How to Start an LLC in Arkansas
To start an LLC in Arkansas, you must file Articles of Organization with the Arkansas Secretary of State. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Organization cost $50 ($45 online) to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Arkansas LLC. However, to actually ready the LLC to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Everything You Need to Know About Arkansas LLCs:
How to Start an LLC in Arkansas
To start an LLC in Arkansas, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Organization with the Arkansas Secretary of State. You can file the document online or by mail. The articles cost $50 to file by mail and $45 to file online. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Arkansas LLC.
According to Arkansas Code § 4-20-105, every Arkansas LLC must appoint a registered agent. You don’t need to hire a registered agent, but if you do, make sure your registered agent will list their address on your articles wherever possible to ensure maximum privacy.
If you’re starting a new business, you probably already know what you want to name your LLC. But you’ll need to know if your preferred name is available. To find out, visit the Arkansas SOS’ Business Entity Name Search and search until you find the perfect name for your LLC.
Once you know who your registered agent will be and what your LLC name is, you’re ready to file your Arkansas Articles of Organization. Follow along with our filing instructions below:
Filing the Arkansas LLC Articles of Organization
Learn more about each Articles of Organization requirement below. Note that the information you provide becomes part of the public record—permanently.
Or skip the form entirely and hire us to form your Arkansas LLC. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private. Looking for a low-cost way to start a business? Pay just $30 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
1. Company Name
You have to include “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited Company” or an abbreviation like “LLC.” Professional LLCs have to add the “professional” designation or use an abbreviation like “PLLC.” Odds are, your business isn’t a professional LLC (unless you’re a licensed professional like a dentist or lawyer). But if your business does happen to be a PLLC, your company name cannot include the name of a non-member person, except in the case of a member who has died.
2. Principal Place of Business
Essentially, they’re asking you what you’d like your mailing address to be for non-legal documents. This address will be public record. Hire us, and you can list our address and avoid putting your own.
3. Registered Agent & Address
Your Arkansas registered agent must be available during business hours to accept legal notices for your LLC. You can appoint yourself, someone else, some other business, or hire a service specializing in registered agent service—such as Northwest. A physical street address for the registered agent must be supplied, as well. Our address will go here when you hire us.
4. LLC Management
If your LLC is managed by its members, you don’t have to do anything special. However, if your LLC is managed by managers, you have to state this information in your articles.
On the online form, there is a space to list “officers.” (There is no such space on the print form, so skip this if you’re filing by mail.) LLCs don’t actually have officers—what they want is the name and address of your organizer and the name and address of at least one member or manager. The organizer is the person or business signing and submitting the articles (like Northwest when you hire us). For the member or manager’s address, you don’t have to use a personal address—a business address (like ours) is sufficient.
6. Submitter Contact Info
Again, only pay attention to this one if you’re filing online. Your articles will be returned to the entity or person listed here. A mailing address, phone number, and email address are required. Hire us to form your Arkansas LLC, and it will be our address, phone and email here instead of yours.
7. Effective Date
The online form has the option to put a future effective date within 90 days. Why wouldn’t you want to start your business right away? Maybe you’re submitting articles in December but don’t want the hassle of paying taxes for the current year for just a couple of weeks of business. If you file by mail, the form only has the option of entering today’s date.
The organizer(s) of the LLC must sign the articles. (There’s room for three signatures on the paper form, and one signature online.) Most people take this to mean that one of the members or managers has to sign—an easy assumption, because the print form asks for the person “forming the company” to sign—but really it’s just the person who submits the document. Hire us, and we’ll handle the paper pushing and article signing.
9. Franchise Tax/Annual Report Contact Info
Arkansas really, really wants to make sure they can send you their franchise tax form. (On the print form, this info is requested as “Franchise Tax Contact”; for the online form, it’s called “Annual Report Contact.”) You’re required to include an address and phone number (and optional email). The phone number requirement is particularly annoying if you value your privacy. At Northwest, however, we allow our clients to use our phone number and business address throughout their filings.
Why Have a Registered Agent Form Your Arkansas LLC?
Professionals in Arkansas hire registered agent services like Northwest Registered Agent to start an LLC—but why?
