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.
How to Incorporate in Arkansas
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".
Corporations are formed under and regulated by state law. Arkansas has special rules and requirements for licensed professionals forming a professional corporation.
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).
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:
- Arkansas Search for Corporations
- Name Reservation:
- "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
Identify the corporation’s Arkansas registered agent. This individual or company receives notice of lawsuit and other legal service for the corporation.
|Agency:||Arkansas Secretary of State - Business and Commercial Services Division (BCS)|
Mail or online.
$50 paper. $45 online.
~2-4 business days
Your corporation must keep correct and complete books and records.
Each corporation shall keep correct and complete books and records of account and shall keep minutes of the proceedings of its shareholders and board of directors and shall keep at its registered office or principal place of business in this state, or at the office of its transfer agent or registrar in this state, a record of its shareholders, giving the names and addresses of all shareholders and the number and class of the shares held by each.
Your filed articles of incorporation are the first document for your corporate records. Your corporation will
generate many other official records such as bylaws, meeting minutes, and your EIN.
Office supplies intended for a corporation will help you stay organized and save time. Optionally, get a corporate record book, seal, and document templates.
Draft bylaws (potentially using a template) which is the governing document for the corporation. The bylaws may contain any provisions for the regulation and management of the affairs of the corporation not inconsistent with law or the articles of incorporation (AC §4-26-809). You will review and ratify the bylaws at your first board of directors meeting.
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.
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 ...
Keep minutes of this meeting. The following state laws apply unless overridden by the organizational documents, where permissible.
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|
Arkansas requires capitalization of at least $300 as a prerequisite to transacting business (AC §4-26-206).
Your corporation must obtain an EIN regardless of whether it will hire employees.
- Submit to:
- Internal Revenue Service
- IRS Form SS-4
- IRS Pub 1635: Understanding Your EIN
- Filing Method:
- Mail, phone, fax, or apply online with the IRS
- Immediately online
- The IRS website is only available during certain hours. Print your EIN before closing your session.
Arkansas offers a consolidated state tax registration application.
- Submit to:
- Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration
- Form AR-1R: Combined Business Tax Registration Form
- Instructions for Form AR-1R
- Arkansas Starting a New Business Guide - An Educational Brochure for Arkansas Taxpayers
- Filing Method:
- Mail or in-person
- $0. $50 if filing for a Gross Receipt (Sales Tax) Permit.
- Apply at least 2 weeks before the taxable activity begins. Do not submit more than 60 days prior to opening date.
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.
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.
You must file federal and state tax returns. You must also file:
- The Arkansas Secretary of State requires an Arkansas annual report.