You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, dreams of a thriving Alaska LLC, and you’re mentally prepared to make it happen.
But the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and for you, that first step is filing the Certificate of Formation.
With such grand plans, the last thing you might want to do is file paperwork, but completing the Certificate of Formation is what authenticates your LLC, making it official in Alaska. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your Alaska LLC. Following this guide will help take the tedium out of paperwork and get your business started quickly.
But before you dive into the Certificate of Formation, you should have a few pieces of information ready to help streamline the process.
Recommended ✔If you want to make sure your LLC is formed correctly, hire an LLC service. Below are the top two that will take care of all the legal paperwork:
If getting the most value out of an LLC service is your priority, choose ZenBusiness. They charge one of the lowest rates online and include all the most important features when starting a business. Read Review. If you're on a strict budget and prefer using the cheapest LLC service, choose IncFile. They will form an LLC for free (plus state filing fee) and give you great features along the way. Read Review.
If getting the most value out of an LLC service is your priority, choose ZenBusiness. They charge one of the lowest rates online and include all the most important features when starting a business. Read Review.
If you're on a strict budget and prefer using the cheapest LLC service, choose IncFile. They will form an LLC for free (plus state filing fee) and give you great features along the way. Read Review.
Choosing an LLC Name
Before anything else, you will need to decide on an LLC name. You must include a business name on your Articles of Organization, and if the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development deems that name unacceptable or unavailable, the document will be rejected, so make sure you nail down a good name right away.
Your LLC name must include a term that designates its business type, like “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.,” or “LLC,” and not suggest any other business type by using words like “corporation,” “incorporated,” or any abbreviation thereof. The name also cannot imply that the LLC is a governmental unit, mislead as to the business purpose, or contain vulgar language. Finally, and most importantly, the name must be distinguishable from all other reserve or registered Alaska business names. Perform a name search to see if yours is unavailable.
Once you’ve found your perfect name, include it on your Articles of Organization to automatically register it. In the event that you’re not quite ready to file an LLC, you can place a 120-day hold on your name by submitting a name reservation request.
IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to get your business domain name so nobody else can use it. This will protect your brand and make things much easier for you down the road. Secure it easily through GoDaddy.
Choosing an Alaska Registered Agent
A registered agent is your LLC’s liaison to the state, the mediator who takes care of all your important legal, tax, and compliance documents, keeping your business in good standing. A registered agent’s name and address are required to complete your Articles of Organization and the document won’t be accepted without them.
Your registered agent can be either an individual Alaska resident with an in-state address or a business entity – like a registered agent service – who is authorized to do business in the state.
Quick Note: If your first choice doesn’t work out, don’t worry. You can always change your registered agent in the future.
Preparing to File Your Alaska Articles of Organization
Now for the main event: the Articles of Organization. Here’s your opportunity to get your LLC officially on record and authorized to conduct business in Alaska.
The Articles of Organization holds great importance in your LLC’s formation process. It’s the catalyst that sparks your company’s business authority. Even so, it’s not a long or complicated document. You’ll want to collect the necessary information beforehand, which will let you cruise right through it. Here’s the information it requires:
- LLC name
- Business purpose
- NAICS code (if applicable)
- Registered agent name and address(es)
- Whether the LLC is managed by members or managers
- Names and signatures for each organizer
The document itself is quick and painless, but the payment might not be. The Articles of Organization costs $250, so you’ll want to arrange your payment beforehand.
In a hurry? File online and your form will be processed immediately. Otherwise, the standard processing time is 10-15 business days. Although during peak filing periods, specifically between October and February, it may take even longer.
Once you’ve gathered your information and selected a payment option, you’re ready to file, and you have four options: online, mail, in person, or fax.
Access the online application and enter the required information. An important tip: do not use the BACK or FORWARD buttons because you might lose your work. You can complete the entire process, including the payment, through this online module. When finished, your form will be processed immediately.
Download a paper application here. Include a check (payable to the State of Alaska) and mail the document to:
State of Alaska
PO Box 110806-0806
Juneau, AK 99811-0806
Or, if you live near Anchorage or Juneau, you can submit your material in person to:
550 W 7th Ave, Ste 1500
Anchorage, AK 99501-3567
333 Willoughby AVE, 9th FL
State Office Building
Juneau, AK 99801-1770
You can also fax your application to (907) 465-2974.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in Alaska), but what if your business is expanding to Alaska from another state? In this case, don’t worry about completing the Articles of Organization, because your LLC will take a different route.
Every out-of-state business looking to operate in Alaska must instead foreign qualify by filing a Certificate of Registration online or using a paper form. You may be tempted to conduct business prior to foreign qualifying but resist the urge! This can lead to severe fines and penalties.
After you’ve foreign qualified your LLC and the state has granted you authorization, however, go right ahead and start your business activities.
Want Help Filing Your Articles of Organization?
Let’s be honest: you’ve got a lot on your plate. Filing paperwork can take time away from your other tasks, ones more focused on setting your budding LLC up for success.
The good news is that you don’t need to file the Articles of Organization yourself. But if an attorney is out of your price range, hiring an LLC creation service is a great option.
There’s no shortage of business incorporation services out there, but not all of them are equal. Each one offers different packages, costs, and processing times, so it’s important to find the right fit for your LLC.
While each service has optional upgrades and perks packages, on the most basic level, they will review your business information, prepare your formation documents, and submit them to the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. They will complete everything outlined in this guide and notify you when your Articles of Organization has been filed. You won’t have to lift a finger.
There are other benefits too. Some services will include a year of free registered agent service when you hire them. Other services offer order tracking, notifications on future documents (like Biennial Reports), assistance drafting your operating agreement, or coverage of certain LLC formation costs.