How to file an Arkansas state tax return

Downtown Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas, is seen in the background with the scenic arch of the Pike Avenue Bridge spanning the Arkansas River in the foreground. Downtown Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas, is seen in the background with the scenic arch of the Pike Avenue Bridge spanning the Arkansas River in the foreground. Image:

In a Nutshell

The Arkansas state tax code is progressive, but the state’s six tax brackets and multiple individual income tax tables can make calculations challenging. If you live and work in The Natural State, you might need to file an Arkansas state tax return. Here are some things to know about the tax-filing process.

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Arkansas may be most famous for sending then-governor Bill Clinton to the White House in 1992.

But from the scenic beauty of the Ozark Mountains to other celebrated natives, like Johnny Cash, John Grisham and Joycelyn Elders, there’s a lot more to Arkansas than its presidential fame. And if you live in Arkansas, you may have to file a state income tax return, depending on your filing status and gross income. Here are a few things to know about individual state income tax in The Natural State.

The basics of Arkansas state tax

Taxing body

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration handles all state tax issues. For questions about individual state income tax, there are a few was you can get help.

  • Calling the DFA or its tax hotline at 1-501-682-1100 or 1-800-882-9275
  • Emailing with your queries
  • Getting in-person help at the DFA’s Office of Income Tax Administration, Ledbetter Building, 1816 W. Seventh Street, Room 2300, Little Rock, AR 72201

Filing and payment deadline

You must submit your Arkansas state tax return and any tax due by April 15 each year — the same deadline for filing federal tax returns to the IRS. If the 15th falls on a holiday or a weekend, the deadline moves to the next business day. If you fail to file and/or you don’t pay your tax by the due date, you will face penalties and interest.

Need more time to file? You can get an automatic extension of the Arkansas deadline until October 15 if you already filed a federal extension with the IRS. When you’re ready to file Arkansas taxes, you’ll have to check the appropriate box on your state return to indicate that you filed a federal extension form.

If you need a filing extension on only your Arkansas state tax return, you’ll need to mail state Form AR1055 before the April tax filing date to …

Individual Income Tax Section
ATTN: Extension
P.O. Box 3628
Little Rock, AR 72203-3628

Remember that a filing extension doesn’t extend your deadline to pay your state tax. You need to pay the entire balance due by the April deadline to avoid penalties and interest.

Filing statuses

Arkansas recognizes six filing statuses: single, joint, head of household, married filing separately on the same return, married filing separate returns, and qualifying widow or widower.

Arkansas income tax rates

Arkansas has a progressive tax code, which means your tax rate goes up with your income. But with six tax brackets, two separate individual income tax tables (one of which is only for low-income taxpayers), and rates ranging from 0.9% to 6.9% depending in your income, you’ll need to do some calculations to determine your state tax liability.

Arkansas deductions and credits to know

Most Arkansas taxpayers can take the Arkansas standard deduction or itemize deductions on their state tax return, depending on which move gives them a bigger reduction on their tax bill. However, when a married couple files separate returns and one spouse itemizes, then the state requires the other spouse to do the same.

Arkansas standard deductions

Unless you use the low-income tax table, the amount of your Arkansas state standard deduction is based on your tax-filing status.

Standard deduction amounts for 2018 are:

  • $2,200 for single filers, head of household, married filing separately on the same return, married filing separately on different returns and qualifying widow(er)
  • $4,400 for married filing joint

Arkansas tax credits and deductions

Arkansas offers several deductions and credits to those who qualify. To be eligible, you’ll have to meet different criteria on income, filing status and other conditions. Here are some deductions and credits available for 2018.

  • Deduction for interest paid on student loans
  • Postsecondary tuition deduction for you, your spouse or dependents to attend a postsecondary educational institution
  • Deduction for qualified medical and dental expenses
  • Childcare credit
  • Credit for adoption expenses
  • Deduction for caring for a person with total and personal disabilities in your home
  • State political contribution credit
What's the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit?

How to file your Arkansas state tax

Arkansas doesn’t provide an option to e-file your individual state tax return through the DFA website. But if you meet income, age and other requirements, you may be able to file your Arkansas state tax return for free through an online provider. Or you can file your federal income tax return and your single-state tax return for free with Credit Karma Tax®, which is always free regardless of your income level or age.

You also can file paper forms. You can download them from the DFA site and mail your tax forms and any payment to one of these addresses.

If you owe tax

If you expect a refund

No refund/no taxes owed

Arkansas State Income Tax

P.O. Box 2144

Little Rock, AR 72203-2144

Arkansas State Income Tax

P.O. Box 1000

Little Rock, AR 72203-1000

Arkansas State Income Tax

P.O. Box 8026

Little Rock, AR 72203-8026

If you owe and can’t pay

If you owe Arkansas state tax but don’t pay by the annual April deadline, the state charges interest of 10% per year on the unpaid balance. You could also be charged the following penalties:

  • Failure to pay: A penalty of 1% of the tax owed per month if you haven’t paid all the tax you owe.
  • Failure to file: If you didn’t file on time and you owed taxes, the penalty is 5% of the amount owed per month.

Both penalties — failure to pay and failure to file on time — max out at 35% of your unpaid tax balance. If you’re late in both filing and paying, total combined penalties also max out at 35%.

Tracking your Arkansas state tax refund

Go online to Where’s My Refund? on the DFA website to check your Arkansas state tax refund status. You’ll need to provide your Social Security number and expected refund amount, and you can sign up to receive an alert once your refund has been processed.

Bottom line

When you pay your Arkansas state tax, you’re helping support many of the natural areas that earned the state its nickname of “The Natural State.” Remember to file and pay your state tax on time to avoid penalties and interest, so you can use your hard-earned money to enjoy the state’s many natural wonders instead.