Alaska Business License (Guide: What, Why, When And How)

Looking to start a business in Alaska?

How do you get an Alaska Business License?

You may need a business license, read this to learn more…

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Alaska Business License Overview

Starting a business, operating a small business or managing one is highly rewarding.

However, operating a business is not merely about opening the doors of your business and making money.

You must comply with federal, state, and local laws.

As part of your compliance obligations, you must ensure that your business has the proper licenses and permits.

Most businesses operating in the State of Alaska will require a:

  • Federal business license
  • State business license 
  • City business license 
  • County business license 

To operate a business anywhere in the State of Alaska, you’ll need to ensure you have the right business license or permit.

The U.S. States will typically regulate a much broader range of business activities than the federal government.

The business license that you need may depend on the nature of your business activity or the location of your business operations.

In addition to the state-issued licenses, different cities, municipalities, counties or boroughs may have their own unique business license requirement.

In essence, business owners, startups, entrepreneurs, and all business entities conducting business operations in Alaska have the responsibility to ensure they have the right business permits and licenses to ensure compliance with the law.

Alaska Federal Business License 

If your business is regulated by a federal agency, you may require a federal license or permit to be able to operate your business in Alaska.

To obtain the necessary permit, you’ll need to directly engage with the federal agency, inquire about their particular business license requirements, and pay any associated fees.

As a guide, you can consult the federal agencies list to ensure you get the suitable business license from the appropriate federal issuing agency.

Alaska State Business License

In Alaska, the state business license is issued by the Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing office or CBPL.

There may be various state agencies that issue their own permits.

For example, the Division of Environmental Health, Department of Environmental Conservation is in charge of issuing its own business permits.

The state will also issue licenses if you are a member of a professional order or have a certain occupation.

In some cases, the Alaska Professional Licensing is handled directly by the CBPL, and in other cases, they are issued directly by the relevant state regulatory board.

Alaska City Business License 

In addition to the state and state agencies issuing licenses and permits, you’ll need to consider getting the right business license from a particular city, municipality, county or borough.

For example, you may need a Fairbanks business license or an Anchorage business license who have their own licensing requirements.

The rules for business registration vary depending on where you intend to operate your business and the type of commercial activities performed by your business.

For example, in the Municipality of Anchorage, you’ll need a business license if you operate as a pawnbroker, operate an ice cream truck, operate tow trucks, have a shooting gallery and more.

In the City of Kenai, the City will require licenses from mobile food vendors and passenger vehicles for hire, among other things.

Wherever your business is located, you must ensure that you have the relevant business license applicable to your business.

Why do you need an Alaska small business license

All businesses, starting from small businesses to large enterprises, need to comply with the federal, state, and city laws relating to business licenses and permits.

This is a legal requirement and it’s essential for companies for compliance purposes.

The overall objective is for the government to ensure that customers and consumers are protected.

Businesses have an objective to make money and in some cases they may result in the abuse of their customers or clients, the safety of others, the environment or society in general.

To ensure that we are protected, federal, state, and local laws have been adopted to ensure businesses get their required business licenses to ensure they operate in society in a healthy way.

Without a business license, you may be exposed to penalties, fines and even a prohibition to conduct your business operations.

Although it does take some time to handle this and it’s a tedious administrative task, you should not neglect your business licenses and make sure you are compliant with the local license and permit requirements.

When do you need a business license 

Typically, you’ll need to apply for a business license when you incorporate your business, form your limited liability company or business entity.

As part of your business registration in Alaska, you’ll need to register your business name.

Once you have your business name, you’ll need that information to be able to apply for a business license.

As such, you must consider the business licenses you need to get your business off the ground.

Then, once you start operating your business, you must regularly assess and reassess your business license needs.

If your business operations evolve or change, you may need to apply for business licenses that you did not need before.

For example, if you started with a home office, you may have a specific business license need (or even an exemption in certain cases). 

However, if your business grows and you eventually lease a commercial store, you may need to get an occupancy permit.

It’s a good business practice to evaluate your business license needs on a yearly basis.

How to get a business license in Alaska

Once you incorporate a company, form an LLC, or another type of entity, you’ll need to get a business license to conduct commercial activity in Alaska.

In this section, we’ll go over the various steps for you to obtain a business license for your company.

Online application 

To apply for an Alaska business license online, you’ll need to follow the below steps:

  • Step 1: Go to the Alaska Division of Business Licensing
  • Step 2: Enter the name of your Alaska business entity 
  • Step 3: Select your company’s primary line of business 
  • Step 4: Select the primary NAICS Code related to your business
  • Step 5: Enter your mailing address and phone number
  • Step 6: Select the ownership type of your business 
  • Step 7: Enter your business Entity Number
  • Step 8: Click “Validate”
  • Step 9: Enter your name and title
  • Step 10: Select a 1-year or 2-year license 
  • Step 11: Enter your billing information 

When you apply online, the advantage is that your business license application will be processed immediately.

