How to Incorporate in Arkansas

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

    Identify the corporation’s Arkansas registered agent. This individual or company receives notice of lawsuit and other legal service for the corporation.

  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.

    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.
    AC §4-26-715

    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.

  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.

    Registration Not Required

    Not required



  13. Ongoing Filings to Maintain Your Corporation

    You must file federal and state tax returns. You must also file:

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