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How to Register a Business Name in Alaska – Complete Guide

    How to Register a Business Name in Alaska
    (Last Updated On: September 18, 2023)

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    If you’re looking to register a business name in Alaska, you’ll need to complete the state’s registration process. Whether you opt for an LLC or corporation or wish to operate under a unique “doing business as” (DBA) name, compliance with Alaska’s business division is essential. 

    In this guide, we’ll walk you through the vital steps and requirements, empowering you to establish your venture amidst the entrepreneurial-friendly atmosphere of the Last Frontier. For added convenience and support, consider leveraging LLC services like ZenBusiness, which can expertly assist you in registering your business name. With their help, you can navigate the process seamlessly and embark on your exciting new venture in Alaska! 

    Get ready to formalize your dream business and carve your path to success in the Land of the Midnight Sun!

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    4 Steps to Register Your Business Name in Alaska

    Registering your business name in Alaska is an essential milestone to kickstart your entrepreneurial journey in the Land of the Midnight Sun. To assist you in this process, here are four straightforward steps to officially register your business name in Alaska:

    Step 1: Choose Your Business Structure in Alaska

    When registering your business name in Alaska, selecting the right business structure is a critical first step. Your choice will depend on various factors, including your expansion plans, business type, and personal liability preferences. Here are the different types of business structures available in Alaska:

    Sole Proprietorship

    A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure where the business and owner are considered the same entity. The owner bears personal responsibility for the business’s debts and liabilities. Setting up a sole proprietorship is easy, with minimal legal and administrative requirements. Although registration with the state isn’t mandatory, you may need to obtain local permits or licenses.

    General Partnership

    A general partnership is a business owned by two or more individuals who share profits and losses. Each partner has personal liability for the business’s debts and legal obligations. While a general partnership doesn’t require state registration, filing a “Certificate of Partnership” with the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development may be necessary.

    Limited Partnership (LP)

    In Alaska, a limited partnership comprises general partners with unlimited liability and limited partners with restricted liability. To create an LP in Alaska, you must file a “Certificate of Limited Partnership” with the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.

    Limited Liability Company (LLC)

    An LLC is a flexible business structure offering the liability protection of a corporation and the tax benefits of a partnership. Creating an LLC in Alaska entails filing Articles of Organization with the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. Additionally, you’ll need an Operating Agreement to outline the company’s management and ownership structure.

    Corporation 

    A corporation is a legal entity that’s separate from its owners (shareholders), providing limited liability protection. Alaska offers two types of corporations:

    • C-corporations: Taxed separately from shareholders, subject to double taxation
    • S-corporations: Pass-through entities, where income and losses pass through to shareholders’ tax returns

    To create a corporation in Alaska, file Articles of Incorporation with the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. Corporations require more formalities, such as creating bylaws, issuing stock, and holding regular board and shareholder meetings.

    Select the business structure in Alaska that best suits your needs concerning liability protection, taxation, and management requirements. Consult with a legal or business professional if you need assistance in making this decision. 

    Once you’ve determined the appropriate structure, you’ll be ready to proceed with registering your business name and commencing your entrepreneurial journey in Alaska.

    >> Register Your Alaska Business Name with ZenBusiness >>

    Step 2: Select a Unique Business Name in Alaska 

    Selecting a unique business name is a critical step in establishing your brand identity and gaining a competitive edge in Alaska’s bustling market. When registering your business name, consider the following options:

    During the registration process, it’s essential to secure a unique legal entity name for your Alaska business. This name should include a designated term like “LLC” or “Corporation,” indicating your business structure. To ensure exclusivity, conduct a thorough search using the Alaska Business Name Database to verify name availability.

    Trademark Protection 

    Safeguarding your business name or logo at the national level can be a valuable asset. For this, you can apply for a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Before proceeding, conduct a comprehensive trademark search to ensure that no other business is already using a similar name or logo, protecting your brand from potential conflicts.

    Doing Business As (DBA)

    Embrace the flexibility of operating your business under a unique name apart from your legal entity name with a Doing Business As (DBA) registration in Alaska. To accomplish this, file the necessary documentation with the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing, and the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.

    By carefully selecting a memorable and one-of-a-kind business name in Alaska, you not only enhance brand recognition but also shield your business from potential disputes. Prioritize name availability checks and compliance with Alaska’s naming regulations to ensure a seamless and successful registration process. Your distinct business name will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping your venture’s identity and success in the picturesque landscapes of Alaska.

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    Step 3: Check Business Name Availability in Alaska

    Before proceeding with your business registration in Alaska, it’s essential to ensure that the name you wish to use is available and not already in use by another entity. To conduct a thorough business name availability search, follow these three steps:

    Begin by conducting a federal trademark search to check if your preferred business name is already trademarked. Trademarks hold authority at the federal level, superseding state-level registrations. To conduct this search, visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website and use the TESS Search tool. If your desired name is already trademarked, you’ll need to come up with an alternative business name.

    >> File a Trademark with IncFile >>

    After confirming that your business name isn’t trademarked, proceed to verify its availability within Alaska. Utilize the Alaska Corporations Database tool to search for registered business names in the state. Check not only for the exact match but also for any significantly similar business names already in use.

    As an additional step, perform a website domain search to ensure that the .com version of your business name is available. While not mandatory for every business, securing the .com domain early can be beneficial for future online presence and branding.

    By registering the .com version of your business name with ZenBusiness, you ensure that no one else can begin to use that website name. Since ZenBusiness is an affordable way to protect your business name from being used by someone else.

    By conducting these comprehensive searches, you can confidently proceed with the registration of your chosen business name, knowing it’s unique and legally available for use in Alaska.

