Con­grat­u­la­tions! You’re start­ing a busi­ness in Alaska. Or maybe you’re an exist­ing busi­ness and are grow­ing. Or maybe you’re one of those busi­nesses that started up with­out giv­ing any thought to your busi­ness structure.

What­ever the case, your struc­ture either pro­tects you or exposes you to lia­bil­ity. It can affect how much you pay in taxes. It affects how you work with other busi­ness own­ers. Some­times it can make or break you.

How should you struc­ture your busi­ness? Let’s look at the num­ber of busi­nesses formed in Alaska in 2010 to see what oth­ers are doing. Here they are:

  • 9,000 sole pro­pri­etor­ship or partnerships
  • 624 cor­po­ra­tions
  • 2799 lim­ited lia­bil­ity companies
  • 10 lim­ited lia­bil­ity partnerships
  • 115 lim­ited partnerships
  • 25 pro­fes­sional corporations

It looks like most peo­ple are form­ing sole pro­pri­etor­ships, part­ner­ships, cor­po­ra­tions, or lim­ited lia­bil­ity com­pa­nies. The other types of enti­ties are typ­i­cally used for spe­cial­ized pur­poses. Let’s take a closer look at the pop­u­lar entity types and see how you can use them in your business