Start an Arkansas LLC

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Arkansas Fast & Friendly LLC Formation

Looking to start a new Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the Natural State? With its diverse geography, warm weather, and booming population, it’s no surprise that Arkansas has been ranked one of the best states for doing business. So an LLC in Arkansas can be an excellent way to take advantage of a friendly commercial climate and a business configuration that offers flexibility and asset protection.

But like every other state, you can’t just get an LLC  in Arkansas overnight. Instead, you have to follow a specific process for starting an LLC in Arkansas. In this article, we’ll explore each step of the LLC formation process in Arkansas and valuable tips and tricks that’ll make the process easier. 

How to Start an LLC in Arkansas

If you’re looking to cut through the red tape of running an LLC in Arkansas, check out our carefully crafted suite of products and services. We specially designed each one of them to make it less stressful to form a limited liability company. 

Start your LLC in Arkansas!

Just one note before you hop in. These directions apply only if you want to start a domestic, for-profit LLC in Arkansas. Foreign LLCs, or LLCs formed outside of Arkansas but want to do business in the state, must follow a different process. Similarly, a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC) has unique filing requirements compared to a typical Arkansas LLC. However, we have a separate article to help you learn more about forming an Arkansas PLLC. Now let’s get started.

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Step 1: Name your Arkansas LLC

The first step to getting an LLC in Arkansas is to name your company. For obvious reasons, every business requires a name before registering with the state. Picking a name for your LLC is one of the most fun and exciting parts of the formation process. Start by taking some time to brainstorm a few ideas. Then run over them with your business partners and potential customers to discover the most popular ones. Also, take a moment to see our tips and tricks for naming your LLC. 

Arkansas LLC Naming Conventions

You can pick virtually any name that you want for your LLC. Arkansas has only a few naming conventions that you have to follow. Specifically, your LLC’s name must:

The easiest way to see whether your business name is available is by using our Arkansas Business Entity Search. That said, it’s always a good idea to have a backup, so you should also search for your business’s name on the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website. Finally, you can call the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office directly at 501-682-2010. 

Reserving a Business Name for your Arkansas LLC

Finding a name is easy, but starting an LLC takes time and planning. If you have the perfect name for your LLC but aren’t ready to form it yet, consider reserving a name to give yourself some peace of mind. With our name reservation service, you can reserve your ideal LLC name for up to 120 days while you get ready to launch your company.

Choosing a Domain Name for your Business

All modern businesses need a vigorous online presence to attract customers and maximize their market share. Consequently, it’s a good idea to make sure you can find an online domain name that matches your LLC’s name. Register the perfect domain name for your business here

Filing for a Fictitious Name

More often than not, businesses can benefit from having an extra name. These names allow commercial ventures to enjoy some versatility while solidifying their reputation with their customers. Most states call these alternative monikers “Doing Business As” names (DBA names), but Arkansas simply refers to them as “fictitious names.” If obtaining a fictitious name sounds right for your situation, you’ll need to file an Arkansas Application for Fictitious Name with the Arkansas Secretary of State. Learn more about this process with our step-by-step guide on how to get a DBA name for your business in Arkansas.

Step 2: Appoint a registered agent in Arkansas

Now that you know the first part of how to start an LLC in Arkansas, you need to find a registered agent. A registered agent is a representative of the LLC with the power to accept important legal and financial documents on behalf of the business. 

Arkansas Registered Agent Requirements

Every Arkansas LLC needs to have a registered agent by law. And every registered agent must have a set physical address within Arkansas. As the point of contact for the business, registered agents must be available during standard business hours to accept all incoming documents and forward them to the LLC. Examples of critical documents include lawsuit notices, notification of annual report deadlines, and tax forms.

What if the state can’t find my Arkansas registered agent?

A registered agent in Arkansas has one job: be present to accept important correspondence. Unfortunately, registered agents are unavailable more often than you might think. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes your registered agent may go on vacation or become sick without notifying anybody. Or maybe the registered agent incorrectly files paperwork or forgets to update the business’s contact information. Whatever the reason, if the registered agent is unavailable, a whole host of negative outcomes can follow. At the very least, your business will miss out on critical legal and business notices. Furthermore, the state may take action against you and your business if it can’t contact your registered agent. In some situations, it may initiate a lawsuit against your LLC or impose financial penalties. In the worst case scenario, the state may dissolve your LLC entirely for failing to meet the state’s requirements for LLCs.

Why you should use a registered agent service

Assuming they meet basic requirements, almost anyone can be a registered agent. Yet it’s best to use a commercial registered agent service rather than work as a registered agent yourself. For one, you have more important things to do than sit in an office waiting for documents to arrive. Second, making a mistake (notably, not being present to receive a notice) as a registered agent can be costly. Failing to respond to government notices can lead to fees, sanctions, and lawsuits. Those are the last things your business needs.

ZenBusiness can provide your registered agent service

If you’re looking for a quality registered agent service, then look no further. Let us help you get a registered agent in Arkansas.

