- What is a fisheries business?
If you are the first processor of a fishery resource within Alaska’s 3-mile limit, export an unprocessed fishery resource from the state or have someone custom-process a fishery resource on your behalf, you are considered a fisheries business and are required to obtain a fisheries business license.
- How do I apply for an Alaska fisheries business license?
You may apply online through OPAL (Online Permit and License System). Select the OPAL Icon on this website and follow the easy instructions.
- What is the cost for a license?
The license fee is $25. You may pay online (Online Services) or you can mail us a check. We do not accept credit cards.
- What are the different types of fisheries business licenses?
The license type is dependent on your business activity. The following are the different types of licenses:
Direct Marketer License - Direct marketers are the same as catcher processors but with additional restrictions. They must be sole-proprietors, must have a limited-entry permit and must fish from a vessel that is less than 65 feet in length. They cannot buy or process another person’s fishery resource. Direct marketers pay a lower tax rate.
- Shore Based License – operators buy and process on land as well as export.
- Shore Based Salmon Cannery – cans salmon as well as other processing on land.
- Floating Processor – buys fish and processes onboard a vessel. May also process their own resource.
- Catcher Processor – catches and processes only their own resource onboard a vessel.
- Catcher Exporter – catches and exports only their own unprocessed resource.
- Buyer Exporter – buys and exports unprocessed resources.
- How long will it take for my license to be issued?
The license will be issued before the license is needed as long as the following conditions have been met:
- The application is received at least 30 days before the first day of operation
- The application is complete and correct
- All required tax security and surety is received
- All required returns/reports have been filed
- All required taxes have been paid
- There are no Department of Labor infractions
If you apply online, actual processing time is considerably shorter. If you fail to include the date you wish to begin operation, the application will be processed on a first-come first-served basis.
- How do I estimate the tax if this is my first year?
Calculate a good faith estimate based on the amount of resources you intend to buy, process and export. Use the market value on the resource in your area from the previous year to calculate the unprocessed value. If your estimated tax is under $500.00, you are not required to provide tax security.
- What is market value?
Market value means the prevailing value paid for fisheries resources of like kind and quality by fisheries businesses in the same market area to fishermen who own their vessels.
- How do I secure my estimated fisheries business tax?
You may prepay the estimated amount using our online payment system (Online Services), obtain a certificate of deposit or letter of credit for the estimated tax amount. You may also use a fisheries business tax bond for twice the estimated tax amount or post lienable real property (located in Alaska) if equity in the property equals at least three times the estimated tax amount.
- What is a surety requirement?
If you purchase resources from fishermen or have an unemployment insurance contribution obligation for employees, you are required to post surety, which acts like an insurance policy to protect fishermen, employees and the Department of Labor. The surety amount is $10,000 if you purchase resources from fishermen with a value greater than $30,000 and/or will process more than 30,000 pounds of raw resources and have an unemployment insurance contribution requirement. If you purchase resources with a value less than or equal to $30,000 and/or will process 30,000 pounds or less and have an unemployment insurance contribution requirement, the surety amount is $2,000.
If you exceed $30,000 in purchases or 30,000 pounds in processing during the year, you must increase your surety to $10,000 within 7 days.
Options for surety are similar to the options for securing your estimated tax. Please contact us at (907) 465-2371 for more details.
- Who is liable for the fisheries business tax?
Any person or business who engages in a fisheries business in Alaska is liable for the tax. The tax is paid by the first processor of the fishery resource or the exporter of an unprocessed fishery resource out of the state. A business who custom processes fishery resources for another licensed fisheries businesses is not liable for the tax.
- How is the fisheries business tax calculated?
The fisheries business tax is based on the price paid to the fishermen for the unprocessed fisheries resource. Direct marketers, catcher processors, buyer exporters and licensed companies having someone custom process on their behalf must use market value to calculate the tax. The tax rate on the aggregate unprocessed value depends upon the type of processing activity and whether the resource is designated as an established or developing species by the Department of Fish & Game.
