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Start an LLC in Kentucky

Use our free business tools below to complete your Kentucky LLC Articles of Organization. This is the document you file directly with the Kentucky Division of Business Filings to form your LLC.

If you want more, hire us to form your LLC in Kentucky for just $39 + state fees. We’ll get your business stood up in minutes with a free domain, website, email, business phone, and more.

 

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How to Start an LLC in Kentucky

Kentucky LLCs protect the personal assets of their owners from lawsuits and bankruptcy. Kentucky LLCs also provide more flexibility than other business types when it comes to how taxes are paid and how the business is managed.

To start an LLC in Kentucky, you file paperwork called Kentucky Articles of Organization with the Kentucky Secretary of State and pay a $40 registration fee. Our guide shows you how to pick a name, file state paperwork, create internal documents, register a domain, file annual reports, and maintain your privacy through it all.

 

1. Name Your LLC

You need to make sure the name you want is available in Kentucky. Perform a Kentucky Business Entity Search to make sure no other business has already snagged your preferred name. Your LLC name must also meet Kentucky’s name requirements.

Your LLC’s name must:

  • Include “limited liability company” or “limited company” or the abbreviation “LLC” or “LC.”
  • Not include words or abbreviations to make it sound like the LLC is another kind of entity, like “corp” or “limited partnership.”
  • Be unique among business names in Kentucky.

Tip: It’s probably a good idea to complete a Trademark Clearance Search make sure your business name hasn’t been trademarked by someone else. If it has, and you use it anyway, there’s a chance that you could be sued for infringement.

Another Tip: Got the perfect LLC name but you aren’t ready to form your business just yet? File a Reservation or Renewal of Reserved Name for $15 with Kentucky’s Division of Business Filings (DOB), and they’ll hold the name for 120 days.

2. Register Your Domain Name

A domain name is the address for a website. Ours is northwestregisteredagent.com. If you plan for your business to have an online presence, now is the time to stake a claim to a domain name that complements your business name. You don’t have to build a website right away, but registering a domain name does two things:

  • Secures your business identity. You may not be ready to start a business website just yet, but registering a domain now means it won’t get snagged by someone else.
  • Gives you a professional email address. A domain name allows you to set up a business email address. Instead of emailing clients from your personal email account, your emails will go out looking professional (example: [email protected]).

Tip: Get a free domain name for the first year when you hire us to form your Kentucky LLC.

3. File Kentucky LLC Articles of Organization

Filing the Articles of Organization is the step that officially creates your LLC. Once you complete the form, you’ll submit it to the Kentucky Division of Business Filings and pay the $40 filing fee.

Tip: Everything you put on your articles becomes part of Kentucky public record. The only way to maintain your privacy is to hire a professional registered agent who will list their name and address instead.

Company Name

This is where you write the name that you plan to register with the state. Don’t forget to include “limited liability company” or an abbreviation like “LLC” in the name. And remember, the name you list here can’t be the same or similar to other LLC names in the state.

Tip: While the name you list here will be your LLC’s legal name, you can always use a Kentucky DBA name for your public-facing business name after you register your LLC. A DBA is like a nickname for your business, and to get a DBA in Kentucky you’ll need to fill out a Certificate of Assumed Name ($20) form and then file it with the the state.

Registered Office

This is the physical address where your Kentucky registered agent will be present during regular office hours. In accordance with KY Rev Stat § 14A.4-010, every business in the state must appoint a registered agent. At a minimum, your registered office (and agent) must:

  • Have a physical address (no PO boxes or virtual offices) in the state of Kentucky.
  • Be open during regular business hours (9am to 5pm) in order to accept legal mail and correspondence.

You can serve as your own registered agent, but that means your address will be listed on state forms, which is a great way to make sure hackers, scammers and junk mailers have your address.

Registered Agent

This is the person or business that your LLC appoints to serve as your point-person regarding all legal mail. You can list yourself as your own registered agent, but you’ll also be required to accept legal mail in person during regular business hours at your registered address—maybe in front of your customers. This may not work if you’re ever on the go or feel like taking a vacation.

Principal Office

Your LLC’s principal office is where the state will send all correspondence. This can be your address, your physical business address, or, if you dig privacy, your registered agent’s address.

