Starting an LLC in Kentucky: Introduction

Forming an LLC in Kentucky is the process of creating a limited liability company that adheres to the specific laws and requirements of the state. This type of business entity is sometimes called a hybrid structure as it combines elements of both partnerships and corporations.

An LLC provides business owners with personal liability protection from the business' financial obligations and debts. It also provides pass-through taxation, in which owners report LLC profits and losses on their individual tax returns. In most states, LLCs enjoy a flexible business structure with fewer restrictions and regulations that are imposed on other business entities.

An LLC can have any number of owners (known as members), and members can include other LLCs and foreign entities as well as individuals and corporations. LLC members can design the business' ownership structure and voting procedures.

Naming Your Kentucky LLC

Before filing paperwork to create your Kentucky LLC, you'll need to come up with a name for your business venture. The LLC name should distinguish you from other business entities with consumers and be suited to the products and services you provide. It's also important to follow Kentucky's LLC naming guidelines:

  • The LLC name must contain "limited company," "limited liability company," "LC," or "LLC." Limited company can only be abbreviated as LTD CO.
  • Only Arabic or Roman numerals and English letters may be used in the name.
  • Certain words, such as university, bank, and attorney, can only be used if an individual professional licensed in that area is an LLC member. These names require additional paperwork.
  • Words that may cause your LLC to be confused with a state or federal agency are not permitted; examples include Secret Service, Treasury, and FBI.

Once you've come up with a name that meets guidelines, check it for availability on the Kentucky Secretary of State website or by calling the office at 502-564-3490. If your desired name is not already in use, you can reserve it for up to 120 days by filing Form RES with the office of the Secretary of State. This form can be filed by mail or online and carries a $15 filing fee. This form should include your proposed LLC name, your name and mailing address, the type of business entity you plan to form, the date effective if not immediate, and your dated signature along with your name and title.

When you've reserved your LLC name, you can also purchase your desired domain name to make sure you have it when you're ready to create your website. At the same time, you can set up a professional email address for business use.

Choosing a Registered Agent

Kentucky requires each LLC to designate a registered agent, who is responsible for receiving process service for any legal action against the company. This includes both state filings and lawsuits. The registered agent can be either an LLC member or a third party such as an attorney or professional service company. The person or business in question must live in or be authorized to do business in Kentucky and have a physical street address in the state. The registered agent must provide his or her written consent for the role and sign the LLC's articles of organization.

Filing Articles of Organization

To create your Kentucky LLC, file Form KLC, Articles of Organization for a Limited Liability Company, with the Secretary of State. This document includes the name and business address of your LLC, the name and address of the designated registered agent, the effective date, and indication of whether the company is managed by members or by an outside manager. 

This two-page form can be filed by mail, in person, or online. The first page must be completed with your information and the second page includes instructions for completion. Form KLC carries a $40 filing fee, which should be paid to the Kentucky State Treasurer along with an additional $60 fee for expedited processing within two business days.

You can delay the date of LLC formation by providing a future date and time in the space provided. This must be within 90 days after the filing date.

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