What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Alaska?

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Starting a business in Alaska will mean potentially registering with a number of federal, state and local agencies.  Let’s take a look at common licenses and permits a business will register for in Alaska.

State of Alaska Business License – The Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development requires a business license for all businesses.

City Business License – In addition to the state business license, some cities also require businesses to be licensed in order to operate. Rules for business registration vary depending on location and what the business does.  Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements. 

Anchorage –  The Municipality of Anchorage requires a business license for businesses such as pawnbrokers, ice cream trucks, shooting galleries, tow trucks and more

Fairbanks – The City of Fairbanks requires every person or legal entity within City limits that was required to obtain a state business license, to obtain an annual city business license as well.  The cost of a Fairbanks business license is $40 for most new businesses.  The renewal cost varies depending on the gross receipts of the products or services sold by the company.

Juneau – Any person or business must register with the sales tax administer with the Juneau Finance Department before making sales, offering services or making rentals within the City and Borough of Juneau.

Kenai – A Kenai Peninsula Borough Sales Tax Certificate is required by the City whenever there is any business being conducted within Kenai City limits.

Additionally, the City of Kenai requires licenses for mobile food vendors, transient merchants and passenger vehicles for hire. 

Matanuska-Susitna – Any individual, or company engaging in a business activity in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough will need to register for a business license. 

The cost for a Matanuska-Susitna business license is $100 and is renewed every other year.

Employer Identification Number (EIN) – Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN or Employer Identification Number.  The EIN is the business equivalent for a Social Security Number for an individual.  Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships with employees will all need to register for one. Sole Proprietorships without employees can use the owner’s Social Security Number. 

There is no cost for an EIN and it only takes a few minutes to get.

Learn how to apply for an EIN.

Professional License – A variety of professions in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services.  A few common professions that require licensing in Alaska include; acupuncturists, barbers, home inspectors, accountants and many more.   Additional information, fees and licensing requirements for professions are available from the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing.

In addition to professional licensing, there are a few other types of businesses that need licensing that are not covered by the Division of Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing.  These include:
Commercial Fisheries
Food Establishment
Auto Dealership
Bed & Breakfast
Seafood processing and shellfish permits

Assumed Name Registration – While not a business license, Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) must register for an Assumed Name (also known as a Doing Business As or DBA) with the Division of Corporations.

These are a few of the most common business licenses, but there are far too many business licenses and permits in Alaska for us to keep track of. Before starting your business, check with the City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.  Additionally, there are companies like IncFile or CorpNet that can do the research to ensure you have the proper federal, state and local licenses.