You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, and 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.
✔ Start Your LLC For Free
|🥇 ZenBusiness||$0 + state fee||Excellent||Absolutely|
If you’d like the #1 LLC formation service, choose ZenBusiness. We’ve formed over 300,000 businesses and have 10,000+ positive customer reviews.
Plus, right now we’re offering a special discount and will form your LLC for free. That’s $79 less than LegalZoom!
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
Want to form an LLC for free? ZenBusiness will file all LLC formation paperwork for $0 + state fee (normally $49 + state fee). No catch, just savings.
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 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
- The name and title of at least one member or manager
- 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 feature 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 have 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.
Important Post-Formation Compliance Issues
Once you’ve successfully filed your Articles of Organization, your LLC is an official business entity in the state of Arkansas. However, this doesn’t mean that your responsibilities have come to an end. There are several other steps you’ll need to take if you want to operate a compliant LLC for years to come.
Acquire a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)
While an EIN isn’t a requirement for Arkansas LLCs, we strongly recommend that every entrepreneur obtains one. An EIN enables your LLC to hire employees, open business bank accounts, file taxes, and take care of several other important aspects of LLC maintenance. Even if you operate a single-member LLC with no employees, you should still have an EIN for your business.
Set Up a Financial Infrastructure
One other crucial step is to solidify the financial aspects of your LLC, first by opening a business bank account. You must have separate bank accounts for your personal use and for business purposes, as this will help you keep your personal and business assets separate, a vitally important consideration for any entrepreneur. If you commingle these assets, you leave yourself wide open for lawsuits, as it would be easy for someone to claim that your business is simply an extension of your own personality and not a separate entity from you as a person.
The other portion of this step is to set up an accounting system. This can either mean that you hire an accountant to take care of your LLC’s bookkeeping, or you could acquire high-quality accounting software like QuickBooks. Either way, you need a reliable means of keeping detailed records for each financial transaction your LLC executes. This is another vital part of keeping your personal and business assets separated, and it will also be enormously helpful come tax time.
Acquire Licenses and Permits
The next step involves obtaining any industry-specific licenses and permits your LLC may need to operate in compliance with state laws. Depending on the nature of your LLC’s business, you may require several permits or you may be able to operate your LLC without any state-level licenses.
Unfortunately, Arkansas does not make it easy to find out which licenses and permits may apply to your business. While most states have convenient online databases for business licensing, Arkansas’ licensing webpage is a broken link that the state never bothered fixing. We’ll still include it right here in the hope that the state puts some effort into its website someday, but we would advise against getting your hopes up.
That said, how can you figure out which licenses and permits you need for an Arkansas LLC? You could try doing a simple Google search — such as “Arkansas gas station licensing” or “Arkansas restaurant permits” — or you could call the Department of Commerce and ask.
This step is much less of a hassle in other states, but Arkansas requires some more legwork.
Obtain Business Insurance
This step isn’t a requirement, but it is a strong recommendation. The exact insurance policies your business needs will vary based on the type of products and services you offer, but most LLCs should at least have a general liability insurance policy to protect against common perils like slip-and-fall accidents. In some industries, you might need several different insurance policies to cover all of your financial bases, so do your research ahead of time to determine which types of insurance you should purchase.
File Your Annual Reports
Each year, every LLC in Arkansas must file an annual report. This report includes some basic information about your business and keeps the state updated regarding any important changes to your LLC’s structure. The information you’ll need to file this report typically includes the name, address, phone number, and email address of your LLC’s tax contact person, your LLC’s name, principal business address, federal tax ID number (EIN), registered agent name and address, and the LLC members’ names and addresses.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Filing the Arkansas LLC Articles of Organization
How long does it take Arkansas to form an LLC?
Mailed forms typically take around two business days for the state to process. If you deliver your documents by hand, they will process them while you wait. Meanwhile, online filings are typically processed immediately.
Should I file my own Articles of Organization, hire an attorney, or use an online service?
This question largely comes down to personal preferences, but we do have some general insights. The DIY route can be quite a bit of work, as you’ll need to complete each step of the formation process on your own with no assistance. As for hiring an attorney, this can be prohibitively expensive for new businesses, as a lawyer can charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars to form your LLC.
You can think of business services companies as a middle ground between these options. While most of these companies charge a fee to form your LLC, that fee will be significantly less expensive than an attorney’s fee. At the same time, you still aren’t going it alone. Instead, you have an experienced professional guiding you through the entire process.
What does Arkansas require for LLC formations other than the Articles of Organization?
Unlike some states, Arkansas doesn’t require any related filings other than your formation articles. However, we still strongly recommend obtaining a federal tax ID number (EIN). An EIN allows your LLC to file taxes, hire employees, open business bank accounts, and more. Every LLC should have one, whether your state requires it or not.
How many small businesses are there in Arkansas?
Today, Arkansas has more than 255,000 small businesses. Clearly, entrepreneurs in many different fields find Arkansas to be a great place to own and operate a business entity.
✔ Get The Best LLC Service
If you want to use a service to form your LLC, there are dozens of options. We invite you to check out our full list of the best available LLC formation services, but we’ll also share a couple of the most popular options below.
ZenBusiness (Starts at $0)
ZenBusiness is the best LLC formation service available. That said, ZenBusiness receives outstanding customer feedback, with more than 9,800 reviews available online and very few negative reviews among them.
LegalZoom (Starts at $79)
For most people, LegalZoom is the first name that comes to mind for LLC services due to their massive advertising budget. LegalZoom’s pricing and features may not compete on an equal playing field with ZenBusiness, but its brand power is notable and it receives good customer reviews.
For a side by side comparison, check out our LegalZoom vs ZenBusiness review.