Business Licensing

Business Licensing FAQs

1. When do I need an Alaska Business License?

Per AS 43.70.020(a) a business license is required for the privilege of engaging in a business in the State of Alaska.

Per AS 43.70.110(1) “Business” means a for-profit or non-profit entity engaging or offering to engage in a trade, a service, a profession, or an activity with the goal of receiving a financial benefit in exchange for the provision of services, or goods, or other property.

Per 12 AAC 12.020(a) a separate business license is required for each line of business. The line of business is determined by the first two digits of the business’s NAICS code.

Per AS 43.70.105 there are few exemptions to having a business license. An exemption may exist under business licensing statutes but may not exist under other program or agency statutes. Procurement statutory requirements, professional licensing requirements, and other program requirements supersede the business licensing exemption statutes.

For more information, go to Business Licensing Statutes and Regulations.

2. What else might I need to obtain an Alaska Business License?

Generally, this Division requires the following to conduct business in the State of Alaska:

A. Professional License:

If you intend to engage in a practice that is regulated by Alaska Statute Title 8 (AS 08) you must obtain a professional license issued by the State of Alaska.

In addition, each professional license has title-protected language which, if used in a business name or as part of a personal title, or as an indication that a person is a professionally licensed or qualified, requires a professional license issued by the State of Alaska.

  • Example: you cannot advertise in any way or provide any printed material or other device that might indicate to the public that a person is a contractor or that person is qualified to engage in the contracting business unless that person has a professional contractor’s license.

If you are required to have a professional license this number must be provided on your business license application.

NOTE: The expiration date and status of your professional license may directly affect your business license. We encourage you to keep your professional license current and valid with the Professional Licensing Section.

For additional professional licensing information, including a list of occupations or activities that require a professional license, applications, forms and fees go to Professional Licensing.

B. Corporations Section:

If your business is a sole proprietor (one individual not a married couple) or partnership then you do not need to register with the Corporations Section.

If your organization is a business corporation, professional corporation, non-profit corporation, limited liability company (LLC), limited partnership (LP), limited liability partnership (LLP), cooperative, or a religious corporation then you may need to register your entity with the Corporations Section to obtain an Alaska Entity Number. An exemption to file may exist under corporation statutes but may not exist under professional licensing statutes, procurement statutes, or other program statutes. Procurement requirements, professional licensing requirements, and other program requirements supersede corporation exemptions.

If you are an entity you must provide your Alaska Entity Number on your business license application.

NOTE: The status of your entity may directly affect your business license. We encourage you to keep your entity in Good Standing with the Corporations Section

For additional corporation information, including exemptions, forms and fees go to Corporations Section.

C. Other license and permits: issued by the federal government, State of Alaska, or local municipality may be needed.

Check with the appropriate government agencies regarding additional licensing requirements.

For additional information go to Establishing a Business in Alaska.

3. I need help getting started, where else can I go for help?

Wherever your business is located within the state, you will have to be aware of the federal, state, and local government laws and regulations that may impact your business.

The following links will guide you to helpful business resources:

4. What is a DBA or AKA Business License?

DBA means Doing Business As, AKA means Also Known As.

Essentially, the Business License is the DBA of an Entity (Corporation, LLC, LLP, LP or PC).

For business licensing purposes an entity may DBA as itself:

  • Example: Swing Line, INC. (owner) DBA “Swing Line, INC.” (business name)

Or an entity may DBA under another business name without the entity indicator (Inc, LLC, LLP, LP or PC):

  • Example: Swing Line, INC. (owner) DBA “Frontier Sales” (business name).

An entity cannot DBA another entity:

  • Example: Swing Line, INC. (owner) DBA “Frontline Products, LLC” (business name).

If an entity indicator is used in the title of a business name then the business name must match the exact name of the business license owner as the entity  appears on record with the Corporation Section.

Entity ownership (who owns the entity) is reflected on the corporation record, not on the business license record (who owns the business license).

A separate business license is required for each name a business is doing business as AND for each line of business.

Can you use DBA or AKA in the title of your business license?

12 AAC 12.020(g) states in advertising and operating, a business license holder must use the business name that appears on the business license.

  • Example: if the full name on your business license is “Swing Line DBA Frontier Sales” then “Swing Line DBA Frontier Sales” must be the full name you advertise and operate under, not “Swing Line” or “Frontier Sales”.

