How to Search Available Business Names in Kentucky

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Quick Reference

Whether you’re researching the availability of a business name or checking the status of a business entity, find the information you need from the Kentucky Secretary of State website.

The Secretary of State Business Entity Database provides information for corporations and LLCs registered in Kentucky .  The names of sole proprietorships are not centralized. Instead, they are registered with the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located. 

There is no fee to search the database.

What information can be looked up?

The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:

  • Business Name
  • Profit or Non-Profit Entity
  • Entity type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
  • Status – Businesses that show Active and Good Standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date. Names of businesses not in good standing may be available to reserve.
  • Filing Date – Date filed with the Secretary of State
  • Organization Date – Businesses can elect to delay the start of their entity.
  • Last Annual Report – Every year, an annual report has to be filed with the Secretary of State.
  • Principal Office – This could be the physical address of the business or it could be an address where business records are stored.
  • Registered Agent’s information – A Registered Agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need 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 or IncFile so their home address isn’t listed.  
  • Current Officers – Names of officers of the business entity
  • Individuals / Entities listed at the time of formation – Names of the initial organizers of the entity. These may or may not be officers of the entity.

How to do a Kentucky Business Name Search

Visit the Kentucky Secretary of State website.

Enter the name you would like to use in the “Entity Name” field.  In this example, we will look up “Sew What” and click “Continue”.

How to do a Kentucky Business Name Search

When we search a business name, some results are returned. In the case of “Sew What” there are 2. To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Kentucky, 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.

Kentucky Business Name Search Results

To find more information about each of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Company Name” column for a detailed report.  In this example, we will look up “Sew What, LLC”.

Kentucky LLC Name Search Information

While the name “Sew What” by itself may not be available other variants are such as “Sew What Quilting” or “Sew What Seamstress” are.  Searching for those business names, brings a result that says “The name is available. No companies were found which match your request”.  While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register. 

These are the basics of searching for a business name in Kentucky.  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. 

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 an Kentucky LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.

While not required in Kentucky, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, may be 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.

After forming the LLC, Kentucky business licenses and permits may still be necessary.