How to Register an LLC in Kentucky: A Step-by-Step Guide

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By: Michaela Dale Updated on: June 13, 2024

Thinking about starting a business in Kentucky? Registering as a limited liability company (LLC) provides you with tax flexibility, brand credibility, and personal asset protection. If that sounds like the right business structure for you, you’re in the right place. This guide will help you with all the steps you need to know to register an LLC in Kentucky

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Kentucky LLC Quick Facts 

  • To register an LLC in Kentucky, you must file Articles of Organization with the Kentucky Secretary of State.
  • The filing fee to start an LLC in Kentucky is $40.
  • Kentucky requires all LLCs to file an annual report by June 30th each year.

6 Steps to Registering an LLC in Kentucky

Starting an LLC in Kentucky involves six simple steps. 

Ready to start an LLC in Kentucky? Follow these steps: 

  1. Name Your Kentucky LLC 
  2. Select a Registered Agent
  3. File Articles of Organization
  4. Create an Operating Agreement
  5. Obtain an EIN and Manage Tax Responsibilities
  6. Submit a Beneficial Ownership Information Report

Step 1: Name Your Kentucky LLC 

Your first step is deciding on a name for your Kentucky LLC. 

An LLC name in Kentucky must meet a few requirements, though: 

  • Your name must be unique and distinguishable from any other business entity in the state. 
  • Your LLC name should also include Limited Liability Company, LLC, or Limited Company. 
  • Terms that imply government affiliation or falsify your business’s purpose cannot be included in the name. 

For a full list of Kentucky LLC naming guidelines, review the state’s statutes.

To check the availability of your chosen business name, you can conduct a business name search on the Kentucky Secretary of State website

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Step 2: Select a Registered Agent

In Kentucky, you need to select a registered agent when registering an LLC. The registered agent is responsible for receiving legal documents and important communication on behalf of your business. 

A Kentucky registered agent must: 

  • Have a physical address within the state
  • Not be the LLC itself, but can be an LLC owner or employee
  • Be present at the designated address during normal business hours 

It is important to note that in Kentucky, your registered agent must either sign your Articles of Organization or complete a Statement of Consent of Registered Agent to be filed along with your formation documents. 

Who can Serve as a Registered Agent?

When registering an LLC in Kentucky, it is important to designate a registered agent. This registered agent can be the LLC owner, an employee of the company, a friend, a family member, or a professional registered agent service. 

Step 3: File Articles of Organization

To formally register your LLC in Kentucky, you will need to file Articles of Organization with the state. This filing can be completed online or by submitting this form by mail or in person to the Secretary of State. 

The filing fee is $40

Before filing, it is recommended to have the following details prepared:

  • Your LLC’s name and principal office address 
  • Your registered agent’s name and address 
  • The signature of your registered agent or a completed Statement of Consent 
  • Your LLC’s Management structure (member-managed vs. manager-managed)

Quick Note: LLCs that are already established in another state must file as a Kentucky foreign LLC. You can do so by submitting a Certificate of Authority to the Secretary of State along with a $90 filing fee. 

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

In Kentucky, creating an operating agreement is not required for LLCs but it will likely benefit for your LLC to draft one. An operating agreement outlines the daily operations and ownership details of the company. This can help to ensure LLC members are on the same page and mitigate future conflict. 

Step 5: Obtain an EIN and Manage Tax Responsibilities

Next, you need to secure an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

This is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your business for tax purposes. An EIN also allows you to hire employees and open a business bank account. 

You can get an EIN for free on the IRS website

In addition to obtaining your EIN, it is important to understand and manage your tax responsibilities as a business owner in Kentucky. Be sure to visit the Kentucky Department of Revenue website to identify any additional requirements specific to your LLC for paying taxes. 

Step 6: Submit a Beneficial Ownership Information Report

All LLCs need to submit a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) report to the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). 

For new LLCs, this filing must be completed within 90 days of formation. Existing LLCs, however, must complete the filing before January 1st, 2025. 

Failure to file on time will result in a $500 per day fine

You can file the report for free on the FinCEN website.

Next Steps

  • Keep your business and personal assets separate by opening a business bank account. We recommend using Lili Banking and Accounting Services. Sign up and access banking features for your LLC in minutes. 

Lili is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Sunrise Banks N.A., Member FDIC.

  • Determine any licenses and permits required federally or by the state of Kentucky for your business. Check with the Kentucky Business One Stop for guidance on what you may need.
  • File an annual report with the Kentucky Secretary of State to maintain compliance with state regulations. To learn more about this requirement, visit the Kentucky Secretary of State website
  • Get business insurance with policies such as general liability, workers’ compensation, and personal liability insurance to protect against unexpected events. NEXT Insurance makes this step simple and affordable.

Additional Tips for Success 

  • Ask for Help: Use your network as a resource to help troubleshoot issues and overcome challenges. 
  • Pay Attention to Compliance Requirements: To ensure your LLC maintains its good standing, pay close attention to your state’s reporting requirements. 
  • Develop a Growth Mindset: Being an entrepreneur requires innovation and adaptability, your mindset can either be a tool or roadblock in the success of your new venture. 

Conclusion

Registering an LLC in Kentucky requires careful attention to detail and adherence to state regulations. By following these steps diligently, you can ensure that your LLC formation in Kentucky is successful and in compliance with all legal requirements.