For more information, go to Business Licensing Statutes and Regulations.

5. What is an NAICS code and how do I determine mine?

NAICS is the North American Industry Classification System developed as the standard for use by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for statistical data describing the US economy. NAICS Codes group business establishments into industries according to similarity in the processes used to produce goods or services

The State of Alaska uses the NAICS codes to determine Lines of Business and business activities.

The NAICS Code is a six digit code. The first two digits of the code determine the Line of Business. The last four digits of the code describe the business activities within the Line of Business. (Note: The Line of Business number and description will appear on your business license certificate.)

In order to receive an Alaska Business License you must choose a six digit NAICS code that best describes your Line of Business and business activities. For more information, go to Line of Business/Alaska NAICS Code.

Per 12 AAC 12.020(a) a separate business license is required for each line of business.

You may provide a secondary NAICS code on your business application; however it must fall under the same Line of Business as your primary NAICS code. (The first two digits of the NAICS codes must match.)

The Line of Business assigned to a business license cannot be changed. To change your line of business you must purchase a new business license.

6. What is a Sole Proprietor?

The State of Alaska defines Sole Proprietor as ONE (1) individual.

This is different from the IRS, which allows a husband and wife married couples to file taxes as a Sole Proprietor.

Per AS 43.70.030 the State of Alaska offers a Senior Discount to sole proprietorships.

IF the business is owned by a sole proprietor (one individual) AND the sole proprietor is 65 years or older when the sole proprietor applies for the business license or will reach 65 years of age at any time during the year for which the license is issued THEN the business license fee is $25 per year.

To receive the Senior Discount the sole proprietor MUST provide their date of birth PRIOR to purchasing or renewing the business license.

Business license fees are non-refundable after the business license has been issued.

7. How much is an Alaska Business License?

The fee for each business license is $50 per year (including all or a part of the initial year).

  • What does “all or any part of the initial year” mean?
    Business licenses are active on the date of issue and will expire on December 31 of the licensing period purchased. (Example: a new one year business license issued on September 15, 2013, will expire the same year on December 31, 2013.)
  • Exception: a new business license issued after October 1st will include the remainder of the calendar year in which the business license is issued PLUS the licensing period initially purchased: one year or two years. (Example: a new one year business license issued on October 15, 2013, will expire the following year on December 31, 2014.)
  • Business license fees are non-refundable once the business license has been issued.

SENIOR DISCOUNT: If the business is a sole proprietorship (one individual, not a husband and wife) and the sole proprietor is 65 years or older when the sole proprietor applies for the business license or will reach 65 years of age at any time during the year for which the license is issued then the business license fee is $25 per year.

  • The State of Alaska defines Sole Proprietor as ONE individual. This is different than the IRS definition which allows husband & wife married couples to file taxes as a Sole Proprietor.
  • The discount fee is NOT AVAILABLE to partnerships, corporations, LLCs, LLPs, LPs, or other entities, even if the principal owner is 65 or over.

Business license fees are non-refundable after the business license has been issued.

For more information, go to Business Licensing Statutes and Regulations.

8. How long does it take to get an Alaska Business License?

ONLINE: Purchase or renew online and print your new Alaska Business License immediately!

  • New business licenses with a required professional license cannot apply online and must apply by hardcopy.

HARDCOPY: Normal processing time is 10-15 business days. During business license renewal (October – February) processing time may be delayed.

To renew or purchase a new business license go to Business Licensing Section.

9. What if my business license has expired?

If your business license is expired less than two years you may renew and pay for the lapsed year(s).

  • ONLINE: if it has been 9 months or less since your business license expired then you may renew online and immediately print your renewed business license.
  • HARDCOPY: if it has been more than 9 months and less than two years since your business license expired then you must renew hardcopy. Normal processing time is 10-15 business days. During business license renewal (October – February) processing time may be delayed.

If your business license is expired more than two years you will need to purchase a new business license.

  • ONLINE: purchase your new business license online and immediately print your new business license.
  • HARDCOPY: Normal processing time is 10-15 business days. During business license renewal (October – February) processing time may be delayed.

NOTE: A business license is considered “lapsed” when there is a gap between the expiration date of the business license and the date the business license is renewed.

