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If you are ready to start a small business in Kansas, you really can’t go wrong by choosing an LLC as your business structure. A Limited Liability Company allows the owners to have an elevated level of legal protection without making the business more complicated and costly to run.
The good news is starting an LLC in Kansas is straightforward and Kansas does not complicate the process. Follow our step-by-step guide below as we guide you through how to make your new business official.
How to Start a Kansas LLC
Step 1: Name Your Kansas LLC
Most of us have thought extensively about what our LLC will be called before we get to this step, so you may find it the easiest. Your LLC name doesn’t have to match your brand name exactly, but it’s still important to choose an LLC name you’re happy with.
All Kansas LLCs must have a name that is distinguishable from existing businesses in the state and follow their naming conventions. A name that is “distinguishable” means people will not see your business name and think it is that of another business.
For example, if there is an existing business called Clear Driveways LLC you cannot name your business Clearer Driveways LLC.
You can search for available names on the Kansas Business Filing Center’s Name Availability Status search.
Your LLC’s name must also include a designator to make it clear to anyone interacting with your business that you are an LLC. In Kansas you can choose from the following:
- LLC (most popular)
- Limited Company
- Limited Liability Company
Your name should also not include any misleading words that may lead someone to believe it is something it’s not or is affiliated with the government. For example, you cannot use the words Corporation, Bank, State Department, or FBI.
Once you’ve found an appropriate name, also go online and check that an appropriate domain name is available and purchase it so you can keep control of the name in both places.
Optional: Reserve Your Name
If you have found the perfect LLC name but aren’t ready to form your LLC just yet, consider reserving your name so no one can take it in the meantime. You can reserve your LLC name online on the Secretary of State website (click here) for 120 days for $30.
Step 2: Designate Your Kansas Registered Agent
All LLCs in the country are required to have a registered agent who handles their federal and state documents on their behalf, as well as service of process (which means unwelcome mail like subpoenas). Your registered agent must have a Kansas physical address, which cannot be a PO Box or virtual mailbox.
You can choose to be your own registered agent in Kansas, or you can choose a friend, family member, or commercial registered agent. Your registered agent’s address will be available publicly, so it’s important to consider what you’re comfortable with.
A commercial registered agent is a business that will act as your agent for a small monthly fee and will forward any mail to you either physically or electronically.
Making the decision about whether or not to be your own registered agent can be a tricky decision, so read our guide on the pros and cons here for more guidance.
If you decide a commercial registered agent is the best move for you, we are happy to be your trusted agent in Kansas. Simply reach out to us and we’ll give you all the information you need to continue forming your Kansas LLC.
Step 3: File Your Articles of Organization
Step 3 is the exciting step where your business finally becomes official! While this can seem intimidating, Kansas makes it straightforward to do.
You can file your Articles of Organization online or by mail. Filing online will always be the fastest way to file. Filing online costs $160, while filing by mail costs $165. You can pay by credit card, money order, or check. The information you need to have ready when you file includes:
- Your LLC’s name
- Your registered agent’s name and address
- Closing month of the LLC’s tax year
- Your signature (as the LLC authorized organizer)
To file your Kansas LLC online, go to File Online with the Secretary of State
To file your LLC by mail, you need this form.
Send the form to:
Kansas Office of the Secretary of State
Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 S.W. 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612
Kansas has a guide on how to complete their Articles of Organization, so you can find that here for more guidance.
If you are filing a Foreign LLC (that means your LLC already resides in another state but you are filing so you can do business in Kansas) the process is largely the same, the only difference being the form. You need to file an Application for Registration of Foreign Covered entity. You must mail this form along with a Certificate of Existence or Certificate of Good Standing from the LLC’s home state, which must be no older than 90 days. The filing fee is $165.
Kansas offers some of the fastest processing times for LLCs. Filing online will allow you to get your Articles of Organization approved immediately, with your documentation available for download as soon as you file. If you mail instead, it will take 2-3 weeks.
Once you’ve filed online, your LLC is a legal entity ready to start doing business.
Step 4: Create Your Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not a legal requirement in Kansas, but it is a necessity for any business with more than one member (owner). An operating agreement details all the essential details about the business, from how it will be run to who owns what share of the business.
Your operating agreement should include details like:
- Your LLC’s name and address
- Names and contact information for all members
- How much money each member invested in the business
- What share of the business each member owns
- How taxes will be paid
- How profit and loss will be divided between the members
- The purpose of your LLC
Include any other information that may help prevent legal issues between members later.
Step 5: Obtain Your LLC’s EIN
With an official Kansas LLC, your next step is to acquire your EIN. An EIN is an Employer Identification Number, and you need one to be able to pay taxes, hire staff, and get a business bank account. You need an EIN regardless of whether you intend to hire staff or not.
The good news is the process is fast, free, and easy. Simply apply for your EIN on the IRS website here and your EIN will be generated automatically.
If you need to file by mail (not recommended, since it will take around 4 weeks for you to hear back), use Form SS-4.
Step 6: Understand Your Legal Obligations
While you may not need to worry about filing your annual report yet, it’s a good idea to have a comprehensive understanding of your LLC’s legal obligations so you don’t accidentally miss something important.
All Kansas LLCs are required to file an annual report by the 15th day of the 4th month after the end of your LLC’s tax year (so your due date is usually April 15th).
You can file your annual report online or by mail, and it costs $50 ($55 by mail).
Step 7: Apply for Licenses and Permits
There is no state-wide business license in Kansas, but you may need to apply for other licenses and permits, depending on which county or city our LLC is operating in and which industry you work in.
You can find a full list of state licensing requirements on the Kansas Business Center website.
Look up the website of your city or county clerk for more local information.
LLCs collecting sales tax or hiring employees will need to register for a Sales Tax License, which you can do by registering your business with the Kansas Department of Revenue.
Here are the business licenses you’re most likely to need:
- Sales Tax License
- A city/town business license
- Professional license
- A license to operate in a federally-regulated industry (such as alcohol, finance, firearms, real estate, and so on)
- A license to operate in a state-regulated industry (such as contracting, massage, child care, and so on)
- Locally regulated industries (such as food, pawn-shops, and pet grooming)
Step 8: Get a Business Bank Account
A business bank account is not a legal requirement for LLCs, but not having one can lead to trouble. You likely chose an LLC for the legal protection it offers you, but mixing your personal and business finances by only using your personal bank account can mean that your financial assets and your LLC’s are up for interpretation.
This may not matter on a day-to-day basis, but if you get into legal trouble they may be able to take your personal finances from you if you’re only using one bank account.
Instead, use your new EIN to apply for a business bank account and start keeping your finances separate immediately. It also makes everything much easier when it comes time to do your taxes.
Step 9: Keep Your Essential Documents On-Site
The last thing you need to be aware of is the legal requirement to keep a few documents on-site at your business’s primary address. If you are working from home this likely won’t make much difference to you, but if you are going to be working from an office you need to ensure you have these documents there.
The documents you need are:
- An up-to-date list of members
- A copy of your Articles of Organization
- A copy of your Operating Agreement
- Recent financial statements
With all 9 steps covered, your Kansas LLC is officially ready to open its doors!
Let Us Do The Busy Work
Filing your Kansas LLC is a straightforward process, but it can be stressful and time-consuming. If you’re worried you’re going to get something wrong or would simply rather be doing the exciting part of setting up your business, why not let us handle it?
We help new businesses form LLCs and corporations every day, so we’ve got the process down. We’ll register your LLC’s name, file your Articles of Organization, and acquire your EIN. We can even act as your Kansas registered agent for you.
To get started, simply fill in this short form and we’ll do the rest. To get started, click here.