Are you considering forming a Kansas LLC as your preferred business entity? If so, you are in the right place.
The following information in this blog post contains all of the information, forms and resources you need to confidently file your Kansas LLC, which is a good idea if you are operating an online business.
Not only that, all of the materials and instructions in this post are 100% free!
However, you may come across some affiliate links or other offers to purchase our products and services that will help you to get your Kansas LLC started as quickly as possible. But rest assured, there is no obligation for you to purchase anything. And if you do decide to purchase services from one of our preferred vendors, please know that we may receive financial compensation.
Now, on to filing your Kansas LLC!
If this is the first time you've set up an LLC, whether in Kansas or elsewhere, this process may seem rather confusing. We've tried to simplify it as much as possible.
Just follow the steps below in order and you should be fine.
What you Need to Know Before Setting Up Your Kansas LLC
A Kansas LLC (otherwise known as a Limited Liability Company) is a legal business structure that can be used to protect your personal assets from your business creditors. In other words, if your business gets sued by a disgruntled client, an injured employee, or your business hits hard times and defaults on financial obligations, then your personal assets (including your home, other real estate, financial assets, vehicles, etc.) are protected as long as you are operating your Kansas LLC correctly.
Another major benefit to forming a Kansas LLC is that you can elect to be taxed as an S-Corporation if and when it makes sense for your business to do so.
If you are running an online business, you can use your Kansas LLC to receive income from affiliate offers, adsense revenue (if you have a Youtube Channel), or other ad revenue from a company such as Mediavine (if you are placing ads on your website). In addition, your LLC will own your online assets such as your domain names, course offerings and other online products. Your Kansas LLC can also own your intellectual property, such as your trademarks.
If you have an offline business, you can use an LLC to purchase real estate assets, vehicles, and more.
Step 1: Pick a Name for Your Kansas LLC
The first step in forming a Kansas LLC is to pick a name. Most people overthink this process, believing that they need to come up with the perfect business name for their LLC. As a result, they get stuck and don't move any further towards getting their Kansas LLC setup.
Don't make that mistake.
Picking a name is relatively straightforward and easy. You just need to make sure that your chosen name is available in Kansas.
According to Kansas K.S.A. 17-7920, your name must be “distinguishable upon the record”, which requires that the entity’s name be distinguishable from other entity names already on file with the Secretary of State. This standard means that even though the proposed name may look or sound similar, a small difference in spelling, or the addition of one extra letter or word, is enough to allow the name.
The Kansas Secretary of State uses the following guidelines to determine if a name is available:
1. The plural form of a word is distinguishable from the singular word.
Example: “Dog” and “Dogs”
2. Numbers are distinguishable from words representing the number.
Example: “5” and “five”
3. The following words, or abbreviations thereof, are eliminated from the name prior to searching for availability, no matter where the words occur in the name:
Limited Liability Company
Limited Liability Partnership
Registered Limited Liability Partnership
4. The following prepositions, articles, and conjunctions are eliminated prior to searching for availability, no matter where the words occur in the name:
5. The letter “a” is eliminated only if it appears as an article in the name.
Like A Walk In The Park, LLC (“A” is eliminated)
A And B Bakery, Inc. (“A” is not eliminated)
6. The following symbols are not permitted to be used in a name in online applications:
Back slash (\)
Pipe or Vertical Bar (|)
Horizontal bar (_____)
7. The following characters are not eliminated, nor are they converted to the word equivalent. Symbols, punctuation marks, and special characters are eliminated prior to searching for name availability.
8. The following Roman numerals are entered by the Secretary of State as the alphabetic equivalent, not the number equivalent:
I M C
X V D
The Secretary of State may, at its discretion, accept a name for filing in the following instances:
When initials are used in the name that, when the punctuation between the initials is disregarded, spell an article, preposition, conjunction or word of incorporation, and use of an article, preposition, conjunction, or word of incorporation is not intended; When an alphabetical character that is intended to be a Roman numeral is used in a name and causes a conflict with another name using the same character as a letter; When separate words are used in a name that constitute a name already on record when the space(s) between the words are disregarded.
Kansas law requires that the names of business entities that have been forfeited or cancelled remain unavailable for a period of one year.
Kansas LLC Name Search
When you have a name in mind for your Kansas LLC, you may click here to conduct a name search.
Note: Although Kansas does not allow you to register a fictitious name or a “DBA” name, you may reserve a name for up to 120 days for a fee of $30 if you are not quite ready to form your LLC.
