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Business Licensing

Tobacco Endorsement FAQs

1. What if I want to sell cigarettes or tobacco products?

To engage in business activity in Alaska a State of Alaska Business License is required. For more information see How to Get Started.

If you want to sell tobacco products you must purchase a Tobacco Endorsement from Business Licensing with the Division of Corporation, Business and Professional Licensing for each location where tobacco products will be sold.

A Tobacco Endorsement cannot stand by itself—it must be attached to an Alaska Business License. It can be renewed with the business license and it expires at the same time as the business license to which it is attached expires.

NOTE: For vending machine sales of tobacco, the person who owns a vending machine that offers tobacco products for sale AND the person who holds the business license at the location where the vending machine is located are BOTH required to obtain a tobacco endorsement.

IMPORTANT: It is the responsibility of the person who holds the business license and tobacco endorsement to be familiar with the proper sales of tobacco products. For more information see Tobacco Endorsement Penalties.

IN ADDITION: The State of Alaska, Dept. of Revenue licenses and levies taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products which are imported or transferred into Alaska. For more information including forms go to Dept. of Revenue, Tax Division, Tobacco Tax.

2. How do I add a Tobacco Endorsement to my business license?

A tobacco endorsement cannot stand by itself—it must be attached to a business license. It can be renewed with the business license and it will expire at the same time the business license to which it is attached expires.

New tobacco endorsements must apply by hardcopy (form 08-4181). Online filing for a new tobacco endorsement is not available at this time. Current business licenses with existing tobacco endorsement may renew online.

  • New Business License and new Tobacco Endorsement: Online filing is not available. If you want to purchase a new business license and a tobacco endorsement at the same time then complete the New Alaska Business License Application and the Tobacco Endorsement (form 08-4181) and submit it by hardcopy to this office along with the appropriate filing fee(s).

  • Adding a new Tobacco Endorsement to a current (not-expired) Business License: Online filing is not available. If you want to add a new tobacco endorsement to an existing business license then complete only the New Tobacco Endorsement Application portion of the New Alaska Business License Application and the Tobacco Endorsement (form 08-4181) and submit it by hardcopy to this office along with the appropriate filing fee(s).

  • Renewing Business License and renewing Tobacco Endorsement(s): Online renewal is available. If you want to renew your existing tobacco endorsement(s) at the same time you are renewing the existing business license to which the tobacco endorsement(s) are attached, then you may either renew online or complete the Alaska Business License Renewal Only and Tobacco Endorsement (form 08-4617). Online renewal will post immediately. The processing time for a hardcopy renewal is 10-15 business days.
    NOTE: You cannot add a new tobacco endorsement to an existing business license using the Alaska Business License Renewal Only and Tobacco Endorsement (form 08-4617). To add a new tobacco endorsement to an existing business license then complete only the New Tobacco Endorsement Application portion of the the New Alaska Business License Application and the Tobacco Endorsement (Form 08-4181).

It is the responsibility of the person who holds the business license and tobacco endorsement to be familiar with the proper sales of tobacco products. For more information see Tobacco Endorsement Penalties.

IN ADDITION: The State of Alaska, Dept. of Revenue licenses and levies taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products which are imported or transferred into Alaska. For more information including forms go to Dept. of Revenue, Tax Division, Tobacco Tax.

3.What are my responsibilities for the sales of tobacco products?

It is the responsibility of the person who holds the business license and tobacco endorsement to be familiar with the proper sales of tobacco products. For more information see Tobacco Endorsement Penalties.

IN ADDITION: The State of Alaska, Dept. of Revenue licenses and levies taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products which are imported or transferred into Alaska. For more information including forms go to Dept. of Revenue, Tax Division, Tobacco Tax.

4. What are the penalties for the improper sale of tobacco products?

It is the responsibility of the person who holds the business license and tobacco endorsement to be familiar with the proper sales of tobacco products. For more information see Tobacco Endorsement Penalties.

IN ADDITION: The State of Alaska, Dept. of Revenue licenses and levies taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products which are imported or transferred into Alaska. For more information including forms go to Dept. of Revenue, Tax Division, Tobacco Tax.

5. What if I want to sell e-cigarettes, do I need a tobacco endorsement?

Electronic Cigarettes (e-cigarettes) contain nicotine and do not contain any tobacco or tobacco product.

  • IF your business is selling e-cigarettes AND does not sell any tobacco product or products containing tobacco THEN you do not need a Tobacco Endorsement.
  • IF your business is selling tobacco or products containing tobacco THEN you must have a Tobacco Endorsement for the sales of tobacco products.

It is the responsibility of the person who holds the business license and tobacco endorsement to be familiar with the proper sales of tobacco products. For more information see Tobacco Endorsement Penalties.

6. How are e-cigarettes and other products containing nicotine regulated?

Electronic Cigarettes (e-cigarettes) contain nicotine and do not contain any tobacco or tobacco product.

Electronic Cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are not under the jurisdiction of this Division.

In 2012 Alaska’s legislature passed ch. 43, SLA 2012, enacting AS 11.76.109, “Selling or giving product containing nicotine to a minor.” (“Minor” here means person under age 19.) This makes it a minor offense, punishable by a fine of not less than $300, to sell or give e-cigarettes or any other product which contains nicotine to a minor.

7. What if I want to sell marijuana, do I need a tobacco endorsement?

Tobacco Endorsements are regulated by the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Business Licensing Section

IF your business will be selling tobacco or products containing tobacco THEN you must have a Tobacco Endorsement for the sales of tobacco products. It is the responsibility of the person who holds the business license and tobacco endorsement to be familiar with the proper sales of tobacco products. For more information see Tobacco Endorsement Penalties.

Marijuana is regulated by the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

Under the timeline set forth in AS 17.38, the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office must begin accepting applications on February 24, 2016 and issue the first licenses in May of 2016.

Until then, buying or selling marijuana without a license is illegal and could be filed and prosecuted as a crime.

Anyone who starts a marijuana business without a license from the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office is not only subject to prosecution, they risk diminishing their chances of obtaining a license when they are available.

The Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office will be searching for businesses which can understand rules, and work in a regulated environment.

Any business unwilling to wait for the rules to be made has little chance of showing itself to be capable of operating in a regulated business environment.

For more information regarding marijuana regulations, initiative and FAQs go to Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

8. Who regulates marijuana?

Marijuana is regulated by the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

For more information regarding marijuana regulations, initiative and FAQs go to Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

9. 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.

10. What if my complaint is not within the jurisdiction of this Division, where else I 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. Boards and Commissions: The Office of the Governor, Boards & Commissions

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

    7. Discrimination: Alaska State Commission for Human Rights

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

    9. Food Safety: the Alaska Dept. of Environmental ConservationDivision of Environmental Health

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

    11. HIPPA violations: HIPAA is a federal law and the Seattle Office of Civil Rights takes complaints (online) regarding potential HIPAA violations at: www.hhs.gov/ocr/office

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

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

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

    15. Marijuana: Marijuana Control Board

    16. Mining License: the Alaska Dept. of Revenue

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

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

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

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

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

    22. 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

    23. 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. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
    For more information regarding the Internal Revenue Service, go to: www.irs.gov

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Seek Legal Counsel
  13. 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.

  14. Represent Yourself
  15. 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.