Checklist for Starting a Business
Below you will find what you need to do to start-up and operate a business in Sitka, Alaska. Some of the documents are PDF files that require the free Adobe Reader. Click on the icon below to download the free software.
Before you start:
To increase your chance for success, take the time up front to ask yourself some important personal and business questions.
Take a business and/or self-assessment quiz. Try this one:Business Success. (PDF file 24kb)
Think about what you want for your life by creating a ‘Life Plan’: http://www.startupnation.com/steps/55/10-steps-open-start-business.htm
We recommend you prepare a written business plan, complete with financial statements.
The State of Alaska’s Small Business Assistance Center has business plan and financial templates at: http://commerce.state.ak.us/oed/smallbus/home.cfm
For an online presentation on business planning, check out Business Plan Pro’s site at: http://paloalto.com/ps/bp/demo/sba/index.html
Decide whether you wish to operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation, etc.
Talk to your accountant and/or attorney about the best way for you to organize your business.
You can read a short but informative article, “Choosing the Best Ownership Structure for Your Business,” at: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/article-29618.html.
Licensing:Obtain an Alaska Business License.
To learn about State regulations for selecting your business name, go to Selecting a Name for Your Business. To see if a business name is already being used, it is advisable to search their database via the Internet at https://myalaska.state.ak.us/business/soskb/csearch.asp or you may contact the division before filing by calling (907) 465-2550.
After choosing a name, go online to the Division of Occupational Licensing, Business Licensing section at http://www.dced.state.ak.us/occ/home.htm and follow the link “Business Licensing” and click on Purchase or Renew a Business License Online to purchase the license. Use the Line of Business / Alaska NAICS Code list at http://www.dced.state.ak.us/occ/pub/Lines_of_Business.pdf to determine the code that best matches your business activity.
Determine licensing requirements specific to your business.
Call (907) 465-2550 or go on line to the state Workforce Information page at: http://laborstats.alaska.gov/?PAGEID=67&SUBID=194.
Internal Revenue Service:If operating as anything other than a sole proprietorship, obtain a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service.
Call 1-800-829-3676 (IRS Publications/Forms) or 1-800-829-1040 (link to IRS). Ask for the SS-4 form.
Go to http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/businesses/index.html and in the left column, under “Business Topics,” click on the link “Employer ID Numbers” for information and links to required forms. From this section you may follow the link to file on line.
Talk to your accountant or bookkeeper, or contact the Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Education Service to determine potential tax obligations and filing requirements.
- Go on line to: http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=172179,00.html
- Or call 1-800-829-3676 (IRS Publications/Forms) or 1-800-829-1040 (link to IRS)
For a complete listing of Department of Labor information for employers go to http://labor.state.ak.us/employer/employer.htm
If hiring employees, register with the Employment Security Division, Alaska Department of Labor in order to obtain an unemployment insurance identification number.
Call toll free: (888) 448-2937, or go to http://www.labor.state.ak.us/estax/home.htm and click on the FAQ's for TaxWeb link to learn more about the registration process.
Determine necessary compliance with the Workers' Compensation Act by contacting Workers' Compensation Division, Alaska Department of Labor.
- Call (907) 465-2790 or go to http://labor.state.ak.us/wc/home.htm
Contact the Alaska Department of Labor Standards and Safety Division to determine compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
- Call (907) 465-4855 or go to http://labor.state.ak.us/lss/oshhome.htm
A city business registration form and $25 sales tax deposit is required of anyone doing business or having a rental in the City and Borough of Sitka. Pick up the form at the Sitka Works/SBRC office or
Call 747-1840 for information, stop by the City Sales Clerk's office, or print the form from this site: http://www.cityofsitka.com/business/registration/index.html.
Research Zoning regulations.
Go online to http://www.cityofsitka.com/government/departments/planning/index.html, or call the Planning Department at 747-1814, or stop in at the Planning Office for zoning information, or go to Title 22: Zoning, of the City's ordinances, at http://www.codepublishing.com/AK/sitka.html.