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How to Start an Arkansas LLC: Our Complete Guide to Forming an Arkansas LLC

If you’re looking to start a business in Arkansas, you have a few different options for the type of business entity you’d like to file for. The most popular type of business entity is the limited liability company. A limited liability company, also referred to as an LLC, is a way for business owners to protect personal assets in the case of lawsuits or debts against the Arkansas LLC.

When forming an LLC, you can use the LLC status for many business operations. In the state of Arkansas, it can also be used as a designation to hold high-value assets like boats, real estate, and aircraft in the name of the company. The process of forming an LLC in Arkansas is not difficult if you have the right help. Contact the professionals at LLC Formations so we can make sure you get off to a good start with forming your business in Arkansas.

What is an LLC?

A limited liability company is a specific type of legal structure that can be formed for business operation or asset protection. The reason for forming this type of entity is to protect personal assets in the event of a lawsuit or debts involving the Arkansas LLC, so long as you make sure to keep your company finances separately from your personal finances.

There are a few different parts of the application process to handle before you can start your business in Arkansas. To save you time and energy that can instead be invested into your Arkansas business, you can always hire a professional service to help form your Arkansas LLC.

Arkansas LLC

The Steps to Forming an Arkansas LLC

If you’re looking to set up your own Arkansas business entity so you can benefit from the limited liability protection, keep reading our guide about how to form an LLC in Arkansas.

1. Choose a Name for Your LLC in Arkansas

The first thing that you need to do when you decide to form an LLC is to choose a business name and designation for your Arkansas LLC. Sometimes referred to as a trading name or LLC name, choosing a unique and creative name for your business is an important step of your LLC formation process. It is also the first step of the process when forming an LLC in Arkansas state.

When you form an LLC, the company name is especially important because the LLC name may be the first impression that customers or clients have of your business. The LLC name is part of your business marketing, so be sure to choose an LLC name that creatively represents what you offer or do.

Conduct a Name Search Through the Arkansas Secretary of State

You will also need to make sure that your ideal LLC name is not already taken by another LLC in Arkansas. In order to check that your chosen LLC name is available, you will need to perform an Arkansas LLC search through the Arkansas Secretary of State to ensure that the name is not already in use.

You can access the “Name Search” tool on the Arkansas Secretary of State website to check if the name is available. On the Arkansas Secretary of State website, you will input your ideal LLC name into the search bar. The Secretary of State database has has access to all of the LLC names in Arkansas state, so it will let you know immediately if your chosen name is taken.

It’s a wise idea to brainstorm a few names for your LLC in Arkansas before inputting the names of the Arkansas Secretary of State website. If your chosen name is available, you can register your business name with Arkansas state and pay the state filing fee.

Choose a Designation for Your Company Name

Along with the name you choose, you must choose the way that the “limited liability company” is displayed within your business name. Acceptable options include:

  • L.L.C./LLC
  • LC/L.C.
  • Limited/Ltd.
  • Ltd. Liability Co.
  • Limited Liability Co.
  • Ltd. Liability Company
  • Limited Liability Company

There are also some designations you cannot include within your Arkansas LLC. You cannot indicate that you are a government agency, and you cannot include the words “veteran” or “veterans,” amongst others. If there are designations present indicating that your business is something besides an LLC, you will need to choose another name for your company.

2. Choose a Registered Agent or Registered Agent Service for Your Arkansas LLC

When you start a limited liability company, you will need to have someone working as the registered agent for your Arkansas LLC. All LLCs in Arkansas need to have a registered agent working on the behalf of the LLC. Some people choose to be their own registered agent, some people hire someone from within the company, and some people hire a registered agent service.

Choosing the right registered agent is a very important part of having a successful business in Arkansas. Your registered agent is responsible for receiving all legal mail and court documents in the event that a lawsuit is filed against the company. Your registered agent or registered agent service will also be responsible for the Arkansas LLC business mail that you receive.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

Your registered agent must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age and a resident of Arkansas state
  • Have a physical street address within the state of Arkansas
  • Be available from 9 AM to 5 PM at the registered address to receive any documents that need to be “served”

P.O. boxes are not allowed to be registered as business address within Arkansas. If you don’t have an Arkansas address, it’s wise to look into registered agent services offered within Arkansas state. This way, you can still start an LLC in the state so you can start growing your business in Arkansas.

