Step 1: Choose a Business Structure
The type of business structure you choose to form will determine how you register the business with the state. Use our how to choose a business structure guide to help choose which business structure is best for you, whether it’s sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations.
The factors you should consider when choosing a business structure will depend on your needs and wants for personal liability protection, tax liabilities, and paperwork to keep the company in compliance.
Sole Proprietorships and General Partnerships
By default, sole proprietorships operate as the same name as the owner while general partnerships must include the surnames of all the partners.
LLCs and Corporations
Both LLCs and corporations require unique names in Kansas that must follow certain naming requirements:
Step 2: Check Name Availability
When registering a business name, it's important to make sure it's unique and no one else in your state formed a company with it or has control of it online as a domain name.
Domain Name Search
We strongly recommend that you also check to see if your business name is available as a web domain (URL). Even if you don't plan to create a business website today, you may want to buy the web address to prevent others from acquiring that domain name. If the web domain is available then it’s likely the name will also be available in a business search.
Kansas Business Name Search
Next, search the Kansas Secretary of State business entity search tool. This is an important step in the process because your filing will be denied if you try to file for a name already in use.
Search requirements can vary depending on your business needs. For example, a unique and available name is required to:
- File for formal business structures like LLCs and corporations.
A state-level name search isn’t required for informal business structures like sole proprietorships or general partnerships in Kansas.
Step 3: Form Your Business With the State of Kansas
Once you have selected your business structure and name, you will need to file your formation documents with the state, which will register your business with the state of Kansas.
To register your Kansas LLC, you'll need to file the Articles of Organization with the Kansas Secretary of State. You can apply online or by mail. Read our Form an LLC in Kansas guide for details.
To register your Kansas corporation, you’ll need to file the Articles of Incorporation with the Kansas Secretary of State. Read our Form a Kansas Corporation guide to learn more.
Protect Your Business Name With a Trademark (Optional)
Once you confirm the availability of your business name and secure it, you can choose to apply for a trademark for your business. This typically costs around $225 to $400 plus any attorney fees as well as a renewal fee every 10 years.
While this cost can be high for a start-up or fledgling business, it will give your company brand nationwide protection backed by federal law. That means if others try to do business with the same — or a similar — name as yours, you’ll have legal precedent on your side. For most small businesses, this really isn't necessary unless they are thinking of going national.
How to Change the Name of a Kansas Business
If you want to change the legal name of your LLC or corporation, however, filing an amendment to the legal name of an existing business is your best option. Here are links to forms for both options:
You may submit both by mail along with the $35 filing fee.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does an LLC cost in Kansas?
Filing your LLC Articles of Organization in Kansas costs $160 for online processing or $165 for paper processing.
Do you need a business license in Kansas?
Kansas doesn’t require a general business license. However, you’ll likely need to obtain some form of licensing based on your business type. You can research which licenses and permits your business needs on the State of Kansas website.
How do I get a business tax ID number in Kansas?
After you register your business with the Kansas Secretary of State, you’ll receive your Business Entity Number to use in all of your business filings. This is separate from your Employer Identification Number (EIN) that you must obtain from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).