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For entrepreneurs looking to set up a business in Arkansas, you’ll need to file paperwork with the state and select a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or company that’s willing to receive legal notices and tax forms for the company. 

Selecting a registered agent is required by state law, so it’s something that must be decided before setting up a business. 

Many new business owners have questions about setting up an LLC and selecting a registered agent. How is a company established in Arkansas? Can anyone be a registered agent? When selected, does the government need to know who your registered agent is? These are just some of the frequently asked questions on this topic. 

To help, this guide covers how to form an Arkansas LLC and explores your options when it comes to registered agents.

How is an LLC formed in Arkansas?

For entrepreneurs looking to form an LLC, or a limited liability company, in the state of Arkansas, you need to file Articles of Organization with the state. These are LLC formation documents that require several pieces of information, which include: 

1. Naming the company

To start, your company needs a name. The name must be unique, so you need to run the name through the Arkansas Secretary of State website where you’ll find the Arkansas LLC Search. If the name is taken, you’ll need to pick a variation or a different name. 

It’s also a good idea to see if a matching domain name is available. Ideally, the company website will match its name. 

It’s also important to know that the state has a few rules when it comes to naming an Arkansas LLC. They are:

  • The company name must include the name LLC or Limited Liability Company.
  • Avoid adding words to the name that are associated with government entities that could cause confusion.
  • No two businesses in the state shall have the same name.

2. Picking a registered agent

The Articles of Organization will ask you to select a registered agent. A registered agent serves as the company’s official point of contact. This person or company will receive legal documents for the company, so it’s an important role.

You can serve as the company’s registered agent, but you can also select a different person or company to fill this role. 

3. Filing the Articles of Organization

The LLC formation documents should be filed with the secretary of state, which can be done online, in-person, or by mail. 

In addition to listing the company name and a registered agent, the document will ask for the company address, list of services, and the signature of the LLC organizer. 

The fee to file this paperwork is $45 online and $50 for paper copies. The cost is significantly lower to file business formation paperwork in Arkansas. Most states charge $100-$200.

4. Creating a company operating agreement

Once the Articles of Organization are filed, it’s a good time to create an operating agreement. This document isn’t required by the state and isn’t filed with any government agency. Still, it’s a helpful document to have. 

An operating agreement explains how the company will run. It explains who’s in charge, how decisions are made, what the day-to-day looks like, and how profits and losses are managed. It’s important to establish this procedure from the start to set expectations and avoid future problems. 

5. Obtaining an EIN

The next step in the process is to obtain an EIN or an employer identification number. This nine-digit number is issued by the IRS to identify tax accounts. You can get an EIN online in about five minutes.

Don’t wait to get an EIN. It’s needed to: 

  • Hire employees
  • Open business bank accounts
  • File business taxes 

6. Paying annual state tax

Arkansas requires companies to pay an annual franchise tax of $150. The franchise tax report can be downloaded from the secretary of state website and sent in with a check for $150. It’s due by May 1, each year.

Many entrepreneurs choose to work with an accountant who can help with these kinds of reports and deadlines. 

What is an Arkansas registered agent?

A registered agent is a person or a company that accepts legal paperwork on behalf of your company. Official paperwork could include tax forms, court documents, or paperwork that’s served during a lawsuit. 

Do I really need a registered agent in Arkansas?

Yes. Arkansas state law requires all companies to list a registered agent on its LLC formation documents. There must be a point of contact on file with the state so official notices can be delivered to the company when needed. 

Can I be my own registered agent in Arkansas?

Yes. Many entrepreneurs or business owners serve as their own registered agent. They include the business address on the Articles of Organization and are available to receive documents as needed at that location. 

Aside from yourself, you can also elect another person or company.

Who can be a registered agent in Arkansas? 

A registered agent can be yourself, a friend, an employee, a nearby company, or a registered agent service. 

In Arkansas, a registered agent can be: 

  • Any person in the state of Arkansas with a physical or street address
  • Any company that’s in good standing with the state
  • A registered agent service

A registered agent service can accept legal and tax documents for your company and can forward them to you wherever you are. 

Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service? 

A lot of entrepreneurs decide to be their own registered agent, but some opt for a service. Why? There are several reasons, which include: 

  • Convenience. A registered agent must be available during normal business hours to accept paperwork if the need arises. For some, this kind of regular availability isn’t feasible. Some entrepreneurs travel quite frequently or work at several different locations. For matters of convenience, a registered agent service is ideal.
  • Peace of mind. Employing a registered agent service helps ensure that nothing gets missed. The service will receive the documents, sign for them, and then make sure you’re notified about them. It provides some entrepreneurs with peace of mind knowing that someone else is handling this.
  • Privacy. If your company is sued, service of process documents is served. These documents are delivered with a very noticeable message, “You’ve been served.” Rather than have this embarrassing moment unfold in front of customers or employees, some people believe it’s easier (and less embarrassing) to have the paperwork delivered to a registered agent service.

List of Arkansas registered agent services 

In most cases, you can get a list of registered agent services from the secretary of state, but a quick Google search will also provide a list of reputable choices. Some options in the state are: 

  • Northwest Registered Agent: Northwest is one of the most recognized names in the registered agent business. The company has decades of experience and local offices scattered across the U.S. to serve small businesses like yours. The cost for a registered agent service is comparable to others. Business owners can also take advantage of additional services like report filing.
  • ZenBusiness: ZenBusiness is fairly new to the market, but they’ve grown a strong following. Business owners love the affordable rates for a registered agent service, which are as low as $99 per year. The company offers worry-free compliance too, to help business owners file the necessary reports on time.
  • Incfile: Incfile is another trusted name for business services, including its registered agent services. Business owners can get a registered agent free for a year. That’s right, free. After the first year, the price kicks in at $119. An online dashboard, automatic mail forwarding, and tailored notifications also come with the service.

How much does a registered agent service cost in Arkansas?

The cost of hiring a registered agent might be more affordable than you think. You can get a registered agent with simple mail forwarding services for about $50 a year. 

If you’d prefer more advanced features from a registered agent service, like online accounts, annual reports reminders, or same-day scanning, prices will increase. For these services expect to pay between $100-250 annually.

How does an owner select a registered agent in Arkansas?

The registered agent is listed on the LLC formation paperwork, which, in Arkansas, is called the Articles of Organization. The registered agent can be yourself or another person or company, but this person should be aware of the role and accept the responsibilities that come with it.

Can a company change its registered agent?

Yes. A company can change its registered agent at any time. To make a change, you need to file a Certification of Amendment Form. This can be done online for $22.50 or mailed for $25.

This amendment form gives you the ability to make other updates or changes to your Articles of Formation paperwork as well, like updating an address.

The state makes changes to your records within two business days.

What’s a statutory agent?

In different states, a registered agent is referred to as a statutory agent. While the title differs from state to state, the meaning remains the same. Another name for a registered agent is a service of a process agent, which refers to the paperwork filed during a lawsuit.

What’s a commercial registered agent?

As you work through the LLC formation paperwork, you might be asked if you’re using a commercial or non-commercial registered agent. A commercial registered agent is a registered agent service; a company you’re paying to provide the service. A non-commercial agent is a person or company that you’ve appointed to do the job but isn’t paid to do so.