What are the Benefits of Hiring a Service?

Many business owners choose to hire a registered agent service for their LLCs in Arkansas. There are a number of benefits that come with hiring a service when you form your LLC. When you’re your own registered agent, your name and address will become a public record. Since the address is listed publicly, the average business owner prefers to hire a service instead. This way, your name, and address can stay private.

Another benefit of hiring a service is that you don’t have to always be in the office. Since all important documents will be sent to the office address of your registered agent, it can be difficult to get away from the office for long periods of time. In order to ensure that all of the important items are collected, it’s wise to look into services that can collect all of the documents for you.

How To Form an LLC

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3. File the LLC Forms and Business Documents

Once you have registered your name and chosen an agent, you will need to file the Articles of Organization for your Arkansas business. The Arkansas Secretary of State website has all the information for completing this process, including the option to file online or by mail. You can download a PDF from the Secretary of State website if you prefer to send in a paper document.

What is Included in the Articles of Organization?

The Articles of Organization is a very important document that helps you when you form an LLC. Not only is it required by Arkansas state, but it’s also crucial for the growth of your business. The Articles of Organization, upon approval, will show that your LLC has been approved, which means that you are granted the liability protection offered by an LLC.

You will need to include your company name, the name of all of the members, the name of the registered agent, and other relevant information. If you need help with filing your Articles of Organization, contact the professionals at LLC Formations so we can guide you through the process.

Of course, there are more steps when you form an LLC in order to get the business started, but the Articles of Organization is a very important first step that gives your company legal standing in Arkansas as an LLC.

File by Mail or Online

Mailed-in forms will be approved in 1-2 weeks, while online approvals can be completed in just 2-3 days. Once approved for your LLC Arkansas, whether you file online or by mail, you will receive an approved, stamped copy of the Articles of Organization that you filed.

Make sure to save the form as proof that your Arkansas LLC Articles of Organization has been approved.

Should I Hire Someone to Help Me File the Forms?

You can also choose to hire someone to file all of the documents for your business, including the Articles of Organization. Not only will it save you time, but you will be able to trust that everything was filed accordingly within the requirements of the law.

4. State Filing Fees and Costs

There are a few necessary fees to pay when you go to form an LLC in Arkansas. Some of the filings cost money, but with some focus and hard work, you will make that money back in no time. The entire fee payment is owed at once, and it can be paid either by credit card if paying online, or by money order if you prefer to do your filings by mail.

Arkansas LLC One-Time Filing Fee: $45.00-$50.00

Annual LLC Fees: $150.00

Name Reservation Filing Fee: $22.50-$25.00

5. Create an LLC Operating Agreement for Your LLC in Arkansas

Another important step towards starting your LLC in Arkansas is completing the LLC Operating Agreement. The Operating Agreement is essentially the overview and guidelines for the operation of your LLC. Your LLC Operating Agreement outlines all of the rules of the business, the duties and obligations of the owners (also known as members), and the management structure of the LLC.

This is also where you will designate how many members you have and what percentage of the business they own. You can mention a single person or multiple people, but it needs to be explicitly stated in the LLC Operating Agreement.

Single member LLCs can still benefit from having an Operating Agreement. In a legal situation, this document can serve as proof that the LLC is being properly run as a separate entity. The Operating Agreement clearly defines roles, ownership percentages, and rights of members, and will be essential for the success of a single member LLC or a multi member LLC.

Important tips and reminders:

  • This is an internal document that just gives an overview about the company’s details. That is, you don’t need to send copies to the IRS, Secretary of State, or any other agencies.
  • Business licenses are not affected by the Operating Agreement.
  • Every member of the LLC gets a copy of the filing.
  • Be sure to keep signed copies with your other important business filings.

