How to Start an LLC in Arkansas

Written by: Mary Gerardine

Last updated:

An Arkansas LLC is one of the most simple, cost-effective, and quick business structures to form. Even so, navigating the formation process can seem daunting without clear guidance and an actionable plan.

In this How to Start an LLC in Arkansas guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know to form your LLC, from the steps you’ll need to take to get started to maintaining your structure.

Recommended: We’ve negotiated a tailored discount for our readers, bringing the total cost of LLC formation to just $29 (excluding state fees).

4.7 out of 5 starsNorthwest Registered Agent ($29 + State Fees)

LLC Arkansas

In order to form an LLC in Arkansas, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Name Your Arkansas LLC
  2. Pick an Arkansas Registered Agent
  3. Submit the Certificate of Organization
  4. Create an Arkansas LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN
  6. File Your BOI Report

In the sections below, we’ve broken down each of these steps in more detail.

Step 1: Name Your Arkansas LLC

The first thing you’ll need to do before getting started is picking the right name for your LLC. This is important because your business’s name will need to represent your brand accurately, as well as be as memorable as possible.

In Arkansas, all LLC names need to abide by the following statutory guidelines in order to be accepted by the Secretary of State:

  • LLC names are required to either contain “Limited Liability Company”, “Limited Company”, or one of their accepted abbreviations (e.g., “L.L.C.”, “L.C.”, “LLC”, or “LC”). For the purposes of this requirement, “Limited” can be shortened to “Ltd.” and “Company” to “Co.”
  • LLC names must be different from those of all existing LLC, limited partnership, or corporation names in the state, or from any names reserved under specific state regulations
  • A name that isn’t distinguishable from those of the entities outlined above can be used by a new LLC if a court grants the applicant the right to use a particular name
  • If the LLC provides professional services its name must include the term “Professional Limited Liability Company,” “Professional Limited Company,” or the abbreviations “P.L.L.C.,” “P.L.C.,” “PLLC,” “PLC.” “Limited” and “Company” can be shortened to “Ltd.” or “Co.”
  • LLC names must not include the name of any individuals that aren’t members, unless they are former members or someone from an organization that precedes the LLC

You can find the full set of regulations that apply to the names of new LLCs in Arkansas under Arkansas Code Annotated. § 4-32-103.

Keep in mind that even though picking an LLC name in itself has no cost, there are certain fees that can be associated with the overall process.

Reserve an LLC Name

If you’re not yet ready to launch your business and still need a little more time, you can choose to reserve your desired LLC name for later by mailing an Application for Reservation of a Limited Liability Company Name to the Secretary of State ($25 fee).

Alternatively, you can also submit this reservation application online for a reduced fee of $22.50. Regardless of how you submit this application, the name you reserve will be kept safe for up to 120 days.

Keep in mind that deliberately signing a false document with the intention of submitting it to the Arkansas Secretary of State constitutes a Class C misdemeanor that can result in you being fined up to $100 and even a jail sentence of 30 days.

Note: You’ll need to check that the name you plan to reserve is actually available for use with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Name Search tool.

Register a Fictitious Name

Another potential cost associated with naming your LLC is that of obtaining a fictitious name — or “doing business as” (or DBA) name as it’s also known. This is essentially a nickname that you can choose to register for your business to operate under, particularly if you’re not content with your LLC’s legal name.

Registering a fictitious name can be done by mail using a paper form ($25 fee) or online through the Arkansas Secretary of State website ($22.50 fee).

It’s important to be aware that, in addition to submitting this application to the Arkansas Secretary of State, you’ll also be required to send one to the local County Clerk’s office where your business intends to operate.

Note: Since fictitious names last indefinitely, you’ll need to file a Cancellation of Fictitious Name with the Secretary of State if you want to cancel this in future.

Buy a Domain Name

Finally, you’ll want to focus on securing a good domain name (which is your website’s URL address) for your business. For this, try to focus on choosing one that’s easy for customers to remember, relevant to your business, and accurately reflects your brand.

After confirming the domain name you want to use is actually available, you can purchase it through a trusted registrar.

Find a Domain Now

Powered by GoDaddy

Step 2: Pick a Registered Agent

The next step you’ll need to take toward forming your LLC is to pick a registered agent.

This is an individual or business entity that accepts legal correspondence on behalf of your business, such as service of process, notice of lawsuits, and official government communications; you’re required to continuously maintain one as long as your LLC is active.

