Last Updated: February 16, 2024, 12:56 pm by TRUiC Team

How to Start a Corporation in Arkansas

Structuring your business as an Arkansas corporation can be done quickly by submitting your Articles of Incorporation with the Arkansas Secretary of State.

You will also need to produce your corporation's bylaws by holding an organizational meeting, as well as appoint your initial directors.

We’ll show you how to start a corporation in Arkansas yourself.

Or simply use a professional service:

four point six out of five Northwest ($29 + state fee)

Learn how to start a corporation in Arkansas

It's Easy to Incorporate in Arkansas

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Step 1Name Your Arkansas Corporation
Step 2Choose a Registered Agent
Step 3Hold an Organizational Meeting
Step 4File the Articles of Incorporation
Step 5Get an EIN

For a look at corporation formation in every state, check out our other How to Start a Corporation guides.

Not sure if a corporation is right for you? Check out our LLC vs. Corporation guide to help you make your decision.

Step 1: Name Your Arkansas Corporation

Choosing a business name is the first step in starting a corporation. 

1. Arkansas naming guidelines:

  • Your name must contain one of the following words or abbreviations: corporation, incorporated, company, limited, corp., inc., co., or ltd.
  • You are not allowed to use any words or phrases in your name that suggest the corporation operates for any purpose not authorized by 4-27-301.
  • Corporate names are required to be appropriately distinguishable from all registered and reserved corporation names in the Secretary of State’s records.
  • You are not allowed to use words in your name that could lead to confusion arising between your corporation and a government organization.
  • Only corporate names that are sufficiently different from the fictitious names used by foreign corporations in Arkansas will be approved.

Read the Arkansas state statute regarding corporation naming guidelines for more information.

 2. Is my corporation name available in Arkansas?

Your Arkansas corporation name must be unique and distinguishable from other business names in Arkansas. Use the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Business Entity Search to determine if your desired business name is available.

3. Is the URL available?

Before registering your Arkansas corporation, you’ll need to check if a good URL is available for your business name. It’s important to secure your URL right away.

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Step 2: Choose an Arkansas Registered Agent

You must appoint an Arkansas registered agent when registering your corporation with the Secretary of State.

A registered agent is an individual or entity appointed to receive service of process, government correspondence, and compliance documents on behalf of a business.

Your registered agent can be an individual, business entity, or professional registered agent service. Any member of the corporation or individual can serve as your Arkansas registered agent as long as the person:

  • is 18 years or older
  • has a physical address in the state where business activity is conducted
  • is available (in person) during normal business hours
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Recommended: Northwest offers one year of free registered agent services with their corporation formation package ($29 + State Fees).

Step 3: Hold an Organizational Meeting

Before you officially file the Articles of Incorporation in Step 4, you will need to hold an organizational meeting to complete the following tasks:

  • Fill out and execute the Articles of Incorporation
  • Create and approve bylaws
  • Select your initial director(s)
  • Determine your share structure
  • Execute an Incorporator’s Statement

Create and Approve Corporate Bylaws

Bylaws are the rules that determine how your organization will be governed and run. For detailed instructions on creating your bylaws, read our corporate bylaws guide.

Appoint Initial Directors

You must appoint at least one director who will oversee your Arkansas corporation until the first shareholder meeting.

A corporate director is in charge of the adoption, amendment, and repeal of operational bylaws as well as the election, supervision, and removal of officers.

After forming the corporation, the incorporator(s) — or initial director(s), if named on the formation documents — should call an organizational meeting. During this initial meeting, either the incorporator(s) will elect the board of directors or the initial director(s) will appoint the officers. 

Choose a Share Structure and Strategy

A share of stock is the unit of ownership of a corporation. Each share of stock represents a percentage of ownership of the company. For example, if a corporation issues one share of stock the shareholder (stock owner) would then own 100% of the corporation. 

Shares can be structured into classes. Each class, termed a share class, holds different rights and privileges. You can have multiple classes and each class can hold any number of shares.

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Authorized Shares: the number of shares the corporation is allowed to issue.
Issued Shares: the total number of shares actually issued to shareholders.
Share Class: a group of shares that has a unique set of rights and privileges.

In Arkansas, the Articles of Incorporation form allows you to indicate if the corporation will issue more than one authorized share class or series.

Create and Execute an Incorporator’s Statement

The incorporator(s) should sign an Incorporator’s Statement with complete names and addresses of each initial director and store it in the corporate records book. 

This document names the initial director(s) that will serve until the board of directors is elected during the first shareholder’s meeting. It should be stored with the rest of your corporate records.

Step 4: File the Arkansas Articles of Incorporation

You will need to file the Arkansas Articles of Incorporation to set up a corporation in Arkansas. You can file it online, by mail, or in person with the Secretary of State. The filing cost is $50.