The tax rates are as follows:
|Established Species||Rate||Developing Species||Rate|
- Why do I have to provide the processing location code on my tax return?
Half of the fisheries business tax is shared to the cities or boroughs where the processing takes place. Processing location code maps can be found in the Forms section of this website.
- Who files and pays the Seafood Marketing Assessment?
Any person or business who processes or exports $50,000 or more of seafood products during a calendar year pays the seafood marketing assessment. The assessment is 0.5% and is based on the aggregate value of the resource.
- Who files and pays the salmon enhancement tax (SET)?
Licensed buyers are required to collect the SET from limited entry permit holders at the time of the sale. Salmon sold in or exported from an established aquaculture region is subject to this tax. Licensed buyers must file returns on a monthly basis. The tax returns are due by the last day of the month following the month the salmon was purchased.
Limited entry permit holders who sell to unlicensed buyers or export salmon from an established aquaculture region must file and pay SET yearly. Returns are due March 31 of the year following sale or export.
- Who files and pays regional seafood development tax (RSDT)?
Licensed buyers are required to collect the RSDT from fishermen at the time of the sale. Salmon harvested with drift gillnets in Prince William Sound and Bristol Bay is subject to the tax. Licensed buyers must file returns on a monthly basis. The tax returns are due by the last day of the month following the month in which the salmon was purchased.
Drift gillnet fishermen who sell to unlicensed buyers or export salmon must file and pay the RSDT yearly. Returns are due March 31 of the year following sale or export.
- Who files and pays the dive fishery management assessment?
Licensed buyers are required to collect the dive fishery management assessment from the divers when buying or acquiring geoducks, sea cucumbers, or sea urchins in Southeast Management Area A. The return must be filed and the assessment paid by the last day of the month following the end of the calendar quarter.
Dive gear permit holders who sell to unlicensed buyers or export geoducks, sea cucumbers, or sea urchins are required to file a return and pay the assessment on a yearly basis. The return and payment are due March 31 of the year following sale or export. Returns are based on calendar year activity.
- How is the dive fishery management assessment calculated?
The assessment is based on the value of the resource. For licensed buyers the value is represented by the price paid to the dive gear permit holder. For dive gear permit holders selling to unlicensed buyers or exporting from the state, the value is represented by the market value of the resource.
The tax rates are as follows:
- Geoduck - 7%
- Sea Cucumber – 5%
- Sea Urchin - 7%
- Who is liable for the landing tax?
A fishery resource landing tax is levied on fishery resources processed outside and first landed in Alaska. The tax is also levied on any processed fishery resources subject to sec. 210(f) of the American Fisheries Act, regardless of landing. Factory trawlers and floating processors that process outside the 3-mile limit and land the resource in Alaska for the purpose of transshipment are subject to the tax. The exception is Pollock, which is subject to the tax even if it is first landed outside Alaska.
- How is the landing tax calculated?
The tax is calculated on the unprocessed weight of the resource. Taxpayers can use actual weight or, if they do not weigh their unprocessed catch, can use the NMFS Product Recovery Rate tables to calculate unprocessed weights. The unprocessed weights are multiplied by the statewide average price (SWAP) to determine the taxable value of the fishery resource. The tax rate is 3% for established species and 1% for developing species (as designated by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game).
- Who determines the statewide average price and where can it be found?
The statewide average price (SWAP) is created by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game each year and is usually available in May of each year. The Department of Revenue publishes the SWAP on this website.
- Do I need to make estimated quarterly payments?
Businesses subject to this tax must pay estimated quarterly payments. Payments are due by the last day of the calendar quarter with a final estimated payment due March 31 of the following year. You can make estimated quarterly payments by using the tax online payment system located in the Online Services section of this website.
- When is the landing tax return due?
The landing tax return is due by the last day of the month following the month in which the statewide average price list is published. Prices will be posted on our website.