Your registered agent can be an individual or business entity, but will need to satisfy the following requirements according to Arkansas Code Annotated. § 4-20-105:

  • If an individual, must be at least 18 years of age and an Arkansas resident
  • If a business entity, must be permitted to transact business in Arkansas
  • Must have a business address that is located within Arkansas (not a PO Box) and be available during regular business hours

You can even act as your own registered agent if you’re looking to save money, though we don’t typically recommend this as you’re much more likely to suffer fines and penalties due to non-compliance than if you just hire a professional service.

On top of this, you’ll lose any anonymity your LLC would have given you since your name, address, and contact information will be publicly available.

Get a Free Registered Agent Service

If you’re ready to get started, you can form your LLC with Northwest Registered Agent and get a free registered agent service for your first year (normally costs $125).

4.7 out of 5 starsNorthwest Registered Agent ($29 + State Fees)

Note: To have a look at some of our other top recommendations, you can also check out our Best Registered Agent Service of 2024 guide.

Step 3: Submit Your Certificate of Organization

In Arkansas, the Certificate of Organization is the filing document that you’ll need to submit with the Secretary of State in order to officially register your LLC (this is also referred to as the Articles of Organization or Certificate of Formation in other states).

For domestic entities based in Arkansas, it will cost $45 to file your company formation paperwork online and $50 for paper filings. On the other hand, filings for foreign entities are much more expensive, with online submissions costing $270 and paper submissions costing $300.

We recommend obtaining all of the following pieces of information in advance so that you can complete your Certificate of Organization quickly and easily:

  • Your LLC’s legal name
  • The main office address of your LLC
  • The registered agent’s name and address for your LLC
  • At least one officer’s name and title (for franchise tax)
  • The organizer’s signature

See the sections below for an overview of the two primary ways of submitting your Certificate of Organization with the Arkansas Secretary of State.

Online Filings

We almost always recommend submitting your Articles of Organization online through the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Corporations Online Filing System, as it’s the quickest and most convenient way of doing so.

Mail Filings

Alternatively, you’re also able to file your LLC filing documents using a paper application by downloading and printing out either Form LL-01: Certificate of Organization (for domestic entities) or an Application for Certificate of Reservation of Foreign Limited Liability Company (for foreign entities).

After this, you’ll need to mail or deliver by hand the completed form to the following address, along with a check/money order for the relevant filing fee:

Arkansas Secretary of State
1401 W. Capitol Ave.
Suite 250
Little Rock, AR 72201

Step 4: Create an Arkansas LLC Operating Agreement

Once this is completed, the next step you’ll need to take is to create an operating agreement.

This is an internal document that clearly outlines the ownership and management structure of your company in order to reduce potential future conflict.

While this document isn’t legally mandated in Arkansas, all LLCs are recommended to have one as it can help maintain both: smooth operations and your LLC’s corporate veil.

A number of companies provide drafting services for operating agreements online, typically for a fee of around a few hundred dollars. However, it’s quite easy to sort this out by yourself if you want to save money, and you can even find a number of free templates online to help with this.

Step 5: Get an EIN

Even though it’s not a legal requirement (unless your LLC has employees or multiple members), all Arkansas LLCs should apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

This is a free, nine-digit number used by the IRS to identify your business and keep track of its tax reporting — much like a Social Security Number (SSN) for individuals.

You’ll need an EIN to be able to:

  • Hire employees
  • Open a business bank account
  • Apply for some business licenses/permits
  • Establish a line of credit

On top of this, using an EIN instead of a Social Security Number (SSN) helps to protect your personal information and safeguard your anonymity as the business owner of your LLC.

You can quickly apply for an EIN for your LLC online through the IRS website. You’re also able to submit a paper application using Form SS-4 either via fax to (855) 641-6935, or by mailing it to the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Note: Don’t worry if you don’t already have an SSN, it’s not necessary to have one in order to apply for an EIN — instead, you can just leave Section 7b of the application blank and call the IRS on (267) 941-1099.

Step 6: File a BOI Report

Starting January 2024, the vast majority of LLC owners will be required to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

This is part of an initiative by the U.S. government to stop individuals and entities engaging in illegal or unethical activities from being able to conceal this using “opaque ownership structures”, like shell companies, to hide their true identities.

Existing LLCs will be able to file this report anytime between January 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while new LLCs will have up to 90 days after the date they were initially formed to do so (30 days for LLCs formed after the start of 2025).

