How to Register a Business in Kansas

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There’s a lot more to starting a business than just having a good idea.  Before you can start a business, there are a number of registrations at the local, state and federal level. Let’s take a look at some of the common types of registrations a business might need in Kansas.

Register the Business Entity

The first registration an entrepreneur will want to consider when starting a business in Kansas is the business entity.  The business entity sometimes referred to as the business structure, is the way a business is legally organized. There are four main types of business structures to choose from.

Sole Proprietorship is the first entity and is an individual entrepreneur that decides to go into business for themselves. This is the easiest and least expensive of the four entities to set up as there is nothing to file to form the sole proprietorship in Kansas. See more information about the sole proprietorship.

The General Partnership is the ownership of a business between two or more people. Like the sole proprietorship, there is no required formal filing, though there is an optional form to file with the Secretary of State called the General Partnership Statement of Partnership Authority Form. The fee to file this form is $35. While it is optional, some vendors will require this statement to verify the partnership’s existence.

Corporation is a legal business entity that is separate from the individual.  While corporations are more expensive and complicated than sole proprietorships and partnerships to form, the major advantage is that since the corporation and individual are separate, the owner’s personal assets are shielded from business lawsuits in most cases.

To register as a corporation in Kansas, Articles of Incorporation are filed with the Kansas Secretary of State.

Last, the Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a popular business entity choice as it provides the liability protection of a corporation with the ease of operation of the sole proprietorship.  The Limited Liability Company does not have the many burdens a corporation such as holding a board of directors meeting, shareholders meeting, taking minutes, etc.  Read more about how to form an LLC in Kansas.

To register as an LLC in Kansas, Articles of Organization are filed with the Kansas Secretary of State.

Register the Business Name

Many small business owners want to operate their business under a business name and not their name personally.  Business name registrations are different between the types of business entities.

In most states, for a sole proprietorship or partnership to operate under a name other than the owner’s full first and last name they would have to file for an assumed business name.  An assumed name for a business is often known as a fictitious name, a trade name, or doing business as (DBA).  Kansas is unique in that sole proprietorships and general partnerships are not required to file an assumed business name in Kansas.  A business owner is free to operate under any name, provided it’s not trademarked.

Corporations and LLCs in Kansas have to pick a name and each corporation/LLC has to be uniquely named within the Secretary of State database. Choosing a name with slightly different spelling isn’t enough to distinguish it from other business names.

Also, note that corporations and LLCs have to use a designator to distinguish it from other entities.  Using a different designator isn’t different enough to be able to register a name if the base name already exists.

Corporations must use the words or abbreviations incorporation, incorporated, corporations which LLC have to use the words or abbreviations of Limited Liability Company or Company.

If you aren’t quite ready to file for a corporation or LLC, you can reserve the name.  Names can be held for up to 60 days, but there is a fee to reserve the name.

Learn how to check for the availability of names

Business License Registration

At the state level, there are some occupations that require business licensing.  This isn’t a license for a business, but some services require registration before they are performed in the state.  Some common occupations include accountants, housekeepers, landscapers and more.  The Kansas Labor Information Center has more information.

Some cities / towns and/or counties in Kansas may require a business license.  In some places, it is a license for every business, while others only require a license for certain types of activities.

It is best to contact your local city hall, economic developer and/or county clerk’s office to find out if a business needs to register.

See more information about business licenses in Kansas.

Register the EIN

The Kansas Department of Revenue requires businesses requesting a new Business Tax License to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN).  There is no cost for the number and it takes just a few minutes to register.

Here is more information about registering for an EIN or you can apply by visiting the IRS website.

Business Tax Registration

Many businesses in Kansas will need to register for the Kansas Business Tax Application in order to obtain a sales tax permit. The Kansas Department of Revenue requires a business to have a sales tax permit if they sell goods, provide taxable services or charge admission fees.

Sales Tax Permit Registration

Register for the Kansas sales tax permit sales tax permit online or mail in the sales tax registration form (CR-16) to:

Kansas Department of Revenue
915 SW Harrison St.
Topeka, KS 66612-1588

If you have any issues or questions about the online registration process, call the Kansas Business Center at 800-452-6727.

To register, have the following information ready:

  • Business name
  • Location information such as address, phone, etc.
  • Business entity
  • Date business started or intents to start
  • FEIN number
  • Estimated amount of sales generated in Kansas
  • There may be additional questions depending on the activities of the business.

The permit is a one-time application and there is no fee to register.  Processing time will generally take 3-4 weeks. Your business will receive a sales tax account number from the Kansas Department of Revenue along with a Retailers’ Sales Tax Registration Certificate.

Resale Exemption Certificate Registration

A business that is reselling items will also want to register for a Resale Exemption Certificate, also known as a tax-exempt number.  This allows a business to purchase goods for resale from a wholesaler or other vendor and not pay sales tax.  Once a retailer sells the product to the final customer, that customer will pay the sales tax and the business will remit the collected sales taxes.

To register for the Kansas Resale Exemption Certificate, file with the Department of Revenue or Form PR-78SSTA.