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Arkansas Business License

Is a business license in Arkansas mandatory? If you are planning to start a business in the state of Arkansas then you might need to apply for a license or permit but not all types of businesses require the same. It is important to note that depending on the type of license or permit required, you will have to get it issued from state agencies handling licenses specific to industries. For example, a license for Restaurant and Food Services can only be issued by the “Division of Environmental Health Protection” under Arkansas Department of Health.

Business License in Arkansas

Where do you begin? The first step is to verify or ensure the type of business you have chosen and the location of operation, which is city or county, and whether you are complying with local zoning regulations or not. It is important to note that zoning laws vary from one county or city to another.

Once the zoning compliance is complete, you are ready to apply for an Arkansas company license. It is important to identify the type of business or industry you will be focusing on, as the type of license your business requires will vary according to the industry. Here are some tips that will be helpful:

  • There are some cities as well as counties that are not involved in issuance of a business license and in such a scenario; you will be required to obtain the same from the state department.
  • It is mandatory that you apply for a business or professional license in the city where your business is physically located. If the physical location of your business is outside of the city limits then you can contact the clerk’s office or county collector office to obtain the necessary license.
  • The type of business being conducted will also define the need for any additional license as well as fee.
    For example: If you are planning to set up a restaurant that serves food as well as liquor then you will be required to obtain a business license in Arkansas for “Restaurant and Food Services” and also an additional permit to serve alcohol. The fees and issuing authority is different for the license and permit in this case
  • The fee for a business license can vary from $50 to $1,000 or more depending on the type of business and amount of inventory.
  • You will be required to renew an Arkansas company license annually and failure to do so will be treated as a Class A misdemeanor as well as a separate violation according to Arkansas Code § 26-18-206. You can be fined and your business can be revoked.

How to get a Business license

The type of Arkansas company license your business requires will depend on the type of business you are involved in. Let’s take a look at some examples to understand this better.

Fort Smith

If you are planning to start a restaurant business with the possibility of serving alcohol in Fort Smith, Arkansas then what type of business license would you require?

  • General Business License for Fort Smith: You will be required to obtain a general business license and the fee for that is $100 for all businesses except new businesses in their first year.
  • Permit to sell food: You will require a “Food Service Permit” from the Arkansas Department of Health, Environmental Health. You can download the permit or apply online.
  • Alcohol Permit: You will be required to apply for a business license or permit to serve alcohol in the restaurant premises. You will have to apply to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Alcoholic Beverage Control Division. You can download the form and submit it along with the required fee. The fee for that can vary from $40 to $1,000. You would also require a federal occupational tax of $250 approximately.

Similarly, other types of businesses will require different business license in Arkansas and may also require permits.

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