How to Register a DBA in Alaska (Step-by-Step Guide)

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by Team
Last updated: June 13th, 2024
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Starting a new business in Alaska can be a daunting task. There are many key business decisions to be made, as well as rules and regulations to become familiar with. This can be incredibly stressful for small business owners who may not have dedicated admin staff to help complete such tasks. One big decision that must be made is naming your business. A catchy and good business name can serve as an early marketing tool. This article will explain what a DBA means, if and when your business may need one, and how to apply for one in Alaska.

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What is a DBA?

The DBA acronym, meaning “doing business as,” refers to a company or individual conducting business operations under a fictitious name. They are also referred to as “fictitious business names,” “assumed names,” and “trade names.”

DBAs are viable if a business wants to use a more marketable trade name than its official title. A DBA allows a business to use a different name while still being legally accountable for the business under its legal name.

For instance, if John Smith operates as a sole proprietor that sells handmade candles, he can register a DBA name, such as “The Candle Co. by John,” to promote his products and services instead of using his own name.

The process for registering a DBA varies by state. Generally, the process involves

  1. Selecting a unique business name.
  2. Verifying its availability.
  3. Filing the appropriate forms with the relevant government agency, such as the Secretary of State or county clerk’s office. 
  4. Paying a DBA filing fee.

Alaska DBA name registration

Before registering your DBA, you must hold an Alaska business license in Alaska.

You can apply online or through the new business license application form if you do not own a business license.

Once you have received your license from the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, you can apply for a DBA if you want to do business under a different name.

Choose your name

When you are thinking of your new name, it is vital to make sure that you are staying compliant with state laws. In Alaska, your name must be unique and meet the following requirements:

  • Your name does not contain any business entity suffixes unless it is that type of business.
  • Your name must not contain words that may confuse your business with government agencies such as the FBI.
  • Certain words have professional licensing restrictions (such as words related to banking or engineering). These words are prohibited unless the business also holds that license.

Check name availability

The next step is to complete a name search to see if your proposed name is available. Although names do not have to be unique in Alaska, registering a unique name has countless benefits.

To complete a name search, go to the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development website and search the corporations’ database. Here you can search by entity name or number.

Under Corporation Statutes (AS 10.35.040), a person can register a business name and get exclusive rights to it if it differs from any other registered or reserved name.

Under Business License Statutes (AS 43.70), no exclusive naming restrictions exist on how many business licenses may exist with the same business name. There may be multiple businesses with the same name owned by different people.

If someone with exclusive rights to a name sees another person using the same name, they can go to court to stop them from using it.

If you want to have a unique name, we recommend you trademark your name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Once you have checked that your name is available, we recommend trying to buy the web domain for your new name. Buying the web domain prevents others from being able to use it and will serve as a useful marketing tool later down the road. We recommend buying it even if you are still getting ready to launch your business website.

Register your name

You can file online or by completing the Business Name Registration form and mailing it in.

The forms will ask for the following information:

  • New trade name
  • Business license number
  • Type of business
  • Business owner’s name and address
  • Description of the nature of the business

You also have to include an extra contact information form which will be used to assist in the processing of your filing.

A credit card payment form is included that needs to be attached to your business name registration form. It is important to fill in your credit card information on this form instead of emailing it in.

If you are submitting the form by mail, the mailing address is:

Corporations Section
PO Box 110806
Juneau, AK 99811-0806

Pay your filing fees

The filing fee is $25.

Renew, amend, or withdraw your DBA

  • Your new Alaska business name is valid for five years.
  • Your Alaska DBA should be renewed by December 31 of the fifth year after registration.
  • You can renew online or by completing the renewal form and mailing it to the Corporations Section. The renewal fee is $25.
  • If you wish to change your business name, you must apply for a new business license and then file a new name registration form.
  • If you want to cancel your business name and withdraw your DBA, you must submit a request to cancel the business license form. This form cancels your business license and not just your DBA.
  • There is no option to complete the form online. It has to be mailed to the Corporations Section.

