business.

  • Determine your Line of Business Number and NAICS Code: Alaska employs a portion of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes to classify varying types of businesses. The Line of Business (LOB) number is a two-digit number identifying general industries, while the NAICS code is a six-digit number that indicates the specific activities of businesses within each of the LOB-designated industries. You will need to determine the NAICS code that best suits your business before you can apply for your Alaska state business license. For a full list of NAICS codes recognized by the state, go here.   

  • Choose your Business Name: You must select a business name that is not already in use by another Alaska business and does not contain any restricted words or terms. It is strongly recommended that you conduct a name search to make sure that your chosen name is available before applying for your Alaska state business license. You can find more information on naming your business here.

  • Registered Agent: All forms of corporations operating in Alaska must name and maintain a registered agent (an individual resident of Alaska or corporation authorized to transact business in the state) and registered office (a physical location and mailing address in Alaska) to receive service of processes, notices, and demands, on behalf of the business. More information on registered agents can be found here.

Applying for Your Alaska State Business License

State business licensing is handled through the State of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development’s Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing (CBPL) office. You can apply for a new license online here or renew an existing license online here. Applicants can opt to receive either a one-year or two-year license. All licenses expire on December 31.

You will need to obtain a separate business license for every (different) name under which you conduct business in the state. Also, you must always use the exact name listed on your business license whenever you advertise your business.

The fee for an Alaska state business license is $50 per year or partial year ($100 for two years). Those licenses issued after October 1 need only pay for the upcoming period (one or two years). Payment is made at the time of application.

Professional License: There are over 40 professions requiring special licensure in Alaska. Examples include, among others: architects, engineers and land surveyors; dieticians and nutritionists; home inspectors; massage therapists; real estate appraisers; and veterinary examiners. Requirements and fees for professional licenses vary. For more information on professional licences in Alaska, go here.

Corporations: Certain business entities (business corporations, professional corporations, non-profit corporations, limited liability companies (LLC), limited partnerships (LP), limited liability partnerships (LLP), cooperatives, religious corporations) are required to register with the state’s Corporations Section and obtain an Alaska Entity Number. For more information on applications and fees for corporations, visit the state’s Corporations website.

Local Business Licenses and Other Permits

In addition to a state business license, your business may also need to obtain licenses to operate in local jurisdictions. Requirements and fees vary widely. Alaska communities requiring local licensure include, among others:

Additional permits may be required by the state’s Division of Environmental Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation regarding safe drinking water and sanitary practices.

Next Steps

If you need help obtaining a business license from Alaska, you can post your question or concern on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures and Airbnb.