How to Start a Corporation in Alaska
Getting your Alaska corporation off the ground is as simple as filing the Articles of Incorporation with the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (requires registered agent), drafting corporate bylaws, and choosing your initial director(s).
We’ll show you how to start a corporation in Alaska yourself.
Or simply use a professional service:
Northwest ($29 + state fee)
It's Easy to Incorporate in Alaska
Step 1: Name Your Alaska Corporation
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent
Step 3: Hold an Organizational Meeting
Step 4: File the Articles of Incorporation
Step 5: Get an EIN
For a look at corporation formation in every state, check out our other How to Start a Corporation guides.
Not sure if a corporation is right for you? Check out our LLC vs. Corporation guide to help you make your decision.
Step 1: Name Your Alaska Corporation
Choosing a business name is the first step in starting a corporation.
1. Alaska naming guidelines:
- Corporations in Alaska must include the word “company”, “corporation”, “limited”, or “incorporated” in their name – either in full or in their abbreviated forms.
- The name of a city, borough, or village may be used in a corporation’s name; however, the words “city,” “borough,” “village” or any others imply that the company is a municipality.
- Alaska corporations are prohibited from using terms that imply that they are affiliated with or sponsored by a government or state agency (e.g., FBI, etc.).
- Corporations in Alaska are required to select a name that is sufficiently distinctive from all others reserved or registered in the department’s records.
- Corporations in Alaska are prohibited from using words or phrases that are misleading with regard to the corporation’s purpose (e.g. a for-profit business naming themselves a charity).
For a detailed list of all naming guidelines, visit the Alaska Department of Commerce's business name page.
2. Is my corporation name available in Alaska?
Your Alaska corporation name must be unique and distinguishable from other business names in Alaska. Use the Alaska Department of Commerce’s Business Search Portal to determine if your desired business name is available.
3. Is the URL available?
Before registering your Alaska corporation, you’ll need to check if a good URL is available for your business name. It’s important to secure your URL right away.
Step 2: Choose an Alaska Registered Agent
You must appoint an Alaska registered agent when registering your corporation with the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
A registered agent is an individual or entity appointed to receive service of process, government correspondence, and compliance documents on behalf of a business.
Your registered agent can be an individual, business entity, or professional registered agent service. Any member of the corporation or individual can serve as your Alaska registered agent as long as the person:
- is 18 years or older
- has a physical address in the state where business activity is conducted
- is available (in person) during normal business hours
Recommended: Northwest offers one year of free registered agent services with their corporation formation package ($29 + State Fees).
Step 3: Hold an Organizational Meeting
Before you officially file the Articles of Incorporation in Step 4, you will need to hold an organizational meeting to complete the following tasks:
- Fill out and execute the Articles of Incorporation
- Create and approve bylaws
- Select your initial director(s)
- Determine your share structure
- Execute an Incorporator’s Statement
Create and Approve Corporate Bylaws
Bylaws are the rules that determine how your organization will be governed and run. For detailed instructions on creating your bylaws, read our corporate bylaws guide.
Appoint Initial Directors
While not required in the Alaska Articles of Incorporation, you may include the initial director(s) of the corporation in the “Optional Provisions and Additional Articles” section of the form.
A corporate director is in charge of the adoption, amendment, and repeal of operational bylaws as well as the election, supervision, and removal of officers.
After forming the corporation, the incorporator(s) — or initial director(s), if named on the formation documents — should call an organizational meeting. During this initial meeting, either the incorporator(s) will elect the board of directors or the initial director(s) will appoint the officers.
Choose a Share Structure and Strategy
A share of stock is the unit of ownership of a corporation. Each share of stock represents a percentage of ownership of the company. For example, if a corporation issues one share of stock the shareholder (stock owner) would then own 100% of the corporation.
Shares can be structured into classes. Each class, termed a share class, holds different rights and privileges. You can have multiple classes and each class can hold any number of shares.
Authorized Shares: the number of shares the corporation is allowed to issue.
Issued Shares: the total number of shares actually issued to shareholders.
Share Class: a group of shares that has a unique set of rights and privileges.
In Alaska, the Articles of Incorporation form allows you to indicate if the corporation will issue more than one authorized share class or series. You must indicate whether the share classes are common or preferred.
Common Stock vs. Preferred Stock
Common stock gives its shareholder voting rights whereas preferred stock does not. When it comes to company assets, preferred stockholders are paid before common stockholders.
Create and Execute an Incorporator’s Statement
The incorporator(s) should sign an Incorporator’s Statement with complete names and addresses of each initial director and store it in the corporate records book.
This document names the initial director(s) that will serve until the board of directors is elected during the first shareholder meeting. It should be stored with the rest of your corporate records.
Step 4: File the Alaska Articles of Incorporation
You will need to file the Alaska Articles of Incorporation to set up a corporation in Alaska. You can file online, by mail, or fax with the Department of Commerce. The filing cost is $250.
This document will cover the basics of your corporation, including:
- Corporate name and business purpose (including a NAICS Industry Grouping Code) You can do a NAICS Code Lookup and find the NAICS Code for LLC that matches your industry.
