A registered agent is the individual or business entity that receives legal documents from the state, and then forwards them to your business address. But why is this a requirement, and who should you designate as your registered agent in Arkansas?
In this guide, we will break down all the details you need to know about Arkansas registered agents.
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What is an Arkansas Registered Agent?
One of the most common questions we receive from entrepreneurs in Arkansas is why a registered agent is required to form an LLC or corporation. While it might seem like an unnecessary middle-man type of role, the registered agent fills a vital role.
The registered agent’s job is to provide a reliable way for the state to contact an official representative of your business at any time, which is especially important if your business is ever sued. If you didn’t have a registered agent, a lawsuit could progress through the courts without you even knowing about it, which is obviously far from ideal.While Arkansas does not provide a recommended list of registered agent services, we reviewed the top options and compiled a list of the best Arkansas registered agent services based on price and overall value.
Who Can Be an Arkansas Registered Agent?
If you’re looking to designate a registered agent in the state of Arkansas you have three options. First, you may designate an individual (often a friend or family member) to serve as your registered agent. To qualify, this individual must be a resident of Arkansas and have a physical address at which he/she is present at during normal business hours. If you live in Arkansas and have a physical street address, you may serve as your own registered agent—a choice which means your home address will be put on public record. Whether you designate yourself or another individual, a physical address is necessary; P.O. boxes do not suffice.
Your third option is to hire the services of a commercial registered agent. Commercial registered agents are companies that exist solely to act as registered agents on behalf of business entities. They can usually be hired for an annual fee.
Aside from the legal requirements, an important aspect to discuss is who should be your registered agent. You have the right to declare yourself as your own registered agent, which has its pros and cons.
On the positive side, you can save some money by not paying anyone to serve as your agent, but you’ll also likely need to make your home address a matter of public record, which is not ideal. Additionally, you’ll need to be physically present at your business during all standard operating hours (9-5, M-F).
Some entrepreneurs like to have a friend or family member serve as their registered agent, but if that person doesn’t have experience in this position, they might not know what is expected of them. In addition, designating your lawyer or accountant as a registered agent can work, but these options are usually quite expensive.
Our preference is to hire a professional registered agent service, which provides a combination of convenience, affordability, and peace of mind that is unrivaled by any of these other options.
How Do Arkansas Residents Get Served?
The most important part of a registered agent’s role is being served a summons.
While the details of the process and filing fees may vary from one county to the next, the overall process is largely the same. For a summons to be processed, a suit must be filed. First, the plaintiff must complete a legal form known as a Complaint, which most district court clerks have available to use or copy.
The complaint details the plaintiff and defendant’s information, the monetary amount the plaintiff wishes to be awarded should the case end in his/her favor, and a brief description of the plaintiff’s justification. The complaint fee generally varies between $30 and $65. In certain cases where financial hardship can be proven, it is sometimes possible to waive or postpone the payment of the fee.
After the fees are paid and the complaint is filed, the clerk will give the plaintiff the documents necessary to serve a summons to the defendant’s registered agent.
How to Designate an Arkansas Registered Agent
The answer to this question depends on what type of business you’re starting, but with either a corporation or an LLC, you’ll need to designate your registered agent when you form your company.
If an individual is going to serve as your registered agent (whether it be yourself or someone else) then you’ll need to designate your company’s registered agent by completing and mailing the the Articles of Organization for LLCs or the Articles of Incorporation form for corporations depending on which type of business entity you’re running. Alternatively, either form can be found and completed online and then submitted digitally from this link.
If you choose to print and mail the PDF form of either document, the filing fee is $50.00. If you’re submitting electronically, that fee is reduced to $45.00. In either case, the sum is payable to the Arkansas Secretary of State.
How Can I Change My Arkansas Registered Agent?
If you would like to change your registered agent for any reason, the process is pretty simple.
If your current registered agent is an individual or yourself, you’ll need to submit a Notice of Change of Registered Agent Information document (form #DO-03), which can be completed online here or completed as a PDF at this link before mailing. The form serves to change the registered agent from either an LLC or a corporation and requires no filing fee.
If you’ve hired the services of a commercial registered agent and you’d like to change your registered agent, you may do so by completing the Notice of Change of Commercial Registered Agent Information form which can completed as a PDF at this link and then mailed to the Business and Commercial Services office of the Arkansas Secretary of State.
How Does an Arkansas Registered Agent Resign?
Sometimes, a registered agent may have to resign from their position.
In Arkansas, there is no official form necessary for resigning as a registered agent. Instead, registered agents wishing to step down from their appointment must simply write a letter of resignation. The letter must include a statement of resignation, the name of the company, the registered agent’s name, and a signature of the resigning agent. The resignation has no fee and may be mailed to the following address for submission:
Arkansas Secretary of State
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201
After submitting the letter it is the registered agent’s responsibility to notify the entity.
Why Should You Hire a Professional Arkansas Registered Agent Service?
Hiring a professional registered agent is basically the best of both worlds between serving as your own agent, and designating a lawyer or accountant.
The biggest benefit in our opinion is the privacy protection this allows, as you will be able to keep your personal address private. There’s also a major advantage compared to having an attorney or accountant serve as your agent, namely the fact that registered agent services are almost always much cheaper.
Another reason we like this option is that these companies specialize in providing quality registered agent service. They know exactly what’s expected of them, and there are rarely any issues to speak of.
The other major benefit of hiring a registered agent service is that most of them operate in all 50 states, so that if you ever want to expand your business into another state, you won’t need to hire an additional registered agent. Your same registered agent will be able to provide the coverage you need in your new state, while still providing the same service in Arkansas. If you hired a lawyer or accountant, they would only be able to help you expand to a new state if they have another physical office in that state.
You Stay Compliant
Finally, most professional registered agents operating in Arkansas offer some sort of compliance calendar. With this service, your registered agent helps you keep track of due dates for ongoing LLC maintenance requirements like annual reports, which is a valuable bonus.
The top registered agent service providers include some other appealing attributes, including access to their extensive customer support networks. Some of them include a full year of registered agent service with any business formation package, which can be a real money-saver. Another welcome attribute is that some registered agent services provide volume discounts if you require service in multiple states, or if you prepay for multiple years.
What Is the Penalty for Not Designating a Registered Agent in Arkansas?
You need to have a registered agent to form your limited liability company or corporation in Arkansas in the first place, but if you let your registered agent service lapse, there could be some serious consequences.
Failure to maintain a registered agent could lead to your business losing its good standing with the state of Arkansas, and the state also has the right to officially dissolve your LLC if they choose to.
Another issue would be the difficulty of being served if your business is sued. If the state cannot get ahold of your registered agent, a court may decide to go ahead with the lawsuit without your knowledge, which could even lead to a judgment against you. This can happen not just if you fail to designate a registered agent, but also if your agent is not present during business hours to accept the document delivery.
As you can see, the task of designating a registered agent for your Arkansas business isn’t quite as easy as just writing down your own name.
There are significant downsides to just about every option in our opinion, but we recommend hiring a professional registered agent service because that option has the fewest disadvantages. They charge affordable rates, and you never have to worry about losing your good standing, having your LLC or corporation dissolved, or having a lawsuit proceed in your absence.
If you have any further questions, you can contact the Arkansas Secretary of State:
Arkansas Secretary of State
State Capitol, Suite 256
500 Woodlane Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
Alternatively, you may call the Business and Commercial Services division directly at 501-682-3409 if you are within the state or toll-free from outside the Little Rock area at (888) 233-0325.