In Alaska, some businesses will need to register for a DBA. See which businesses are required to register, costs, and the process to obtain one.
What is a DBA?
A DBA, also known as “Doing Business As,” Trade Name, or Fictitious Business Name, is a name used by a business that is different from the legal name of the business. This name is often referred to as a Trade Name in Alaska.
When a business wants to operate under a name other than their legal name, many states require the business to register its new business name. In most cases, this is optional in Alaska, but practically most businesses will register.
Related: How to start a business in Alaska
What is a DBA good for?
A DBA is required for many businesses in order to legally operate and provides information on the people operating a business. In addition to the legal requirement, a DBA offers other benefits such as proving the existence of a business, opening a bank account under a business name, registering a merchant account to accept credit cards, and others.
Who needs to register for an Alaska DBA?
A DBA, often referred to as “Doing Business As” or Fictitious Business Name, Assumed Name, or Trade Name, is a name that is different than the legal name of the business.
When a business wants to operate under a name other than their legal name, many states require the business to register their new business name, but it is optional in Alaska. Even though it’s optional, here are some reasons to consider registering.
Sole proprietorships and partnerships are the most common entity to register a DBA. The legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the owner’s full first and last name, which doesn’t need to be registered. That works for many self-employed business owners, however many businesses want to operate under a distinct and brandable business name.
Other reasons a sole proprietorship or partnership will want to register:
- Proves the business exists.
- No other business can register the same name in Alaska.
- Banks, merchant processors, and vendors may require one.
Corporations and Limited Liability Companies won’t typically register a fictitious name since a unique entity name is created during the formation process. Some will file for a DBA if they have another business they want to operate under their corporate/LLC umbrella to keep the liability protection without forming another entity.
How much does a DBA cost in Alaska?
The filing fee for a DBA is $25.00 paid to the Division of Corporations.
The DBA is renewed every five years.
What are the steps to file a DBA in Alaska?
Step 1 – Register for a business license
Before registering a business name in Alaska for a sole proprietorship or partnership, a business license is required. See how to register for an Alaska business license.
Step 2 – Check for name availability
Before you move forward with the DBA filing process, you need to first make sure that your business name is available. Conduct a name search on the Department of Commerce website to see whether your name is being used by another business. See how to do a business name search.
In addition to this search, you will also want to search other records such as an internet search, business license records, professional license records, phonebooks, etc.
Step 3 – Fill out the application
Questions on the form include:
- Requested business name
- Business license number
- Type of business entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or LLC)
- Business street and mailing address
- Name & address of the business owner(s)
- Business description
Step 4 – Submit the application and filing fee
If filing online, pay, and submit the application. If mailing, send the form and fee to:
Division of Occupational Licensing
Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development
P.O. Box 110808
Juneau, AK 99811-0808
There are a few restrictions when registering a fictitious name in Alaska.
- Registered entity designator – The words “incorporation,” “corporation,” “Inc.,” “LLC,” “Limited Liability Company,” “Ltd.,” “Co.,” “Limited Partnership,” “Limited Liability Partnership,” “LLP” or any other entity identifier cannot be used.
- Government affiliated words – Words such as “city,” “township,” “village,” “borough,” or other words that may indicate affiliation with the government may not be used.
- Vulgar or obscene words – No wording in a business name can be used that is considered vulgar or obscene.
- Distinguishable – Each registered business name has to be distinguishable from other names on record. Alaska Regulation 3 AAC 16.120(a)(1) defines what makes a business name distinguishable. Some common elements that don’t make a name distinguishable include:
- Spacing of words
- Spelling a number versus the number itself
- Words such as “a”, “an”, “the”, “by”, “to”, “for”, “with”…
Alaska DBA Registration Form
The DBA registration form can be downloaded and mailed in or filed online with the Secretary of State. Filing time is typically around two weeks when filing by mail and just a few days when filing online.
Can someone steal my business name?
While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Alaska, it does very little from someone else operating a business under that name in other states. If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark.
Learn more about trademarking a business name.
Does a DBA need an EIN?
An EIN or Employer Identification Number is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Department (IRS). An EIN is required for partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.
Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.
There is no cost to get an EIN when registering directly from the IRS.
Related: How to register for an EIN in Alaska