Step 3: File Arkansas Articles of Organization

The most vital step of your Arkansas LLC application is filing an accurate Certificate of Organization. Once you file this form with the state, you will have an official Arkansas LLC. However, you need to complete this form accurately. Mistakes can delay the formation of your LLC or lead to several administrative consequences. Fortunately, we can take care of the filing process for you with our LLC formation plans

Filing an Arkansas Certificate of Organization will set you back $50. If you choose to use our LLC formation plan, you can opt to expedite our processing speed for an extra fee. Normal processing time for our filings is 2 to 3 weeks. For an extra $50, you can reduce our processing time to 6 to 9 business days. And for an extra $100, you can further shrink processing time to 2 to 5 business days. To learn more about Arkansas’s other LLC fees, see our guide to Arkansas LLC costs

Use an LLC Organizer to simplify the filing of your Certificate of Organization

Another tool to consider at this stage of the process is using an LLC organizer. An LLC organizer is a special agent of the business that prepares and files the business’s Certificate of Organization. A variety of people can serve as LLC organizers, including licensed attorneys, family members, registered agents, and companies like us. Curious about LLC organizers and how they can help you get your Certificate of Organization squared away? Check out our page on LLC Organizers.

Member-Managed or Manager-Managed? 

LLCs commonly have two forms of management. With member-managed LLCs, the owners (or members) exercise control collectively over the company’s decisions. Alternatively, an LLC can choose to invite one or more professional managers (analogous to the executives of a corporation) to run the company. In Arkansas, LLCs are member-managed by default, and most LLCs begin operations as member-managed enterprises. LLCs tend to switch to manager-managed as they expand and complexify their operations.

Amending and Updating your Certificate of Organization

Even if you accidentally filed your LLC’s Certificate of Organization incorrectly, we can give you a hand. Our amendment filing service lets you easily make changes and updates to your business’s name and address. You can also tweak your ownership structure and the name and address of your registered agent. Moreover, you can opt to use our Worry-Free Compliance serviceThis service can help you stay compliant with all of Arkansas’s annual filing requirements. It also gives your business two free yearly amendments so you can update your business’s Certificate of Organization when the occasion requires.  

Step 4: Create an operating agreement

Although there’s no longer any requirement to file it with the Arkansas state government, an operating agreement is a vital document for your business. If you haven’t heard of them before, operating agreements help protect your personal assets by clearly stating the guidelines and procedures of the business. They can also help attract investors and future business partners. 

Do I need an operating agreement even if I’m the only owner? 

If you’re going into business on your own, you may find it tempting to avoid drafting an operating agreement altogether. After all, why worry about avoiding disputes when there’s no one to have a dispute with? 

Nevertheless, sole owners should still consider drafting an operating agreement for several reasons. First, having an operating agreement allows you to bring in new members on your terms. By having an operating agreement on hand before you bring on new members, you won’t need to worry about negotiating an agreement with them. 

Furthermore, investors and business partners alike will use your operating agreement to size up your business. On top of that, many banks require you have an operating agreement before a business bank account with them. And if you are somehow incapacitated, a third party can easily uncover how to manage the LLC until your return. 

Finally, in the unlikely event that you find yourself in a business lawsuit, an operating agreement can serve as valuable evidence and help prove that your business is a serious venture rather than mere pretense.

What do Operating Agreements include?

Operating agreements help clarify things like:

At the very least, you should take a few moments to learn more about the benefits of operating agreements. Without an operating agreement, your business will have to follow Arkansas’s default guidelines in the state’s Uniform LLC Act. These default provisions will almost certainly mean less favorable (and more cumbersome) treatment for you and your LLC compared to a personalized operating agreement. 

✓ Operating agreement template

Let’s say you’ve decided to make an operating agreement. Where do you start? What kinds of provisions should you include? These are the kinds of questions we love to solve. With our LLC operating agreement guide, we can give you a solid foundation for how your LLC operates. If you decide to form an LLC with ZenBusiness, our plans include a customizable operating agreement template. Our template can address issues like the division of profits and losses, the ownership structure of the LLC, and each member’s rights and responsibilities.

Step 5: Apply for an EIN

The last step in the LLC formation process is registering your company with the federal government by obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN). An EIN functions like a Social Security number for your business. And just as individuals place their Social Security numbers on their tax returns, businesses use their EIN to file taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In addition to streamlining tax payments, EINs allow your LLC to hire new employees and qualify for a business bank account. 

While you technically don’t need an EIN if you have only one employee, we recommend you get one anyway so you can respond quickly to new growth opportunities. On top of that, your investors will be far more confident in your company if you have a business bank account. And keeping your business funds in a business bank account is a fantastic way to solidify your business’s limited liability and protect your assets. 

Want to get an EIN without dealing with the IRS? We understand completely. Let us handle the hassle for you with our quick and efficient EIN service.

Our LLC formation service includes obtaining an EIN for your LLC but we can also help you get an EIN for an existing company

Handling State Taxes

Arkansas requires all businesses — including LLCs — to pay the state’s yearly franchise tax. The annual franchise tax report costs $150. When filing your annual LLC franchise tax report, make sure you have your LLC’s management and registered information handy. And be extra careful to submit your LLC’s franchise tax report on time. Late filing can lead to penalties, interest, and even legal consequences.

If you plan to hire employees to work for your LLC, you will need to file for Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Insurance and withhold your employees’ income taxes. To get started, register for withholding tax with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

Finally, if your LLC plans to sell products to Arkansas customers, you will need to collect sales and use tax. As with withholding taxes, the first step in paying sales and use taxes is registering with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. 

Start your LLC in Arkansas!

We can help

Knowing how to get an LLC in Arkansas is the most important part of the formation process. But knowing the process and working through the process are two different things. We are dedicated to making it easier for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. Our wide variety of services can handle almost any business need that comes your way. Whether you want to start your LLC in Little Rock, Hot Springs, or the heart of the Ozarks, we’re ready to help.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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