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The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a smart entity choice for many start-up businesses. The LLC provides personal liability protection and has the potential to save money on taxes. With a little research, you can learn how to form an LLC in Kentucky without an attorney.
Unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership where the small business owner can be held personally liable for lawsuits against the business, the LLC is a separate legal structure, protecting for the business owner’s personal assets.
Besides the liability protection, the Limited Liability Company provides several other benefits over the sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation because of the multiple tax options, ease of administration and management flexibility.
Forming an LLC in Kentucky can be both affordable and is simple enough for most people to start on their own. That said, it’s not a bad idea to have a legal professional like While the filing is pretty straightforward, it’s nice to have some support if you have questions, alerts when the annual report is due, forms like operating agreements, banking resolutions and more. There are companies like IncFile or Swyft Filings and others that do all of this for only $49.
To form a Limited Liability Company in Kentucky, file the Articles of Organization with the State of Kentucky, Business Registration Division. The LLC filing fee for standard processing is $40.
Approval for the LLC typically takes around a week when filing by mail and 24 hours when filing online.
If you have questions, contact the Kentucky Secretary of State at 502-564-3490.
HOW TO FILE THE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION AND FORM A KENTUCKY LLC
The steps for filing online or by mail are largely the same. The screenshots show filing online.
After registering, select Register a new business.
Step 1: Business Formation
You are asked to select the choice that best describes the business or organization you are organizing. Most new LLCs will choose “A business that will be formed in Kentucky”. The other choices are for out-of-state businesses wanting to do business in Kentucky. Assuming your LLC will be located in Kentucky choose the first.
Next, you are asked to select the business structure. Assuming the chosen entity is an LLC, select “Limited Liability Company” in the drop-down menu.
Step 2: Disclaimer
Read and agree to the disclaimer and then click on the “Next” button.
Step 3. Registration Contact Information
Enter the Name, email address and phone number for the individuals representing the business. Anybody can be the registrant including a member, attorney, accountant, friend, etc. Enter the contact information and click on “Add Registration Contact”.
Step 4: Name the LLC
Enter the name you want for the LLC. The name of the LLC also has to differ from other entity names registered with the Kentucky Secretary of State. Check on available LLC names before filing.
Next, check the box if this will be a veteran-owned business.
Last, the name of the LLC must include a suffix from the drop-down menu. Some of the more popular ones are:
- Limited Liability Company
- Limited Liability Co.
Enter the name of the LLC you would like to use in the “Business Name” field, accept the terms of the disclaimer and click “Search”. If the name is available, a message will show up saying the name is available and whether you would like to request that name for the LLC.
If the name is not available, a message saying “Business Name Unavailable or Invalid due to the following reasons”
Step 5: Registered Agent
To have an LLC in Kentucky, a Registered Agent must be identified. The Registered Agent can either be a resident of Kentucky (select “Individual” from the drop-down menu) or a registered agent service (select “Business” from the drop-down menu). The Registered Agent must have a physical address in Kentucky to act as a point of contact to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc on behalf of the LLC.
When selecting “Individual” if the registered agent is going to be the same person in Step 3: Registration Contact Information, select the checkbox to copy that information over. If this is a different person, add their contact information, address, county, email, and phone number.
If you were to hire a registered agent service, their contact information will go in these fields.
In either case, the ATTN field is optional and not used by most when filing the LLC.
Even though the business owner can be the registered agent, their name and address become public record and with that comes a loss of privacy. This is more important for some entrepreneurs, especially when they are doing business from home.
Step 6: Principal Office Address
In this section, enter the street address, city, state and zip code of the initial principal office. This address can be the physical address of the LLC or it can be the address where the business records are stored. This does not have to be an address in Kentucky, but you may not use a PO Box for the designated office.
Step 7: Member-Managed of Manager-Managed
This section asks if the LLC is Member-Managed or Manager-Managed.
- Member-Managed LLCs have members (owners) that are active in the day-to-day operations of the business.
- Manager-Managed LLCs have managers hired by the members to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation.
Most LLCs are member-managed. Select the one than applies and click on “Next”.
Step 8: Business Representative
This section asks for information about the business representative. If one of the members is filling out the Articles of Organization, most will select “Individual” from the first box and Organizer from the second. An additional menu will pop up asking for contact information. Once entered, click on the “Next” button to continue.
Step 9: Delayed Effective Date
The next step asks about the effective date of the LLC. By default, the LLC is effective on the date submitted. If you prefer to have the LLC officially start at a later date (up to 90 days), select “Yes” to the question “Do you want to enter a delayed effective date and time?” and enter the date and time in the following fields. Otherwise, select “No” and click on “Next” to continue.
Step 10: Business Administrators
One business administrator must be assigned to the Limited Liability Company. Most will select the checkbox to make the business representative be the administrator. Select the checkbox if that is so, otherwise add a new contact for the business administrator.
Step 11: Electronic Signature
Select the name of the business administrator from the drop-down menu and sign the Articles.
Next, the registered agent has to sign as well.
Step 12: Registration Summary
Review that the information is correct. If so continue.
Step 13: Pay and File
Pay and file the Articles of Organization.
In approximately 24 hours if filing online or around a week if filing by mail, your new Kentucky Limited Liability Company will be approved.
If mailing the Articles of Organization, send payment to:
Secretary of State
PO Box 718
Frankfort, KY 40602
That concludes the basics of forming an LLC in Kentucky. Remember, even though you can do it yourself, there is more to an LLC than just the filing. If you have questions, work with an attorney or a specialized entity formation company such as IncFile or Swyft Filings to make sure everything is done correctly.
While not required, an Operating Agreement is recommended in many cases. An Operating Agreement is a legal document outlining the roles and responsibilities for the members of the LLC. Read more about when an LLC needs an Operating Agreement.
After filing the LLC, be sure to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The EIN is basically a social security number for a business and will be needed before opening a business bank account. There is no cost to apply and it takes about 5 minutes to get. See how to apply for an EIN.
Last, before starting a business in Kentucky, you may still need to apply for business licenses, sales tax permits, self-employment taxes and more in Kentucky. See the Guide to Starting a Business in Kentucky for more information.