How to Start an LLC in Kentucky

Start an LLC in Kentucky

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Starting an LLC in Kentucky is easy, just follow these simple steps:

To form an LLC in Kentucky you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the Kentucky Secretary of State, which costs $40. You can apply online, by mail, or in-person. The Articles of Organization is the legal document that officially creates your Kentucky Limited Liability Company.

Follow the step-by-step guide below to start your Kentucky LLC today and get your business up and running.

Steps to start an L L C in Kentucky

STEP 1: Name your Kentucky LLC

Choosing a company name is the first and most important step in starting your Kentucky LLC. Be sure to choose a name that complies with Kentucky naming requirements and is easily searchable by potential clients.

1. Follow the naming guidelines:

  • Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
  • Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your LLC.

2. Is the name available in Kentucky? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the State of Kentucky website.

3. Is the URL available? We recommend that you check to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.

Find a Domain Now

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After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

Not sure what to name your business? Check out our LLC Name Generator. Then, create a logo with our Free Logo Generator.

FAQ: Naming a Kentucky LLC

What is an LLC?

LLC is short for Limited Liability Company. It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while providing many of the same benefits. For more information, read our What is an LLC guide.

Watch our video: What is an LLC?

Do I need to get a DBA or Assumed Name for my business?

Most LLCs do not need a DBA. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you would like to conduct business under another name.

To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA guide.

STEP 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Kentucky

You are required to nominate an Kentucky registered agent for your Kentucky LLC.

What is a Registered Agent? A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving important legal documents on behalf of your business. Think of your registered agent as your business's point of contact with the state.

Who can be a Registered Agent? a Registered Agent must be a resident of Kentucky or a corporation, such as a registered agent service, authorized to transact business in Kentucky. You may elect an individual within the company including yourself.

Recommended: ZenBusiness provides the first year of registered agent service free with LLC formation ($39 + State Fees)

FAQ: Nominating a Registered Agent

Can I be my own Registered Agent?

Yes. You or anyone else in your company can serve as the registered agent for your LLC.

Read more about being your own registered agent.

Is a Registered Agent service worth it?

Using a professional registered agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your LLC. For most businesses, the advantages of using a professional service significantly outweigh the annual costs.

For more information, read our article on Kentucky registered agents.

STEP 3: File Your Kentucky LLC Articles of Organization

To register your LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the State of Kentucky. This can be done online, by mail, or in-person.

Kentucky LLC Formation Document

When filing your Articles of Organization, you will need to state whether your Kentucky LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. Before you file, read our member-managed vs manager-managed guide to help you choose the best management structure for your LLC.

File the Articles of Organization

OPTION 1: File Online with the State of Kentucky

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File by Mail or In-Person

Download Form


State Filing Cost: $40, payable to "Kentucky State Treasurer" (Nonrefundable)

Mail to:
Alison Lundergan Grimes
Office of the Secretary of State
PO Box 718
Frankfort, KY 40602

Submit In-Person:
Room 154, Capitol Building
700 Capital Avenue
Frankfort, KY 40601

Hours of Operation: 8:00 AM-4:30 PM ET

If you’re expanding your existing LLC to the State of Kentucky, you will need to form a Foreign LLC.

FAQ: Filing LLC Documents

What is the processing time to form my Kentucky LCC?

Immediately online, 3 to 5 days by mail.

What is the difference between a domestic Kentucky LLC and foreign LLC?

An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. Normally when we refer to an LLC we are actually referring to a domestic LLC. A foreign LLC must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.

Read our What Is a Foreign LLC article to learn more.

How much does it cost to start a Kentucky LLC?

The cost to start a Kentucky LLC is $40.

To learn more, read our guide on the cost to form a Kentucky LLC.

STEP 4: Create Your Kentucky LLC Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is not required in Kentucky, but it's a good practice to have one.

What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.

Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.

For more information on operating agreements, read our Kentucky LLC operating agreement guide.