You can find templates and sample Operating Agreement documents online, or again you can hire a professional to complete this (and all of your other LLC startup paperwork) for you.

6. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (Federal Tax ID Number)

When you start an LLC, you’ll also need to consider how you’ll handle the finances of your business. Once your LLC application has been approved by the state of Arkansas, you can then apply for an EIN, also sometimes called a Federal Tax Number or FEIN.

You are required to file for an EIN in order to process employee payroll, open a business bank account, and to keep your LLC organized when it comes time to handle taxes for your business.

You can apply for your EIN either online, by mail, or by fax. Filing for an EIN is free. Online applications are approved instantly, while faxes take about four business days. Mailed forms will require around four weeks for approval.

Why Do I Need an EIN?

  • It makes your LLC distinguishable and searchable for the purposes of filing and taxes
  • It allows you to apply for business licenses and permits
  • It allows you to set up bank accounts in the business name and handle payroll taxes

Important: If you do not have an individual SSN or if you are forming an LLC through an existing company, you cannot file for an EIN online. You must complete Form SS-4 and return it by fax or postal mail.

7. Annual Franchise Tax Report

Every LLC in Arkansas is required to submit an Annual Franchise Tax Report, regardless of their business activity or income level. There is also a $150 flat-rate tax that must be paid for each year that the LLC is in operation. The Annual Franchise Tax Report can be filed online or via postal mail and is due by May 1st of each calendar year.

Processing for LLC Franchise Tax online applications is completed within 24 hours. Mailed applications will take 2-6 weeks to process. If you submit a late filing, it will result in an additional $25 penalty, with interest accruing daily thereafter.

If you’re looking for tax advice for your Arkansas LLC, contact the professional team at LLC Formations.

8. Obtain Business Licenses and Permits for Your LLC

Like a lot of the states in the U.S., Arkansas doesn’t have a basic “umbrella” business license. Most of the licensing and permit requirements for LLCs and other businesses fall under county and city jurisdiction. Depending on which services you offer, there may also be some regulatory agencies that require special permits for certain industries, such as a liquor license or tobacco permit.

With almost 20,000 permit and licensing jurisdictions in the country, it can be confusing to navigate this step of starting a business. Hiring a professional service company will make it easier. We can handle researching what permits are required for your specific services, and we even prepare the applications for you. Then you would just need to submit the information and wait for the approval, which saves you time and energy that can then be put into growing your business.

Get a Business Bank Account for Your Arkansas LLC

Once your LLC is approved and you have obtained a Federal Tax ID Number, you can open a bank account for your business. You need this business bank account to keep your personal assets separate from those of the LLC in order to maintain your liability protection. This also makes it easier to manage the finances for your LLC.

Requirements vary by bank, so be sure to inquire about what documents will be required to open an account with the banks that you consider. As a general rule, you should bring:

  • Your Federal Tax ID Number
  • An approved, stamped copy of the LLC’s Articles of Organization
  • Two forms of (valid) ID, such as a driver’s license or passport

The bank can advise as to other acceptable forms of identification, as well as any additional paperwork they may need to complete the initial account opening. You should take any authorized account signer(s) with you, as the bank will likely need their information. Debit cards can be issued for all account signers.

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How Can LLC Formations Help You?

Although the state of Arkansas strives to make it simple to navigate the process of starting a business within the state, there are a lot of steps, details, and elements involved in the LLC formation process.

It can be confusing for first-time business owners, and that confusion could lead to costly mistakes in addition to the filing fees. If you hire someone to handle filing your LLC formation in Arkansas, you won’t have to worry about any of the paperwork.

The professionals at LLC Formations can help you draft your Operating Agreement, provide tax advice, or help you to file your paperwork so you can focus on growing your business instead.

Don’t forget to check out our California LLC guide next.

Important Contact Information

Arkansas Secretary of State: http://www.sos.arkansas.gov

Business and Commercial Services

State Capitol, Suite 256

500 Woodlane Street

Little Rock, AR 72201