What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Alaska?
Starting a small 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.
Before applying for any licenses, the legal structure of the business will need to be established. Learn more about the differences between the sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC).
Related: Comparison of Business Entities
Learn more about forming an LLC in Alaska
Also see: Steps to Starting a Business in Alaska
State of Alaska Business License
The Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development’s Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing requires a business license for all businesses operating in the state.
Online processing is the fastest with immediate processing. Standard processing time for the mail-in form varies on when it is submitted. From March–September, expect 10–15 business days, while during the heavy business licensing season (October–February), processing will take longer.
File with the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
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City Business Licenses
In addition to the state business license application, some cities also require businesses to be licensed 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 filing fee for 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 any business activity is 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 business activity in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough will need to register for a business license.
The business license fee in Matanuska-Susitna is $100 and will need to be renewed every other year.
Wasilla – All businesses located or making sales, rentals, or are providing services within the city limits of Wasilla are required to obtain a City of Wasilla business license.
The Annual Business License is issued for the calendar year, expiring on December 31st of the year in which it is issued. The cost is $25.00
Building & Zoning Permits
Zoning – Depending on the location of the business, it’s important to verify whether the business needs an occupancy permit or has specific zoning regulations to follow. Depending on city requirements, home-based businesses may need to apply for a home occupation permit.
Building Permit – A building permit may be needed from the city or county building and planning department if there is any construction or renovations to a facility.
Signage Permit – Some municipalities require a permit before adding signage.
A variety of professions in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services. A few common occupations 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:
Bed & Breakfast
Seafood processing and shellfish permits
Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN (also referred to as a FEIN, Federal Employer Identification Number, or Federal Tax ID Number). The EIN is the business equivalent of 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.
Assumed Name Registration
While not a business license, Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a business 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 just some of the most common business licenses a new business will need to register before starting. Before starting your business, be sure to check with City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.