How To Start An LLC In Kentucky
To start an LLC in Kentucky, you must file Articles of Organization with the Kentucky Division of Business Filings. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Organization cost $40 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Kentucky LLC. However, to actually ready the LLC to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Kentucky LLC Guide:
Kentucky LLC Filing Options
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Kentucky LLC Articles of Organization free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.
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Kentucky LLC Articles of Organization Requirements
To form a Kentucky LLC, you must complete and file the Articles of Organization with the Kentucky Division of Business Filings. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
You must include one of the following in your name: Limited Liability Company, Limited Company, LTD CO, LLC or LC. Most companies go with “LLC.”
This street address in Kentucky will become part of the permanent public record. Hire Northwest and our address will go here.
You can list the name of a person or a service like Northwest. The Kentucky Secretary of State requires you to include the signature of the registered agent in your Articles. This is to prove the agent consented to the position (so no signing up your brother without telling him). When you hire Northwest, our signature goes here.
This is where the state of Kentucky will send you any official mail (besides legal notifications). Want to keep things simple with one address? When you hire Northwest, you can list our address as your principal office.
When do you want your LLC to start? Most businesses start upon filing, but if you want to begin a little later (maybe the next fiscal year is about to begin), you can put an effective date up to 90 days in the future.
You’ll need to decide who will manage the LLC: members or managers. Most LLCs are managed by members. However, if you don’t plan to run the day-to-day operations of your business, you can turn over the decision-making powers to managers.
Your organizer is the person who completes, signs, and submits your Articles of Organization. An organizer doesn’t have to be a member or manager. When you hire Northwest, we’ll be your organizer.
How much does it cost to start a Kentucky LLC?
The Kentucky Secretary of State charges a $40 filing fee for Kentucky LLCs.
Hire Northwest and your total, out-the-door cost is $265, including state filing fees, a full year of registered agent service, lifetime customer service, and loads of useful forms to help get your Kentucky LLC up and running.
How long does it take to start a Kentucky LLC?
Filing online is fastest. While most filings are processed the same day, it can take up to four business days. If you mail your filing, the Division of Business Filings takes about the same amount of time to process—but there will of course be added time for postal processing.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we file online and typically have your Kentucky LLC formed within 4 business days.
Does a Kentucky LLC need a registered agent?
Yes, the State of Kentucky requires your LLC to have and maintain a Kentucky registered agent. This doesn’t mean you have to hire someone. You could be your own registered agent—although you’d take a few hits to your privacy and availability. You’d have to publicly list the street address where you’d be available during business hours to accept legal notices. This information then becomes part of the permanent record of your Kentucky LLC. You would also have to actually be available during business hours (and who wants to be tied to their desk?).
When you hire Northwest, you can use our address and information in your Articles of Organization. No need to worry about updating multiple addresses as your business grows and changes, missing legal notifications from the state, or dealing with junk mail and unwanted visitors on your doorstep. Concentrate instead on what matters (your business!), and let Northwest do the waiting for you.
Create the Kentucky LLC Operating Agreement
Do I need an Operating Agreement?
Yes! It may not be legally required, but every LLC should have an operating agreement. It’s your LLC’s most important internal document.
Why is an Operating Agreement important?
Your operating agreement explains how your business functions. It lists how much each person invested, how profits and losses are allocated, how decisions are made and more. Arguing with investors or partners? Shutting the whole business down? You don’t have to worry about how to handle dark times when they come up (and bad times will occasionally happen, as assuredly as allergy season). Your operating agreement spells out what will happen in these situations.
Even if you’re the only person in your LLC, there are still plenty of reasons to have an operating agreement. Your bank will want to see it when you go to open a business bank account or take on debt. Future partners and investors will definitely want to review your operating agreement. Anyone can form an LLC, and people need evidence that your business has its act together.
Do I have to write the Operating Agreement?
You don’t have to start from scratch. When you hire Northwest, we give you a free operating agreement, specific to your management style. Along with forming and filing your Articles and providing you registered agent service, our formation service includes free forms, from operating agreements to resolutions. We’re proud of our forms. We’ve spent years refining them—and over a million LLCs have used our free LLC forms to help form and maintain their businesses.
Get a Kentucky LLC EIN
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Your LLC is required to get an EIN if you have employees or file federal excise taxes like Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms returns. Even if you aren’t required to get an EIN, there are many situations where you’ll be asked for one, especially when you first start your business. When you open a business bank account, the bank will request your EIN. When you go to establish credit with new vendors, they will often request your EIN. You may even need your EIN for local tax filings. You can get an EIN for free from the IRS. Can’t bear to fill out one more application? Hire Northwest to apply for your EIN for you.
Open a Bank Account for Your Kentucky LLC
To open a bank account for your Kentucky LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
- A copy of the Kentucky LLC Articles of Organization
- The LLC operating agreement
- The Kentucky LLC’s EIN
If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC. Northwest can help with this as well—LLC bank resolutions are one of the many free legal forms we provide to ensure you can get your LLC started fast.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open business accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does a Kentucky LLC need a business license?
It depends on where you’re located—Kentucky itself doesn’t have a general business license, but some cities and counties have local business license requirements. Franklin County, for example, requires those conducting business in the county to obtain a business license. Checking in with the county or city clerk or office can usually give you an idea of what you’ll need.
If any license applications require an EIN or a certified copy of your formation docs, Northwest can help. You can add on items like these during checkout or order them later on from inside your free account.
File Kentucky LLC Reports
What is a Kentucky LLC Annual Report?
Every year, you have to fork over $15 to submit a Kentucky LLC Annual Report. This report updates the state with your LLC’s ownership information and confirms your business’s contact details. (You can’t update contact details in your report—if your principal office or registered agent’s address changes, you have to submit a Statement of Change, which will cost you an additional 10 bucks.)
Don’t be tempted to ignore or put off filing your report. While there aren’t any late fees, the state can revoke your business registration or dissolve your LLC if your report remains unfiled. At Northwest, we want you to stay in good standing. When you hire us, we’ll send you report reminders. Still nervous you’ll forget? Hire us to file your reports for you and cross that off your annual “to do” list.
How much does an LLC in Kentucky cost each year?
At least $190. Your Kentucky LLC’s Annual Report has a filing fee of $15. There’s also a minimum Limited Liability Entity Tax of $175, which is described in the section below.
Pay the LLC Taxes
What are the Kentucky LLC taxes?
The Kentucky personal net income tax rates are:
2%: $0 to $2,999
3%: $3,000 to $3,999
4%: $4,000 to $4,999
5%: $5,000 to $7,999
5.8%: $8,000 to $74,999
The sales tax in Kentucky is a flat 6%. Unlike many other states, Kentucky’s cities and counties don’t tack on additional local sales taxes.
Kentucky also has a unique tax called the Limited Liability Entity Tax (LLET), a tax on gross receipts. This tax applies to both corporations and “pass-through” entities, like LLCs and LPs. The minimum LLET is $175 for gross receipts under $3 million.
Kentucky taxes aren’t all bad news though—Kentucky has one of the lowest property taxes in the US (an average of 0.72% of assessed value). Thinking about investing in property? Your accountant will likely suggest setting up an LLC. An LLC limits your liability and can help you maintain your privacy by keeping your name out of public records. At Northwest, we can form your Kentucky LLC for just $265.