Starting a business in Arkansas will mean potentially registering with a number of federal, state and local agencies.  Let’s take a look at common licenses and permits a business will register for in Arkansas.

Business License – There is no general state of Arkansas business license, however most cities require businesses to be licensed in order to operate. Rules for business registration vary depending on location and what the business does.  Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements. 

Little Rock – Any business operating within the City of Little Rock will need to apply for a business license. 

The cost of a business license in Little Rock will vary depending on the type of business, number of employees and the amount of inventory.

Fort Smith – The City of Fort Smith requires most businesses operating in city limits to obtain a business license.  The cost of a business license in Fort Smith is generally $100 annually.

Fayetteville – Almost every business operating within the city limits of Fayetteville will need to obtain a business license within 60 days of starting.  Businesses such as junk yards, towing services, bowling alleys and more will need to register with the city.  The business license cost in Fayetteville varies but is usually around $50.  The annual renewal cost is $15.

Springdale – Businesses operating in the city limits require a Springdale Business License.  The cost of the business license is $40 per year plus $2.50 for each employee for the first 25 and an additional $1 per year for each employee.  The maximum business license cost is $300.

Jonesboro – The City of Jonesboro requires a privilege license for businesses operating within city limits.   Home-based businesses, including internet-based businesses, are required to get written approval to operate in a residence from the Planning/Zoning office.

Employer Identification Number (EIN) – Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN or Employer Identification Number.  The EIN is the business equivalent for a Social Security Number for an individual.  Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships with employees will all need to register for one. Sole Proprietorships without employees can use the owner’s Social Security Number. 

There is no cost for an EIN and it only takes a few minutes to get.

Learn how to apply for an EIN.

Arkansas Sales Tax Permit – Most businesses selling a product or offering certain services will need to register for an Arkansas sales tax permit with the Department of Finance and Administration under the Gross Receipts Tax Law.  

Sales Tax Exemption Certificate – Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain an Arkansas Sales Tax Exemption Certificate in order to not pay sales tax for merchandise that is being resold to customers.

Professional License – A variety of professions in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services.  A few common professions that require licensing in Illinois include; barbers, landscape contractors, tattoo artists, septic tank cleaners, home inspectors and many more.   Additional information, fees and licensing requirements for professions are available from the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services.

Fictitious Business Name Registration – While not a business license, Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) must register for a Fictitious Business Name (also known as a Doing Business As or DBA) with the County Clerk’s Office in the county where the business is located.


These are a few of the most common business licenses, but there are far too many business licenses and permits in Arkansas for us to keep track of. Before starting your business, check with the City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.  Additionally, there are companies like IncFile or CorpNet that can do the research to ensure you have the proper federal, state and local licenses.