Keep in mind that failure to file your LLC’s BOI report on time can result in exorbitantly high fines (i.e., $591 per day) or even jail time (up to two years).

Note: Not every LLC owner is required to file a BOI report. For example, companies with more than 20 full-time employees, accounting firms, and banks are exempt. For a full list of filing exemptions, you can have a look at FinCEN’s website.

How to Maintain Your Arkansas LLC

In order to keep operating legally in the state of Arkansas, you’ll need to submit an annual franchise tax report with the Secretary of State every year.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to complete this step, as we’ve detailed all the information you’ll need to know in the sections below.

Submit an Annual Franchise Tax Report

To maintain your LLC in good standing in Arkansas, it is crucial to submit an Annual Franchise Tax Report by May 1 each year.

In order to submit this report, which is mandatory for all LLCs (both domestic or foreign), you’ll need to gather certain pieces of specific information about your LLC, including:

  • The official name and mailing address of your LLC
  • Contact information
  • Your LLC’s Federal Tax Identification Number
  • The name and address of your registered agent
  • The names of your LLC’s corporate governors or members
  • The formation date of your LLC

The filing process can be completed either online or by mail, and will require you to pay an annual franchise tax fee of $150.

Note: If you fail to meet the May 1 deadline, you’ll be liable for a late fee of $25 that increases by 10% interest for each month your annual franchise tax report remain overdue (up to a maximum of $300).

Arkansas vs Other States

Arkansas represents a compelling choice for any entrepreneur considering where the best place to start their business would be.

One of the most significant advantages to this state is its low cost of doing business. Due to its low basic business costs, affordable utilities, and supportive business environment, it represents an ideal setting for small business owners to succeed.

On top of this, LLCs can be created in Arkansas for as little as $45, which is one of the lowest initial formation fees in the country. Combine this with its competitive corporate income tax rates (which were further reduced to 4.8% in 2023) and you can begin to see why Arkansas is increasingly popular among business owners.

However, it’s important to weigh these benefits against other factors that might be more favorable in different states. For example, while Arkansas excels in low costs and supportive infrastructure, other states like California and New York offer larger markets, more advanced technological infrastructure, and specific industry clusters that could be beneficial depending on your business’s nature.

Regardless, keep in mind that the best state to form your LLC is almost always the state that you will be operating in; this is because otherwise you’ll likely be required to register as a foreign limited liability company in your home state, meaning that you’ll need to pay registration and maintenance fees twice.

Ready to Form Your LLC? Use our trusted LLC formation partner for a small fee. We’ve negotiated a tailored discount for our readers, bringing the total cost of formation to just $29 (excluding state fees).

4.7 out of 5 starsNorthwest Registered Agent ($29 + State Fees)

Arkansas Secretary of State Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Arkansas Secretary of State
Business and Commercial Services
P.O. Box 8053
Little Rock, AR 72203

Physical Address:

Victory Building
1401 W. Capitol Avenue, Suite 250
Little Rock, AR 72201

Contact Information:

Email: corprequest@sos.arkansas.gov
Phone: (406) 444-3665

How to Start an LLC in Arkansas FAQ

How much does it cost to open an LLC in Arkansas?

To open an LLC in Arkansas, the main initial cost you’ll need to pay is a $45 fee to file your Certificate of Organization with the Secretary of State.

To find out more about some of the other expenses you may potentially face, check out Arkansas LLC Cost guide.

Does an LLC need a business license in Arkansas?

There is no universal requirement for LLCs in Arkansas to obtain a business license, however it may be a requirement depending on a business’s nature and specific location.

For more information on the different requirements needed to get up and running in this state, have a look at our guide on How to Start an LLC in Arkansas.

How much tax does an LLC pay in Arkansas?

The tax obligations of an LLC in Arkansas depend on how it is structured for tax purposes, since an LLC can be taxed as a passthrough entity, S corporation, or C corporation.

For example, in LLCs with a default tax structure, income passes “through” the entity to its members, who are required to report it on their personal income tax returns.

Does Arkansas recognize single member LLCs?

Yes, Arkansas law recognizes single-member LLCs. These entities offer the same legal protections and operational flexibilities as a multi member LLC, allowing a single owner to enjoy limited liability protection and pass-through taxation, where the profits and losses of the LLC are reported on the owner’s personal tax return.

Ready for more?

Form Your LLC

Learn More