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How to Start A Kentucky LLC

If you’re looking to do business in the state of Kentucky, forming an LLC is the best way to go about it. Although the LLC formation process can be lengthy, it’s quite simple when you have the right help. Keep reading our guide and see how you can start an LLC in no time so you can start utilizing the benefits of doing business as a limited liability company.

How much to Form an LLC

What is A Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

A limited liability company (LLC) is a hybrid business structure that is favored by many small business owners. An LLC shares characteristics of both a sole proprietorship and a corporation. When you form an LLC, the owners are able to insulate themselves from business debt. This simply means that when you do business as a Kentucky LLC, your personal assets are protected in the case of business lawsuits or debts.

When you form an LLC in Kentucky, your personal bank accounts, possessions, and properties are kept separately from the LLC and cannot be legally targeted. When that risk is eliminated, it allows a business owner to make tough business decisions that could ultimately grow his or her businesses tremendously.

There are other benefits to operating as an LLC in Kentucky, such as no separate taxes pass through to the owner. Essentially, there is a lot of flexibility with the LLC business entity. Contact the professionals at LLC Formations for more information about how to form an LLC in Kentucky.

Choosing A Business Name for Your Kentucky LLC

Choosing a business name for your Kentucky LLC is among the most important things to do when you form an LLC. Keep these guidelines in mind for everything you need to know about naming your Kentucky LLC:

  • The name must use Roman numerals and English letters
  • The name must include ‘limited company,’ ‘limited liability company,’ or the abbreviation ‘LC’ or ‘LLC.’
  • ‘Limited company’ uses the abbreviation ‘LTD CO.’
  • Your Kentucky LLC name must be different than any name currently registered or reserved with the Kentucky Secretary of State Office and any Federal or State agency.

How Do I Register the LLC's Name?

To register the name of the LLC, you must first go through a few steps. However, the process of establishing a Kentucky LLC is rather straightforward. When choosing an LLC name to represent your Kentucky LLC, it’s important that your LLC name is creative. The number one reason for an LLC rejection in Kentucky is if someone registers a name that is a duplicate of one already registered. In order to make sure that your ideal LLC name is unique, step 1 is to conduct a Kentucky LLC name search through the Kentucky Secretary of State website.

You can search the Kentucky State records for any businesses that have the same LLC name as the one you desire. You can either contact the Kentucky Secretary of State Office at (502) 564-3400 or you can conduct an online search of business entities already registered with the Secretary of State Office through the database provided. If there is a business entity with the same LLC name in the state, you will need to register your Kentucky LLC under a different name.

Name Reservation Form

If you aren’t quite sure about your LLC name but you want to move forward with the LLC formation process, you can file an optional form to reserve your LLC name. For a small filing fee of $15, you will be able to reserve your LLC name for 120 days.

It’s wise to have some alternate LLC names in case your ideal name is not available. It’s also wise to make sure that a relevant URL is available so you can obtain an appropriate domain name in the future for your Kentucky LLC. You don’t need to register a domain, but it can only help to make your Kentucky LLC more successful.

When you select a name that is not in use, you are ready to proceed to the filing process so you can form an LLC. The state filing fee is $40. There is an Adobe PDF online that applicants can use to fill in the blanks before mailing the form to the Kentucky Secretary of State. The form is also available on the Kentucky Secretary of State website.

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Choose A Registered Agent for Your Kentucky LLC

A necessary part of opening your LLC is choosing a registered agent for your LLC. The registered agent is the representative of the LLC. This person is responsible for collecting all of the important documents for the LLC.

The registered agent can be the owner or someone else chosen to serve in that capacity. The State of Kentucky requires the registered agent to be renewed every year, and the registered agent of your Kentucky LLC must live in Kentucky or have a mailing address in Kentucky.

Here are the necessary requirements when you search for your LLC’s registered agent:

1.  The office and agent need a full mailing address, not a P.O. Box.

2. The agent needs to be a Kentucky resident and able to transact business in the state.

3. The registered agent must be over 18 years of age.

Attorneys or accountants are sometimes the registered agent. In the event of legal action against your Kentucky LLC, this is the place and person used for serving the legal process. The registered agent is physically present in Kentucky and represents the physical address listed on the Articles of Organization forms.

