How to Incorporate in Arkansas

If you’re looking to incorporate in Arkansas, you’re in the right place. This guide will help you file formation documents, get tax identification numbers, and set up your company records.

Paperwork Cost Time
  • Form DN-01: Articles of Incorporation for a Domestic Corporation
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form AR-1R: Combined Business Tax Registration Form
  • Form 2553: S-Corp Election, if desired
  • Incorporation: $50 paper. $45 online.
  • Incorporation: ~2-4 business days
  1. Choose a Corporate Structure

    Incorporating means starting a corporation. If you want to form an LLC, please see "How to Form an LLC in Arkansas".

    Is your corporation for-profit or not-for-profit? If you are starting a nonprofit, please see "How to Start a Non-Profit Organization in Arkansas".

    C-Corp and S-Corp refer to taxation with the IRS, not to legal structures. Your corporation is taxed as a C-Corp unless you file an election to be taxed as an S-Corp (explained below).

  2. Check Name Availability

    The legal name of your corporation may not conflict with any other registered name. Check availability of your desired name by conducting a name search.

    Name Search:
    Name Reservation: Optional
    Suffix Requirements:

    "Corporation", "Company", or "Incorporated", or shall contain an abbreviation of one of those words; but the name may not end with the word "Company" nor the abbreviation "Co." if the final word or abbreviation is immediately preceded by "and" or any symbol for "and". 
    AC §4-26-401

  3. Appoint a Registered Agent

    Before you officially file to create your Arkansas LLC, you will need to decide who your Arkansas registered agent will be. A registered agent is a business's legal appointee to receive notice of lawsuit and other legal or government notices.

    State law requires every LLC to have a registered agent. The registered agent is designated when you file Arkansas articles of organization with the Arkansas Secretary of State - Business and Commercial Services Division (BCS).

    Our reliable registered agent service fulfills this requirement. You get:

    • Same-day documents from our local office in Mountain Home
    • Immediate online access to state forms with our address and, where required, our signature
    • Annual fees from $89 to $99 per state with no additional charges

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  4. File Arkansas Articles of Incorporation

    File the articles of incorporation to create your corporation.

    Agency:Arkansas Secretary of State - Business and Commercial Services Division (BCS)
    Form:

    DN-01: Articles of Incorporation

    Filing Method:

    Mail or online.

    Agency Fee:

    $50 paper. $45 online.

    Turnaround:

    ~2-4 business days

    Law:

    Arkansas Code - Title 4: Business and Commercial Law

    Fact Checked:6/16/17
  5. Establish Bylaws & Corporate Records

    Your corporation must keep correct and complete books and records.

    Draft bylaws (potentially using a template) which is the governing document for the corporation. The bylaws of a corporation may contain any provision for managing the business and regulating the affairs of the corporation that is not inconsistent with law or with the articles of incorporation (C.R.S. 7-102-106). You will review and ratify the bylaws at your first board of directors meeting.

    A corporation shall keep as permanent records minutes of all meetings of its shareholders and board of directors, a record of all actions taken by the shareholders or board of directors without a meeting, a record of all actions taken by a committee of the board of directors in place of the board of directors on behalf of the corporation, and a record of all waivers of notices of meetings of shareholders and of the board of directors or any committee of the board of directors (C.R.S. 7-116-101).

    Your filed articles of incorporation and bylaws are the first documents for your corporate records. Your corporation will generate many other official records such as:

    • Meeting minutes
    • Shareholder resolutions
    • EIN verification letter
    • Amendments and other filings made to the corporation over its lifetime

    Organizations need a secure, centralized tool for managing and accessing sensitive records. Our Records Manager software offers a simple, efficient way for corporations to store records, track officers, directors, and shareholders, and customize meeting notifications.

  6. Appoint Initial Directors

    The initial directors serve on the board until the annual meeting of shareholders (when directors are elected to the board). If the initial directors are not named in the articles of incorporation, they are appointed by the incorporator. The incorporator documents and signs this action for the corporate records.

  7. Hold Organizational Meeting

    Hold the first meeting of the board of directors.

    ... an organization meeting of the incorporators shall be held either within or without this state, at the call of a majority of the incorporators, for the purpose of electing directors and the transaction of such other business as may come before the meeting. The incorporators calling the meeting shall give at least three (3) days' notice ...
    AC §4-26-203

    The following state laws apply unless overridden by the organizational documents, where permissible.

