How to Start an LLC in Kansas
A Kansas LLC (limited liability company) is a business entity that combines aspects of a corporation (like limited liability) with pass-through taxation and flexible management options. To officially start your LLC in Kansas, you’ll need to file your Articles of Organization with the Kansas Secretary of State and pay the $160 online filing fee ($165 by mail). Before you can get your LLC up and out the door, you'll need to give it a name and appoint a registered agent. Starting an LLC in Kansas can take anywhere from one to five business days, depending on how and when you file. Not quite sure how to tackle the business formation process? Never fear, we’re here to walk you through how to start an LLC in Kansas, step-by-step. We’ll have your LLC up and running in no time.
Ready to Start an LLC in Kansas?Get Started
Name Your LLC
Designate a Registered Agent
Submit LLC Articles of Organization
Write an LLC Operating Agreement
Get an EIN
Open a Bank Account
Fund the LLC
File reports + taxes
1. Name Your LLC
Before you start raking in the big bucks, you’ll need to name your LLC. Kan. Stat. § 17-7920 spells out the rules for what you can and can’t name your LLC. Your LLC’s name must:
- Include either “limited liability company,” “L.L.C.,” or “LLC.”
- Not include words or abbreviations that make it sound like it’s another kind of entity, like “corp,” “incorporated,” or “limited partnership.”
- Be unique among business names in Kansas.
Already have a business name? Check to see if it’s available.
Can I reserve a business name in Kansas?
Yes. If you’re not ready to form your Kansas LLC just yet, you can reserve your business name for 120 days by filing the Temporary Reservation of Business Entity Name application with the Kansas Secretary of State and paying the $35 filing fee if you file by mail or $30 if you reserve online.
What’s the difference between my LLC’s name and a DBA (doing business as) name?
Your LLC’s name is the name on your Articles of Organization. A DBA name, if you choose one, is any other name that LLC uses to do business, including use on business cards, your website, or the sign in front of your store or office. For example, you may file your LLC with the state as “Sally Smith Services, LLC,” but choose to operate under a DBA as “Smith’s Cleaning and Organizing.” Most states require you to register the DBA, but Kansas has no such requirement. If you plan to use a DBA, you’ll want to check its availability with the the Kansas Business Filing Center. Like an LLC’s name, a DBA cannot already be in use in the state.
Thinking about using a DBA? See our guide on How to Get a DBA.
2. Designate a Registered Agent
All LLCs doing business in Kansas need a registered agent (sometimes called a resident agent in Kansas). Your registered agent is the person who is designated to accept important legal mail on behalf of your business. You’ll need to have your registered agent’s name and address ready before you fill out your Articles of Organization. You can appoint yourself, another individual, or even a company like us!
Learn why the pros use a registered agent service.
What does a registered agent do?
- Be able to accept legal documents during regular business hours.
- Have a physical, registered office address located within the state of Kansas. No PO Boxes.
- Be a resident or a company that provides registered agent services.
- Notify the LLC members of any service of process.
Can you be your own registered agent in Kansas?
Absolutely. The problem is, if you act as your own registered agent, your name and address will go on the public record, and that can make it difficult to maintain privacy. What’s more, not all business owners can keep regular business hours. This is why it is often a good idea for business owners to hire a professional registered agent. That way, your name and personal info will stay off state filing documents, and you won’t have to worry about missing important documents because you were on vacation. Your registered agent will handle all of that for you.
Can I change my registered agent after I start an LLC?
Yes. You can change your registered agent in Kansas anytime by filing the Change of Registered Office/Agent form. It must be submitted by mail and costs $35 to file by mail, and $30 for online filings. If you’re stuck in the 90s, you can fax over the form for an additional $25 fee.
3. Submit LLC Articles of Organization
If you have a business name and a registered agent, you’re ready to fill out your Articles of Organization. Once filed with the Kansas Secretary of State, this paperwork officially forms your LLC.
Note: All of the information on this form will become part of the public record.
To fill out the form, you’ll need to provide the following information about your LLC:
- Company name. Include an indicator like “LLC.”
- Resident agent. The person or entity that is authorized to accept legal mail on behalf of the LLC.
- Registered office. The Kansas street address where your resident agent will accept legal notifications.
- Mailing address. Address where you’d like official state mail sent (not including legal notifications).
- Tax closing month. This is the month the business has established as its tax closing or book closing period. December is the default.
- Effective date. When do you want your LLC to start? You can delay its birth by 90 days, but most LLCs start as soon as their Articles are filed.
- Authorized signature. You’ll need an authorized person to sign. An LLC member or your resident agent will do.
When you’re done, you can submit the document and your $160 payment online, or pay $165 in person or by mail. Add $20 if you plan to fax over the documents.
Ready to start your Kansas LLC Articles of Organization? File for free with Northwest.
How can I keep my personal information off the public record?
The best way to keep your personal information off the public record is to keep it off this form—even in the authorized signature field. How? The simple answer is that you should hire a professional registered agent to form your LLC. Any registered agent worth their salt will protect your personal information by listing their information in place of your own on this form.
What’s the difference between a member-managed and manager-managed LLC?
When you form an LLC, you’ll need to decide how it will be managed, Your choices are member-managed or manager-managed. Member-managed LLCs are LLCs managed by the owners (members) of the LLC who are active participants. In a member-managed LLC, members handle hiring, firing, meeting with vendors, balancing bank accounts and the like. In manager-managed LLCs, the members outsource the day-to-day management of the LLC to one or more managers.