To renew or purchase a new business license go to Business Licensing Section.

10. Are there exemptions from the requirement to have a business license?

Yes, a business license is not required for the following:

  1. a fisheries business
    • For information regarding a Fisheries Business License, Direct Market License, Salmon Enhancement Tax, and Surety Bonding contact the Alaska Dept. of Revenue.
    • For information regarding Limited Entry Permits, Interim-Use Permits, Commercial Vessel Licenses, and Crewmember Licenses please contact the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game.
  2. the sale of liquor under a license issued under AS 04.11.
  3. an insurance business
  4. a mining business
  5. supplying services as an employee
  6. furnishing goods or services by a person who does not represent to be regularly engaged in furnishing goods or services.

  7. the activities of an investment club.
    • An investment club is a group of individuals, incorporated or otherwise organized, that engages primarily in investing in securities, that does not sell investment services to another person, that does not advertise, the primary purpose of which is educational.

NOTE: An exemption may exist under business licensing statutes but may not exist under other program or agency statutes. Procurement statutory requirements, professional licensing requirements, and other program requirements supersede the business licensing exemption statutes.

11. How can I protect my business name?

For more information on how to obtain exclusive rights to a business name go to How to Register or Reserve a Business Name.

12. Is my business license record public information?

Yes, business license records are public information and available to the public. This information is available via the web. It includes such information as the owner’s name, the mailing and physical address of the business.

All business license notices (renewal notice, licenses, etc.) will be mailed to the mailing address on record.

  • To change the business license mailing address complete and submit the Business License Change of Address (form 08-4054). This form will only notify the Business License Section.
  • If you have a professional license or are an entity on record with this division then separate notifications will need to be sent (if applicable) to Professional Licensing Section and Corporation Section.

To view your business license information that is available to the public:

  • For business license information go to License Search, under Search License Data click Business License. You may provide one or more of the search variables. When the Search Results appear click on the desired business license number (it is an active link) to view the business license details.
  • To download the database of current (not expired) business licenses go to License Search, under Database Downloads click Business License Download. This will create an excel spreadsheet which you may open or save.
13. How do I get a copy of my business license?

Free and immediate via the web:
Current business licenses are available to print immediately from our website at no charge. On the far left of this webpage, under Quick Links select License Search, under License Data select Business Licenses, search by business license name or number, click on the desired business license number to open the License Detail page, and select Print Business License.

Hardcopy:
You may request a duplicate business license by submitted the Request for Duplicate Business License (form 08-4080) and submitting it along with the $5 fee. Processing time for requests submitted hardcopy is normally10-15 business days.

14. I have a complaint. How do I know if my complaint is within the jurisdiction of this Division?

The Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing/Investigation Unit investigates matters pertaining to business licenses, the sale of tobacco products, and licensed professionals. For more information on what this Division may assist you with pertaining to business licenses, the sale of tobacco products and licensed professionals see below.

  • Business and Tobacco Endorsements:
    To research a business license and tobacco endorsements go to License Search. If a business is operating without a business license, improperly licensed, or selling tobacco products without an endorsement contact this Division’s Investigation Unit. You may need to contact a different agency if your complaint is not under the jurisdiction of this Division.

  • Professional Licensing:
    To see if someone is professionally licensed or if an existing licensee has disciplinary action, you can use the Professional License Search. If you would like to file a complaint against a licensed or unlicensed professional, please check the list of regulated professions to ensure the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of this Division’s Investigation Unit. You may need to contact a different agency if your complaint is not under the jurisdiction of this Division.

Please be aware that not all issues will fall within the jurisdiction of this Division and you may want to contact other agencies for assistance. For more information on how to file a complaint with this Division’s Investigation Unit go to Investigations.

15. What if my complaint is not within the jurisdiction of this Division, where else can I go with my complaint for help?

Complaints pertaining to business licenses, the sale of tobacco products, and licensed professionals are investigated by this Division's Investigations Unit.

In addition and/or for complaints that do not fall within the jurisdiction of this Division, you may want to file a complaint with another relevant agency. Below is a partial list of relevant agencies and other complaint resources.