Effective Date

Your LLC will begin once Kentucky approves the filing. If you want to delay the start date, you can list a date and time up to 90 days in the future.

Tip: Most people skip this part.

LLC Management

Indicate whether the LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. LLCs are either member-managed or manager-managed. In a member-managed LLC, the members (owners) will be in charge of daily operations. In a manager-managed LLC, members hire managers to run the LLC. Managers are in charge of regular business tasks like hiring and firing employees, writing checks to vendors, and signing agreements and contracts.

Veteran-owned

Check the box if the LLC is at least 51% veteran-owned. State law allows veteran-owned LLCs to waive the $40 filing fee.

Signature of LLC Organizer

Your organizer is the person who completes, signs, and submits the LLC paperwork to the state. The organizer can be you, another member of the LLC, or a person outside of your LLC like your registered agent. Kentucky needs your organizer’s name and signature. If you hire Northwest, we’ll be your organizer and sign our name here.

Name, Signature and Consent of Registered Agent

This is where your registered agent gives their consent to serve as your LLC’s registered agent. Again, this can be you, another member of the LLC, or someone else you trust. When you hire Northwest, our signature goes here.

 

How do you “file” the Kentucky Articles of Organization?

You can submit your LLC formation documents online by mail, or in person. Online and in person filings are approved the same day they are received. Mailed filings can take up to a week to be approved.

Online:
Kentucky SOS One-Stop

Mail:
Office of the Secretary of State
P.O. Box 718
Frankfort, KY 40602-0718

In person:
Capitol Building
Room 152
700 Capital Avenue
Frankfort, KY 40601

What is a professional LLC in Kentucky? 

A professional LLC (PLLC) is a type of legal business entity that offers limited liability protection for licensed professionals like lawyers, doctors, engineers, and other high-liability professions. LLCs and PLLCs differ in that only licensed professionals can form and be members of PLLCs.

4. Adopt an LLC Operating Agreement

LLC operating agreements are internal documents that should address things like membership duties, revenue sharing, how to remove a member, and even the procedure for dissolving your Kentucky LLC. In the event of a disagreement among LLC members, your operating agreement will serve as the blueprint for resolving it. While there is no legal requirement for your Kentucky LLC to have an operating agreement, but it’s simply good business practice to write one.

If you’re not sure where to start, use our attorney-approved Kentucky Operating Agreement template.

5. Get an EIN

An employer identification number (EIN) is a nine-digit federal tax identification number for your business. You’ll need to get an EIN to open a business bank account, pay taxes, apply for loans, and in some cases, secure business permits and licenses.

You can get an EIN for free from the IRS, or you can hire Northwest and we’ll get your EIN for you.

6. Get a Business Bank Account

Mixing your personal and business finances is a great way to weaken your LLC’s liability protection. If your business gets sued or goes bankrupt, and you haven’t kept your finances separate, a court could find that your LLC isn’t truly a separate entity from you, the owner. That’s why it’s important to open a business bank account as soon as your LLC gets rolling.

Banks have different requirements for opening business accounts, but here’s what you’ll most likely need in order to open an account for your LLC:

  • a copy of your Kentucky Articles of Organization
  • your LLC’s EIN
  • LLC operating agreement

If your LLC has more than one member, you’ll also need an LLC Resolution to Open a Bank Account.

7. File State Reports

The Kentucky Annual Report is due between January 1st and June 30th each year. Your first report is due the year after you form your LLC. For example, if you formed your LLC in 2023, your report will be due by June 30th of 2024. The report costs $15.

Tip: Not great at remembering due dates? Hire Northwest and we’ll file for you.

8. File the Beneficial Ownership Information Report

The Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report is a brand new requirement, meant to crack down on business-related financial crimes. The report requires you to disclose identifying information about the company applicant who filed your Kentucky articles with the state. The BOI Report must be filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) within 90 days of your LLC’s formation.

Tip: File the BOI Report yourself, or hire us to file for you for just $9.

 

*This is informational commentary, not advice. This information is intended strictly for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. This information is not intended to create, nor does your receipt, viewing, or use of it constitute, an attorney-client relationship. More information is available in our Terms of Service.

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