Are you starting a new company in Kansas? If so, you’re probably wondering how to go about setting up your new company and obtaining the required permits and documents. Well, you’ve found the right guide – inside, we’ll show you how to start an LLC in Kansas from start to finish!
When starting a business, you’ll have a choice of sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, or partnership. An LLC is a great option for most entrepreneurs. Limited liability companies help protect your personal assets from liability related to your business (which sole proprietorships do not). They are also relatively simple to set up, and usually quicker and less costly to maintain than a corporation or S-corp.
In Kansas, new LLCs are formed by the Secretary of State’s department, through the Kansas Business Filing Center. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about starting a limited liability company in Kansas.
1. Consider utilizing an LLC formation service
Before you start the process on your own, consider this: You can save a lot of time, and hassle, by using a professional LLC formation service. For most people, we recommend either ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent.
These companies offer a simpler way to navigate the business formation process, using modern tools and personalized service. Instead of working directly with the state of Kansas, you’ll work with the service provider. You will pay a small fee (starting at $39 for ZenBusiness) for the convenience of using a service.
In addition to helping you navigate the formation process, these services also offer a number of valuable features to help your business succeed and grow. Many offer mail forwarding, virtual office services, marketing tools, and more. Plus, either can serve as your Registered Agent (see step #3 for details).
Check out our roundup of the Best LLC Services
2. Name your new company
Before you fill out any paperwork, you will need to decide on a business name for your new company. This will be the formal name for the LLC, and will appear on all legal documents, business licenses, etc. It’s also the primary name that your company will do business under.
When selecting a name, keep in mind that it will need to meet certain requirements. Most importantly, it needs to be different from other companies in Kansas. There are other requirements to satisfy, as well:
- Your business name must be distinguishable from other companies in Kansas. This means it must be unique.
- Your business name must contain “Limited Liability Company”, or an approved abbreviation (L.L.C. or LLC)
- Certain words and phrases are restricted, and either not allowed, or allowed only with special permission. This includes government-related phrases, like “FBI” or “State Department”, financial terms, like “Bank” or “Banking”, and professional terms like “Doctor” or “Lawyer”.
The full details on Kansas’ business name restrictions can be found here.
3. Appoint a Registered Agent
Kansas requires that all LLCs in the state appoint what’s called a Registered Agent. This is an individual – or business – that is responsible for receiving legal documents and tax documents for the company. They are public-facing and must have a physical mailing address posted publicly in state records. Their primary responsibility is to handle important documents, including notice of lawsuits.
Any Kansas resident can be a Registered Agent. This means that you yourself can serve as your company’s Agent. However, this means that your address will become public record. Alternatively, you can appoint an employee from within your agency.
A third option is to use a professional Registered Agent service. These companies – like Northwest Registered Agent and ZenBusiness – offer professional Registered Agent services for a small yearly fee. They then serve as your appointed Agent, handling all legal correspondence for your company. Many also offer other useful services, such as mail forwarding. You can expect to pay $100-$150+ per year for a quality Registered Agent service.
Check out our roundup of the Best Registered Agent Services
4. File LLC Articles of Organization
The LLC Articles of Organization are the official documents needed to be filed with the state of Kansas, in order to formally establish a new LLC. These forms collect information about your business, including its name, purpose, address, Registered Agent, and more. The Kansas LLC filing cost is $160 if filed online, or $165 by mail. Here is how to file:
To file online – Head to the Kansas Business Center, select “Kansas Business Entity Formation”, and follow the instructions. Pay the $160 fee by credit card.
To file by mail – Fill out and print this form, following the instructions. Mail this, along with a $165 check, to:
Kansas Office of the Secretary of State
Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 S.W. 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612
Filing online is typically quicker than filing by mail, and the documents will also be processed quickly when filing online. Once you have submitted this document, you’re done with all the mandatory steps for forming a limited liability company in Kansas – but there are optional steps that you should also consider taking.
5. Create an operating agreement
Note: This step is optional, but recommended.
An operating agreement is an internal document that establishes operating procedures for your business. It also establishes the ownership structure and rights of the company. Thus, it’s very important for multi-owner companies, as it can help to prevent ownership disputes and other issues.
Operating agreements are not a requirement, as they don’t need to be submitted to any government agency. However, they are still strongly recommended – particularly for companies with shared ownership.
To create an operating agreement, you will likely want to use a template. Services like ZenBusiness provide operating agreement templates, and you may also be able to find one online. Alternatively, a local attorney could help you draft a custom one.
6. Wait for your documents
Now, it’s time to wait for Kansas to process all your documents. In general, this process is fairly quick, as Kansas is known for quick processing. You can expect your documents within 5-6 business days typically. Expedited processing may also be available, for an additional fee.
7. Apply for business licenses & permits
The Articles of Organization (step #4 above) will establish your LLC. However, you will likely also need business licenses or permits in order to operate. The specific licenses/permits you need will depend on the type of business you run, as well as where you plan to operate.
Kansas.gov maintains a list of resources to help. Some businesses require state-wide business licenses, while professional service providers (doctors, lawyers, etc.) will likely need state permits or licenses as well. Specialized permits, such as liquor licenses for restaurants, may also be needed, depending on the industry.
Most companies will also need local business licenses and/or permits, in the city or county where they plan to operate (see a database of county websites here). Multi-location businesses will likely need permits for each area they plan to operate in.
8. Apply for an EIN
Most businesses should also apply for an Employer Identification Number or EIN. This numeric tax ID number is a federal tax identifier, similar to a social security number (but for a business, rather than an individual). An EIN is required to hire employees, so it’s essential for most companies.
To apply for an EIN, simply fill out this application on the IRS website. It’s free, and the application takes only a few minutes. Once you have an EIN, you will use this for all federal tax correspondence (but not for state filings). You’ll also be able to hire and pay employees.
9. Open a business checking account
Business owners should always keep their finances separate from the finances of their businesses. This is not only helpful for accounting and bookkeeping purposes, but also for liability purposes.
Almost any financial institution (banks, credit unions, etc.) will offer business checking accounts, so it’s just a matter of finding a bank that suits your needs well. Keep in mind that banks will have various requirements for opening an account – it’s recommended to call ahead to see what is needed before coming in to open an account.
10. Keep your business in good standing
There are many things that a business should do in order to stay compliant with all state, federal, and local requirements and laws. This includes filing taxes, reporting sales tax receipts, renewing permits, and more.
Each business will have slightly different requirements. We encourage you to research all requirements for your specific business now so that you can plan ahead. Here is a list of some of the most common things for Kansas LLC owners to stay on top of:
- Kansas Annual Report – due annually for all LLCs in KS
- Federal tax returns
- Federal and state income tax
- Federal and state employer taxes (payroll taxes)
- State sales tax returns
- Local city/county tax returns
- Annual permit renewals for business licenses and permits
- Ongoing Registered Agent
This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good place to start. It’s wise to start a list of all the key filings and due dates and add these to a calendar to stay on track.