Standard filing companies don’t have employees or offices in every state. But as a national registered agent, it’s a requirement for us, which is a benefit for our clients. We have an office in Mountain Home, AR. We’re on a first name basis with the people who work in the Secretary of State’s Department of Business Services. We know all the fastest filing methods, which translates to fast, professional service—without extra fees.
As your registered agent, we list our Mountain Home registered office address on your LLC’s formation documents. Why? If you’re starting a business from your apartment in Little Rock, do you really want your apartment address as your business address? (Hint: the answer is no.) We’ll list our address, so you don’t have to list yours. Plus, we never sell your data. We don’t list your personal information on filings if we don’t have to. It’s all standard and part of our commitment to Privacy by Default®.
Free Mail Forwarding, Business Address and More
At Northwest, we do everything a registered agent should do and more. You can list our address as your business address on your state filings. We include limited digital mail forwarding with registered agent service (up to 5 pieces of regular mail per year; $15 a doc after that).
Plan on accepting credit cards? We also offer a Free Credit Card Processing Consultation. Our specialists work with processors to negotiate low rates and better contracts for our clients.
And now, try our in-house Northwest Phone Service for 60 days, free of charge with our formation service. Get a virtual phone number with your choice of area code, make and receive calls from any device, and more—for just $9 a month.
We know the in’s and out’s of each state—and we use this knowledge to help you when you need it most. Our team of Corporate Guides® has over 200 local business experts. You can call or email us for answers to all your questions about your LLC in Arkansas. Our Corporate Guides are dedicated solely to helping you with your business—not selling you services or meeting quotas.
What Do I Do After My Arkansas LLC Is Formed?
After your Arkansas Articles of Organization are approved, you still have a few more important steps to take, including getting an EIN, drafting an operating agreement, opening a bank account, funding the LLC and learning about state reporting and tax requirements.
Get an EIN
An EIN (“Employer Identification Number”) is a federal tax ID assigned to your business by the IRS. The IRS uses your EIN to easily identify your business on tax filings.
Does an Arkansas LLC need an EIN?
Yes—you’ll need an EIN if you have employees, need special tax filings like Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms returns, and you’ll likely use your EIN when you open a business bank account.
How do I get an EIN for my LLC?
You can apply for an EIN directly from the IRS at no cost. Most businesses are able to apply online, but if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to apply with a paper form. Want one less thing to do? Add on EIN service when you hire us, and we’ll get your EIN for you. Or choose our VIP service—an EIN is included.
Write an LLC Operating Agreement
Operating agreements put into writing how your business actually operates—how much each member invested, how profits and losses will be allocated, how voting works, and what happens if there’s a dispute or if the whole business (knock on wood) falls apart.
Do I need an operating agreement for an Arkansas LLC?
Arkansas doesn’t legally require an LLC to have an operating agreement. In fact, they don’t even have one specific state statute that lays out LLC operating agreement ground rules. Instead, they have many statutes that mention what will happen if your operating agreement doesn’t address certain issues. For example, according to Arkansas Code § 4-32-403, more than half of an LLC’s members or managers must vote in agreement to decide any matter for the LLC. What if you want decisions to be made differently? Put it in your operating agreement.
This is just one example that illustrates that while an operating agreement is not technically required, that doesn’t make it any less important. An operating agreement is one of your LLC’s most important internal documents, and creating one can help your LLC with everything from opening a bank account to handling major events from mergers to dissolution.
What should be in an operating agreement?
An operating agreement should explain how the business will handle “big picture” situations—everything from allocating profits and losses to dissolving the business. Below is a list of common topics that operating agreements should cover.
- Initial investments
- Profits, losses, and distributions
- Voting rights, decision-making powers, and management
- Transfer of membership interest
- Dissolving the business
Your operating agreement can cover pretty much anything as long as it isn’t contrary to Arkansas law. And if you don’t have an operating agreement? Arkansas Code § 4-32-405 still requires you to document capital contributions and dissolution procedures in writing in your corporate records. With all that required writing, you might as well just write an operating agreement.
How do I write an operating agreement?