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Recommended: Download a template or create a Free Operating Agreement using our tool.

FAQ: Creating a Kentucky Operating Agreement

Do I need to file my operating agreement with the state of Kentucky?

No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. However, many states do legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement in place.

STEP 5: Get an EIN

What is an EIN? EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. EINs are a nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to help identify businesses for tax purposes. It is essentially a Social Security number for a business.

An EIN is sometimes referred to as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN).

Why do I need an EIN? An EIN is required to:

  • Open a business bank account
  • File and manage Federal and State Taxes
  • Hire employees

What if I already have an EIN for my sole proprietorship? The IRS requires that sole proprietorships get a new EIN when converting to an LLC.

Where do I get an EIN? You can get an EIN for free from the IRS. Getting an EIN is an easy process that can be done online or by mail.

FOR INTERNATIONAL EIN APPLICANTS: You do not need a SSN to get an EIN. For more information, read our How to Get an EIN as a Foreign Person guide.

Get an EIN

Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS

Apply Online

- OR -

Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax

Download Form

Mail to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935

Fee: Free

FAQ: Getting a Kentucky EIN

How do I get an EIN if I don’t have a Social Security number?

An SSN is not required to get an EIN. You can simply fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Learn more about applying as an international applicant.

What tax structure should I choose for my LLC?

When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.

However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing the S corporation (S corp) status. To learn more, read our LLC vs S Corp guide.

Do I need an EIN for my LLC?

All LLCs with employees, or any LLC with more than one member, must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.

Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.

Have a question? Leave a Comment!

Ask us a question, tell us how we're doing, or share your experiences. Join the conversation in our Comment Section.

Considering Using an LLC Formation Service?

We reviewed and ranked the top 5 LLC formation services.
Find out which is best for you.

Best LLC Services

Important Steps After Forming an LLC

Separate Your Personal and Business Assets

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your Kentucky LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing the corporate veil.

You can start protecting your LLC in Kentucky with these steps:

1. Opening a business checking account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Need help finding your EIN for your bank application? Visit our EIN Lookup guide for help.

A cube with LLC printed on its sides

Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.

2. Getting a business credit card:

  • Helps you separate personal and business expenses.
  • Builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise capital (e.g., small business loans) later on.
A cube with LLC printed on its sides

Recommended: Learn more about the best small business credit cards.

For other important steps to protect your corporate veil, like properly signing legal documents and documenting company business, please read our corporate veil article.

Find a Business Accountant

One of the main reasons that LLC’s make great business structures is the benefits of pass-through taxation and the ability to write off business expenses. Having a business-savvy accountant to help you with your small business accounting and take advantage of these benefits can literally save you and your business thousands of dollars in taxes each year.

Along with the obvious benefit of massive tax savings, a business accountant can help you to:

  • Track business expenses and reconcile your bank accounts
  • Discover areas of unforeseen loss or extra profit in your business
  • Run payroll for you and your employees
  • Prepare and submit your quarterly tax filings
  • Advise on advanced business strategies for even deeper tax savings
  • Avoid costly errors and ensure your business stays on the good side of the IRS

Starting a relationship with an accountant gives you a head start when it comes to running your business and keeps your finances clean in the future.

However, if you would like to run your own accounting, read our review of the best accounting software for small business.

A cube with LLC printed on its sides

Recommended: Get a free tax consultation and speak with a business accountant today.

Get Business Insurance for Your Kentucky LLC

Business insurance helps you manage risks and focus on growing your business. The most common types of business insurance are:

  • General Liability Insurance: A broad insurance policy that protects your business from lawsuits. Most small businesses get general liability insurance.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: A business insurance for professional service providers (consultants, accountants, etc.) that covers claims of malpractice and other business errors.
  • Workers' Compensation Insurance: A type of insurance that provides coverage for employees’ job-related illnesses, injuries, or deaths. In Kentucky, businesses with five or more employees are required by law to have workers' compensation insurance. Note that officers and LLC members are counted as employees.
A cube with LLC printed on its sides

Find out how much it will cost to keep your business protected.

