If you are forming an LLC or a corporation in Kansas, the first thing you need to do is a business name search. This search checks all the registered business entities in the state to see if the business name you want to use is available. Like all other states, the state of Kansas requires each LLC or corporation registered in the state to have a unique business name. So, before starting your business, it’s important to run a business entity search to verify if the name is available through the Kansas Secretary of State before registering your LLC or Corporation. There is no fee to search.
Note that the state of Kansas does not register the names of sole proprietorships or partnerships with Doing Business As (DBA), assumed name, trade name, or fictitious names.
Related: How to start a business in Kansas
How to do a Kansas Business Name Search
Step 1: Visit the Business Name Database
Visit the Kansas Secretary of State’s website.
Step 2: Search your Business Name
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Enter business name” field. In this example, we will look up “Sew What.”
Step 3: Review Results
When we search “Sew What,” a message saying “Sew What is Not Available” If we want to look at registered business names with “Sew What,” click on the “Search” button.
To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Kansas, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name, you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.
To find more information about a registered business name, click on this link to the Business Entity Database, and search the name of the business. In this example, we will look up “Sew What.”
Clicking on the View Record” link for “Sew What Inc” will show a detailed report.
While the name “Sew What” by itself may not be available other variants are such as “Sew What Quilting” or “Sew What Seamstress” is. Searching for those business names brings a result that says the business name is available. While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register.
The Secretary of State offers the opportunity to reserve the name for a $30 fee. If you are ready to file your corporation and LLC, you can skip the reservation fee since the name is registered when filing the Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization and the name.
These are the basics of searching for business name availability in Kansas. Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
Something to keep in mind is that even though each Corporation and LLC name must be unique, it may not stop someone else from using that name since business names for a sole proprietorship or partnership are not registered by the Secretary of State and are not required to be unique. To protect your business name, consider getting a trademark.
Related: Should I trademark my business name?
What information can be looked up in the database?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Entity Name
- Mailing Address
- Business Entity type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Date of Formation
- Current Status – Active and in Good Standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date.
- Resident Agent’s information – A Resident Agent in Kansas is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice needs to be sent to the business. This is often one of the owners, and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent, so their home address isn’t publically listed.
- Date the entity was filed with the Secretary of State
- Names of the officers and their title
What are the requirements to name an LLC in Kansas?
In addition to the name being unique, the name of the LLC must include a special designator such as Limited Liability Company, LLC, L.L.C., etc., in addition to not using restricted words such as bank or insurance, unless the entity is licensed to operate as such.
Can an LLC name be reserved?
If there is a name you want but are not ready to register the LLC, you can file the Reservation of a Business Entity Name with the Kansas Secretary of State. The name reservation will hold a name for up to 120 days, at the cost of $30.
How do I form an LLC?
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form a Kansas LLC by reading our step-by-step guide.
While not required in Kansas, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, is a document worth considering, especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
Also, be sure to check for Kansas business licenses and permits to make sure the business is legal to operate.