- Corporate registered agent name and street address
- The number of authorized shares the corporation is allowed to issue and the share classes (common and/or preferred)
You must also complete the Contact Information Sheet included with the form, which asks for basic contact information in case there are any issues with the filing process.
Option 1: File Online With the Department of Commerce
- OR -
Option 2: File the Articles of Incorporation by Mail, by Fax, or In Person
Filing Cost: $250
State of Alaska
Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing
P.O. Box 110806
Juneau, AK 99811-0806
333 Willoughby Ave., 9th Floor
State Office Building
Juneau, AK 99801
Fax: (907) 465-2974
Step 5: Get an EIN for Your Alaska Corporation
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used by the federal government to identify a business entity. It is essentially a Social Security number for the company. An EIN is needed:
- To open a bank account for the company
- For federal and state tax purposes
- To hire employees
Get an EIN
Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS
- OR -
Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
Running Your Corporation
It is very important to adhere to the formalities of running a corporation. Read our How to Run a Corporation guide to learn more.
Taxes, Biennial Reports, & Licensing
Alaska State Corporation Tax Requirements
Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax:
Alaska Sales Tax
Alaska is one of five states that does not impose a sales tax.
Alaska Employer Taxes
If you hire employees, you will need to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax through the Alaska Department of Labor's website.
Alaska Corporation Licenses and Permits
To operate your corporation in Alaska, you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.
Learn more in our Alaska Business License guide.
File the Alaska Biennial Report
You must file the Alaska Corporation Initial Report form within six months of registering your Alaska corporation. You must then file a biennial report every two years thereafter. Both the initial report and the biennial report can be filed online or with a hard copy.
Corporate Dissolution & Alaska Good Standing
How to Get an Alaska Certificate of Good Standing
A Certificate of Good Standing, known in Alaska as a Certificate of Compliance, verifies that your Alaska corporation was legally formed and has been properly maintained.
To order a Certificate of Compliance in Alaska, you must complete the online form on the Alaska Department of Commerce’s website.
File a Certificate of Compliance
Request a Certificate Online With the Department of Commerce
How to Dissolve a Corporation in Alaska
If at any point you would like to permanently stop doing business, or close your business, it is important to officially dissolve your corporation. Failure to do so in a timely fashion can result in tax liabilities, penalties, or even legal trouble.
There are five main steps to close your Alaska corporation:
- Stop doing business
- Hold a board meeting, vote on dissolution, and record the meeting in the corporation minutes
- File the Certificate of Election to Dissolve and the Articles of Dissolution with the Alaska Department of Commerce
- Close your federal and state business tax accounts with the IRS and Alaska Department of Revenue
- Close your business bank accounts
File Dissolution Documents
You must file two separate forms with the Department of Commerce to dissolve an Alaska corporation: a Certificate of Election to Dissolve and Articles of Dissolution.
You can file both at the same time or you can file the Certificate of Election to Dissolve first and then file the Articles of Dissolution. The total filing fee is $25.
Is a Corporation Right For You?
An LLC provides limited liability protection without corporate complexity.
Find out if an LLC is the right structure for you.
Steps After Forming a Corporation
After forming a corporation, you’ll want to protect your personal and business assets and build credit.
Taking these steps will set your business up for success:
- Open a Business Bank Account
- Open a Business Credit Card
- Establish and Build Business Credit
- Get Insurance
- Protect Your Corporate Veil
Alaska Corporation FAQ
How much does it cost to start a corporation in Alaska?
It will cost $250 to file your Articles of Incorporation with the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
Additionally, it is strongly recommended to purchase a registered agent service rather than do this yourself in order to avoid the risk of non-compliance.
Our article on the Best Registered Agent Services can provide some insight into which service is best suited for you.
What is the difference between an LLC and corporation in Alaska?
While there are many smaller differences between LLCs and corporations, the most important difference is that corporations are better for attracting investors.
Therefore, if your business needs early investment, corporations are the better choice. However in almost all other cases an LLC is more beneficial.
If you are interested in the smaller differences between these two business entities, check out our LLC vs Corporation article.
How long does it take to set up a corporation in Alaska?
Depending on whether you filed your certificate of incorporation online or by mail, the standard processing time can range up to 15 days.
In heavier filing seasons (such as from March to September) you can expect slight delays in the processing of your certificate.
Note: If you are struggling with incorporating your business, see our What Are Articles Of Incorporation article for some guidance.
Is it difficult to start a corporation in Alaska?
While still straightforward, starting a corporation in Alaska is more difficult than starting an LLC. This is mainly due to the additional formalities and paperwork that is necessary.
Corporations are also — generally speaking — even more burdensome to maintain than they are to start.
Our article on How To Run A Corporation can provide some useful information on this.
Is it easier to start an LLC than a corporation in Alaska?
Yes. Starting an LLC is significantly more affordable and less time-consuming than starting a corporation.
Corporations are also a lot more difficult to maintain due to the formalities involved (e.g., need to hold annual shareholder meetings, record meeting minutes, etc.).
Having said that, corporations can be beneficial when it comes to attracting private investors (e.g., venture capitalists, etc.).