Get Your Free Quote Today

Read our review of the best small business insurance companies.

Send Out a Press Release

Press releases are among the easiest and best ways to promote your business. They are also one of the most cost-effective strategies as they:

  • Provides publicity
  • Establish your brand presence on the web
  • Improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), driving more customers to your website
  • Are a one-time cost in terms of effort and money
  • Have long-lasting benefits
A cube with LLC printed on its sides

Recommended: TRUiC has negotiated a 25% discount for you on a service that will write and distribute press releases for you.

Read our review of the best press release distribution services.

Join the Conversation

We are here to guide you through your entrepreneurial journey, and are always looking at your feedback. Share your experiences in our comment box, chat with other entrepreneurs, or simply let us know how we're doing.

Let's Connect

Keep Your Company Compliant

Kentucky LLC Permits & Licenses

To operate your LLC you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.

The details of business licenses and permits vary from state to state. Make sure you read carefully. Don't be surprised if there are short classes required as well.

Fees for business licenses and permits will vary depending on what sort of license you are seeking to obtain.

Find out how to obtain necessary licenses and permits for your business or have a professional service do it for you:

A cube with LLC printed on its sides

Recommended: If you are a first-time entrepreneur, consider having a professional service research your business’s licensing requirements. Read our best business license services review on Startup Savant.

Kentucky LLC Tax Filing Requirements

Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax.

Kentucky Sales Tax

If you are selling a physical product, you’ll typically need to register for a seller's permit through the Kentucky Department of Revenue website.

This certificate allows a business to collect sales tax on taxable sales.

Sales tax, also called "Sales and Use Tax," is a tax levied by states, counties, and municipalities on business transactions involving the exchange of certain taxable goods or services.

Read our Kentucky sales tax guide to find out more.

Kentucky Employer Taxes

If you have employees in Kentucky, you will have to register for the Unemployment Insurance Tax with the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training. You will also need to sign up for the Employee Withholding Tax with the Kentucky Department of Revenue.

Industry-Specific Taxes

If your business falls within a specific industry, additional state taxes may apply. Most of these additional taxes apply to Hospitality or Service Industry businesses.

A cube with LLC printed on its sides

Register for Kentucky State Taxes

Sales Tax | Unemployment Insurance Tax | Withholding Tax

Federal LLC Tax Requirements

Most LLCs will need to report their income to the IRS each year using:

How you pay yourself as an owner will also affect your federal taxes. Visit our guide to learn more about how to pay yourself from your LLC.

A cube with LLC printed on its sides

Read our LLC Tax Guide to learn more about federal income taxes for LLCs.

File Your LLC Annual Report

Kentucky requires LLCs to file an annual report with the Secretary of State. This can be done online.

File Your Annual Report

File Online with the State of Kentucky

File Online

Fee: $15

Avoid Automatic Dissolution

LLCs may face fines and even automatic dissolution when they miss one or more state filings. When this happens, LLC owners risk the loss of limited liability protection. A quality registered agent service can help prevent this outcome by notifying you of upcoming filing deadlines and by submitting reports on your behalf.

A cube with LLC printed on its sides

Recommended: ZenBusiness offers a reliable registered agent service and excellent customer support.

Hiring Employees in Kentucky

If you plan to hire employees, stay compliant with the law by following these steps:

Check out Kentucky's "Managing Employees" resource

A cube with LLC printed on its sides

Recommended: Check out our Hiring for your Small Business Guide for resources like sample job descriptions, payroll service reviews, and more.

FAQ: Hiring Employees in Kentucky

What is the minimum wage in Kentucky?

The minimum wage in Kentucky is $7.25 per hour.

How often do I need to pay employees?

Kentucky requires wages to be paid at least twice per month.

