How to Start a Business in Kentucky: LLC Formation
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the east south-central region of the United States. Known as the “Bluegrass State,” Kentucky has a very diverse environment and ecology.
If you want to start your own business in Kentucky, one of the best ways to do so is by forming a Kentucky LLC. Limited liability companies (LLCs) are a business entity designed for startups and small- and medium-sized businesses. Kentucky LLCs give you many of the protections and advantages of larger corporations without all the rules, regulations and compliance issues common to larger business entities.
Briefly, the benefits of starting a Kentucky LLC include:
- Separating and limiting your personal liability from your business liability and debts
- Quick and simple filing, management, compliance, regulations and administration of your Kentucky LLC
- Easy tax filing and potential advantages for tax treatment
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure here.
Six Quick Steps for Starting Your Kentucky LLC
We’ve got lots of useful information on creating a business in KY. On this page you’ll find the basic steps of how to form a Kentucky LLC, with more in-depth content throughout the rest of our guide.
STEP 1: Gather Information for Your Members
First, you need to gather basic information about your LLC, including the names and addresses of the managers or members. The LLC members are typically the people who own and run the business. They are also the ones who can take profits out of the business to pay themselves.
STEP 2: Search for and Choose a Unique Business Name for Your Kentucky LLC
You will need a distinctive and original name for your Kentucky LLC that’s not used by any other business in KY. To find out if another company is using your chosen business name, carry out a Kentucky business entity name search on the KY Secretary of State website.
There are a few rules you’ll need to follow when choosing an LLC name. You can find out more in our guide to searching for and naming your Kentucky LLC.
Learn about Kentucky LLC business naming rules.
STEP 3: Provide an Official Address for Your KY LLC
Every Kentucky LLC must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), your company’s office building or any physical address of your preference. The address must be inside the state of Kentucky and can be a P.O. Box.
STEP 4: Assign a Registered Agent for Your Kentucky LLC
Every KY LLC must have a “Registered Agent.” This is an official position; the Registered Agent is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Kentucky Secretary of State.
This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. Your KY Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Kentucky and must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours.
At Incfile, all of our packages include a Kentucky Registered Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf.
Learn more about Kentucky Registered Agents.
STEP 5: Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
You will need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number when filing and paying taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or we can get one for you as part of the Kentucky LLC business formation process.
STEP 6: File Articles of Organization with the Kentucky Secretary of State
Once you've gathered all the information for your Kentucky LLC, you’ll need to file a formal document with the KY Secretary of State. This document is known as your “Articles of Organization,” and filing the document creates your Kentucky LLC. Here’s what is typically included:
- Your business name and address
- Details of your Registered Agent
- Various information about your business including its niche and special ownership
- Name of the incorporator
You can file your Kentucky LLC Articles of Organization online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf. There is a fee to file and start an LLC in Kentucky. You only need to file your Articles of Organization once.
Form Your LLC Now
Review Information from the Kentucky Secretary of State
The KY Secretary of State has plenty of information on forming and running a business in Kentucky.
These are all the basic steps for forming an LLC in Kentucky. You’ll find other useful information below.
Special Types of Kentucky LLCs
A regular Kentucky LLC is suitable for most business needs, but you also have a few other options to incorporate a special type of LLC.
Form a Professional Kentucky LLC
Some states, including Kentucky, allow certain occupations to form “Professional LLCs.” These types of businesses typically have special requirements and licensing. Here are the occupations that the KY Secretary of State allows to form Kentucky professional LLCs:
- Occupational Therapist
- Landscape Architect
- Certified Public Accountant
- Public Accountant
- Physical Therapist
Form a Foreign LLC in Kentucky
If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to Kentucky, you’ll need to form a foreign LLC.
More information on Kentucky filing and licensing requirements here
What to Do After Forming Your Kentucky LLC
Want to know your next steps after creating a new LLC in Kentucky? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our guide to understanding your ongoing requirements, setting up new bank accounts, protecting your business name, getting accounting in place and more.
Detailed Information for Your Kentucky LLC
You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:
How to search the Kentucky business registry of the KY Secretary of State and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, fictitious names, reserving a Kentucky LLC name and more.
How to appoint a Kentucky Registered Agent to your new LLC or change to a different Registered Agent. Includes information on Registered Agent rules and searching for Kentucky Registered Agents.
How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the requirements you’ll need to meet for both federal and Kentucky rules. Includes details of Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), Kentucky and federal business licenses, Kentucky annual reports and more.
How to understand the various taxes you will need to pay to the federal and Kentucky government. Includes details of federal taxes like income and self-employment, and Kentucky taxes like sales tax and income tax.