The registered agent of your Kentucky LLC is the person who gets legal notice. When Kentucky state asks the LLC for the annual report and annual state filing fee, the registered agent gets the notification. The address of the registered agent is where any legal contact begins. It is a choice of importance, so be sure to choose a representative that will be responsible for your business and who will notify you of your required annual reports.

The advantages of not serving as your own Registered Agent include:

  • Registered agents maintain normal (nine-to-five) business hours.
  • Business run from the home exposes your personal address to the public.
  • Registered agents keep up with important deadlines, dates, and notices.
  • Avoids legal notices served in front of coworkers or family.

File the Articles of Organization for Your Kentucky LLC

Part of the LLC formation process is to file the Articles of Organization with the office of the Secretary of State. The Articles of Organization includes important information and provides and overview about the formation process of your Kentucky LLC. The Articles of Organization states the members of your Kentucky LLC, and it gives an overview of how you plan to run your LLC in Kentucky.

If you need help with what to include in the overview of your business, you can contact the professionals at LLC Formations for more information about what to include on your forms. You will need to have your Articles of Organization approved in order to have your LLC in Kentucky approved.

How to Fill Out the Article Forms for Your LLC

The principal office is the headquarters of the LLC. The answer to who will manage the company has two choices – either the owners have people who manage the LLC, or the owners are the designated managers of the LLC.

Box A says ‘Manager(s).’ Check that box if members elect several people from the businesses to be responsible for business affairs of the company in a manager-managed LLC.

Box B says, ‘Member(s).’ This is the box for owners or investors who are their own LLC managers. Members and owners mean the same thing. Member-managed LLCs afford all members equal decision making about the way the LLC runs.

The date of the business operation is usually no more than a month ahead. There is a space provided to put a delayed date or time. It cannot be before the application date and no later than 90 days after the filing date. If left blank, the application is effective upon filing.

The signature of the organizers means you and other members or investors sign the application. Each signs and prints their name, title, and address. Do not forget to date the form. The Registered Agent either signs the Articles of Organization on the indicated space on the form or provides a written consent to represent the LLC as an agent.

A set of filing instructions are part of the application. It is likely contains legal jargon that is difficult to understand. The filing fee is $40. After reviewing the form to make sure the information is accurate and complete, file the form. Articles of Organization go to the Secretary of State Division of Business Filings at the address listed at the bottom of the filing instructions. There is an option to file online.

Draft an LLC Operating Agreement

Before starting business, there are several steps to take. The first is for the LLC members to draft an LLC Operating Agreement. An Operating Agreement is not a necessity, but is highly advised to create an Operating Agreement when forming an LLC in Kentucky. The Operating Agreement outlines:

1.  The role of each member

2. How to add new members and remove existing ones

3. Voting rights

4. Allocation of profit and loss

5. Capital contribution from each member

6. How to amend the Operating Agreement

Because the agreement is not a filing requirement, the LLC registered agent keeps it one file. Even though the Operating Agreement is not required, it’s important to have one drafted for a few reasons. When you have an agreement signed, it clearly outlines the expectations for each member and it keeps the LLC on track. Whether you have a board of directors or just a few employees, an Operating Agreement is a wise idea to keep your business organized.

If you need help drafting an Operating Agreement, contact the professionals at LLC Formations so we can guide you through the process.

Obtain an IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An LLC with multiple members needs an IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) to use for proper Federal and State tax payments. You can apply for your EIN online, call the IRS at (800) 829-4933, or complete and mail Form SS-4 to the address given on the form. We always suggest that you apply online when possible as this process will be the quickest.

Wait for the submission and approval of the Articles of Organization before applying for your EIN. You’ll want to be sure that your LLC has been approved under your name before you obtain an EIN or you will have to request a new EIN and start the process all over.

The EIN is basically the social security number of the company. Federal and state agencies use it to track a business activity for tax purposes. The company needs it when opening a bank account, filing state and federal taxes, and hiring employees. The online application is free and the most efficient method. Using mail, fax, or phone is also possible.

