How to Start a Corporation in Kansas
Getting your Kansas corporation off the ground is simple and straightforward.
The process only involves three steps: filing the Articles of Incorporation with the Kansas Secretary of State, drafting your corporate bylaws, and appointing someone as your initial director.
Keep in mind that you will need a registered agent in order to complete the first step.
Or, simply use a professional service:
Northwest ($29 + state fee)
It's Easy to Incorporate in Kansas
Step 1: Name Your Kansas Corporation
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent
Step 3: Hold an Organizational Meeting
Step 4: File the Articles of Incorporation
Step 5: Get an EIN
For a look at corporation formation in every state, check out our other How to Start a Corporation guides.
Not sure if a corporation is right for you? Check out our LLC vs. Corporation guide to help you make your decision.
Step 1: Name Your Kansas Corporation
Choosing a business name is the first step in starting a corporation.
1. Kansas naming guidelines:
- Unless your corporation is a bank, savings and loan association, savings bank, or public benefit corporation, its name must contain one of the following words (or their abbreviations):
- Names that are not distinct enough from existing businesses that are already registered in Kansas (or reserved for registration) are prohibited.
- Any words or phrases that would create some confusion between a government branch and your business cannot be included in its name.
- If your company is a public benefit corporation, its name must include one of the following: public benefit corporations, P.B.C., or PBC.
- The name of your corporation must be sufficiently distinct from the fictitious names of foreign companies operating in the state of Kansas.
Read the Kansas state statute regarding corporation naming guidelines for more information.
2. Is my corporation name available in Kansas?
Your Kansas corporation name must be unique and distinguishable from other business names in Kansas. Use the Kansas Business Center Search Portal to determine if your desired business name is available.
3. Is the URL available?
Before registering your Kansas corporation, you’ll need to check if a good URL is available for your business name. It’s important to secure your URL right away.
Step 2: Choose a Kansas Registered Agent
You must appoint a Kansas resident agent, also known as a registered agent, when registering your corporation with the Secretary of State.
A registered agent is an individual or entity appointed to receive service of process, government correspondence, and compliance documents on behalf of a business.
Your registered agent can be an individual, business entity, or professional registered agent service. Any member of the corporation or individual can serve as your Kansas resident agent as long as the person:
- is 18 years or older
- has a physical address in the state where business activity is conducted
- is available (in person) during normal business hours
Recommended: Northwest offers one year of free registered agent services with their corporation formation package ($29 + State Fees).
Step 3: Hold an Organizational Meeting
Before you officially file the Articles of Incorporation in Step 4, you will need to hold an organizational meeting to complete the following tasks:
- Fill out and execute the Articles of Incorporation
- Create and approve bylaws
- Select your initial director(s)
- Determine your share structure
- Execute an Incorporator’s Statement
Create and Approve Corporate Bylaws
Bylaws are the rules that determine how your organization will be governed and run. For detailed instructions on creating your bylaws, read our corporate bylaws guide.
Ready to get started? These bylaws templates can be customized to suit the needs of your incorporated business.
Appoint Initial Directors
You must appoint at least one director who will oversee your Kansas corporation until the first shareholder meeting.
A corporate director is in charge of the adoption, amendment, and repeal of operational bylaws as well as the election, supervision, and removal of officers.
After forming the corporation, the incorporator(s) — or initial director(s), if named on the formation documents — should call an organizational meeting. During this initial meeting, either the incorporator(s) will elect the board of directors or the initial director(s) will appoint the officers.
Choose a Share Structure and Strategy
A share of stock is the unit of ownership of a corporation. Each share of stock represents a percentage of ownership of the company. For example, if a corporation issues one share of stock the shareholder (stock owner) would then own 100% of the corporation.
Shares can be structured into classes. Each class, termed a share class, holds different rights and privileges. You can have multiple classes and each class can hold any number of shares.
Authorized Shares: the number of shares the corporation is allowed to issue.
Issued Shares: the total number of shares actually issued to shareholders.
Share Class: a group of shares that has a unique set of rights and privileges.
In Kansas, the provided Articles of Incorporation form allows you to indicate if the corporation will issue more than one authorized share class or series.
Create and Execute an Incorporator’s Statement
The incorporator(s) should sign an Incorporator’s Statement with complete names and addresses of each initial director and store it in the corporate records book.
This document names the initial director(s) that will serve until the board of directors is elected during the first shareholder’s meeting. It should be stored with the rest of your corporate records.
Step 4: File the Kansas Articles of Incorporation
You will need to file the Kansas Articles of Incorporation to set up a corporation in Kansas. You can file online, by mail, or in person with the Kansas Secretary of State. The filing cost is $85 for online submissions and $90 for paper submissions.
This document will cover the basics of your corporation, including:
- Corporate name, address, and statement of purpose
- Corporate registered agent name and street address
- Tax closing month
- The number of authorized shares the corporation is allowed to issue
- Director(s) name(s) and address(es)
- Incorporator(s) name(s) and address(es)
- The duration of the corporation and the effective date
Option 1: File Online With KanAccess
- OR -
Option 2: File the Articles of Incorporation by Mail
Filing Cost: $85 online; $90 by mail
Kansas Office of the Secretary of State
Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 S.W. 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612-1594
Step 5: Get an EIN for Your Kansas Corporation
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used by the federal government to identify a business entity. It is essentially a Social Security number for the company. An EIN is needed:
- To open a bank account for the company
- For federal and state tax purposes
- To hire employees
Get an EIN
Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS
- OR -
Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
Running Your Corporation
It is very important to adhere to the formalities of running a corporation. Read our How to Run a Corporation guide to learn more.