To write an operating agreement, you need to address how your business will handle money, members, votes, management, and more. Not sure how to get started? At Northwest, we’re here to help your LLC get off on the right foot. When you hire us, we provide your business with a free LLC operating agreement, specific to your management style. We’ve spent years developing these agreements and other free LLC forms—which have been used by over a million LLCs.
Open an LLC Bank Account
Your LLC needs its own bank account. Why? An LLC gets its limited liability from being a distinct entity, separate from its members. If you mix personal and business finances, you could lose your liability protections.
How do I open a bank account for my Arkansas LLC?
To open a bank account for your Arkansas LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
- A copy of the Arkansas LLC Articles of Organization
- The LLC operating agreement
- The LLC’s EIN
If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC. Northwest can help with this as well—LLC bank resolutions are one of the many free legal forms we provide to ensure you can get your LLC started fast.
Fund the LLC
Time to put some money in that new LLC bank account. What money? For starters, your initial contributions to your LLC’s capital. LLC members are owners, and each owner needs to pay for their membership interest to fund the LLC.
What is membership interest?
Membership interest is your percentage of ownership of the LLC. Membership interest is normally proportionate to your investment. So how does this work?
Imagine your LLC has 5 members. 4 members each invest $1,000 in the business. One member invests $6,000. The total contribution of all members is $10,000. The 4 members each own 10% of the business. The moneybags member who shelled out $6,000 owns 60% of the business.
Typically, this also means that the 4 members would each get 10% of any profits, and moneybags would get 60%. Exactly how profits and losses are allocated, however, can be adjusted in the operating agreement as long as changes are in line with IRS requirements and Arkansas laws.
File Arkansas Reports & Taxes
Arkansas LLCs are required to file a franchise tax report each year. While this is technically a tax—as the name suggests—it’s actually a flat fee you pay. This report itself is basically an information update so the state knows who currently runs things and how to contact your business. Your LLC may be subject to sales, tax, property taxes and more as well.
How much is the Arkansas Annual Franchise Tax Report fee?
The fee for the Arkansas LLC Annual Franchise Tax Report is $150. Watch out for the late fee. If your report is late, you’re stuck with a $25 penalty plus 10% interest on the total amount owed. Even more startling, interest will continue accruing each year until the penalty equals two times the original amount due.
When is the Arkansas Annual Franchise Tax Report due?
Your Arkansas Annual Franchise Tax Report is due by May 1 every year.
When you sign up for Northwest, we send you reminders for your annual franchise tax report due dates. Want one less thing to worry about? With our business renewal service, we can complete and submit your annual report for you for $100 plus the state fee.
What else should I know about Arkansas LLC taxes?
The Arkansas personal net income tax rate ranges from 0% (for individuals making less than $4,600) to 6.6% (for individuals making $80,801+). Your LLC is required to file information returns with the IRS and Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, even though your LLC’s tax default is to pass the tax burden to members.
Arkansas also has a 6.5% sales and use tax—although cities and counties can stack on their own sales and use taxes as well. The maximum total sales and use tax tops out in Gould at 11.5%, but the state average is 8.58%.
Depending on your industry and service, other specific taxes may apply. For example, an 8% privilege tax is imposed on the gross revenue of fantasy sports game operators. Buying and selling soft drinks also comes with a tax—it costs an extra $1.26 in taxes to buy a gallon of soft drink syrup. There are some pretty random Arkansas taxes out there, so be sure to check if any of them apply to your LLC.
Also worth noting are Arkansas’s property taxes, which are some of the lowest in the country. These are regulated at the local level, and rates vary by county. What’s true across the board in Arkansas is that property taxes are only paid on 20 percent of a property’s assessed value. So, if your Arkansas property is worth $100,000, you’d only pay tax on $20,000. While you start looking for the perfect Arkansas property to launch your business from, let us handle your LLC’s formation paperwork. At Northwest, we can form your Arkansas LLC for as low as $270. Or, pay just $30 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
Do LLCs have to register with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration?
Yes. Up until January 2021, annual franchise taxes were collected by the Arkansas Secretary of State. They are now collected by the Department of Finance and Administration. The easiest way to pay this tax is online, through the Arkansas Taxpayer Access Point, though you can choose to file by mail instead.
