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Before forming an LLC or corporation in Kansas, you will need to do a business entity search to see if the name you want is available. Kansas requires each corporation or LLC to have a unique name, so before filing, you will want to check and see if the name is available. The Kansas Secretary of State maintains the records of all registered business entities through the Business Services Filing Center. Sole proprietorships and partnerships do not need to register their name.
When searching, be sure to search with and without the required designators. The entity designators are those that designate what type of entity the business is (LLC, Limited Liability Company, Inc, Corporation, etc).
Also, try some different spellings as a slightly different spelling may not make the name unique. The plural form of a word is considered as distinguishable, for example, dog vs dogs. Numbers are also distinguishable from words representing the number 1 vs one. See the full list of naming guidelines and restrictions from the Secretary of State.
There are a few ways to search for a registered business in Kansas:
- Filing number
- Business entity name
- Registered agent information
Below are instructions on searching by the business entity name. The state of Kansas offers both a way to do a quick name search and a search that provides more details. Instructions on how to do both are provided below.
To do a quick business entity search, first, visit the Kansas Business Center. The name availability search box on the right side of the page can be used for an initial quick answer.
Enter the business name you would like to use and click search. In this example, we will look up Sew What. In this search, don’t use the entity designation such as Limited Liability Company, LLC, Inc, etc.
The name availability search provides a quick message with “Is Available” or “Is Not Available”. For our Sew What example, we get a message that the name is not available.
If the message shows that the name is not available or that there are names that are similar, then the name is not available to use. To find who is using that name, see how to do a detailed search as shown in the next section.
If the name is available, there will be a message that you can file a Name Reservation. In this example, we looked up Cowboy Cleaners. Registration is $30 and is optional as the business name is selected when forming the entity. If you aren’t ready to file the LLC or corporation right now and are concerned with someone taking the name before you plan to file, the $30 fee may be worth the peace of mind.
For a more comprehensive search to check for any entities with a similar name, you may also want to do a detailed search. The detailed search shows more information about the business including : whether the business is in good standing, the type of business entity, mailing address, date of formation, name of the registered agent and registered agent’s office location.
To do a detailed entity search, visit the Business Entity Search Station at the Kansas Business Center website and click “Business Entity Database”.
Next, click “By business entity name”.
Enter the name of the business in the search field. Start out with the full name you are interested in, but leave out the entity designator (LLC, Inc, etc). To widen out the search to see if there are any companies with names that are close to the one you are searching for, try using just the first word or two to make sure there isn’t a similar result.
Click the Search and browse the list of existing Kansas businesses. There are three results from a name search.
1. Active and in Good Standing – This means a company has the name registered and is being used. This name can’t be registered.
2. Dissolved – This was a business entity that officially closed. This name was used in the past, but is no longer being used and is available to use provided the name has been dissolved for over one year.
3. Forfeited – Failed to Timely File – Means someone did not file their annual report and/or pay the annual fee. This name is available if the name has been forfeited for over one year.
4. The name or number you searched for was not found in the business entity database – This means nobody has registered that name nor is there a similar name. This name is available to use in Kansas.
To see more information about any name from the detailed search, click on View Record. Here is the detailed search record for Sew What, Inc.