Arkansas Business Entity Search (Step-by-Step Guide)
If you are considering starting a new business in Arkansas, the first step is conducting a business entity search on the Arkansas Secretary of State website. You may search the database using a variety of different search criteria pertaining to the entity in question.
Some of the search options include business name, trade name, registered agent name, state, or city, as well as filing number.
The following step-by-step guide will show you how to conduct an Arkansas business entity search.
Arkansas search tips
When conducting your Arkansas business entity search, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Uppercase and lowercase are irrelevant in the search. So there’s no need to enter uppercase letters, even if the entity name starts with capital letters.
- Adding or removing spaces in the name does not affect the search results.
- You can narrow down your search by selecting the “corporation type” from the drop-down box.
- You can also narrow down your results by entering the business’s designation, such as LLC, LP, Inc, etc.
Business search by entity or fictitious name
Refer to the Arkansas Secretary of State – Search Incorporations webpage.
Enter the business entity name or fictitious name
Enter the name of the business you are looking up or the entity’s fictitious name. You may also select the corporation type from the drop-down box to refine your search.
Review the results
If there are matching results, either an exact match or partial match, the following information will come up next to each business entity:
- Business name
Review additional business information
After clicking on the name of the business, you’ll have access to the following additional information:
- Corporation name
- Fictitious name
- Filing number
- Filing type
- Filed under Act
- Principal address
- Reg agent
- Agent address (not a po box)
- Date filed
- Foreign name
- Foreign address
- State of origin
Business search by registered agent, city, state, or filing number
The exact same page may be used to search for entities via registered agent, city, state, or filing number. The process is also exactly the same, and you may enter as little or as much information as you can to narrow down the search results.
Arkansas search results
Irrespective of which search type you choose, the information that’s displayed is always the same as mentioned in step three of the “business search by an entity or fictitious name.”
Copies of documents and certificates
Irrespective of whether your desired entity name is available not, you may still want to request certified or uncertified copies of specific business documents.
The most requested business documents include Articles of Formation, Articles of Amendment, Mergers, Certificate of Authority, Trade name registration, dissolution, and withdrawals, as well as annual business filings.
These documents may only be requested and issued by the Arkansas Secretary of State – Business Services Division.
You may use the following information to obtain the documentation that you need:
Arkansas Secretary of State – Business and Commercial Services Division (BCS)
1401 W. Capitol Avenue Ste 250
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-682-3409 or 888-233-0325
Email: [email protected]
When requesting uncertified copies, you’ll need to pay a $0.50 per page fee. However, if you need to have a copy certified, then there’s an additional $5 per page fee.
When requesting certificates, you’ll have to pay $25 for each certificate, with the exception of Certificates of Existence which cost $15 each.
Additionally, while conducting the business name search on the Arkansas Department of State website, you’ll be able to purchase a Certificate of Good Standing for any entity online and immediately. There is a processing fee of $3 to purchase the online certificate. However, you will receive it immediately.
The following Records Request Form may also be used to complete and send back to the secretary of state. The form is complete with instructions on how to fill and submit it.
Business name availability
Prior to submitting formation documents and attempting to register a new business in Arkansas, you’ll need to conduct the business entity search. However, even in the event that no results are returned, it does not necessarily mean that the name is available for registration.
The notice on the Arkansas SOS website states that “the search is only preliminary and there’s no guarantee that the name is available for initial filing unless or until a confirmation has been received from the Department of State after the filing has been processed.” Additionally, they do provide name availability guidelines prior to searching for a new entity name.
It’s also recommended that you compile a list of preferred names to avoid disappointment in the event that your selected name or desired name is already taken.
Additionally, even if the name does not appear on any of the search results when using any of the search criteria, there’s no guarantee that the specific name is not trademarked in another state. Therefore, conducting a trademark search is also highly recommended.
You may also complete a name reservation if you want to register your business at a later date. Contact the Arkansas SOS and complete the Name Reservation Form.
Domain name availability
After considering suitable entity names for your business, you’ll want to also compile a list of preferred domain names. This is because domain names give insight into your business, brand, and website. Therefore, it’s as equally important as a legal entity name.
Additionally, having a domain name or website ensures that you are able to reach customers around the globe. It’s essential for effective and profitable marketing, and one of the best ways to search domain names is to use a professional and competent service like namechk.com.
This professional service helps to filter domain names, offer suggestions, and ultimately help you decide on the best possible domain name for your business and brand.
Fictitious business name search
Although the two main business structures that make use of fictitious names, which are also referred to as DBA names, assumed names, and trade names, are sole proprietorships and partnerships, they are also commonly used by corporations and limited liability companies.
A fictitious name does not count as starting a new business, and it’s important to note that it will not change your company’s tax structure in any way.
However, if you are planning on conducting business under any other name aside from the legal entity name, a fictitious name will come in handy in the following instances:
A fictitious name does not give you exclusive rights to the name. However, it will deter others from using the same name.
You can also use a fictitious business name to get a business bank account.
The fictitious business name gives you the freedom to advertise or market under that name and reach an entirely new audience.
It’s important to note that if you’re a sole proprietor, then you must register your fictitious name at the county level. All other business structures must register with the Secretary of State and then again with the County Clerk’s office, where the business’s official offices are located.
You can find the Fictitious Name Application Form on the Arkansas Secretary of State website.
If you’d like to submit the form via mail, after completing and printing it out, check whether it needs the signature of a notary public. There’s also a filing fee of between $15-$25 based on the type of business you are registering the fictitious name under.
When completing the Fictitious Name Application Form online, the filing fee will vary between $13.50 to $22.50 based on the business type.
What is a limited liability partnership?
An LLP is a partnership where all or only some of the partners have limited liabilities. It is, therefore, a combination of a corporation and a partnership.
What is the Uniform Commercial Code?
The Uniform Commercial Code is also known as the UCC and was developed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Its purpose is to ensure that all business activities across the board are efficient and consistent.
How do I find out if a name is trademarked?
One of the ways to find out if a business name is trademarked is to conduct a name search using the USPTO website. The United States Patent and Trademark Office will have a database of all federally trademarked names. You may also search on the business’s SOS database if the trademark is done on the state level.
What is a Certificate of Good Standing?
A Certificate of Good Standing is an indication that a company has made the necessary filings in terms of reports and also paid the necessary fees with the state’s office. Essentially, it is proof that the entity is authorized to transact in the state.
What is the difference between a nonprofit and a for-profit corporation?
Nonprofits are not formed to generate a profit for members but to create an income to benefit the cause or the public. For-profit, companies are created solely to make a profit and distribute the proceeds to members, owners, partners, etc.
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