  1. Contact relevant agencies.
    To find more agencies go to State of Alaska.

    1. Air Quality: the Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation

    2. Alcohol: the Alaska Dept. of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development/Alcohol Beverage Control Board

    3. ANCSA: the Alaska Dept. of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development/ Division of Banking and Securities

    4. Banks and Financial Institutions: Alaska Dept. of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development/ Division of Banking and Securities

    5. Disability-based Discrimination: Disability Law Center of Alaska

    6. Discrimination: Alaska State Commission for Human Rights

    7. Fisheries: the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game and the Alaska Dept. of Revenue

    8. Food Safety: the Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation/Division of Environmental Health

    9. Gaming (bingo, raffles, pull-tabs, sweepstakes, etc.): Alaska Dept. of Revenue

    10. Insurance: the Alaska Dept. of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development/Division of Insurance

    11. Labor: Alaska Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

    12. Landlord/Tenant: The Alaska Landlord & Tenant Act: what it means to you

    13. Mining License: the Alaska Dept. of Revenue

    14. Motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer dealers: the Alaska Dept. of Administration/Division of Motor Vehicles

    15. Oil and Gas: the Alaska Dept. of Administration

    16. Placer Mining: the Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources

    17. Sand/Gravel Mining License: the Alaska Dept. of Revenue

    18. Securities: Alaska Dept. of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development/ Division of Banking and Securities

    19. Taxes (such as alcohol, commercial passenger vessel, corporate income, electric cooperative, fisheries related taxes, gaming permits, large passenger vessel gambling tax, mining, motor fuel, oil and gas production, oil and gas property, partnerships, telephone cooperative, tire fee, tobacco, and vehicle rental): the Alaska Dept. of Revenue

    20. Water: the Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation

    In addition, you may wish to contact any other relevant federal agencies, local government agencies (i.e. borough, city, municipal, or village), consumer resources and/or seek professional or legal counsel.

  2. Consumer Protection
    The Consumer Protection Unit of the Attorney General's Office investigates unfair or deceptive business practices and files legal actions on behalf of the State of Alaska to stop such practices. For more information including how to file a complaint go to Consumer Protection.

  3. Better Business Bureau
    BBB is a neutral not-for-profit organization that provides ethical business and advertising standards, BBB Business Reviews, Charity Review, complaint handling, and information on marketplace events and tips. For more information on the Alaska, Oregon, and Western Washington branch go to Better Business Bureau.

  4. National Consumer Law Center
    NCLC has developed a number of guides, brochures, and fact sheets to help consumers understand their rights and make the best choices possible despite difficult financial circumstances.

  5. Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
    The FTC works to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace. The FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection’s website has useful information and publications covering all areas of consumer protection and consumer fraud.

  6. National Fraud Information Center
    The National Fraud Information Center (NFIC) was created by the National Consumers League, the oldest private, non-profit advocacy group representing consumers on marketplace and workplace issues. The NFIC's purpose is to fight telemarketing fraud by improving prevention and enforcement. The NFIC accepts online complaints about telephone or internet fraud.

  7. Call for Action
    Call for Action (CFA) is an international, nonprofit network of consumer hotlines. When a consumer contacts CFA, a CFA volunteer will contact the company or agency directly to promote dispute resolution. CFA assists the general public and small businesses victimized by fraud and addresses other consumer issues such as: debit cards/electronic banking, telephone fraud, advance-fee loans, investment fraud and basic credit.

  8. Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
    The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). The IC3 takes complaints from consumers regarding internet crime and refers complaints to law enforcement agencies. The IC3 issues internet scam alerts and provides tips for avoiding internet fraud.

  9. Consumer Product Safety Commission
    The Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction.

  10. Local government (i.e. borough, city, municipality, village)
    Check with your local government and chamber of commerce to see if you may file a complaint with them.

  11. Seek Legal Counsel
  12. Alaska Legal Services Corporation
    Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC) is a private, nonprofit law firm established in 1967, that provides free civil legal assistance to low-income Alaskans to: help resolve serious legal problems of low-income Alaskans; promote family, social and economic stability by upholding the rule of law; reduce the legal consequences of poverty; and improve the quality of life for our children, our families, the elderly and disadvantaged, and our community.

  13. Represent Yourself
  14. Alaska Court System
    For more information about filing with the Alaska Court System, including forms, go to Alaska Court System.

Contact Us

If you have any questions you can contact us at either the Juneau or Anchorage phone numbers listed below or by emailing us at businesslicense@alaska.gov.