What is a DBA?
A business operating under a name other than the name registered with the Alaska Secretary of State will need to register the secondary name. This registration is commonly referred to as a DBA (doing business as) in most states.
When You Need a DBA
Alaska requires by law, however, that companies register a DBA if they intend to do business under a name other than the one listed in their formation documentation. The business name listed in the formation documents was registered with the Secretary of State when the business was formed.
Sole proprietorships, which typically do not have formation documentation, need to register their business’ name if they plan to operate under a name other than the proper name of the owner. For example, “Joe Smith” would not require a registration, but “Joe Smith’s Taxi Service” would.
Registering a business name allows the business to operate under the name of their choice (subject to availability), and also allows the business to utilize the name to open bank accounts and process transactions.
Setting Up a DBA in Alaska
Alaska's Corporations Section Database can assist a DBA filer in determining whether a particular business name is available. A business name must be “distinguishable” from other business names in order to qualify for registration. In general terms, one business name is distinguishable from another if:
- One or more of the words in the names is different
- The words are the same, but in a different order
- The words are the same, but the spellings in the new name are “creative, unusual or artistic”
- The words in the name have different meanings and are not literally identical
In conducting the DBA name search, filers should also keep in mind that Alaska has strict and rigorous requirements for DBA names. For example, filers cannot use the words "corporation," “incorporated,”"LLC," "limited partnership" or "limited liability partnership" or any other name indicating an entity type unless that entity name is already used in the actual name of the entity.
The words "city," "village," "borough" or any other phrase indicating an affiliation with government are also strictly prohibited. Vulgarity or obscenity cannot form part of the DBA name, and words that constitute a slogan or are protected under state or federal trademark are similarly forbidden.
Alaska DBA Forms
Those entities seeking to file a DBA in Alaska should use the Business Name Registration Application to apply for their business name registration.
Alaska DBA Filing and Registration
There are a number of requirements for filing a DBA in Alaska. First, a $25 registration fee must be paid to the Division of Corporations Section of the State of Alaska. The corporate owner’s name, signature and address must be provided on the application, and a description of the business is required as well. The business name registration expires on the fifth December 31st after the day of registration, but can be renewed between October 1st and December 31st of that year. Standard processing time for a DBA registration is 10-15 days.
Also be aware that different counties may have additional requirements for filing a DBA paperwork. Some counties may require the use of county-specific forms, for example. Check with the County Clerk in the county where the business is formed for details.
A DBA is not a business entity, so it won’t not affect your business’ taxes in the same way that the choice of corporate structure will.
When you are ready to file a DBA in Alaska, LegalZoom can help. Start by completing a simple questionnaire. We will complete, file, and publish your DBA (if necessary) and mail the approved DBA application to you.