Get Help Starting a Business in Kentucky

We understand that creating an LLC and getting your business up and running comes with many challenges. To help you succeed, we compiled the best local resources in every major metro area in Kentucky. You can get free assistance in the following areas:

Bowling Green | Covington | Lexington | Louisville

Small Business Resources

Women in Business Tools and Resources

If you have a woman-owned business, many resources are available to help you concentrate on your business’s growth:

  • Funding - (ie. grants, investors, loans) 
  • Events - (ie. conferences, meetups)
  • Guides - (ie. business formation, personal growth)
  • Support - (ie. advice, communities, business strategies)

Our information and tools will provide educational sources, allow you to connect with other women entrepreneurs, and help you manage your business with ease.

Free LLC Legal Forms

TRUiC offers a number of free LLC legal forms to help with creating documents like:

  • Operating agreements
  • LLC resolutions
  • Hiring documents, including:
    • Employment contracts
    • Independent contractor service agreements (ICSA)
    • Non-disclosure agreements (NDA)

All you’ll need to do to download the forms is sign up for the TRUiC Business Center, which is also free, forever.

How to Make a Website

Check out our how to build a website guide to learn how creating a website isn’t as difficult as it might seem. With the right tools, a good guide, and a bit of patience, you can learn how to make a website for your business in no time.

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Recommended: Read our review to find the best website builder for small business.

How to Build Business Credit

Learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other business funding options in your business's name (instead of yours), with better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

TRUiC’s Small Business Tools

TRUiC believes business tools should be free and useful. Our tools help solve business challenges, from finding an idea for your business, to creating a business plan, writing an operating agreement for your LLC, and more.

Check out TRUiC’s small business tools:

Video Guides

TRUiC has created video guides to support and reinforce our on-page guides. These videos help to visualize the ideas and lessons that you need to know to create and run a successful business.

How to Form a Kentucky LLC Video Playlist 
Business Ideas Video Playlist

Check out our growing library of small business videos on the TRUiC YouTube channel.

More Kentucky LLC Information

Register as a Foreign LLC in Kentucky

Forming a foreign LLC allows your company to operate as one entity in multiple states. If you have an existing LLC and want to do business in Kentucky, you will need to register as a foreign LLC. This can be done by mail.

Register as a Foreign LLC in Kentucky

File by Mail with the Secretary of State 

Download Form

Fee: $90, payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer (Nonrefundable)

Mail to:
Alison Lundergan Grimes
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 718
Frankfort, KY 40602

How to Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing in Kentucky

A Certificate of Good Standing, known in Kentucky as a Certificate of Existence, verifies that your LLC was legally formed and has been properly maintained. Several instances where you might need to get one include:

  • Seeking funding from banks or other lenders
  • Forming your business as a foreign LLC in another state
  • Obtaining or renewing specific business licenses or permits

You can order a Certificate of Existence online or by mail. 

Order a Certificate of Existence

Request Certificate of Existence Online

Request Online

- OR -

Request Certificate of Existence by Mail

Download Form


Fee: $10, payable to the Secretary of State (Nonrefundable)

Note: A Certificate of Existence is known as a Certificate of Authorization for foreign LLCs.

How to Dissolve an LLC in Kentucky

If at any point in the future you no longer wish to conduct business with your LLC, it is important to officially dissolve it. Failure to do so in a timely fashion can result in tax liabilities and penalties, or even legal trouble. To dissolve your LLC, there are two broad steps:

  • Close your business tax accounts
  • File the Articles of Dissolution

When you are ready to dissolve your LLC, follow the steps in our Kentucky LLC Dissolution Guide.

Read More about LLCs & How to Run a Business

Key Terms for Entrepreneurs

LLC: An LLC is a US business structure that offers the personal liability protection of a corporation with the pass-through taxation of a sole proprietorship or partnership.

DBA: A DBA, or doing business as name, is any name a business operates under that isn't its legal name.

Partnership: A partnership is an informal business structure owned by more than one individual that doesn't provide personal liability protection.

Have a Question? Leave a Comment!