Incorporation in Arkansas is done through the Business and Financial Services section of the Arkansas Secretary of State. Business owners may wish to incorporate in Arkansas to reduce their personal liability, create an entity that will survive the death of the founder, be able to sell shares (even to non-US citizens) or for other reasons. The types of business entities available include: For-profit and Not-for-profit Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Limited Partnership, S Corporations, and Commercial Registered Agent.
Five basic steps to incorporate in Arkansas
- All existing corporations in Arkansas have legal names registered with the State. You will first have to decide on a name for your corporation and then perform a search to see if it is available. You can use the free CorpNet company name search. Your corporate name in Arkansas will have to include one of the suffixes, Corporation (or Corp.); Incorporated (or Inc.). Registering a name in Arkansas gives you exclusive right to that name, but it doesn’t protect you from infringement lawsuit. So, although the name “Coca-Cola Maximum Corp.” might be available, it is unlikely you could use it to transact business without infringing on Coca Cola’s trademark. Corporations (either foreign or domestic) who do business under a fictitious name (other than the corporate name) have to register with the Secretary of State as well as the county clerk in the county where the corporation’s registered office is located.
- Register your corporation (or LLC) with the Secretary of State. CorpNet offers filings of the Articles of Incorporation (for corporate structures) and for LLCs, Articles of Organization.
- Hold the first official meeting for the corporation or LLC and adopt the Bylaws (corporations) or Operating Agreement (LLCs). This is a legal meeting and must be recorded as such. (See section below about officers and documentation.)
- Apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) under the corporate name. In Arkansas, this will also serve as your State Tax Identification Number. You will also have to arrange for a bank account under this number for accounting purposes. Your financial institution will want a copy of the EIN as may check with the Secretary of State’s office to verify that your corporate name is registered.
- Obtain any specific licenses and permits required, either statewide or for the county in which you will do business. Some examples would be: Electrician’s license, trucking licenses and permits, Liquor license, etc.
Foreign and Domestic Corporations
A foreign corporation is a corporation registered in another State that does business in Arkansas. Foreign corporations are required to register in Arkansas and obtain a Certificate of Authority to Transact Business in Arkansas. A foreign corporation may also have to apply for a fictitious name as mentioned above. Foreign corporations are required to submit a Certificate of Good Standing from the state they are registered in and will have to disclose the number and par value of any stock that will be owned by residents of Arkansas.
Domestic corporations are those formed in Arkansas itself. While there is no residency requirement for directors or officers of Arkansas corporations, a registered agent (who can also be a corporate officer) must have a physical address (no P.O. box) in Arkansas along with regular business hours. They have to be available to take phone calls and respond to legal matters. Hiring a Registered Agent will protect your privacy and meet the requirements of incorporation in Arkansas.
Officers and documents
Corporations in Arkansas must have one or more directors whose names and addresses will appear in the articles of incorporation. Residency is not required. Individuals may hold more than one office.
Corporate officers do not have to appear in filings, but information about officers, stockholders, minutes of required meetings, and annual reports have to be maintained at the corporate offices. Other records required at the principle place of business include a copy of the articles of incorporation along with any amendments.
- Articles of Incorporation – This is the main document that creates and registers a corporation in the State. They type and purpose of the corporation must be stated, the directors must be named and the registered agent listed.
- Application for Reservation of Corporate Name – To ensure a name is available, a name search should be performed at the state level before a request is sent in. There is also a version for Foreign Corporation name reservation.
- Application for Registration of Fictitious Name – This has two versions, foreign and domestic. It allows a corporation to do business under an assumed name.
- Certificate of Amendment – This come in two types, depending on whether the amendment causes shares to be exchanged. It is used to change the articles of incorporation – it cannot be used to change corporation type; for instance, from profit to non-profit.
- Application for Certificate of Authority – Used by foreign corporations who which to conduct business in Arkansas.
- Change of Agent – Because the registered agent is the point of contact between the corporate entity and the State of Arkansas, any change must be documented with the State.
- Franchise Tax Registration – Required filing so that tax forms can be sent.
Forming a corporation online
Incorporation in Arkansas can be handled remotely through our services. We offer complete packages that allow you to start your corporation or LLC without missing key steps or documents. This lets you focus on managing your business instead of getting stuck in state mandated paperwork. Incorporating online is as easy as providing some initial information and deciding which type of corporation best fits your needs. CorpNet is available to help you start a corporation in Arkansas and one-year Registered Agent Services is standard in our packages. We also include unlimited customer support.