Arkansas Cleaning Business Start-up Laws

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This article provides three key state business startup requirements for self-employed sole proprietors and general partners who run residential house cleaning businesses. Information from the Secretary of State, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration and selected city and county government sources were used to research this article.

Be aware that sole proprietor and general partner startup requirements in this state are always changing. Some requirements even vary from county to county.  It is important that you call or visit your local county or city government to find out local requirements for residential house cleaning businesses and home-based businesses. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal or tax advice.

Business Name Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners who want a business name that does not include the owner(s) full names (for example, Janice Smith’s Cleaning Service or Martha Harris and Tom Graham’s Maid Service) need to find out whether the name they want to use is available in the county where the business is based.  Start with a statewide corporate business name search.

Then do an online search for names similar to the one you plan to use. For example, if you want to use the name, Crystal Clean Maid Service, do simple Google searches for “Crystal Clean Maid Service+Arkansas” plus Crystal Clean Maid Service+your county” and Crystal Clean Maid Service+your town or city”. Search beyond the first page of results. Go at least five pages deep into the search results to see if the name you want or similar names are being used in your county or city.

Fictitious names or DBA (“doing business as” names) for sole proprietors and general partners are registered at the county clerk’s office. Failing to register your business with your county can result in daily fines.  Find an Arkansas county clerk.

In the state of Arkansas, filing a fictitious or DBA does not guarantee a business sole rights to the use of that name. Other businesses in the state may also register the same fictitious name. Registered businesses are expected to legally defend their trade names.

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Business License Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners do not have to apply for a state business license in Arkansas.  Licenses and permits for sole proprietors and partnerships must be registered at the city or county level.  Residential house cleaning businesses should check with the local city or county clerk’s office for licensing requirements.

In Arkansas, a general partnership is created when two or more owners form an oral or written agreement to start a business together. While general partners are not required to file any documents with the Secretary of State, it is advisable to file a Doing Business Under An Assumed Name Certificate with the county clerk’s office and have a written partnership agreement drawn up by a lawyer. Partnership agreements do not have to be filed with the state, but may file to be on record as a general partnership in the Secretary of State’s office.

Sole proprietors and general partners may apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS even if they do not plan to hire employees. Getting an EIN may make it easier to open a bank account and reduce your risk of identity theft.  You can apply for an EIN online.  In addition, some business registration forms will require a a NAICS business classification number for the house cleaning industry.

Business Tax Registration

Residential house cleaning services are taxable in Arkansas.  House cleaning services must collect and send sales taxes to the Department of Finance and Administration. Register for a sales and use tax permit online through the Arkansas Taxpayer Access Point (ATAP) online portal.    In some counties, Arkansas state sales and use tax permit registration is included as part of county business license applications.

Sole proprietors and general partners pay tax on business income to the state of Arkansas through their personal state tax return. Sole proprietors and general partners are responsible for paying estimated self-employment income taxes in Arkansas (on Form AR1002ES ) similar to the way self employment taxes are paid to the federal government. Get more information about estimated tax requirements by calling the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration at (501) 683-2255, (501) 682-1100 or toll free (800) 882-9275.

Arkansas general partnerships that file a Federal partnership information Form 1065, may need to file state income tax Form AR1050. Get more information from a CPA or qualified tax preparer to find out if your partnership must file those returns.

Selected Arkansas City Licenses

Bentonville Business License:

Conway Business License:

Fayetteville Business License:

Fort Smith Business License:

Jonesboro Business License: (Link to PDF of ordinances and license application)

Little Rock Business License:

North Little Rock Business License:

Pine Bluff Business License:

Springdale Business License:

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