Mail application 

If you are not able to apply for the business license online, you can apply for a business license by completing an application and mailing it to the Business Licensing Section of the State of Alaska.

Here is what you need to do, step-by-step:

  • Step 1: Download the Alaska Business License Application (Form 08-4181)
  • Step 2: Complete the application
  • Step 3: Sign the document
  • Step 4: Get a check or money order for the applicable fees payable to the State of Alaska
  • Step 5: Mail your application with your check to the Business Licensing Section, State Office Building, 333 Willoughby Avenue, 9th Floor, PO Box 110806, Juneau, AK 99811-0806

When you apply using a mail-in application, you should expect about 10 to 15 days of processing delays.

How much does an Alaska business license cost 

In Alaska, your business license will cost you $50.00 for one year and $100 for two years.

No matter if you apply online or by mail, the fees remain $50 per year.

It’s important to note that the fees payable for your business license are non-refundable. 

As a result, you must make sure that you are using the right business entity name when you apply for one.

Business license validity 

In Alaska, you have the following options:

  • Purchase a business license valid for 1 year
  • Purchase a business license valid for 2 years

When the business license is issued to you, it will always expire on December 31st of the year.

Here is how it works.

If you apply for a business license before October 1st of the year, your business license will expire on December 31st of the same year.

However, if you apply and get your business license after October 1st of the year, your business license will expire on December 31st of the subsequent year.

Once your business license expires, you can renew it for an additional 1 year or 2 years.

You can perform an Alaska business license renewal online or using the Business License Renewal Application (Form 08-4617).

Business license exemption 

There are some businesses in Alaska that are exempt from getting a business license.

If you intend to conduct business in the following areas, you will not need a business license:

  • A fisheries business
  • The sale of liquor 
  • An insurance business
  • A mining business
  • Supplying services as an employee
  • Furnishing goods or services by a person who does not represent to be regularly engaged in furnishing goods or services
  • Activities of an investment club

For more information on the Alaska business license exemption, be sure to read the business licensing page on the State of Alaska’s website (Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing).

Examples of business licenses 

Depending on your business, you may need a business license: 

  • Issued by the federal government
  • Issued by the state 
  • Issued by a city or county

For example, your business may need to have:

  • Zoning permits or occupation permits allowing your business to operate from a specific location 
  • Building permits may be needed by the city or county if you are in the construction or renovation business
  • Signage permits may be needed by the municipalities and cities if you are looking to post a sign for your business 

For example, if you are looking to open a restaurant, you may need the following business licenses:

  • Prepared Food and Beverage Tax License
  • Business Tax License
  • Alcohol License

Another example can be a business operating in the retail sector, they may need:

  • Specialty Business License 
  • Sales Tax Registration 
  • Fictitious name registration 

Business license service providers

Some business owners and entrepreneurs take the matter into their own hands and handle their business licensing needs.

If you are a DIY type of person, you’ll need to make sure that you do a thorough research of what type of business license you may need and then handle the application process.

Some others prefer to outsource that to companies specialized in verifying the business license needs and handling the application process.

For a fee, the service providers will:

  • Perform research to see what your business may need from a licensing point of view
  • Provide you with the business license forms 
  • Provide you with services if completing your applications
  • Handle your business license renewal process 

Business license resources

Here is the State of Alaska business license contact information:

Business Licensing Section

State Office Building

333 Willoughby Avenue, 9th Floor

PO Box 110806

Juneau, AK 99811-0806

Here are some additional resources and useful links:

Here is a list of cities, countries or boroughs in Alaska you may need to apply directly for a business license:

Takeaways 

There you have it: our guide on Business License Alaska.

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Alaska Business License:

  • Businesses operating in the State of Alaska may need a federal, state, city or county business license
  • Local laws require a business license as a means to protect consumers, the environment and society in general 
  • Businesses must comply with the business licensing requirements to avoid penalties, fines and suspension of their business operations 
  • Business licenses may be needed depending on the nature of your business activity or where your business is located 
Annual Report
Articles of Incorporation 
Biennial Report 
Business bank account 
Business financing 
Business insurance 
Business name 
Business structure
C Corporation 
EIN Number 
Limited liability company 
Operating Agreement
Registered Agent 
S Corporation 
Sole proprietorships 
Statement of Information 
Tax ID Number
Author
Alaska corporation search 
How to start a business in Alaska
How to register a business name 
What is a DBA
What is a general partnership 
What is a limited liability partnership 
What is a NAICS code
What is a nonprofit corporation
What is a sole proprietorship
What is a trademark 
What is an LLC
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