If you need help with applying for an EIN, contact the professionals at LLC Formations so we can walk you through the process.

Open a Bank Account for Your LLC

You will want to have a bank account separate from accounts of your LLC’s members and managers. Maintain the protection of personal assets by using a dedicated credit card and banking accounts. Mixing business and personal assets put your personal property such as cars, home, or other valuables at risk if there is a lawsuit against the LLC. Using personal assets in business is called ‘piercing of corporate veil,’ and it is not something that is encouraged.

When you’re ready to open a bank account for your LLC, search around for the best bank for your businesses needs. Banks vary in their requirements needed to open an account, so it’s best to call ahead and make an appointment. At the very least, you need an EIN and a copy of the Articles of Organization.

Obtain Needed Permits and Licenses

When starting an LLC in Kentucky, you’ll need to acquire any permits or licenses your LLC needs to conduct its business. You can obtain these permits from the city or County Clerk’s Office that has jurisdiction over the location of the LLC. These offices can tell you if you need additional licenses or permits. Businesses regulated by the Office of Occupation and Profession has licensing requirements also. Check with the agency if you engage in activity under their jurisdiction.

File with the Appropriate Local, State, and Federal Agencies

Depending on the purpose of the business, filing additional related LLC forms is sometimes necessary. Consult the local Chamber of Commerce or the U.S. Small Business Administration website for advice.

Register with Kentucky's Department of Revenue

State law requires LLCs to register with the Department of Revenue for tax purposes. Go online or obtain Form 10A100. Mail the completed form of complete the online form. If filing by hand, send to:

Kentucky Department of Revenue

P.O. Box 299, Section 20

Frankfurt, KY 40602-0299

Thoroughly read the instructions if filing the form by hand.

File the Annual Report for Your LLC

State law requires every LLC in Kentucky to submit a report every year to the Secretary of State office as a condition to operating as a Kentucky LLC. The primary purpose of submitting this report every year is to ensure the information filed in the Articles of Organization is currently correct. Many states require the annual report to be filed.

The report is due June 30, of each year. It has a $15 filing fee. There are three ways to submit the report:

  • Return the annual report postcard received in January at the LLC Kentucky principal office.
  • File the annual report online.
  • Print an annual report and return it to the Secretary of State Office in person or by mail.

You can submit state filing fees either online or by mail. If you choose to pay the fee by mail, it is best to use a money order. We recommended always paying online because the process will be much quicker and easier.

Obtain Business Insurance

Business insurance helps manage risks and allows LLC owners to focus on growing the business. There are two types of business insurance – general liability insurance and professional liability insurance. General liability protects the company from lawsuits. Professional insurance is for those providing professional services such as accountants or consultants. It covers malpractice claims and other business errors that could potentially land the LLC in a bad situation.

It’s always recommended that businesses obtain insurance, even if it isn’t legally required. Although your personal assets will remain protected because of the LLC, your whole business could be dissolved if something doesn’t go according to plan.

If you need help choosing insurance, contact the professionals at LLC Formations and we can help you search for the best insurance for your business’ needs.

Hire Employees for Your LLC

When you search for employees for your business, there are many things to consider. Will this employee be responsible? Will this employee aid the growth of your business? Will this employee be committed to their role in the LLC?

You also have a lot to consider from the perspective of an LLC owner. You need to make sure that you’re reporting everything properly about who has been hired to work for your LLC.

Reduce the LLC’s liability of being non-compliant with employment laws.

1.  Verify employees have permission to work in the U.S.

2. Report new people hired to the State

3. Withhold employee taxes

4. Print compliance posters and place them in visible areas of the workplace

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How Can LLC Formations Help You?

Forming an LLC in Kentucky is a lengthily process, but it’s doable with the right support. It is recommended to enlist the help of an attorney or professional LLC formation services that knows how to form an LLC in Kentucky so you can get your LLC up and running.

The suggestions above shed some light on how to protect business and personal assets, keep a company compliant, and make running the business easier. Check out our next Louisiana LLC guide.

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