    Step 4: Form Your Business With the State of Alaska

    After selecting your desired business structure and name, the next step is to register your business with the state of Alaska. Here’s what you need to do:

    For Alaska LLC Registration:

    File the Articles of Organization with the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. You have the option to apply online, by mail, by fax, or in person.

    For Alaska Corporation Registration:

    Submit the Articles of Incorporation to the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.

    You May Also Want to Know

    Protect Your Business Name With a Trademark

    Once you’ve confirmed the availability of your business name and secured it for your use, you may consider applying for a trademark. While this step comes with a cost of around $225 to $400, plus potential attorney fees and a renewal fee every 10 years, it provides nationwide brand protection supported by federal law. 

    Trademark registration empowers you with legal precedence if others attempt to use a similar name for their business, giving you a strong advantage. Although it might not be necessary for every small business, it can be valuable if you plan on expanding nationally.

    >> File a Trademark with IncFile >>

    How to File an Alaska Fictitious Name – DBA?

    To file an Alaska Fictitious Name, also known as “Doing Business As” (DBA), follow these steps:

    • Choose a Fictitious Name: Decide on the alternate business name under which you want to operate. Make sure it complies with Alaska’s naming regulations and is distinguishable from existing business names.
    • Conduct a Name Search: Before proceeding with the filing, conduct a name search to ensure that your chosen fictitious name is available and not already in use by another business in Alaska. This step helps prevent potential conflicts and legal issues down the line.
    • Prepare the Fictitious Name Registration Form: Obtain the Alaska Fictitious Name Registration Form. You can download it from the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing website.
    • Complete the Form: Fill out the registration form accurately and provide all required information, including your primary business name, the fictitious name you intend to use, and your contact details.
    • Notarize the Form: Some Alaska jurisdictions may require the notarization of the fictitious name registration form. Check with your local jurisdiction to determine if notarization is necessary.
    • File the Form: Submit the completed and notarized fictitious name registration form to the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing. You can file it by mail or in person at their office.
    • Pay the Filing Fee: Include the required filing fee along with your registration form. The fee varies depending on the jurisdiction, so check with the Division of Corporations for the current fee.
    • Await Approval: Once your registration form is submitted with the correct fee, the Division of Corporations will review your application. If everything is in order, they will approve your fictitious name registration.

    Keep in mind that a fictitious name registration is valid for five years from the date of approval. After this period, you’ll need to renew the registration to continue using the alternate business name.

    By following these steps, you can successfully file a fictitious name (DBA) in Alaska, allowing you to operate your business under the chosen alternate name while maintaining compliance with the state’s regulations.

    How to Change the Name of an Alaska Business?

    To change the name of your Alaska business, you have two options: 

    1. Filing for a Business Name (DBA Name) 
    2. Submitting an Amendment to the Legal Name of Your Existing Business

    For sole proprietorships and general partnerships: Filing for a business name (DBA name) allows you to operate your business under a different name without altering its legal name. This is the simplest method for LLCs and corporations as well, as it enables them to operate with brand names that don’t include the necessary “LLC” or “Inc.” suffix required in a legal name.

    If you want to change the legal name of your LLC or corporation, filing an amendment to the legal name is the best course of action. You can find the necessary forms for both options, Articles of Amendment for LLCs and Articles of Amendment for corporations, which must be submitted with a $25 filing fee via mail.

    By following these steps, you’ll successfully form your business in Alaska, ensuring that it operates under the appropriate structure and name, with trademark protection for added security and brand recognition.

    >> Get Expert Assistance from ZenBusiness >>

    Business Name Registration Laws in Alaska

    Business Name Registration Laws in Alaska for Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are as follows:

    • Unique Business Name: When registering a business name in Alaska, it must be unique and distinguishable from existing business names. This requirement ensures that each business operating in the state has a distinct identity and minimizes confusion among consumers.
    • Business Structure Designator: If you’re operating as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation, your business name must include a designator that reflects your business structure. For example, “LLC” for a limited liability company or “Inc.” for a corporation.
    • Fictitious Name (Doing Business As – DBA): If you plan to operate your business under a name different from your legal entity name, you’ll need to file a Fictitious Name Registration, commonly known as Doing Business As (DBA). This registration allows you to use the alternate business name while maintaining your legal entity’s identity.
    • Name Search: Before registering a business name or filing a DBA, it’s crucial to conduct a name search to ensure that your desired name is available and not already in use by another business. You can perform the name search through the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing website.
    • Filing with the State: To register your business name, you’ll need to file the necessary documents with the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing. For LLCs, you’ll file Articles of Organization, and for corporations, you’ll file Articles of Incorporation.
    • Trademark Protection: While not mandatory, you can choose to apply for a federal trademark to protect your business name or logo at the national level. This provides broader brand protection and legal recourse against others using a similar name or logo.
    • Renewal: Depending on the business structure and registration type, some business name registrations may require renewal after a specific period. Be sure to comply with any renewal requirements to maintain your business name’s legality and protection.

    It’s essential to stay updated with the most current laws and regulations in Alaska, as they can change over time. For accurate and up-to-date information, it’s best to consult with legal professionals or refer to the official website of the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing.

    Bottom Line on How to Register a Business Name in Alaska 

    In conclusion, registering a business name in Alaska is an essential and rewarding process for aspiring entrepreneurs. By conducting thorough research to ensure name uniqueness, choosing the right registration method, and completing all required paperwork with the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing, you can establish a solid legal foundation for your business. 

    Considering the support of ZenBusiness can further streamline the process, providing expert guidance and assistance to navigate any complexities. With your registered business name, you’re setting the stage for a prosperous and successful venture in the vast and promising landscapes of Alaska. 

    >> Use ZenBusiness To Register a Business Name in Alaska >>

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