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Start a Business in Kentucky

Starting a business in Kentucky is easy. All you need to do is file a few forms with the Kentucky Secretary of State and start running your business. Below, we show you how to get started and walk you through some of your options.

One option is, of course, to stop reading and just hire us to start your business for you. At Northwest, we form businesses and provide registered agent service throughout the US. That’s our business, and obviously we recommend starting your business in a certain way. We call it “Starting a Business the Right Way."

Starting your business the right way means hiring a registered agent to form your LLC or corporation so you can protect your privacy and receive the care your business needs to stay active. If you hire us to start your Kentucky business, we’ll be your registered agent, provide Privacy by Default®, a business address, mail forwarding and local Corporate Guide® service for life.

All You Need

Hire us to start your Kentucky LLC or corporation and get all the tools you need to start fast:

  • KY registered agent service

  • Kentucky business forms

  • Online client account

  • Easy access to all our business services & answers to your business questions

Start Your Business the Right Way

As your registered agent, when we start your business, we give you what other filing services can’t:

  • Privacy by Default®
  • Business address
  • Free mail forwarding
  • Lifetime support from local Corporate Guides®

Start Your Kentucky Business

$225 + State Fees
Rated 4.6 / 5 stars by 427 clients on Google

How to Start a Business in Kentucky


You file articles of incorporation for a Kentucky corporation or articles of organization for a Kentucky LLC with the KY Secretary of State.

Federal Tax ID

You obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) with the IRS after you have confirmation and filed articles from the State of Kentucky showing your approved Kentucky business.

Bank Account

Opening a business banking account under your new Kentucky business name should be easy with these two items.

Department of Revenue

Register with the Kentucky Department of Revenue and the Kentucky Labor Cabinet if you will have employees or withhold taxes.

Trade License

Kentucky doesn’t have a general state business license requirement, but certain businesses do need specific state licenses. For example, if you need a trade or professional license, you do that at the state level. Licensing information and links are in your online account.

Local License

Some local cities or counties have a general business license, but most don’t. You obtain a local trade license if the city or county you’re going to be working in requires it.


If you’re going to have an office or shop you might need an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in that location.

Get Going

If you get overwhelmed, just get your business pulling in money and worry about regulations later.

Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer? You Can Save Some Money:

If you want to start a business in Kentucky yourself, you can just hire us as your Kentucky registered agent, and you’ll instantly have the Kentucky LLC or corporation forms to file along with filing instructions on the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to incorporate a Kentucky corporation or form a Kentucky LLC. You’ll get the ongoing support of our online tools, reminders and the support of a professional Kentucky registered agent service.


Kentucky LLC vs Corporation

Most business owners that choose to start a corporation are seeking to grow large companies and want the option of selling stock to investors. Also, the well-established management structure of a corporation can be very appealing. LLCs are great for small businesses because they’re easier to maintain. Plus, LLCs offer flexible management and great tax options.

But, what about Kentucky? Any pros and cons for a Kentucky LLC vs a Kentucky corporation?

In terms of initial filing fees, Kentucky LLCs cost slightly less than Kentucky corporations—$40 vs $50. Plus, if your corporation decides to authorize more than 1000 shares, you’ll more than likely end up paying even more. Other filing requirements are similar. Both entities are required to submit annual reports ($15) and list officer/director or member/manager information.

During tax season, Kentucky LLCs and corporation are treated fairly equally. Although corporations are typically subject to double taxation, the rates for corporate and personal income taxes are low. Taxes for corporations top out at 6% and personal income tax is a flat rate of 5%. Note that Kentucky also imposes a Limited Liability Entity Tax, which applies to both corporations and LLCs. Thankfully, the minimum tax is only $175 and shouldn’t get higher—unless you’re generating a multi-million dollar revenue.

The Kentucky LLC is user-friendly and ideal for small to medium-sized businesses. They’re less expensive and provide flexible management. However, the Kentucky corporation is your best choice if you’re wanting to grow substantially and attract strong investors.

If you want a corporation, you file Kentucky Articles of incorporation:

The Kentucky articles of incorporation cost $40 (plus an organization tax based on the number of shares) and must be filed with the Kentucky Secretary of State.
We custom draft your Kentucky articles of incorporation when you hire Northwest to start your Kentucky business. The basic requirements of Kentucky corporations are:

  • An incorporating Kentucky ending such as Inc, corporation, or incorporated
  • The class and number of Kentucky corporation shares you would like to authorize
  • The corporations principal office address
  • The name, address, and signature of the Kentucky incorporator(s)
  • The corporations Kentucky registered agent
  • KY articles of incorporation are effective when filed unless you state a later date

Kentucky does not require original signatures on new KY corporation filings. A stamped postcard will be sent to the KY corporations principal address.

Start Your Kentucky Business!

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If you want a LLC, you file Kentucky Articles of organization:

To form a Kentucky LLC, file articles of organization with the KY Secretary of State and pay the $40 fee. The basic requirements of Kentucky LLC filings are:

  • The business name must have a limited liability company ending or variation of it
  • New Kentucky LLCs name must be different than already registered Kentucky companies
  • The LLCs principal office address
  • Whether the LLC is managed by members or managers
  • The articles of organization are effective when filed unless you state a later date
  • The Kentucky registered agent and the physical address
  • The Kentucky organizer’s name and signature

Kentucky does not require original signatures on new KY LLC filings. You’ll get a stamped postcard mailed to the principal address after the state approves your filing.

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