Arkansas LLC FAQs
How can I submit the Arkansas LLC Articles of Organization?
You can file Arkansas articles online or by mail. Mailed filings must be submitted with an original and one copy (per Arkansas Code § 4-32-205) with payment to the following address:
Secretary of State
Business and Commercial Services
1401 W Capitol
Little Rock, AR 72201
How much does it cost to start an Arkansas LLC?
The Arkansas Secretary of State charges $45 for online filings and $50 for paper filings.
Hire Northwest for a one-time fee of $270, including state filing fees, a year of registered agent service, limited mail forwarding and loads of useful forms and tools to help get your Arkansas LLC up and running. Or, pay just $30 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
How long does it take to start an Arkansas LLC?
Online filings are generally processed within two days. Mailed filings are typically processed within three days of being received, so plan on it taking one to two weeks.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we file online and typically have your expedited Arkansas LLC formed within 48 hours.
Does an Arkansas LLC need a business license?
There is no statewide requirement for business licensing in Arkansas. However, some industries are required to get licensing at the state level. For example, real estate agents must procure a license from the Real Estate Commission, and contractors must be licensed through the Contractors Licensing Board. There also may be business licensing requirements at the local level. In both Little Rock and Fayatteville, all businesses are required to obtain a license before they can legally operate within the city limits.
Need an EIN or a certified copy of your formation docs for your license applications? Northwest can help. You can easily add on these items to your LLC formation order.
Can an Arkansas LLC help me live more privately?
Yes. While you can’t remove all ownership information from an Arkansas public filing (like you can in states like New Mexico, Delaware, and Wyoming), an Arkansas LLC can still help reduce your public footprint. You can maintain a significant degree of address privacy by listing our address on public docs instead of your own. Check out our page on living privately with an LLC to learn more.
What is a foreign Arkansas LLC?
A foreign Arkansas LLC is any LLC formed outside of Arkansas but registered to do business in the state. For example, if you formed an LLC in Missouri but also wanted to conduct business in Arkansas, you would register as a foreign LLC in Arkansas by filing an Application for Certificate of Registration with the Arkansas Secretary of State. Like domestic LLCs, foreign LLCs have to file Arkansas Annual Franchise Tax Reports. Northwest can register your foreign Arkansas LLC for you today!
How can I get an Arkansas phone number for my LLC?
It’s a conundrum: you need a local number to display on your website and give to customers, but you don’t want to make your personal number quite so…public. We get it. And we’ve got you covered with Northwest Phone Service. We can provide you with a virtual phone number in any state—plus unlimited call forwarding and tons of easy-to-use features. You can try Phone Service free for 60 days when you hire us to form your LLC, and maintaining service is just $9 monthly after that. No contract required.
How to Order LLC Formation Service
Our Arkansas LLC formation service is designed to be fast and easy—signing up takes just a couple minutes. Here’s how it works:
With Northwest, we give you flexibility on how to pay. You can pay all the fees up front (this includes one full year of registered agent service). Or, pay just $30 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option. With our VIP option, we also include an EIN. Just choose one of the buttons below, answer a few easy questions about your business and submit your payment.
We’ll prepare your Arkansas Articles of Organization and send them to the Secretary of State for approval. In the meantime, you’ll have immediate access to your online account, where you can find useful state forms, pre-populated with your business information.
Once the Arkansas Secretary of State has approved your filing, we notify you that your Arkansas LLC has been legally formed. You can now take any necessary next steps, like getting an EIN and opening a bank account.
Arkansas LLC Formation Options
Do It Yourself
Sign up for a free account and use our online tools to start your Arkansas LLC today. Includes Arkansas LLC formation and maintenance walkthrough and company document creation. All for free—just pay state fees.
Skip the state fees! Get an Arkansas LLC and the best of our services today. Includes EIN, hassle-free maintenance, business address & mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, local Corporate Guide® service, and everything you need to operate at full capacity.
Pay in Full
Includes Arkansas LLC, business address & free mail forwarding, free 60-day Phone Service trial, Privacy by Default®, lifetime support from local Corporate Guides® and a year of registered agent service.