    Directors Officers
    • Number: One or more, unless 50 or fewer shareholders, then no board required.
    • Qualifications: No residency or shareholder requirement, unless in bylaws or articles of incorporation.
    • Quorum: As prescribed by the bylaws or articles of incorporation, but no fewer than one third of the members.
    • As prescribed in the bylaws or articles of incorporation.
  8. Issue Stock Certificates

    The owners may be issued stock certificates to serve as proof of ownership in the corporation. Remember to hold the first annual meeting of the shareholders (the owners of the corporation) according to bylaws and keep minutes of this meeting.

    The following state laws apply unless overridden by the organizational documents, where permissible.

    Shareholders Annual Shareholder Meeting
    • Qualifications: N/A
    • Stock Certificate: Optional, but shareholder must receive a writing with the same information.
    • Voting Trusts Allowed: Yes.
    • Required: Yes, and can be court-ordered if not held.
    • Action by written consent: Most be unanimous to increase capital stock or bond indebtedness. Majority for all other actions.
  9. Get a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)

    Your corporation must obtain an EIN regardless of whether it will hire employees.

    Submit to: Internal Revenue Service
    http://www.irs.gov/
    Form: IRS Form SS-4
    Guidance: IRS Pub 1635: Understanding Your EIN
    Filing Method: Mail, phone, fax, or apply online with the IRS
    Fee: $0
    Turnaround: Immediately online
    Notes: The IRS website is only available during certain hours. Print your EIN before closing your session.
  10. Get Arkansas State Tax Identification Numbers/Accounts

    Arkansas offers a consolidated state tax registration application.


    Agency:Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration
    Form:Form AR-1R: Combined Business Tax Registration Form
    Instructions:Instructions for Form AR-1R
    Filing Method:Mail or in-person
    Agency Fee:$0. $50 if filing for a Gross Receipt (Sales Tax) Permit.
    Notes:

    Arkansas Starting a New Business Guide - An Educational Brochure for Arkansas Taxpayers

    Apply at least 2 weeks before the taxable activity begins. Do not submit more than 60 days prior to opening date.

    Fact Checked:5/12/20
  11. Consider Electing S-Corp Taxation

    By default, your corporation is taxed as a C-Corporation. Some corporations, especially smaller ones, benefit from electing S-Corp tax treatment:

    • C-Corps suffer from double taxation: the corporation pays taxes on profits then members pay taxes on their distributions. If profits exceed $250,000 per owner, you provide employee benefits, or you will re-invest most of your profit in the business, you may benefit from the low tax rates on retained earnings under C-Corp treatment.
    • S-Corp treatment avoids double-taxation. It is generally the best choice for small businesses. To accomplish this, file Form 2553: S-Corp Election with the IRS.
  12. Obtain Business Licenses & Permits

    To run your business legally, you must obtain applicable licenses and permits. The easiest way to navigate the wide range of federal, state, and local requirements is to search by your business type and locality using the Small Business Administration Business License & Permit look-up tool.


    Arkansas Business License

    Not required



    General Business License licensure is not required on the State level in Arkansas.

    Arkansas does not have a general business license at the state level, but local licenses are often required.

  13. Ongoing Filings to Maintain Your Corporation

    You must file federal and state tax returns.

    Many states also require business entities to file an annual report to maintain good standing with the secretary of state. If an annual report is required for corporations formed in Arkansas, view the table below.


    Arkansas Corporation Annual Report Requirements:

    Agency:Arkansas Secretary of State - Business and Commercial Services Division (BCS)
    Filing Method:

    Online

    Agency Fee:

    With outstanding stock: .3% of the outstanding capital stock; $150 minimum. Without stock: $300. +$5 fee to file online.

    Due:

    Annually by May 1.

    Law:

    A.C.A. § 26-54-104

    Penalties:

    $25 plus interest added daily. Penalty will not exceed twice the original tax owed.

    Notes:
    • A member, manager or corporate officer must file.
    • Original signatures are required unless you file online.
    Fact Checked:2/17/21

    For more details, see our Arkansas annual report information center page.

    You will need to demonstrate your company’s good standing to banks, customers, and other state agencies. After all the work involved in forming your Arkansas corporation, don’t let a missed annual report filing cause your new business to fall out of compliance.

    Tracking and filing annual reports on your own can be time consuming and lead to accidental lapses. Protect your corporation’s good standing with Managed Annual Report Service, which tracks and automatically files reports on time, every time, so you can focus on your business.

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