Taxes, Annual Reports, & Licensing
Kansas State Corporation Tax Requirements
Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax:
Kansas Sales Tax
If you’re selling a product, you’ll typically need to register for a seller's permit through the Kansas Department of Revenue's website. This allows a business to collect sales tax.
Kansas Employer Taxes
If you hire employees, you will need to register for Kansas employer taxes through the Kansas Department of Labor's website. This includes Employee Withholding Tax, Unemployment Insurance Tax, and Disability Insurance.
Kansas Corporation Licenses and Permits
To operate your corporation in Kansas, you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.
Learn more in our Kansas Business License guide.
File the Kansas Corporate Annual Report
You must file the Kansas Corporation Annual Report each year with the Secretary of State. The report is due on the 15th day of the fourth month following the end of your corporation’s tax year – the same day as your state taxes. For tax years ending Dec. 31, the due date would be April 15.
New corporations must file an annual report if they filed their articles of corporation six months or more before the end of the tax year. Otherwise, they can wait until the following year to file their first report.
The Kansas annual report can be filed online with the Kansas Business Center, or you can file by mail. The filing fee is $55.
Corporate Dissolution & Kansas Good Standing
How to Get a Kansas Certificate of Good Standing
A Certificate of Good Standing verifies that your Kansas corporation was legally formed and has been properly maintained.
You can request a Kansas Certificate of Good Standing online through the Kansas Business Center website. You will need to search the business entity database for your corporation and then follow the provided links. You also can request a certificate by mail or by phone with a check or credit card, respectively. The filing fee is $10 online and $15 for a paper request.
Option 1: Request a Certificate From the Kansas Business Center
- OR -
Option 2: Request a Certificate by Mail or by Phone
Fee: $10 online; $15 by mail or phone
Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612-1594
Phone: (785) 296-4564
How to Dissolve a Corporation in Kansas
If at any point you would like to permanently stop doing business, or close your business, it is important to officially dissolve your corporation. Failure to do so in a timely fashion can result in tax liabilities, penalties, or even legal trouble.
There are five main steps to close your Kansas corporation:
- Stop doing business
- Hold a board meeting, vote on dissolution, and record the meeting in the corporation minutes
- File the For-Profit Corporation Dissolution by Written Consent (if no shareholder meeting was held) or other appropriate dissolution documents with the Kansas Secretary of State
- Close your federal and state business tax accounts with the IRS and Kansas Department of Revenue
- Close your business bank accounts
File Dissolution Documents
There are three options for filing dissolution documents for a Kansas corporation: Dissolution Prior to Commencing Business, Dissolution by Stockholders’ Meeting, and Dissolution by Written Consent.
Dissolution Prior to Commencing Business
If your corporation hasn’t yet conducted business, hasn’t issued any stock, or any stock certificates have been returned and canceled, you should file the Certificate of Dissolution Prior to Commencing Business (Form CP 53-01). You also can file this form online with the Kansas Business Center. The fee is $35 when filing a paper copy and $30 when filing online.
Dissolution by Stockholder Meeting
If your corporation already started conducting business and the dissolution was approved at a shareholder meeting, you should file the For-Profit Corporation Dissolution by Stockholder Meeting (Form DS 53-01). You also can file this form online. The fee is $35 when filing a paper copy and $30 when filing online.
Dissolution by Written Consent
If your corporation already started conducting business and the dissolution was approved by written consent, you should use the For-Profit Corporation Dissolution by Written Consent (Form DW 53-01). You may only file this form as a paper copy. The fee is $35.
Is a Corporation Right For You?
An LLC provides limited liability protection without corporate complexity.
Find out if an LLC is the right structure for you.
Steps After Forming a Corporation
After forming a corporation, you’ll want to protect your personal and business assets and build credit.
Taking these steps will set your business up for success:
- Open a Business Bank Account
- Open a Business Credit Card
- Establish and Build Business Credit
- Get Insurance
- Protect Your Corporate Veil
Kansas Corporation FAQ
How much does it cost to start a corporation in Kansas?
The cost of filing the Kansas Articles of Incorporation varies according to the submission method you use: online filings cost $85, while paper filings cost $90.
Depending on your choice of registered agent — or registered agent service — your total startup costs will likely increase.
If you are not sure whether working with a professional registered agent is right for you, we recommend checking our Should I Use a Registered Agent Service article.
What is the difference between an LLC and corporation in Kansas?
A number of clear differences are apparent between LLCs and corporations. These relate to taxation, federal scrutiny, cost, convenience, and management regulations.
In most instances, it is preferable for business owners to form an LLC as it is superior in most of these areas. One of the few times to choose a corporation is if you want to attract private investors.
See our LLC vs Corporation article for more on this topic.
How long does it take to set up a corporation in Kansas?
The length of time it takes to process a business filing in Kansas changes based on how you decide to file:
- Online filings: Immediate approval
- Mail filings: Between three and five business days
Another important factor influencing the length of time it takes to incorporate is the type of corporation you elect (e.g., c corp, s corp, etc.).
Read our What is a Corporation article for more information.
Is it difficult to start a corporation in Kansas?
Despite not being the easiest business entity type to form, starting a corporation in Kansas is still relatively straightforward.
The main steps you’ll need to follow in order to successfully incorporate are:
- Select a statute-compliant corporate name
- Appoint a registered agent
- Hold an organizational meeting
- File the Articles of Organization.
See our How to Start a Corporation in Kansas article for more information.
Is it easier to start an LLC than a corporation in Kansas?
While creating an LLC is only slightly simpler than establishing a corporation, LLCs have proven to be less cumbersome to both operate and oversee.
This is due to the lack of federal oversight and mandatory management procedures which are required for corporations.
To find out more about the LLC formation process, see our Forming an LLC article.