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What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Arkansas?

What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Arkansas?

What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Arkansas?

What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Arkansas?

What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Arkansas?

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.

Before applying for any licenses, the business entity will need to be established. Learn more about the differences between the sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC). Corporations and LLCs will need to register with the Arkansas Secretary of State.

Related: Comparison of Business Entities

Learn more about forming an LLC in Arkansas

Also see: Steps to Starting a Business in Arkansas

Business Licenses

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, the number of employees, and the amount of inventory.

All food service businesses, which includes hotels/motels, bed & breakfasts, vacation rentals, restaurants, convenience stores, movie theatres, food vendors, etc., are required to have an Advertising & Promotion (A&P) tax permit to operate in North Little Rock. There is no cost for this tax permit.

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 junkyards, 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 filing fee 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.


Done for you license research

Take the guesswork out of figuring out what licenses and permits are required to start your business with license research packages from IncFile and CorpNet.

For as little as $99, you can save a lot of time and know your business is in compliance with local, state, and federal requirements. 


Building & Zoning Permits

Zoning – Depending on the location of the business, it’s important to verify whether the business needs an occupancy permit or has specific zoning ordinances to follow. Depending on city requirements, home-based businesses may need to apply for a home occupation permit.

Building PermitA building permit may be needed from the city or county building and planning department if there is any construction or renovations to a facility.

Signage Permit Some municipalities require a permit before adding signage.

Alarm Permit – Before installing a burglar or fire alarm, check with your city or county police or fire department.

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 Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) 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.

Occupational Permit / Professional License

A variety of occupations and professions in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services. A few common professions that require licensing in Arkansas 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.

Restaurant & Food Service Licensing

Any businesses working with food such as food producers, restaurants, caterers, food trucks, convenience stores, and bed and breakfasts must have their kitchen plans approved before opening. Learn more by contacting the Arkansas Department of Health or the county sanitarian.

Alcohol & Tobacco Permit

Any business selling liquor and/or tobacco must obtain both city and state permits. State permits are obtained through the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and Tobacco Control Board.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN (or FEIN or Federal 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

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, DBA, Trade Name, or Assumed Name) with the County Clerk‘s Office in the county where the business is located. There is a one-time county filing fee associated with the name registration.


These are some of the most common business licenses, but there are far too many licenses and permits for us to keep track of. Before starting your business, be sure to check with City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.

For some additional peace of mind, companies like IncFile or CorpNet can do the research and ensure you have all of the proper federal, state, and local licenses to start your business.


What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Arkansas?

What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Arkansas?

Greg Bouhl

Greg Bouhl

Welcome! My name is Greg Bouhl, and I have over 21 years as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, where I worked with over 1,600 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses.

As a small business advisor, I got fed up with clients finding inaccurate and outdated information when they were researching how to start a business online, so I launched StartingYourBusiness.com to be a trusted resource.

I'm constantly adding and revising this site, but if there is a question you have about starting a business or need help finding something, please ask!

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