For help with deciding which management structure will work for you, see our page on LLC Member vs Manager.
How do I file the Kansas Articles of Organization?
You can submit your articles online, by mail, in person, or by fax. Online filings cost $160, paper forms cost $165, and if you fax over your articles, you’ll be charged $165 plus a $20 filing fee.
Mail and in person:
Secretary of State
Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 S.W. 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612-1594
4. Write an LLC Operating Agreement
Your LLC’s operating agreement is a document that essentially outlines how the internal workings of the LLC will be organized. This includes spelling out ownership rights for the LLC, responsibilities of the members, profit and loss distributions, and even how the LLC will be dissolved when (or if) the time comes. Without an operating agreement, your LLC will be required to operate according to Kansas’s default LLC statutes.
Check out our attorney-drafted Kansas LLC Operating Agreement.
Does Kansas require an LLC to have an operating agreement?
Kansas doesn’t legally require your LLC to have an operating agreement. According to Kan. Stat. § 17-76,134, operating agreements “may” define how your LLC runs and “may be in writing or oral.” That said, you should consider an operating agreement essential for your LLC. You’ll need it to open a business bank account, settle any internal conflicts, and—if ever you face a lawsuit—defend your LLC’s limited liability status.
What should be included in an operating agreement?
Your operating agreement can contain any provisions relating to the business of the LLC, the conduct of its affairs, and the rights and powers of the managing members, managers, officers, and employees as long as it doesn’t conflict with state laws. Your operating agreement is specific to your LLC, but the basic components generally address:
- company organization, purpose, and location
- financial contributions and interest
- distribution of profits and losses
- membership and management powers, duties, and voting rights
- member and manager compensation
- bookkeeping responsibilities
- transfer of interest
Does a single-member LLC need an operating agreement?
Absolutely. Banks are going to require an operating agreement to open a business account, and what’s more, having an operating agreement serves to give your LLC more legitimacy and bolsters its limited liability.
5. Get an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN), is a number assigned to your LLC by the IRS for purposes of taxation. Getting an EIN for your business is a free service offered by the IRS. Simply log onto the IRS website, complete an application, and you’ll get your EIN in short order. You can also apply via mail or fax, but online is faster.
Do I need an EIN for my Kansas LLC?
You definitely do. An EIN serves many purposes. If you intend to hire employees, you’ll need an EIN for tax records. Even if you don’t plan to hire any employees, most banks will require you to have one in order to open a business account. Plus, if your LLC needs a loan or a line of credit, you’ll need your EIN to apply for those. What’s more, having an EIN allows you to fully separate your personal finances from your business finances, and keep your Social Security Number away from prying eyes.
What To Do After Forming Your Kansas LLC
6. Open a Bank Account
The whole point of starting an LLC is to insulate your personal assets and limit your personal liability by creating a legal entity that is entirely separate from yourself. Mixing personal financial accounts with your business accounts weakens your limited liability.
To open a bank account for your Kansas LLC, you’ll need to bring the following to the bank:
- Kansas LLC Articles of Organization (a copy is permitted)
- the LLC’s operating agreement
- the LLC’s EIN
- an LLC Resolution to Open a Bank Account (if your LLC has more than one member)
If your LLC has more than one member, use our free LLC Resolution to Open a Bank Account.
7. Fund the LLC
You’ve taken the leap, formed your LLC, and opened a bank account—now it’s time to fund it. Each owner needs to pay into the LLC in order to obtain membership interest. Membership interest represents a member’s stake in the LLC. Making initial contributions to the LLC is usually done with a check. It’s important to note that contributions made in the form of property or services can trigger tax events.
What is LLC membership interest?
Membership interest is the percentage of ownership a member holds in the LLC.
The total amount of a member’s contribution to an LLC determines membership interest, voting, and financial rights. Imagine that an LLC has four members, and they each contributes $25,000 to the business. Each member would have a 25% stake in the LLC. If one member contributed more than the others, that member’s membership interest would be greater than the other three.
8. File State Reports and Taxes
Kansas LLCs must file an annual report with the Kansas Secretary of State each year. The annual report basically serves to ensure the state has up-to-date contact information for the LLC. The annual report costs $50 to file online or $55 by mail.
Worried you’ll forget? Let us file your Kansas annual report for you.
When is the Kansas Annual Report due?
Your Kansas Annual Report is due the 15th day of the 4th month following the end of the taxable year. For most businesses, this is April 15th, but if your taxable year doesn’t follow the normal fiscal year, you just take the final day of your LLC’s taxable year and jump ahead four months to determine your filing date. So if your LLC’s taxable year end was August 10th, you’d file your annual report by December 15th.
How are Kansas LLCs taxed?
Taxes are about as fun as a trip to the dentist, but they are an important part of properly running and maintaining your LLC. By default, a Kansas LLC is treated as a pass-through entity by the IRS. This means that profits “pass through” the LLC itself and are distributed to the owners (members), who then report the profits as earnings on their personal taxes. A Kansas LLC’s profits are subject to the federal self-employment tax rate of 15.3%, as well as any state and local taxes. Feel like switching up how your LLC is taxed? LLCs can file paperwork with the IRS to be taxed as an S-corp or C-corp.
Learn more about S-Corp vs LLC tax designation.