In Kansas, the name of the LLC must contain the words “limited liability company” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.,” or “LLC”. The word “limited” may be abbreviated as “Ltd.,” and the word “company” may be abbreviated as “Co.”
Step 2: Choose your Kansas Resident Agent
When you file your Kansas LLC, you are required to name a resident agent that has a physical office location within the state.
A Kansas Resident Agent (sometimes called a “registered agent”) is an individual or a company that is appointed to receive legal documents (also called “service of process”) on behalf of your LLC. These documents could include lawsuits where your LLC is named as the defendant, tax notices, annual report reminders and other important notifications.
Registered Agent Requirements in Kansas
Just as with almost every other state, registered agents in Kansas must have a physical street address within the state of Kansas. You may not use a PO Box as your registered agent address. Pursuant to Kansas Statutes § 17-6202, the resident agent “shall have a business office identical with the registered office which is generally open during normal business hours to accept service of process and otherwise perform the functions of a resident agent.”
The Problem with Serving as Your Own Resident Agent in Kansas
Although you may serve as your own resident agent in Kansas (so long as you have a street address within the state), there are two primary problems with this strategy:
- Your name and address will become public record in Kansas. If you are concerned about privacy, naming yourself as your own resident agent may not be the best choice.
- You must be present at the address you list during normal business hours to accept service of legal documents. If you decide to take a vacation or travel (as many online entrepreneurs do), then you risk failing to receive important legal notifications that can adversely impact your LLC.
Who Should Serve as Your Resident Agent?
Remembering that the requirements to serve as a resident agent in Kansas are that you must have a physical address within the state, be a resident of Kansas, and be at least 18 years old, then what is your best option?
In theory, either you or a family member could serve as your own resident agent. However, this is not a solution that we recommend at Hawthorn Law for the reasons mentioned previously.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: We recommend that you hire a corporate resident agent (also known as a commercial resident agent) for your Kansas LLC.
A corporate resident agent is a company that operates in Kansas and their sole job is to fulfill your legal obligations as your resident agent. The typical fee to hire a corporate resident agent is between $100-$200 per year.
Hiring a corporate resident agent is a fast and easy process. Once you sign up with our preferred vendor, they will provide you with an address that you can list on your Articles of Organization. (Note that unless you have reached a separate agreement with the company you hire, this address should NOT be used as your business address).
We currently recommend using Incfile as your corporate resident agent.
Get your first year of service for FREE when you use Incfile to set up your Kansas LLC.
Step 3: Complete and File your Kansas LLC Articles of Organization
In the state of Kansas, to form an LLC you must file the official Kansas Articles of Organization.
You may file this document either online or via mail. However, we recommend filing this document online as it is simpler to do and you will receive your approval much faster.
How long will it take for your Kansas LLC to be approved?
- If you file your Articles of Organization by mail using the paper forms, a certified copy of your Articles of Organization will be mailed to you within 3-5 business days after filing.
- If you file online, then your Kansas LLC will be effective immediately upon filing.
Kansas LLC filing fee: $165
To file your Kansas LLC online as recommended above, visit the Secretary of State’s webpage. You will need to register for an account and then you can complete the filing.
Once the online registration is complete, a certified copy of the business formation document that was filed with the Secretary of State can be printed. The business filing is effective immediately.
If you are old school and prefer to file your Kansas LLC by mail, you will mail your Articles of Organization as follows:
- Write out a check or money order payable to “Kansas Secretary of State”
- Mail two (2) copies of the completed and signed Articles of Organization and your filing fee to: Office of the Secretary of State, Memorial Hall, 1st Floor, 120 S.W. 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66612
- We recommend including a self-addressed stamped envelope so that they can mail the file-stamped copy back to you.
Step 4: Obtain Federal Tax ID (aka EIN Number) for Your Kansas LLC
We recommend obtaining a Federal EIN (also called an Employer Identification Number or Federal Tax Identification Number) from the Internal Revenue Service after your Kansas LLC is approved and you have received back a file-stamped copy of your Articles of Organization. You will need a social security number or TIN to obtain the EIN for your Kansas LLC.
You will need your EIN to open a bank account for your new LLC, take payments via Stripe or Paypal, open a business credit card, pay estimated taxes, and for a variety of other reasons.
You may also need a Federal EIN to apply for a variety of business licenses and/or permits in your state, county or municipality. If you hire employees, you will need the EIN to manage your payroll taxes.
