You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, dreams of a thriving Arkansas LLC, and you’re mentally prepared to make it happen. But the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and for you, that first step is filing the Articles of Organization.
With such grand plans, the last thing you might want to do is file paperwork, but completing the Articles of Organization is what authenticates your LLC, making it official in Arkansas. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your Arkansas LLC. Following this guide will help take the tedium out of paperwork and get your business started quickly.
But before you dive into the Articles of Organization, you should have a few pieces of information ready to help streamline the process.
Quick Note: If you’d like to have an online service file the Articles of Organization for you or simply need to save time, hire an LLC formation service. Two popular options are LegalZoom and ZenBusiness.
Choosing an LLC Name
Before anything else, you will need to decide on an LLC name. You must include a business name on your Articles of Organization, and if the Secretary of State deems that name unacceptable or unavailable, the document will be rejected, so make sure you nail down a good name right away.
Once you’ve decided on a name, confirm that it follows the state’s requirements. It must contain a term that indicates its business type, like “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.,” or “LLC.” Not only that, but it also must be distinguishable from every other business name on record with the Secretary of State. Determine your name’s distinguishability by performing a business name search. If it’s already taken, you’ll need to come up with something new or find a way to make it unique.
Once you’ve found your perfect name, include it on your Articles of Organization to automatically register it. In the event that you’re not quite ready to file an LLC, you can place a 120-day hold on your name by submitting a name reservation request.
Choosing an Arkansas Registered Agent
A registered agent is your LLC’s liaison to the state, the mediator who takes care of all your important legal, tax, and compliance documents, keeping your business in good standing. Submit your Articles of Organization without including a registered agent’s information and your document will be rejected, so make arrangements with your agent before filing.
Your agent can be either an individual Arkansas resident with a physical in-state address (not a P.O. box) or a business entity – like a registered agent service – that’s authorized to do business in Arkansas.
Quick Note: If your first choice doesn’t work out, don’t worry. You can always change your registered agent in the future.
Preparing to File Your Arkansas Articles of Organization
Now for the main event: the Articles of Organization. Here’s your opportunity to get your LLC officially on record and authorized to conduct business in Arkansas.
The Articles of Organization is perhaps the most important document on your LLC’s formation journey, the one that actually forms your business. So, it might come as a surprise that it’s so short and easy. Gather the necessary information beforehand and you can finish it in one short sitting. Here’s what you’ll need:
- The LLC name
- The principal office address
- The registered agent’s name and address
- Whether the LLC is managed by members or managers
- Signatures and names for each organizer
Included with the Articles of Organization is registration for the state’s Franchise Tax, which requires the LLC’s name, mailing address, phone number, and email address.
Actually, the most difficult part of the Articles of Organization might be laying down the filing fee. The good news is that, compared to the fees from other states, Arkansas’ isn’t overly expensive – $45 for online filings and $50 for paper ones.
After you’ve compiled your information and arranged your payment, it’s time to file, and you have three ways to do it: online, by mail, or in person.
Go to the Secretary of State’s Online Filing System. Scroll down and you’ll find a section for LLC forms, under “Articles of Organization for Domestic LLC,” click “Start Form,” and you’ll be on your way. This is the fastest way to file.
Download, complete, and print a paper application. Include a check or money order for the fee payment and mail everything to:
Arkansas Secretary of State
Business and Commercial Services Division
Suite 250, Victory Building
1401 West Capitol Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72201
Mailed forms are typically processed within two business days.
Live in Little Rock? If you prefer, you can hand-deliver your form and payment to the same address. Forms filed in person will usually be processed while you wait.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in Arkansas), but what if your business is expanding to Arkansas from another state? If so, disregard the instructions above, because your LLC will follow a different route.
Before kicking off your business activities in Arkansas, you will need to foreign qualify your LLC by filing an Application for Certificate of Registration either online or with a hard copy. Don’t attempt to do business without first foreign qualifying, because this can lead to some serious consequences down the road.
Want Help Filing Your Articles of Organization?
Let’s be honest: you’ve got a lot on your plate. Filing paperwork can take time away from your other tasks, ones more focused on setting your budding LLC up for success.
The good news is that you don’t need to file the Articles of Organization yourself. But if an attorney is out of your price range, hiring an LLC creation service is a great option.
There’s no shortage of business incorporation services out there, but not all of them are equal. Each one offers different packages, costs, and processing times, so it’s important to find the right fit for your LLC.
While each service has optional upgrades and perks packages, on the most basic level, they will review your business information, prepare your formation documents, and submit them to the Arkansas Secretary of State. They will complete everything outlined in this guide and notify you when your Articles of Organization has been filed. You won’t have to lift a finger.
There are other benefits too. Some services will include a year of free registered agent service when you hire them. Other services offer order tracking, notifications on future documents (like Annual Franchise Tax Reports), assistance drafting your operating agreement, or coverage of certain LLC formation costs.
Which is the Best LLC Service?
All you need to do now is research every service extensively and make side-by-side comparisons for each option. Easy, right? Just kidding – we did all of that for you.
And from our meticulous research of reviewing and ranking the top LLC services, we’ve drawn the conclusion that IncFile and Northwest are your best overall options.
They might not have the brand recognition of LegalZoom, the industry giant, but both have amazing customer support, affordable prices, and include a year of registered agent service.