A crucial step in starting a limited liability company (LLC) in Alaska is acquiring all the licenses and permits required for your business. Depending on your industry and location, you may be required to get licenses and permits at the federal, state, and local levels.
And without them, you could face major hurdles and penalties. This guide provides all you need to know to ensure you’re in full compliance in Alaska.
Which Department Issues Business Licenses and Permits?
In most states, several agencies and departments issue licenses and permits depending on the type of business. For example, the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development issues most licenses in Alaska, although the Division of Environmental Health issues a good number.
The municipalities issue sales tax permits in Alaska with a sales tax, as there is no statewide sales tax.
At the county and municipal levels, various departments issue licenses and permits. Check with your local governments for requirements.
Federally, different departments oversee different industries. As a result, licenses and permits are generally industry-specific, except for health permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
If you run a farm, the U.S. Department of Agriculture may require licenses and permits for your business.
You must register with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives if your business sells fireworks. Most industries, however, do not require licensing at the federal level.
The Small Business Association (SBA) has put together a handy guide that details the licenses and permits needed for various businesses.
Common Business Licenses and Permits
Here are some standard licenses and permits you may need:
If a federal agency regulates your industry, you’ll likely be licensed by that agency. Some federal agencies that require licenses include:
- Department of Agriculture
- Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
- Department of Transportation
Some standard licenses you may need at the state level include:
- Industry-specific licenses for certain professions and industries, such as construction, plumbing, electrical, childcare, food handling, liquor, architecture, and finance
- Health licenses and permits
- Doing business as (DBA) permits using a name other than your LLC.
- Sales tax permit
At the municipal or county level, you may need licenses or permits, including:
- Building and zoning permits
- Health licenses and permits
- Fire permits
- Sign permits
How to Obtain a Business License in Alaska
In Alaska, you must get a general business license and other licenses and permits.
- To get a general Alaska business license, visit the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development website. The cost for a business license is $50 per year.
- Unless you’re operating as a sole proprietorship or partnership, you must register your business with the state, usually as an LLC or a corporation.
You can do so online with the Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing.
- You’ll need to register for sales tax with your municipal government if you sell goods or services.
- Other specific licenses can be applied for through particular departments. For example, if you have a restaurant business in Alaska, you must have a food establishment permit issued by the Division of Environmental Health.
- Check with your local governments for licenses and permits you may need locally.
How Much Does a Business License Cost in Alaska?
License and permit fees vary. A general business license, for example, costs $50 annually, while forming an LLC costs $250. Likewise, food service establishment permit fees vary by the type of establishment and size.
Do Licenses and Permits Have to Be Renewed?
Some licenses and permits must be renewed annually, such as general business licenses and food establishment permits.
Check with issuing departments for renewal requirements for other licenses and permits.
Obtaining licenses and permits is a critical step when starting an LLC in Alaska, so check with state and local government offices and fully comply with their requirements. If you operate without the proper licenses and permits, you could face steep fines or even the closure of your business.
If you’re unsure of state or local regulations and need help, consult a business attorney, as proper licensing is an absolute must.