To learn more about how to obtain your Federal EIN, click here.
Step 5: Complete your Kansas LLC Operating Agreement for a Single Member LLC
Drafting a legally valid operating agreement is a vital part of the LLC formation process.
An operating agreement is a legal contract between you as the owner (also called a “member” or “manager”) of the Kansas LLC and the company itself. It spells out the rules that you agree to follow by forming the LLC in the first place.
Without an operating agreement, the default rules for how to operate your LLC can be found in the Kansas statutes. Since these statutes can be confusing and vague, and most business owners are not familiar with what they say or mean anyway, it is highly recommended to draft a custom operating agreement for your Kansas LLC.
Operating agreements will include such information as:
- How much each member will be paid and when
- How the LLC will be taxed
- How much each member will invest into the LLC
- What to do if a member ceases to work for the LLC
- How to divide profits
In addition, you may need to show an Operating Agreement when you open your business bank account, take out a loan for the LLC, or purchase a vehicle or other long-term assets such as an office or rental property.
The other main reason we recommend that all of our online business owners have an operating agreement (that they follow) is to maintain the limited liability protection that comes from forming a Kansas LLC.
Without an operating agreement, there is virtually no difference between you as an individual person and the LLC. In this case, if your LLC were to be sued, the plaintiff would have a much stronger argument to “pierce the corporate veil” for your LLC and reach your personal assets to pay off a judgment.
In addition, if you are operating a multi-member LLC, then having a clearly worded operating agreement is vitally important to help prevent or resolve any disputes between you and the other members. In other words, if you want to stay out of business court, you should invest a couple of thousand dollars in a lawyer to draft a multi-member operating agreement for you.
If you are a single member LLC, you can use our form template for your LLC.
Step 6: Determine the need for Business Licenses and/or Permits in Kansas
As an online business operating in Kansas, you may need a permits or license to operate legally. As business owner, you or the professionals your company hires may also need a variety of individual occupational or professional licenses.
Click here for a list of the common businesses or occupations that require registration, licensing, and/or permits with specific agencies or commissions in the State of Kansas.
You should also check with the county and local government where you live to determine any local permitting, filing, and reporting requirements.
Research Licenses and Permits in Kansas
After you have successfully applied for the licenses and permits your industry requires, we recommend that you keep a record of when those licenses and permits must be renewed. In Kansas, many state agencies allow licenses, permits and filings to be submitted or renewed online.
Other Permitting and Licensing Options
To save time researching the permits and licenses you may need,, you can use our preferred vendor, Incfile, to do the search for you. When you sign up through Incfile, you will receive a customized list of all the licenses, permits and tax registrations that you may need for your Kansas LLC, as well as all of the required application forms and/or websites you will need to make your business legally compliant.
Step 7: Make Note of Deadlines for the Kansas LLC Annual Report
Secretary of State Website: https://sos.ks.gov/index.html
Annual Reporting Deadline: April 15th (the 15th day of the fourth month of the year)
State Mailing Address and Contact Information:
Office of the Secretary of State
Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 S.W. 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612
Step 8: Kansas State Taxes
Federal Taxes: One of the major benefits of forming an Kansas LLC is that you have a choice for how you will be taxed at the Federal level. By default, if you are a single member LLC you will be taxed as a sole proprietorship. If you form a multi-member LLC, then you will be taxed as a partnership.
Either way, the profits of the Kansas LLC will flow through to your personal tax return, where you will pay self-employment taxes (generally around 15.3% of the profits), and Federal Income Tax on your profits.
Once your Kansas LLC is earning approximately $30,000-50,000 in profit per member, we recommend talking to a tax professional or legal counsel to explore electing S-Corporation tax status for your Kansas LLC.
State Taxes in Kansas: To register your business with the Kansas Department of Revenue, click here.
Sales Tax in Kansas: For more information on collecting sales tax in Kansas, click here.
At Hawthorn Law® we are all about Trademarks!
At Hawthorn Law®, we are all about Trademarks and brand protection. If you are a creative entrepreneur trying to built an online brand, investing in a trademark to protect the rights to your business name is one of the smartest things you can do for your business.
If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you, please feel free to schedule a strategy session so we can map out a plan for your online business. If you are ready to get started with your trademark, click here to schedule a low-cost brand strategy and trademark review session to go over your options! (If you are looking for guidance on starting your business, LLC's, or general legal proctections and are not ready to proceed with a trademark, then please schedule a strategy call instead.)