Mailing address:

Corporations Section
PO Box 110806
Juneau, AK 99811-0806

Obtain an EIN

An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is a number that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns to identify business entities for tax purposes.

If you are a sole proprietor and don’t have employees, you can use your Social Security Number as your tax ID instead of obtaining an EIN.

If the DBA business hires employees or wants to establish a separate business bank account, they must obtain an EIN.

An EIN is easily obtained online.

Open a business bank account

Once you have received your EIN, you can open a business bank account.

There are many benefits to a company bank account. It allows you to accept check and credit card payments with more ease and also allows you to segregate your personal assets and business expenses.

Useful links

Advantages and disadvantages of a DBA

There are many advantages to registering a DBA: 

  • Enhanced flexibility: A DBA name can be altered or updated more quickly and efficiently than a legal business name, which allows business owners to adapt to shifts in their products, services, or market conditions with greater flexibility. Business owners can use various DBA names to cater to different markets or products, broadening their scope and client base.
  • Segregation of personal assets and business finances: Registering for a DBA allows a business bank account to be opened, allowing for using the business name on financial transactions instead of the account holder’s name. This permits the receipt and issuance of checks using the new name.
  • Increased branding opportunities: A well-crafted name can be more descriptive and memorable than a legal name. This alias can help increase brand recognition and improve marketing and advertising opportunities. Filing for a DBA protects brands by prohibiting others from using the same name in certain states and counties.
  • Cost-effective solution: Compared to other business structures, such as Corporations or Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), registering for a DBA is generally less expensive and less complex, making it a cost-effective alternative for small business owners and entrepreneurs. 

There are a few drawbacks to registering for a DBA, such as: 

  • Limited legal protection: Unlike other business structures like LLCs, DBAs do not offer personal liability or legal protection. This can mean that the owner is personally responsible for all debts, obligations, and lawsuits related to the business.

Who needs a DBA?

  • Sole proprietorships: Individuals who own and operate their business without creating a separate legal entity.
  • Partnerships: Joint ventures between two or more individuals who want to operate under a different name than the partners’ names.
  • Corporations and LLCs: Business entities that want to use a name different from their legal name or diversify business under multiple names.

Why or why wouldn’t you need a DBA?

A DBA is required when:

  • You wish to operate your business under a name different from your personal or your company’s legal name.
  • You want to use a more memorable, descriptive, or marketable name for your products or services.
  • Your business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or LLC that plans to conduct business under multiple names.
  • You want to test new products or markets without altering your legal name.

When might a DBA not be needed? A DBA may not be necessary if:

  • You operate your business under your personal or your company’s legal name.
  • You are a single-owner LLC that does not need to do business under a name different from your personal name or the legal name of your LLC.


Do I need to advertise my DBA?

Some states require you to advertise your new DBA name in a local newspaper. This isn’t the case with Alaska. However, there are many benefits to advertising your DBA name, especially if you are a local business.

Does my DBA give me a business license?

In many states, a DBA can be applied as opposed to a business license; however, in Alaska, a DBA can only be applied for if you have a business license. To that end, a DBA is not a business license, but if you apply for a DBA, you must have a business license.

Does my DBA give me exclusive naming rights? 

Governing business licenses (AS 43.70) do not give anyone exclusive rights to a business name. However, if you want exclusive rights to a business name, you can register it under the Corporation statutes and regulations as a DBA.

This means that this is the only one who can use that name for their business. If someone does use your exclusive name, you can take legal action to stop them and collect damages.

How long does it take to process my DBA? 

If you file a paper copy between October and February, the processing time could be more than 15 business days. If you file between March and September, the processing time is normally reduced to 10-15 days.

Online filings are often completed within five business days.

I have realized there are errors in my online form. How can I correct these?

If you discover a mistake (such as a spelling error) in your form, you need to contact the Corporations Section at [email protected] to determine how to fix the problem. They may recommend you refill your forms to correct errors.

Find out how to register a DBA in your state

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