Your business is growing, and you’re planning an expansion to other states. It’s a good problem to have!
But it’s not quite as simple as choosing another location. Because each state has different rules and requirements for business operations, you may need a “foreign qualification” in each state where you plan to do business.
It’s a common misconception that foreign qualification is only for businesses operating outside the U.S. But in this case, “foreign” refers to any business operating in a state that isn’t the state where the LLC was originally formed.
For example, if your LLC is registered in Oklahoma and you are looking to open a second location in Kansas, you may need to complete a foreign qualification in Kansas before you can expand there.
Important Note: If you’d like to save time and have the foreign qualification paperwork taken care of for you, many of the best LLC services can handle this task for you.
Foreign qualifying is essentially asking permission to do business in the state of Kansas. And the notion that “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission” doesn’t apply here. Failing to foreign qualify before starting a business in Kansas yields consequences that are far costlier than registering in the first place.
If you fail to foreign qualify, your LLC will be prohibited from bringing any action or lawsuit to Kansas courts. Additionally, you will be liable for all the LLC taxes, fees, and penalties your LLC would have paid during its time in Kansas had it been properly registered.
But transacting unauthorized business won’t completely cut you off from activity in Kansas. For example, you would still be allowed to defend an action in court, and your existing in-state contracts would still be considered valid.
Still, penalties and fees can add up over the years, and being left without any legal standing is a scary prospect, so it’s best to avoid the risk and foreign qualify right away.
Read over the Kansas LLC Act, Section 17-76,126 for more information.
We’ve established why you shouldn’t do business without a foreign qualification. But what exactly does it mean to “do business” in Kansas? The state’s LLC Act doesn’t give specific direction on the topic, but other state and tax laws consider an LLC to be “doing business” and required to foreign qualify if:
Taxes are unavoidable. And depending on your LLC’s size and income, you may be required to pay specific business taxes in Kansas. By foreign qualifying, you’re letting the state know you could be eligible for these taxes. While it might seem like a fiscally wise idea to avoid as many taxes as possible, failing to foreign qualify could lead to larger tax-related fines down the line. It’s important to always stay on top of your LLC’s taxation requirements to avoid any unwelcome surprises.
If you’re unsure whether or not you need to file for a foreign qualification in Kansas, we suggest seeking legal counsel.
The foreign qualification, however, isn’t a hard and fast rule for all LLCs performing any kind of action in Kansas. Certain actions do not qualify as “doing business” and therefore don’t require a foreign qualification. Some examples are:
After examining this list (as well as the more detailed one in Section 17-7303 of the Kansas Statutes) check to see if your business activities in Kansas appear there. If your only activities are present, you likely won’t have to foreign qualify. But if you’re unsure, it’s best to seek legal advice.
Foreign qualification in Kansas is simple if you know where to find and send your forms. If you or your legal counsel has decided to foreign qualify your LLC in Kansas, make your way to the Secretary of State Business Forms page. The one you’re looking for is Form FA: Application for Registration of Foreign Covered Entity.
You’ll notice that there’s no option for online filing. This means you’ll need to download the form and fill it out electronically (using Adobe Acrobat) or by hand. The form itself contains detailed instructions for its completion, but for a quick reference, here’s the info you’ll need:
Also required is a Certificate of Good Standing from the state where you formed your LLC. To obtain one, contact the state government.
Have your checkbook ready, too. The fee for a foreign qualification in Kansas is $165. Along with your finished form and Certificate of Good Standing, include a check or money order made payable to “Kansas Secretary of State.”
Additional fees might apply as well. Depending on how long you’ve been doing business in Kansas at the time of the filing, you may owe annual report fees. See page 3 of the form for more information.
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information and materials, package it up and mail or hand-deliver it to:
Kansas Secretary of State
Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 S.W. 10th Ave.
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1594
You may also fax your documents to (785) 296-4570, but it will cost you another $20.
After your form is in and your fee is paid, sit back, take a deep breath, and pat yourself on the back. Your LLC is foreign qualified and you’re embarking on another chapter in the life of your business.
As you work to meet all of the Kansas foreign qualification requirements, don’t lose sight of their business name restrictions. If your name isn’t compliant, you won’t be able to register and do business there. Your LLC name must:
You can also reserve your Kansas business name if you’re not quite ready to foreign qualify your LLC.
We think you should foreign qualify your LLC before you begin conducting business in a new state. If you don’t, your business could be subject to a broad range of fines and penalties for operating an LLC in a jurisdiction where you don’t have permission to do so.
Unlike most states, Kansas does not provide any guidance regarding foreign qualification filing turnaround times, at least not that we could find. In general, this state typically processes business filings in a couple of weeks.
Chances are, you’ll require at least one license or permit to operate your LLC in compliance with Kansas state law. For more information about business licenses and more in this state, check out the state’s convenient Licenses and Permits page.
Yes. Whether you operate a domestic or foreign LLC in this state, you are required to file a Kansas LLC Annual Report.
The overall costs of operating a Kansas LLC can vary considerably based on the specifics of your business. However, we created a helpful guide to help you identify and plan for every expense your LLC will face in this state.
The answer to this question lies in your personal preferences, but we can give some general pointers. An attorney will cost the most by a mile, but also provides expertise you won’t find with the other options. The DIY route is free of charge but can require quite a bit of legwork and provides no peace of mind that the process is being completed correctly.
Using an LLC service means your business will be foreign qualified by professionals who know what they’re doing, while also costing significantly less than a lawyer. This “best of both worlds” attribute is what makes LLC services our preferred option.
Using an online LLC service removes much of the hassle from the foreign qualification process. With these services, all you need to do is provide them with the name, location, and industry your business operates in, along with some info about yourself and your Kansas resident agent.
The service then registers your Application for Registration with the state to qualify your LLC to do business in Kansas.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
Kansas Business Resources
Foreign Qualification by State
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