This document will cover the basics of your corporation, including:

  • Corporate name, address, and statement of purpose
  • Corporate registered agent name and street address
  • Number of authorized shares the corporation is allowed to issue
  • Incorporator(s) name(s) and address(es)

File the Arkansas Articles of Incorporation

Option 1: File With Arkansas’ Corporations Online Filing System

File Online

- OR -

Option 2: File by Mail or In Person

Download Form

Filing Cost: $50

Filing Address:
Business and Commercial Services Division
1401 W. Capitol, Suite 250
Little Rock, AR 72201

Step 5: Get an EIN for Your Arkansas Corporation

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used by the federal government to identify a business entity. It is essentially a Social Security number for the company. An EIN is needed:

  • To open a bank account for the company
  • For federal and state tax purposes
  • To hire employees

Get an EIN

Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS

Apply Online

- OR -

Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax

Download Form

Mail to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935

Fee: Free

Running Your Corporation

It is very important to adhere to the formalities of running a corporation. Read our How to Run a Corporation guide to learn more.

Taxes, Reports, & Licensing

Arkansas State Corporation Tax Requirements

Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax:

Arkansas Sales Tax

If you’re selling a product, you’ll typically need to register for a seller's permit through the Arkansas Secretary of State's website. This allows a business to collect sales tax.

Arkansas Employer Taxes

If you hire employees, you will need to register for Arkansas employer taxes through the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services website. This includes Employee Withholding Tax, Unemployment Insurance Tax, and Disability Insurance.

Arkansas Corporation Licenses and Permits

To operate your corporation in Arkansas, you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.

Learn more in our Arkansas Business License guide.

File the Arkansas Corporate Franchise Tax Report

You must file the Arkansas Corporate Franchise Tax Registration at the time of incorporation. You must then file a Corporation Franchise Tax Report every year thereafter. Detailed instructions are included on the form. The minimum tax due is $150.

Corporate Dissolution & Arkansas Good Standing

How to Get an Arkansas Certificate of Good Standing

A Certificate of Good Standing verifies that your Arkansas corporation was legally formed and has been properly maintained.

To obtain a Certificate of Good Standing in Arkansas, you must search for the corporation on the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website and then purchase the certificate online. The fee is $25.

Request an Arkansas Certificate of Good Standing

Request a Certificate From the Arkansas Secretary of State

Request Online

Fee: $25

How to Dissolve a Corporation in Arkansas

If at any point you would like to permanently stop doing business, or close your business, it is important to officially dissolve your corporation. Failure to do so in a timely fashion can result in tax liabilities, penalties, or even legal trouble.

There are five main steps to close your Arkansas corporation:

  • Stop doing business
  • Hold a board meeting, vote on dissolution, and record the meeting in the corporation minutes
  • Close your federal and state business tax accounts and file a Final Franchise Tax Report with the Arkansas Secretary of State
  • File the Articles of Dissolution by Incorporators or Initial Directors (if the corporation did not yet issue shares or conduct any business) or the Articles of Dissolution (if the corporation already issued shares and/or conducted business) with the Arkansas Secretary of State
  • Close your business bank accounts

File Dissolution Documents

Before you file the Articles of Dissolution, you must file a Final Franchise Tax Report with the Secretary of State.

There are two options for filing dissolution documents for an Arkansas corporation: Articles of Dissolution by Incorporators or Initial Directors or simply Articles of Dissolution.

Articles of Dissolution by Incorporators or Initial Directors
If your corporation has yet to offer shares and conduct business, you must file Articles of Dissolution by Incorporators or Initial Directors. The filing fee is $50.

Articles of Dissolution
If your corporation has issued shares or conducted business, it must dissolve with the Arkansas Secretary of State by filing the Articles of Dissolution. The filing fee is $50.

Is a Corporation Right For You?

An LLC provides limited liability protection without corporate complexity.
Find out if an LLC is the right structure for you.

LLC vs. Corporation | Form an LLC

Steps After Forming a Corporation

After forming a corporation, you’ll want to protect your personal and business assets and build credit.

Taking these steps will set your business up for success:

Form a Corporation with Northwest for $29 Plus State Fees

Arkansas Corporation FAQ

The total cost of starting a corporation in Arkansas will depend on your approach. As a minimum, you have to pay $50 to file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State.

However, this price will increase if you opt to pay for a professional registered agent service rather than assuming the role yourself.

Regardless, we recommend checking out our How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost article.

LLCs offer a number of benefits over corporations, such as greater tax flexibility, fewer formalities (e.g. record keeping and meetings), and more governance structure options.

Additionally, corporations are also accompanied by both higher startup and maintenance costs.

For these reasons, it is recommended to only incorporate your business if you intend to attract venture capital investment.

This is explored further in our Why Investors and Venture Capitalists Like C Corporations.

According to the Arkansas Secretary of State website, the turnover times of new business filings are as follows are between three and five business days.

This is regardless of whether the Articles of Incorporation is filed via mail, online, or delivered in person. 

If you are interested in incorporating your business, have a look at our How to Run a Corporation article.

Put simply, no. Incorporating your business in Arkansas can be done in four steps:

  • Choosing a name compliant with Arkansas statutes
  • Electing a registered agent
  • Holding an organizational meeting
  • Submitting your Articles of Organization to the Secretary of State

Hiring a registered agent service can simplify this process further (albeit at a cost). See our Should I Use a Registered Agent Service article to find out if this is the right option for you.

Yes, though not by much. However, LLCs are in fact much easier to operate on a day-to-day basis than corporations.

The main reason for this is because LLCs are subject to far fewer operating formalities and ownership restrictions than corporations.

Check out our LLC vs Corporation article for a more in-depth look at a comparison between these two business structures. 

Arkansas Corporation Quick Links